Fashion that Flatters

Fashionistas flock to the Vintage Fashion Expo for quality and fit as well as nostalgia
Fashion
     (photo: Elisabeth Normoyle)

Sure it’s cool to dress like James Dean or Jayne Mansfield. But it’s also sensible. The era’s clothes were so well designed, they’d make anyone look like a movie star.

Clothes in the ‘50s and ‘60s “were tailor made to fit the body and make you look absolutely your best,” says Marissa Patrick, owner of Petaluma’s Chick-A-Boom Vintage, who will sell at the Vintage Fashion Expo, Saturday and Sunday, March 16 and 17, at the Concourse in San Francisco, 635 Eighth Street.

Some 2,000 people, roughly a third of them men, are expected to visit 90 or so dealers, selling fashion from the 19th century through the recent past.

Popular mid-century garments include bathing suits, says Lis Normoyle, an exhibit organizer. “They were waist-centric, and made your bust look fuller with pin tucks, gathers, shearing, buttons, and bows.”

Unlike today’s clothing, which falls apart after two seasons, Patrick says, vintage lasts. “Cashmere today is thin. In the ‘50s, it was plush, thick, and beautiful. There were better quality tweeds, wools, everything.”

“It’s unique,” she says of vintage fashion. “You’re not going to run into someone who’s wearing the same thing.”

For more on the Expo, click here.