Happy Mailbox Wednesday everyone! ;-)
Over the past few months, I’ve had quite a few amazing emails come through my inbox. Some of them are written by fellow thrift warriors and vintage lovers, sharing their tales of thrift travels and proud accomplishments of separating the thrift treasure from trash. Some are simple (but sincerely appreciated!) “thank you’s” to Sammy Davis Vintage — thank you BACK!
Still others are further inquiries into who I am and what I’m all about … and how Sammy Davis Vintage plans to be YOUR go-to destination inspiring you to incorporate vintage fashion into your wardrobe and take a thrift trip or two. I believe that doing both of the former helps us all to reach our highest creative potential, inspiring us to live positive, driven lives of happiness and self fulfilment which we all deserve.
With that said, I believe it’s important to regularly address email questions about Sammy Davis Vintage so that I can be closer to YOU. Because your fashion & your life is what inspires me most.
A reader from the United Kingdom emailed me questions asking about my relationship with vintage fashion and for me to expand a bit on my personal style. I’m so happy to answer Kirsty Q’s questions after the jump .. and to give you some further insight on all-things-Sammy-D and positive style for all!
I’d love to hear from you guys, too! I’ve been SO appreciative of the blog comments, Tweets and Facebook posts. Everytime I see an update, I swear my heart beats faster! It means that you’re enjoying your time in this space and are compelled to express that enjoyment — which makes me so happy!
Please feel free to shoot me questions to my email ([email protected]) so that I can pull them from my vintage mailbag and answer them here!
Q: What first attracted you to vintage fashion?
A: My first vintage fashion experience was shopping for high school PROM!
I was 16-years-old and my boyfriend was a senior at the time. He was a “pseudo goth” — he loved Marilyn Manson, Tool and Ozzy Osbourne and dressed in mostly jeans and rock band shirts. Honestly, he was just an interesting boy, all around! We decided to dress for prom in “goth” style — which to us, was just mixing costume-esque clothes in a coordinated color scheme of red & black.
So, off to dress “goth” I went — to my local vintage store! But this wasn’t any vintage store … it was one of the oldest in the country, called Zap & Co. in Lancaster, Pennsylvania where I lived for my first 18 years. Recently this past winter, Zap burnt to the ground after an unfortunate and accidental fire.
I remember first walking into the store and marveling at Zap’s vintage home decor, furniture, accessories and DRESSES! I felt like a little girl walking into a candy store. And boy was I INTIMIDATED! I was only 16 and fresh with a license and limited disposable income, so my “style” up to that point had been determined by what my mom would buy for me from the sales racks at the mall stores (read: American Eagle, Limited, Express & the Gap!)
I ended up buying an early 1900s all black lace, floor length dress that I accessorized with matching vintage set of earrings and a necklace and elbow length black gloves. My boyfriend found a boa for me from the local college’s theater department to complete the look (what a sweetheart, ha!).
Let’s just say that we were the HIT of the prom! Girls walked up to me congratulating me on my outfit — even the “popular” seniors. Wow, I felt special that night.
After experiencing my first vintage prom so positively, there was no reason for me not to shop vintage again. So, as I blossomed into my late teens and picked up part time jobs for money, I spent appropriately by buying vintage and of course, shopping secondhand at thrift stores.
It was thanks to the synchronicity of shopping vintage and thrift at the same time that I was able to learn how to then spot vintage in a thrift store — thereby saving money and honestly, having a lot more fun by stretching my creative limits.
I guess I should thank my high school boyfriend for indirectly inspiring my purpose in life. Who knew that he’d be “the one” to do so? ;-)
Q: Do you have a favorite vintage piece?
A: My favorite vintage piece is anything sequins. I love, love, LOVE sequins!!!
No, really, it’s an honest-to-goodness love affair. I can spot sequins in a pile of vintage like a raccoon can spot a meal in a trash can.
I love sequins because they are bright and bold … a lot like my personality. We all have a “feel-good accessory” that we wear to put on that “I’m-ready-to-rock-the-world” game face.
That’s what sequins are for me. Whether I’m wearing a sequin crop top from the ’80s, or an all-sequins dress to a special event, the glamour of sequins make me FEEL good which then influences my personality toward kindness and enthusiasm to help others feel good, too.
I want to dress in the pieces that elevate me not to my “highest style potential” on the outside, but also that of my highest SELF potential on the inside. Sequins do JUST that for me. I will wear them even when I’m in the nursing home!
Q: Who is your inspiration?
A: I’m inspired everyday by YOU GUYS!!!!!!!
You hear it from celebrities, political figures and just influential tastemakers … even your parents say it! If it weren’t for the people whom we influence and positively impact, we wouldn’t be doing what we do AT ALL.
So who is my inspiration, you ask? It’s YOU! I would still be a vintage lover and thrift warrior without this site and my web series, however I wouldn’t be producing great content that provides a service. YOU are who inspire me to do that, to take this passion to the next level so that it’s shared in a feel-good community space in the digital world.
I firmly believe that each and every one of us is on this planet for a predetermined reason. There is just TOO much energy and amazing things about our universe for this not to be true. I was put on this planet to give compassion, truth and kindness to those around me — and it to do it through the things I love most, one of which is fashion.
I quit a corporate job in October 2009 to make Sammy Davis Vintage into something GREAT. And thanks to you guys, it’s great. No … it’s fantastic!! Because you are here making it so. Thank you for inspiring Sammy Davis Vintage to greatness!
Q: What is your favorite era of fashion?
A: The era I’m currently channeling is the ’70s!
Ask any of my good friends and they’d probably say that I’m an ’80s darling through-and-through, which is absolutely true however thanks to this season’s trends as influenced by the MAJOR appearance of the ’70s on the runways, I’ve dropped back a decade to lay claim on the disco-meets-love-child era’s styles, too!
The ’70s limits my obsession with sequins a tad, but that doesn’t mean I can’t dress creatively and honestly, however-the-heck-I-want.
Note my cobalt blue jumpsuit above — it was a thrifted ’70s vintage find from the thrift Gods for sure! I love it because it’s fitted to hug my feminine frame and flares at the waist for that wide-legged look. The halter neck shows off my shoulders and back for a sense of spring, but I can pair a contemporary cardigan with the look for added warmth, too.
I’m also loving anything from “the earth,” representative of the decade’s growing awareness of treating our Mother Earth with respect by opting for natural, sustainable materials versus synthetic ones in apparel. While polyester was big (and fake), the conscious consumer opted for leather as outerwear, wood and cork as shoe bottoms, turquoise and other stones for jewelry, and various cotton fibers for everyday wear.
I’d love to return to the ’70s and dress in free-flowing, loose but still sensual styles detailed with delightful floral embroidery, fringe and in the mind of Sammy D, FUN.
Q: Who are your fashion idols?
A: I aspire to be the next Jeannie Mai, host of Style Network’s How Do I Look
Last week, I was invited to meet with Jeannie Mai, the host of Style Network’s How Do I Look.
Jeannie has been a host of the show for three seasons now. I first saw her in action last August, when I was able to (LOL!) finally afford cable in my NYC apartment. I remember turning on the Style Network to see Jeannie on the screen, and I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, she’s so awesome and everything I want to be. How can I do that?”
The truth is that when I first realized Jeannie was doing what I wanted to do with my life — helping women to reach their highest creative selves through fashion and its confidence boosting, empowerment qualities — well, I was a bit jealous. Jealous that she was doing it, and not me.
My soul and my passions have grown in the past year, and I’ve recognized that in the pursuit of our passions, there is no competition. There is enough of the pie for us all, and we can all create our own special “ingredient” to bake that pie delicious.
So, I wasn’t surprised when literally out of the blue last week, I was invited by a publicist to meet Jeannie! I believe that with the growth of my spirit and heart, that the universe answered my desire to BE Jeannie by giving me a chance to meet her.
When Jeannie entered through the doors to speak to a room full of bloggers and people of the fashion industry, it was like a thousand lightbulbs turned on, and the rain outside disappeared and the sun was suddenly shining. Of course, none of that REALLY happened — it was just her true spirit and true self that shown bright on us all. She immediately put everyone ease by asking us to introduce ourselves so that she could know who she was speaking with and address the crowd as friends.
Her talk about seasons old & new of How Do I Look wasn’t just about the show itself, but about its serviceable values about fashion — why “When you can be paid to give a service to another, you will never work a day in your life.”
Her life philosophy? “Expect nothing, appreciate everything.”
Jeannie is a rising star whom I look forward to meeting again — I have good feelings that our paths will cross and potentially collaborate!
Q: What makes your style unique?
A: My style is unique because I dress for me, myself and I.
I believe that to be happy, fulfilled and truly grateful for what is in our lives for true purpose and intent, we must always be living, loving and YES! dressing for ourselves.
I grew up in a very conservative area with limited resources for personal expression. I found an outlet of expression that excited and inspired me through vintage fashion and thrift store style. It’s thanks to those creative outlets that I was able to gain the confidence in MYSELF to pursue the life that I imagined then and for the future.
At 17, I decided I would be a journalist, and that I would go to the best journalism school which would accept me. I decided on Temple University in Philadelphia, which while only an hour and a half away from home might as well have been on a different planet. It was there, thanks to the platform I’d built of self expression, that I even had the confidence necessary to see & find “my ladder” to keep climbing toward ME, my goals and the happy pursuit of them.
Our style is not only what we wear, but who we are as people. It’s the soul inside of us. And that soul will be helped to the forefront when we care for ourselves as loving, beautiful creatures with something special to offer the world that is unlike anyone else … because that’s why we’re here. We’re here because the world honestly needs us to be.
Dress for you because you love yourself, and because the act of reaching your highest fashion potential will build your dreams into the natural, organic reality that they are meant to be as you style every aspect of your life for you and you alone.
Q: What are your favorite shops?
Q: My favorite vintage store is Malena’s Vintage Boutique.
In college, my father moved to West Chester, Pennsylvania, where my still to this day FAVORITE vintage boutique lives: Malena’s Vintage on Gay Street.
Malena’s is a beautifully curated shop found along the main drag of West Chester, an absolutely darling college town surrounded by the countryside of horse farms, lakes, rolling hills and priceless sunsets.
You can say the same about the merchandise in her store: it’s like the best of the best weather, all day & everyday available for your peruse and purchase.
Malena isn’t much older than I am, and I remember (like meeting Jeannie!) feeling a bit of jealously upon realizing that she was a 20-something vintage boutique owner. But owning a vintage store ain’t easy, folks! It’s blood, sweat and tears because you LOVE it.
Malena has sold me the most amazing pieces I own in my closet STILL TODAY. She is a true vintage expert and fashion lover, and has dedicated herself to the trade so that she can make beautiful pieces accessible to women like you and I.
I applaud all vintage sellers — whether in brick or mortar stores or selling online — for gathering style with substance and passing it along to us so that each piece can have a happy home. I truly believe that vintage pieces have souls, and it is up to us to align ourselves with the positive forces of the piece that calls our name loudest.
Store owners like Malena are like gospel choir leaders, reeling in the best voices of vintage that sound great solo, but are truly harmonious and spellbounding when singing together in a collective group, like the choir of a vintage boutique!