Friday, October 2, 2015

Plus-size Vintage and an American Princess

We recently received pieces from the estate of Margaret Preston Draper, the wealthiest socialite in Washington, DC in the 1910s-1930s. She was an only child and the richest heiress in New England. At one point, she wore the most expensive pearl necklace in the world, valued at $500,000. (Sadly, we do not have that.) She had a short, sad marriage to an Italian prince, which was never consummated and later annulled. You can read more about her here.

As expected from a socialite of her wealth, her clothes are amazing. Silks, beading, designer labels, the works. Many pieces show signs of where she dribbled food down her front. She didn't bother to have her clothes cleaned but just tossed them aside. *sigh*

The other characteristic about her clothing is that it is all LARGE. Many of the pieces would qualify as plus-size by today's standards. One of the cries we hear in the store is that "vintage is always so tiny!" or "people were so much smaller back then." While people were less heavy on average due to less junk food and more walking, there were people of all sizes throughout all periods in history. In addition, clothing that survives the times tends to be the items that get stuck in the back of people's closets and forgotten. This is why workwear is so valuable. It is used until it is rags so few pieces survive, especially from the earlier decades.

Think about what is stuck in the back of your closet - probably items from 20 pounds ago. Many items we get are from people's college days or pre-children days. I could easily fit into a majority of the items in the store when I started college. Then the freshman 15 hit. Then I got a desk job when I graduated. Then I turned 40. *sigh again*

There is still plenty of vintage out there in all sizes and we have a steady stream of it coming into our store from all eras and sizes. So ladies who have bust sizes over 38" and waists larger than a 32, don't despair. We have plenty of vintage for you! Come on in and take a look. If you are looking for something special, contact us ahead of time and we can pull items from our warehouse for you. 

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