Sunday, February 17, 2008

Store Focus: Design Archives

The other day I went to a great vintage store here in my area. I hadn't been there before and actually didn't even know it existed. My friend found it and we had a good time going there, sifting through all racks of clothes, trying stuff on and seeing all of the cool possibilities.

Design Archives is located in downtown Greensboro, right near the college campus, so you get a great mix of items and clients. They are a little high in terms of price, especially compared to eBay but they do have a lot of great things. They especially had a great selection of dresses, including some gorgeous 50's prom dresses covered in frothy tulle.

We were there for a while and at one time I had my arms filled with dresses, coats and robes. But I tried to be frugal and pick out only my most favorite of the pieces. I finally ended up with a vintage nightgown, a great red trench and this amazing sheer dress which I have big plans for.

Here is the nightgown. It's a rayon gown that goes to shin length. The lace is in pristine condition. I can't tell that it was ever used. Here's the front view.

And the back:

The bodice is covered with lace and there is lace edging along the arm and back v.

There is even a small lace edge along the bottom. It's so comfy, pretty and delicate.

My second item was this great red trench. It's a great lipstick red, fits perfectly and is in great condition.

What's hard to see here, but that you can see in the enlargements, is the stitching adding definition to the coat and a design element to the belt.

Like the cute pockets and the pretty buttons?

The cuffs are neat too. They kind of have a french cuff look to them which adds a nice finish to the sleeve. This is going to be my new suit topper. A black top and skirt, red heels and red trench.

Here is my favorite item. It needs a little explanation. It's a sheer dress with an elastic waist and a sash belt. I can't imagine how this would have been worn in the past. Maybe over a strapless dress? You have to pull it over your head to get it on as it is right now.

It's very floaty and ethereal. I love the portrait collar and, of course, the light blue-grey color.

A neat detail is that, at the shoulder, they added this poofy cap sleeve elemant to add some extra volume to the sleeves.

The cuffs, with two pearlescent blue button, come in tight to the wrist.

You can sort of see the elastic at the waist and then the big floppy sash bow. My big plan for this dress is to actually cut it down the middle and make it more into a wrap. I hope to have an event to wear this to. I'm thinking some strappy sandals and a silvery or black slip dress, which this tied as a wrap over it.

This is another reason I got this. Look at the tonal embroidery along the bottom quarter of the dress:

It looks very Art Deco-ish to me.

Given all of the sheer elements coming for Spring, I'd love to find more ways to work this into my wardrobe. It may be a bit much for my small office, though.

All in all, a successful vintage trip. I still want to branch out to the stores in other towns as well as some vintage stores. So, more hunting trips soon.


Pomegranate said...

I really like the sheer dress, it would look great with a lacy camisole-type white (or light pink?) dress underneath.

Lily said...

Oh, i know what you mean...vintage is just so classical and the fit is so perfect and the attention to detail. There is a cute little vintage shop in downtown Durham, at Bright Leaf Square, I can't remember the name right now, but they have fabulous vintage dresses. I bought this vintage black Jessica McClintock strapless satin dress with this gorgeous black and white striped bow in the back of the waist. Unfortunately I was careless and the sun got to it and left a faded grey strip, but then again it gives it a vintage feel and some personality.

here is me modeling it :)

btw, ethereal is one of my favorite words...i don't know if you've ever seen a traditional chinese tang dynasty gown, the ones that they wear in the movies where they fly around and fight. It's floaty and magical, fairylike quality to them. I recently bought one in china, and looks like the exact fabric of your light blue dress.. I forgot what it's called..gauze?

Princess Poochie said...


That dress is gorgeous and you look amazing in it. Great pictures. I'd love to see your dress from China too.

My dress is, I think, a sort of chiffon but I'm not sure. I have to find a good place to wear it!