1.24.2011

Why I wear fox stoles, and plastic rain hoods

Photobucket
My favorite emails and comments are from people who tell me that reading my blog inspires them to be more themselves. Not more like me, not even more vintage, just more, well, them.

It can be difficult to be yourself, we have magazines, and television shows, and friends and peers all telling us what we should be. Telling us what is cool, and what will make us more popular and accepted.

When I was 14 I picked up a beauty magazine. It was awful. Biased to one type of woman, and none of those women were me. Nor were they what I wanted to be. So I put it down and decided I wouldn't pick up another beauty magazine until I was an adult, and was completely comfortable and confidant with myself. I consider that decision to have a huge impact in my teenage life, for I grew up to be what you see here every day. Thanks to the lack of that influence, among other things, I was able to decide at a seemingly early time in my life what I like, and accept it.

I've always had a soft spot for fox and mink stoles, but until a few years ago, told myself it was wrong to want something like that. Because everyone else said they were wrong. But I'd see them sitting in stores, unwanted, and sad, and needing a good home. People would pass by them and make faces, call them names, and not even want to touch them. I didn't want to be one of those people, I loved those little forgotten animals, and gosh darn it, I was going to save them from becoming cat toys and dust collectors.
So I adopted a few, and despite rude comments and dirty looks, I love them, and am happy to have finally accepted that even though lots of people think I shouldn't have them, I don't care. They don't have to love them. I will.

I like fox stoles, and plastic polka dot rain hoods, and sweaters with kittens on them, and ridiculous hats. Do I like them because the latest fashion magazine told me they are cool? No. I say they're cool. In my little world of handmade sweaters and untanned skin, I'm the coolest kid on the block.

I hope that you have the confidence to be who you are. Yeah, it can be hard sometimes if you're a bit different from everyone else, but whatever. If you want to wear a skirt made from pink cotton balls, do it. Do it someday. Do it everyday. If you want to write letters instead of emails, or collect pieces of thread, do it. You will be judged, just like you judge others, we all do it, but I hope you don't care what others think.

So there you have it, my thoughts on this and that. This blog is first and foremost a source of enjoyment for me. I love showing you my clothes, and love being surrounded by positive people and making new friends. After that it is for my readers, and while I'm very glad to have so many, and happy you enjoy my postings, I don't have this blog to please everyone's taste and needs. I have my own style, and so should you.

117 comments:

mitukatie said...

amazing post! i have to say, this really strikes a chord with me. aside from the fact i found a fur pill box hat and an estate sale and felt a little guilty about how much i love it, i just watched the bachelor and my self esteem is suffering (who knows why such a dumb show could do that to me). this post could not have come at a better time. thank you!

elventryst said...

Bravo! I wish I had an ounce of your self-confidence to just go forth and be! I LOVE the fox stole and wondered when you posted last if you'd get shite for that choice. Thank you for being an individual and refusing to conform. You are an inspiration to us all!

art deco dame said...

*applauds*Very well written!All I can really add to it is "AMEN!"

Jen said...

I hear ya about the furs. I still can't decide with myself over which way to lean when it comes to vintage furs. I feel insanely angry over what happens to the poor animal, but like you, I want to give it a "new life" (have you seen Dinner For Shmucks? Hahaha). I'm torn. But besides that, you look stunning in your photo up there! ox.

Kate said...

While I wouldn't buy a modern fur, I have had my eye out for vintage fox stoles, and I own my great-grandmother's mink stole from the 'teens. Somehow, it seems terribly wasteful to me to throw away a vintage fur; I feel better when I see a fur in the hands of someone who will take care of it.

And re: polka dot rain hoods, I think they're very practical, and I want one.

Rina said...

yes, I feel the same way. I see some sometimes and I see how lonely they are, and I really want to give them a nice home. I think I would treat them more like pets if I were to buy one (like Jen said in Diner for Shmucks, haha!) rather than wear them for fashion. but that's mostly because I really don't have the right outfit.
I really like this though. Your attitude is so wonderful, and I feel more appreciative to have my own sort of quirky style. It may not be as vintage as yours, or as cute as my friends, but I feel special knowing it's sort of my own. ;3

Frankly My Dear said...

Inspirational! I especially agree with your view on untanned skin. what's the matter with pale /9i like to say porcelain) skin. there's a government campaign ad here in aus saying "there's nothing healthy about a tan.' everytime someone complains about how they're not tanned enough this is what i'll say.
also my mum mum (mum's mum) has a few really lovely furs packed away, sadly un-used. and you should see the wardrobe at my theatre company (GSODA). fox stoles and fur coats galore! a lot of our shows involve that kind of stuff!

Frankly My Dear said...

Inspirational! I especially agree with your view on untanned skin. what's the matter with pale /9i like to say porcelain) skin. there's a government campaign ad here in aus saying "there's nothing healthy about a tan.' everytime someone complains about how they're not tanned enough this is what i'll say.
also my mum mum (mum's mum) has a few really lovely furs packed away, sadly un-used. and you should see the wardrobe at my theatre company (GSODA). fox stoles and fur coats galore! a lot of our shows involve that kind of stuff!

toridawn said...

right on, girl! thanks for being you...and encouraging us all to do the same. I want to save this in case I have a little girl someday and have her read it when she reaches those scary jr. high years. Such a refreshing perspective!

xo

Sarah Yoshi said...

You seem to be a very beautiful person and soul - thank you for writing this blog and helping others to find themselves :)

Thought you mentioning fox/mink stoles is kind of funny because I've been watching this style that's kind of popular in Japan called Dolly Kei/Antique Dolly style and they're in love with these kind of stoles!

http://mitypfashionstreetsnap.blogspot.com/2010/02/streetsnapatshinjuku.html

The bottom picture is a pretty good example. Yay living in the Pacific Northwest! You've also inspired me to check out some of the vintage shops/antique malls in the Portland area. Thank you for that too!

Donna said...

That's a very sweet reason to rescue a fox stole, I think I'll look at them a little differently the next time I see one 8-)

Helga! said...

Most excellent.

mysewingpage said...

I'm coming out of my lurking corner to say... AMEN! In my own little world of vintage-inspired fashion and celebration of my plus-size curves, I'm the coolest kid on the block. It's important to be who you are, and stop trying to be a person that others (medias, magazines, fashion designers, etc.) want you to be. Long live individuality!

Tilda said...

I just started following your blog (I think you're super cool :) ) and I really loved this post. As I think many others have said, I can really identify with your way of thinking. I go through dips, both mood- and fashionwise (who doesn't?) but this was truly inspiring. I think I'll have to bookmark it for those days when I find myself wondering why I dress the way I do :)
Thank you

Elina said...

Thanks for this post! Last night I happened to watch some stupid TV shows with basic idea like this: take an eccentric and change her outfit to fit other people's tastes better. Well the participants looked kind of awful with tons of make-up and pink furry boots (think about raves and 1994) but then again isn't it better that they are themselves than just another copy of some actress/model -type fashion icon? For myself at 36 and being a mom I sometimes have felt the pressure to dress up more sensibly or "mom-like". But I don't have to, really, if my true love is vintage high heels combined to 50's wiggle dress... And my kid loves my dresses too :)

poet said...

This captures pretty much my attitude towards fur, but I hadn't been able to articulate it before! Whenever I see a fur or leather vintage item, it's really hard for me not to feel the cultural imperative of "Ugh, some animal died for this, UNETHICAL, do not wear!", especially as I have some vegetarian/vegan friends and offending them by showing up in fur is really the last thing I want to do.. but on the other hand, I get this sense that, yes, some animal died for this and it's tragic, but if it just sits around un-used and un-loved, it's even more tragic. And since I've made it my task to seek out un-loved vintage things and give them a second chance, maybe I'll start doing this for fur items, too.

Thanks for making me think!
Cheers,
poet

Esz said...

I respect your views! Great post! I thinkthere's no problem wearing vintage fur - such things shouldn't go to waste.
Hypocrite that I may be, I won't support NEW fur production - especially animals farmed solely for fur that are of no "use" otherwise. And don't even start on rare animal fur - that's just obscene!
My beliefs fall in line with the "nose to tail" concept. If we are to kill animals then we must make full use of every single part of them we can. And make sure they live a natural life as close to their natural behaviours as possible. We are omnivores and on top of the food chain for a reason, I just don't think we should exploit that position as much as we do.

talking to Hattie said...

A very interesting post. I have always been like this too. In fact if you pay attention, you can hear my Mum whispering to the minister on my wedding video 'she always likes to be a bit different' I think my Mum was embarrassed, imagine still being embarrassed when I was 35. I remember a particular hat when I was 15. We were on holiday and my Dad told me to walk in front if I insisted on wearing it.
I have no objection to people wearing vintage fur, but I cant wear it. I tried on a gorgeous fur coat in a charity store (much to the delight of the old ladies who worked there), but it freaked me out and I couldn't buy it. I think life if much more interesting if we all 'march to the beat of our own drum'
xxx

The Attic People said...

Great post. Its the best feeling being happy in your own skin. It can be hard for some to get to this point, but the world would be a better place if everyone felt this way! Love your blog.

Marisa :)

Anonymous said...

A FRIENDLY rebuttal. I appreciate and empathise with what you and all the commenters are saying.
Nevertheless, it's hard to ignore the problem that wearing furs like these (as cute as I think they are) will ultimately influence other people. That influence, whether it be you as a blogger or high-end fashion brands, will undoubtedly create a higher demand. Unfortunately, the availability of vintage furs is finite. So I guess that's my problem with furs like these. It glamorises and popularises them and when the "wrongs of the past" run out due to high demand, what will happen? A black market will arise and more animals will be killed for aesthetic purposes only.
The common counter-argument is “people wear leather all the time, so isn’t this the same thing?”.
There are a few differences: (1) cows can be used in multiple ways, so the animal is not only used for making accessories or clothing but also as a source of food (2) cows have been domesticated and are bred on farms so the supply is plenty and risk of extinction low.
This is unlike other wild animals whose fur may appealing (leopards, bears etc). These species, if fur is popularised again, are at risk of extinction. (Although I do accept that foxes are generally considered a pest, or as in Australia, an introduced/invasive species detrimental to our native fauna). My main point is that wearing fur, in my opinion, has the potential to increase demand and therefore increase hunting of these animals for one, arguably unnecessary use.

This is where it gets tricky. Vegetarians and vegans will think eating meat is cruel. It's a tough line to draw as a meat eater myself (and indeed I try and limit my meat intake because of methane emissions/cruelty problems). I guess I draw the line at whether the animal is able to have the most use it possibly can in exchange for its death and whether the use of the animal in this way is (1) realistically able to cease, or drastically reduce in the world, (2) detrimental in that it'll promote a black market where animal death serves only aesthetic purposes (3) detrimental to the survival of the species/ecosystem/environment.

Although I don't look down at people who wear furs it does make me look twice in shock, probably because I've been "indoctrinated" my whole life with the "FUR IS BAD" notion. I see your point, but I think my points might be worth considering. I adore your blog and your guts to wear these beautiful, controversial pieces ☺

LandGirl1980 said...

"In my little world of handmade sweaters and untanned skin, I'm the coolest kid on the block. "

I LOVE this notion and might make a new mantra of it! Top post!

Miss P said...

Re: Anonymous: That's the nicest, politest rebuttal I think I've ever seen. I would echo some of it's content. Namely the "nose to tail" ethic also mentioned in other comments,and the threat the fur trade can pose to rare or endangered species.

I don't belive eating meat or wearing animal skins and firs is in ANY way wrong as long as they are from a sustainable and humanely treated source. I too was brought up with the "fur is bad" edict and for a long time I belived it. Until I started to think about the issue properly, for myself, and realised that it's like pretty much everything else in life. Not at all black and white and a matter of personal choice and our own conscience.

I also find myself involuntarily stroking fur when I see it. I can't help myself. I love the way you articulate this urge to "love and look after" vintage furs. I've long thought it a bit of a contradiction that if it's sooooo wrong and wasteful to kill an animal for fur; surely it's gotta be pretty wrong and wasteful to just throw it away? It does seem wrong to me.

Aside from the fur issue in your post, here here to being yourself. I still struggle with that from time to time. But I can think of few better personal goals to pursue.
Portia
xxx

Fiona Timantti said...

Being who you are even though you might be getting laughed at is a good and brave thing to do. I've been doing the same my whole life. I love all those things you mentioned, like sweaters with kittens on them (my favourite sweater has a blue and white pony on it). But i still don't want to wear anything with a face. And fur farming is totally unacceptable.
If it's vintage, let's say 70 years old, i can somehow understand fur, like in the collar of a wintercoat (i have one 40's coat with lamb trimming). I think all the exsisting materials should be used and reused. But to wear something with a face is, in my opinion, not a matter of taste in clothing or about whats fashionable. It's about not wanting to wear something that shoud not have been killed because someone wanted get something "pretty" to wear.
Would you wear a kitten stole?

Charlotte said...

Fur - even vintage fur - is never going to stop being a controversial issue, but I'm with you on giving old furs a new life. (Although if I'm honest I'm not a big fan of fur with faces and legs and things - maybe that makes me a hypocrite)

It's great you have such a strong sense of self and I love that you encourage others to be themselves. Indeed, it's partly down to your blog that I made the decision to further develop my own personal style.

xx Charlotte
Tuppence Ha'penny Vintage

Emily Anne said...

What a lovely heart warming post :D. It's true, it's improtant to be yourself and not conform to what everybody else deems cool.

much love,

Miss Milly x

Lady Jardin - Vintage Views of the South Coast said...

i love the fact you have brought this age old debate up! i for one love wearing my furs, but i feel confident that when people come up to me and ask me how i can live with myself wearing them, i can explain to them, in detail, the differences between how fur was made pre 60s, and modern day fur techniques.

I have done hours of research and i dont feel guilty for wearing them at all. It was done in a much more humane way back then, and of course i can understand those who are anti fur as i've seen how fox furs are now made, and its sickening! all that would happen to these lovelies (yes, i treat them like pretend pets!) would be that they would end up in a tip, or worse, eaten by moths! i actually had to throw my 30s couture fox fur out last week because the moths had had it, and i will miss the little bugger.

I love reading your blogs, and it helps to reassure me i'm not the only one out there who wears vintage fur guilt free. Thank you so much, and to everyone who's been sharing their views, very interesting reading!

L.J.

xxx
xxx

Keukenprinses said...

Adopting an old fur is like adopting an old pet nobody wants anymore. They are THERE, and appreciating them, giving them care and attention is always better than leaving them to rot away. Then the life of this animal has been totally invane.
These animals have lived to die for fur. Like it or not - they are dead now, and most of them would have been dead in nature also, years ago.
Celebrating the beauty of nature by celebrating this life of an animal, through appreciating the beauty of its fur and the wonderous usefullness is no sin, it is a reverence to the soul that died in this coat, once.
Which, by the way, means in no sense that I approve of new furs. Unless the animal has died for more use than just the coat, for instance for the flesh, there is no sense in killing for fur.
But on the other side: I wear leather, I eat meat, I use bone glue, etc. etc. What is there to be hypocritical about...

Alli said...

Solanah- I admire you for being so comfortable and confident in yourself, especially at such a young age. I'm now 36, and am still trying to feel comfortable with who I am. So great to see someone who doesn't try to conform to what is considered 'normal' by societies warped ideals. Good on you! Don't ever change ;)

Casey said...

What a great post, Solanah! I think I nodded my head the entire way through in agreement. ;) I really appreciate that you do inspire others with your style and enthusiasm for not only vintage but crafting your own style within the vintage "look". I, for one, have always found your style charming and come away from each post with ideas for outfits and a appreciation for confidence to be different in a society that doesn't always look favorably on those who are outside the norm. Funnily enough: I was modeling for a local vintage shop yesterday and the lady who owns it asked me if I ever feel self-conscious about looking the way I do in public (in context: we were taking photos next to a busy city street and I was in a full-on 50s look)? At this point in my life I am glad to say that I'm not, and a large part of this confidence has to do with being able to "meet" and make friends with gals such as yourself through blogging! I know that somewhere else there are other ladies like myself who are just as interested in interpreting fashion in their own way.

Oh, and I also want to say that I think it's brilliant that you rejected fashion mags from such an early age. If only I had been so wise! ;)

Finally, on the fur issue... I agree with the idea of "rescuing" these old pieces. Fur has always been one of those things I am drawn to, although I could never buy modern fur simply because the modern fur industry practices bother me. But adopting these old, unwanted pieces and giving them new life (and hopefully from going to the landfill!) is entirely different. I guess I have a real soft spot for "unloved" things that I find in thrift stores and antique shops... I'm a sucker for something that needs a little lovin' and a new home! You're right: in many cases of "controversial" fashion you just reach a point where you realize that no matter what you do, someone out there will disagree, and you just have to accept that and move on. As one commenter said: the fur issue is full of gray areas! I've even found less "ethical" sides of fashion, such as wearing a hat, can cause just as much consternation among others. But that goes part and parcel with looking different. I think in some ways, the times I've worn a *gasp* hat out in public has garnered quite a few more semi-negative comments than when I've worn one of my fur pieces. Odd, no?

Anyway, enough of my rambling! I really appreciate that you took the time to write this and share your encouragement to be yourself--even someone like me who just doesn't really pay attention to the looks/comments any longer, does need to be reminded of that from time-to-time! ;)

♥ Casey | blog

sueper said...

indeed - all magazines and tv shows focus so much on being mainstream and want us to follow a beauty-'ideal' were I find that beauty lies in caracter and that everybody has to be able to show who they are

a cat of impossible colour said...

I really admire you for posting this, and for your attitude in general. That's why I check your blog daily! (Stalker? No). I agree with your view on vintage fur, as well, although I can see the point of those who say you are 'advertising' the wearing of fur in general. I don't subscribe to that view, but I understand it - and bravo to that earlier commenter who posted such a polite and well-reasoned summary of his/her opposing views.

Andrea x

Stephanie Lynn said...

You go girl! I love and admire how confident you are. That's something I'm still working on. Being around people who live in sweats every day makes me feel nervous about even just wearing a skirt some days.

Shady Del Knight said...

I love your pictures, Solanah. Each one speaks a thousand words. Yet, this is your finest post ever because you gave us more words than pictures. You opened up and candidly revealed your personal philosophy. It took courage and I admire you for it.

Although I have an opinon about fur I will stay out of that debate, choosing instead to address another subject about which you wrote.

It amazes me that in 2011 women and girls are still apologizing for having white, untanned skin. Ladies, please wake up! You are not ugly duckings. You are beautiful swans! The images of Solanah presented on the pages of Vintage Vixen are the gold standard of beauty! Skinny and tanned is so yesterday. Natural curves and unspoiled porcelain skin is classic and timeless.

Brittany_Va-Voom Vintage said...

This is the most well-written and kind-hearted post on the subject that I have ever read! I feel the exact same way about "potential cat toys" and I"m slowly learning to rescue them in spite of what modern society says about them because it makes me feel happy. Thank you for inspiring us to all have the courage to be ourselves. xoxo

Judy said...

I just have to say thank you.

I've always collected vintage, but my dresses would sit quietly in my wardrobe, I loved them but felt that I wasn't stylish or pretty enough to wear them.

Instead I safely stuck to jeans and a t-shirt, which I don't condone anyone wearing, but they help me hide myself. Slowly I've managed to put down the jeans and wear tights and pencils skirts, dresses and 1940s trench coats, and even a red beret! (-Before I wouldn't have dreamed of doing this!) I deserve to wear my lovely clothes, I look nice in them. I feel comfortable wearing my grey tweed dress and purple cardie and I don't care if others think I look like a librarian.

And you're part of what helped me get back to myself. So thanks. : )

Anonymous said...

HOLA!!
TU BLOG HACE QUE MI CREATIVIDAD FLUYA Y ME INSPIRA. AL IGUAL QUE TU: QUIERO SER YO!!
GRACIAS DE VERDAD.
BCF

ConstantlyAlice said...

Very well written, Solanah! I've always marched to the beat of my own drummer and applaud anyone with the courage to be themselves.

As the mother of two young girls, I can also appreciate that you chose not to be influenced at a young age by fashion magazines or the media. My girls get a lot of exposure to history on our vintage/thrifting jaunts and have started to express a preference for originality over "mall fashion" that I am really proud of. I love seeing them figure out who they are for themselves instead of using their peers as a compass!

Jenny @ Kerrfect! said...

I love your blog and I find it inspiring in a number of ways. Everything from trying to take better photos (I'm no photographer, lol) for my own blog to maybe slipping in a hat or pair of dress gloves here and there. I haven't a lot of experience dealing with older fabrics and such so I heed your clothing care advice too. I'm not built for vintage clothing really, but I often dress vintage inspired. I have always been a thrift store girl, and I used to just leave the vintage behind no matter how awesome they were. Instead of them wasting away in the store I've bought a few pieces to try to share with the world in my Etsy store because I see that someone other than me might actually think they are cool enough to use. You have been one of my favorite blogs for a long time... I even featured your blog on MY blog back in Sep of 09! http://www.kerrfect.com/2009/09/i-subscribe-to-vixen-vintage/

BaronessVonVintage said...

I truly think it is wonderful that you were able to become aware of (and reject) the negative effects of media-produced notions of identity and beauty and so forth at such a young age. I also think you make excellent points about the fact that people should do what makes them happy. I guess the point that some people are trying to make is that no animals were harmed in the making of the "plastic polka dot rain hoods, and sweaters with kittens on them, and ridiculous hats" you love (well, maybe some of the bird hats), so when a person chooses to wear vintage fur in the modern age, they have to arm themselves for the very emotionally charged responses some people may have to this fashion (it's not just an issue of people giving a vintage fur wearer strange looks because they are choosing to dress in a way that seems different from mainstream--it's an issue of ethics for many people). I personally think that many of the people who get in an uproar about seeing others wearing VINTAGE fur can come off as hypocritical, especially if they wear new leather or eat chicken, etc. I personally do NOT have an issue with anyone who wears vintage fur at all. I don't wear fur because of personal preference (I don't like the feel of it against my skin). But wearers of fur have to accept that fur of any kind continues to be a hugely contentious issue/fashion style choice--and this means that wearers of fur do have to be prepared to deal with the fact that some people feel that by wearing fur of any kind, one is in some way be continuing to fuel the fur industry in the 21st century. Good for you that you are willing to put up with the politics of it all when you continue to be yourself by wearing the fur that you love.

Lauren said...

Great post!!!!

BaronessVonVintage said...

Sorry, I just wanted to respond to one of the commenters above who stated that animals killed for fur were more humanely treated in the past. I know it's easy to look at the little glassy eyed fox faces and see them as cute and cuddly little woodland creatures needing rescuing (trust me, I've felt that impulse before), but the reality is that these are NOT stuffed teddy bears. They are essentially taxidermied animals! My grandparents managed a mink ranch during the depression and when I was little, I remember that my grandfather also raised chinchillas for fur. I can tell you that these little guys did not "go gentle into that good night." Many of the animals used for fur were regarded as vermin (foxes, rabbits, minks, martens, raccoons, the list goes on), so I can tell you that in most cases, when these animals' fur got harvested, it was not done with much concern for these creatures and the level of pain they were feeling. Just had to put that out there. Again, I'm not against people wearing vintage fur, but I also do think wearing vintage fur does come with a need to be informed and somewhat realistic about where it came from, how it was sourced, and some level of sensitivity to why others might find furs of any kind or age, a contentious and even ethically offensive piece of fashion.

iLiveinmyLab said...

This post makes me happy inside! Keep up the fantastic blogging!

Kitten loves vintage said...

Hear hear! I own a fur stole...but I haven't worn it yet, partly because I don't know what outfit and occasion it would go with, and partly because I'm afraid that someone will start asking difficult questions about how I can wear it...I'll try to keep this post in mind if that ever happens, thank you for sharing your thoughts!

Avalon76 said...

*applauds*

If only more young women felt the way you do, sweetie. Individuality should be pushed during the formative years, not following the herd. I've always been myself, and yes, sometimes I've "suffered" for it, but I wouldn't have it any other way. ^_^

p.s. Us pale girls need to stick together! LOL

Sean MacKenzie said...

I love my fur stole! :) Wish I was able to wear it more!
Anyway I agree, I bought into the whole looking at a magazine to be me thing and now I am me! :) I march to beat of my own drummer!

thevintagedame.blogspot.com

Honor said...

Thank you for being an ispiration.

I went to a vintage shop the other week and all of the money they made from fur products when to an animal charity. I think this is the best way to trade these items.

http:/teapothonor.blogger.com

Kelly said...

I love this post! I love your blog for exactly the reason you stated, it is so refreshing to see someone who totally accepts who they are and what they like and doesn't care what others think. I know I care too much, I am working to try to care less. Your blog has helped me to think about what I like and what I should do about it. It's helping me get the courage to be me completely. It's been a great journey. Thank you for not being afraid to be you, fear is such an ugly thing. Why would we want to be ugly? :)

Miss Virginia said...

Excellent post!! THANK YOU!

lasergirl said...

With secondhand fur stoles and other furbits, I never feel guilty about adopting them, because they were manufactured for someone else, and otherwise they'd just go to waste.

I'm not really one to talk about the ethics of raising animals for fur: I have a taxidermed weasel hanging on my wall. He's rather pleased to be there instead of a landfill!

Cynthia said...

YES! I love that "....in your own world, you are the coolest kid on the block" ME TOO! Regardless of what anyone thinks! Thanks for the pep talk, and just for your everyday posts from your own little world!
Cynthia

Anonymous said...

I'm a long time reader, and a big fan who's constantly blown away by the amazing ensembles you throw together! When I saw your last post with the jodhpurs I literally gasped. It was perfect! Thank you for your encouraging words to others, and for giving minks and wraps a good name! My grandma has the most precious mink hand warmer that still has the little feet and face attached. It would have been viewed as "taboo" to some, but why let such a precious memento go to waste? Thanks again, and maybe when my schedule gets less crazy, I can share a blog of my own with you!

Stella Rose said...

I'm a 8+ year vegan and I completely support wearing vintage furs and leather to stop the demand for new animal products.
You are lovely! If I ever visit Portland I am bringing you a vintage red polkadotted plastic rain hood that I have lying around!

MissGinger said...

what an interesting post - firstly the vintage fur - i do agree with what you say and have no problem with vintage fur, but personally would not wear - a vegetarian for most of my life. there are so many other great things to wear... but i say that and i really want to buy some taxidemy, but resisted my urges so far.

i absolutly agree with your comments about being yourself. it can be really difficult at times. i have had very weird comments about my style. i do just feel happier when i am 'dressed like me'. and isn't thats whats important?! thank you for a great post and one with such interesting replies. i love that people are disagreeing but being so nice about it. woman are great!

Judi W. said...

Well said! I have a friend who always tells me to dress my age .. and I always have to wonder 'why?'.

cakesandshakes said...

I applaud your courage and common sense! I have always felt robustly myself, and embraced my so-called eccentricities. Especially in a day and age when women are expected to fit the common cookie cutter image it is refreshing to hear a woman stand up for her right to individuality and reject the commercial, mainstream obsessions of today.
It was in this spirit that today I wore leopard print loafers, navy cigarette pants, a navy princess coat with velvet collar, a tortoiseshell hairband... things others think are old fashioned or weird. Snigger they may... care I never intend to! Bravo Vix! I prefer your soapbox : )

cakesandshakes.wordpress.com

Amber Blue Bird said...

lovely post. You were able to convey your feelings so eloquently. Being yourself can be hard thing, I know I have struggled with it but everyday it gets easier and reading posts like yours make me feel happy with myself

Emma said...

Couldn't have said it better myself Solanah! I wish more people would feel like this and just be themselves! It'd make the world a much more interesting place!

Pip Pip said...

inspiring, that is all

Diva said...

Dear Solanah, I too love furs. To apease my own consience (please excue if my spelling is poor, english is not my first language ;) i only wear vintage furs. I have four and having once worn them in -32 C° I can tell you, that not only do they look glamorous, they really do their job! Sincerely Diva

Fran said...

A beautiful sentiment. It is so easy to get swept up in other peoples ideals of what you "should" do, be or aspire to look like. I am a vegetarian and I love vintage fur. I see no contradiction there. These creatures are still beautiful, leaving them neglected at the thrift store, rather than appreciating their beauty serves no purpose. As always, a beautiful blog.
xx

Ms.Tips said...

Good for you Solanah! I completely agree with you. AND people, especially who posts your comments anonymously, if you don't like what you read then don't read them at all! OWN what you have to say!
Thank you for this post, Solanah.

Melissa said...

I love this post.
Although I haven't commented before, I feel the same way some of the others do.
Seeing you in your wonderfully cute outfits is inspiring. You wear things I would shy away from but I think all of it is fantastic. Seeing that someone can wear something so out there but still look good gives me more confidence to wear the things I really enjoy but always feel embarrassed in.
I really love my peacock feather earrings, even if my mom repeatedly told me not to buy them. And although she constantly tells me I have 'too much hair', I love the way my long, wavy-curly-frizzy hair looks.
Thanks for helping give confidence.
Btw, I love your fox stole- It's adorable. It would be a waste to let something that is already made just sit around and collect dust.

lauren said...

to put it succinctly, you are all kinds of awesome. i love it.

Hilary said...

I am posting a comment for the first time in response to such a fabulous blog. I wish every woman and girl in the world could feel the way you so eloquently described here. I have always followed my own path and been happy on it. Vintage/retro are a more recent passion, which came along when I started sewing. I love your blog and am always really excited to see a new post from you. Bravo to you! And you do inspire me to be more me, to try clothing I wouldn't have even thought of before. Thanks for blogging!

Isabella said...

I've been reading your blog for awhile now, and while I adore your outfits, your passion for vintage clothing, and all the cute cat-themed clothing you have, the thing that has made me love reading most is how confident you are. Seeing people like you who are so comfortable with themselves is so inspiring, and I can't thank you enough for posting things like this. I'm 16 and wish that I had stopped reading beauty magazines at a far younger age, and avoided so many years and feeling horrible about myself for no good reason at all. As seniors at my school we no longer have to wear uniform, which was always a daunting prospect for me. I've always taken my fashion advice from old Girls' annuals from the '50s and '60s (which I find in second hand stores) which, at a school where most girls turn up in 'Jeggings'and Ugg boots every day (and would never, ever wear something that sat below the knee) is rather uncommon. I'm also very tall, head of the animal rights and environmental groups, and a vegan (and not a quiet one at that) - basically I do a good job of drawing unwanted attention to myself. Before I started reading blogs like this one I was incredibly self conscious wearing my own clothes out in public, and the thought of wearing them every day at school would have been unbearable. But as school nears I'm actually looking forward to putting together outfits every day, and realising my pressing need to aquire more plastic rain hoods so my pin curls aren't ruined on the way to school each day in winter. This was a beautifully written post, and I'm so glad to have been able to read it :)
Adressing the fur issue - as a vegan I'm probably expected to say that I hate fur, but that would be incredibly hypocritical as I wear second-hand leather all the time. I think that the fur and leather trades are disgusting, and protest against them, but I think that recycling garments is also important. In the same way I don't wear modern garments made with pesticide covered cotton, put together by slave labourers, but will wear cotton garments made 50 years ago. No, they may not have been ethically produced then, but to let them be neglected and slowly rot is a greater crime.

Erika said...

Wonderful post, and I can just applaud you for coming to these insights at such a young age. While I never read teenage magazins I have to admit to always threading a line, wanting to express my own style but being aware of why the clothes I wanted to wear was "wrong". I often ended up somewhere in between, in quite drab and uninteresting outfits. Nowadays I can say "what ever" and mean it (most days), and wear what I like, but it took some time getting there.
Thank you for a great post, reminding us to stay true to our own taste and ideals!

B Sees said...

Here, here!

Very well said.

At (almost) 37 I have black nail polish on for the first time in my life, though I had secretly wanted to wear it I just never felt brave enough.

But since reading this blog and others, I have finally found my way to be me and its totally because I see you being you.

Thank you for sharing :) xx

HildeKitten said...

I'm only partially against fur. I'm against killing animals for their fur these days. I'm not against buying a piece of vintage fur, that generally is older than we are, because it comes from a different time, a different zeitgeist if you will. I'm fine with someone wearing a fox stole that is decades old, I'm not fine with someone wearing one that's of an animal that only recently died for it's fur.
I am fine with using up everything of food animals mind, not using their pelts is just a waste.

What I'm trying to say is that wearing fur is not black and white.
I myself wear a fake fox stole, but I did buy a vintage fox and a vintage mink for my sister. Both of them are older than my sis and I's ages combined.

Jet said...

I have a fox stole, It needs cleaning but it's the most beautiful little thing. I'm not sure I'd wear it, not because I'm worried what people would say, but because I wouldn't know how to wear it.

That animal died, what better way to honour it's rather tragic death by using it.

Anonymous said...

I've read your blog for a couple of months now and you are such an inspiration, especially with this blog post. I've never been brave enough "to be myself" with my style, working on it at the moment, and it's people like you who encourage others to wear whatever they like to wear. That's why I'd like to say: Thank you and Greetings from a rainy place in Europe

SinginginHisName said...

This was very inspiring as I am a gal who loves vintage, but sometimes its easier to put on the jeans and a tee-shirt and be done with it. I love being different though! You inspired me to put together outfits with my favorites cardigans and crazy striped skirts and just run with it! Yes I love your blog and your honesty is refreshing!

God bless!
Rebecca

Sara said...

I feel the same. Thank you for posting this, This made me smile :)

-Sara
autumn, coffee and inspiration

Stasha said...

Applause! You are wonderful. I wish there were more women who felt this way.

Arya said...

You're one of the coolest kids on my (Google Reader) block, too! Thanks for an empowered and inspiring post.

Hanna said...

I found your blog yesterday. I was stunned, you are so amazingly beautiful!

Mrs Amber Apple said...

PREACH IT! haha :) Seriously, lovely post!

Hanna said...

Fashion is what one wears oneself. What is unfashionable is what other people wear.
-Oscar Wilde

Ana Peregrine said...

You're absolutely fantastic.

I like to paint flowers on my face and sing youtube karaoke in my living room.

Anonymous said...

I've recently posted a link to your blog on my fb wall, because such a fantastic thing should be hyped. I love the fact that you really look so natural in your outfits - well dressed and not dressed up. Thank you for that. :)

themoderndayflapper said...

I love my vintage stoles too! And I love wearing them out. I know exactly how you feel when your getting wierdo looks from people who don't understand vintage fashion, and lifestyle that comes with it. I'm a milliner, and I love wearing out my new creations, especially when I'm just going to run around town. But I always have some random person come up to me, and ask what's on top of my head? I simply reply, it's a hat. I know they don't get it, but thats fashion to me. Keep rockin' those classic looks!

themoderndayflapper.blogspot.com

Ms Wanda said...

You're like the Lady Ga-Ga of vintage. Rock on!

Lea said...

wonderful post! I'm reading your blog it's been 2 or three months, and I've never contacted you, but I belong to the people inspired by you to be more ourselves! All these years I had no idea what my style is. I couldn't decide which one is the ONE that I could stick to it and love it! But I always had a huge love for old times, old movies, old books, antique furniture, old lifestyles, and I loved the "old" styles, but I never thought that could be my style! Though I find it difficult yet to see myself dressed up like you, all in vintage, I have started to wear a vintage shirt,or a vintage dress, just that... or just some vintage accessories! I think I look more like me now! I would love a hat too put I haven't found yet a good one and anyway I don't know exactly how to wear them...
Thank you so much for your blog and never mind the others!
a reader from Greece!

jessica said...

beautifully written post, you are as Im sure you've been told, truly inspiring!! Thank you for being you!!

Anonymous said...

The world needs more women like you. Just beautiful.

Lisa D said...

Well said! Oh, and for the record - I'd take REAL, antique fox over plastic crap from China any day.

Cassandra said...

This is fantastic! I really loved it. You are so inspiring and I wish I had your confidence!

Oh and I gave you a Style Award on my blog.

Lainie said...

Great post-I really enjoy hearing about how people have come to love who they are and not be afraid of what everyone thinks! I find so much inspiration in the blogs I read.
And I respect your choice regarding the fur pieces. I personally do not wear vintage fur-nor leather, silk or wool. It can be difficult, because I also do not buy ANYTHING except socks, nylons and underwear new. So I live in cotton only haha. I've passed up beautiful pieces because of this. But that is my choice,and I stand by it-just like you should stand by yours.

Kristin said...

You're so inspiring! I only just came across your blog today, but I absolutely love it. :) I love vintage clothes, but don't have many (our thrift stores around here are full of 80s clothes and we don't have any vintage clothing stores). But I often change my mind about what to wear because I'm worried about what others will think. Thanks for reminding me of how silly that is! :)

~Kristin

Judy said...

I think you should always celebrate who you are. After all, you are unique! Your true beauty comes through when you accept and like yourself and the people that you attract are the ones that really want to be there. Imagine how boring the world would be if everyone was alike! Be real!

I enjoy reading your blogs very much!

Vintage Girl said...

I love that you said "Whatever", because that's where you have to be to wear what you want. I stick out for sure with the vintage stuff but in the words of a girl student I had in class, "Mrs G where did you get your purse, I know it didn't come from Kohls, you always look so classy" She was in 3rd grade.

Catherine said...

That was a lovely post!
I too love vintage furs, even though I get some dirty looks when wearing them.
Thankyou for letting me know that there are other people in the world who feel the same way as I do.

Sanne said...

I love your blog. I've read it for about a year, but haven't commented yet (except for the latest give-away). I adore your style, and I myself dress fifties style. Most admire my style and always ask how I dare, which I don't understand. Be who you are! And I also love fur, can't help it, but I do. I have two fur coats, two vintage mink capes and a vintage mink muff - very elegant. Yesterday, DH and I attended a flea market and he bought me a very worn, but very charming old mink cape for what equals to 14 dollars. I love it, and will ask the dry cleaner to clean the smell out of it. :)

Victoria / Justice Pirate said...

Right on, beautiful inspiring lady.

When I was a child my peers always tried to always make me like them and I got mocked often for being myself. I didn't dress like everyone else at all. I didn't want to. The best thing is my parents never discouraged me from being original. They did the same to my older brothers who were also unique (although one struggled a lot with peer pressure). It was fun that way. I got used to the mockery and bedcause of that people stopped mocking over time too and just said, "that's just how she is" if someone else would comment. I run an online organization/ministry and we do a lot of articles to encourage girls to not be so into what society wants to make them. It seems like there is far too much pressure on youth and it's terrible.

Miriam Parkman said...

Such a great, great post!
I'm exactly the same.
Grown up in a small village and a small town, always wearing what I liked instead of what the common kid wore =not so popular. Luckily, I have a mum who always encouraged me to wear what ever I liked (she used to take photoraphs of me on my way to school when I was 14-15 years old, haha). Thanks to her, I'm still wearing my favourite styles and feel quite confident about it!
It's so important to just give the finger to all those people thinking they can tell people what's good looking and what's not, but it might not always be that easy.
I also get comments from readers who thank me for inspiring them to be more confident in their personal style, and I'm so happy for that.
Again, great post!


...and, you are so incredibly stylish. My god. I love fur stoles as well, even though I am a vegetarian. They can't be saluted better than the way you are wearing them! Absolutely gorgeous.

Mia said...

When you are wearing fur, you pass a mesage of beauty. People will look close, think, and find very pretty (as it is). Passing this message will contribute for a reborn of fur in the corrent days, and its not because its old fur that you don´t pass a wrong message. I would beter use a fake fur and say it very loud, so people would think twice before they buy a real one.

Maybe you could check BRIGITTE BARDOT website...sorry for giving my honest opinion

people have diferent opinions, and i still love your blog :)

happythoughtsdarling said...

What a wonderful and inspirational post! :)

MC

Maria Confer said...

I am very behind on my blog reading and so just getting to this lovely post.

This makes me adore you even more Solanah! You are so fully in touch with yourself that you make me want to love myself for who I am even more!

xx
Maria

Jessica said...

This post has generated so many comments! Yes lovely post.
My husband and I have always encouraged complete self expression in our children and we have, thus far, ended up with a swimmer, an artist and a break dancing 6 year old. Never can tell what the future will hold for each of them but we will celebrate each step of the way.
On the other note. At the theater I work in we receive a large amount of vintage furs via donation and I love to use them on stage. I did an interview for the local news a few years back where a costume containing fur was featured and the anchor couldn't let it go! The whole interview was steam rolled and became about the stole. Guess bad press is better then no press?
I just feel so thankful that the pieces can be loved, preserved and used, not wasted.
Se la vie!

Lady Cherry said...

What am inspiring and empowering post. Thank you.

Dainty Librarian Vintage said...

You are amazing!

Paige said...

i want a fox stole now :3

Alejandra Ramos said...

I love this post! I have quite a few fur pieces (both vintage and modern). Actually, on my wedding day I wore a vintage fur stole that I bought from FabGabs.

I haven't really dealt with a lot of nasty looks or sayings, but I do always make a point of speaking up when I hear people disparaging fur and those who wear it. To me it is NOT "unethical." I think it's beautiful and warm (especially this nasty NY winter). I see nothing wrong with wearing fur, just like I see nothing wrong with eating meat. And I feel proud and beautiful (and warm!) when I walk down the street wearing my large white fox fur beret which my husband had custom made for me after I fell in love with a similar one worn by the lead girl in the movie Benjamin Button. And I love the wedding photos of me in my gorgeous chocolate mink stole. My husband's father, who is originally from Kiev, was a furrier by trade. He gave up his shop a few years ago, but he talks with pride about the art and craftsmanship that went into creating the pieces he sold. I don't apologize for appreciating that.

Cerridwyn said...

What a wonderful post! I have finally accepted my love of vintage fur and have freed myself to act upon it :)

Rita Bee said...

Thanks for this post. Many, many thanks.

JenLove said...

I hope you don't mind, but I've referenced you in my own post on vintage fur... As a long-standing veggie I've started to question my thoughts on vintage fur, and you've put some really interesting points across so thank you!

Sportsgirl said...

First time visitor here! Love the blog. While I might not love every outfit that you wear, I LOVE the fact that you take pride in your appearance and dress up every day. It's sad to walk around and see people dressed in sacks and dirty clothes (like your pajama post) so I love that you make an effort!

Vintage Girl said...

200 years ago there were no options you wore fur, oh yes, there was an option, death by freezing.

Jacqueline M. said...

I love your blog so much! It's all because of the beautiful self confidence you have... and the fact that I LOVE vintage. You inspire me :).
P.S. I am vegetarian but seriously have no problem with vintage furs, they were killed a long time ago and it's just a waste to not use them.

origanimal said...

qué pena leer que una persona tan interesante y encantadora como tú use un cadáver alrededor de su cuello, te hace ver horrible.

el usar la estola de zorro, era algo de la época, pero inevitablemente vives en el 2011 y usar un cadáver hoy en día te hace repudiable, aun que haya muerto años atrás, el cadáver en moda sigue viéndose mal en cualquier persona que lo use.

la moda debe ser con respeto a los seres vivos y naturaleza, tu postura vintage podría ser mas amigable con los tiempos modernos.

saludos desde Chile
tatiana renom

kitty said...

I just found this blog, and I guarantee I will be returning!

On the fur issue, as an animal lover I am on the fence. I was given a fur coat that belonged to my grandmother (who died before I was born), which I cherish. It has her name sewn inside and everything. However, I am not sure I would be comfortable wearing it. I understand that it was a different time when the vast array of synthetic and natural fibers we have today were not available. It is this same reasoning which angers me to furs produced today. There are so many other options for clothing.

I do like the idea of adopting a vintage fur. It is kind of sad thinking about them becoming dusty in some random store.

Also, I don't know if you are aware, but for those vintage (or newer) furs which have been through the mill and are unable to be worn, they can be donated to certain animal rehabilitation organizations. I read an article which said these old furs can be used on orphaned animals to give them the security that their mother would have. I'm sure more information could be found on google for anyone interested.

So the bottom line is, whether you adopt a vintage fur, or donate it, I can agree that they should have a purpose. It seems wasteful to let them rot away. Thanks for letting me put in my two cents! Keep up with the great blog!!!

Sophie-Marie said...

Bravo!!! At least a fashion blogger who's not pretending to be all eco-friendly to the extreme and vegan and all! I admire you for not being a hypocrite and for not being afraid of featuring real fur on your blog!! One should not be afraid of what they think! Again, bravo for your courage! And keep the great looks and posts coming!

Love,
Sophie-Marie

http://mademoisellesonushka.blogspot.com
http://facebook.com/mademoisellesonushka
http://twitter.com/miss_sonushka

Shybiker said...

Brilliant message. We should all develop and cherish our individuality, yet too few do. For an obvious reason, I don't follow the herd and know the value of your advice. Glad to see it spoken.

Joli said...

I'm way late to the party , but I just have to chime in because I have a somewhat different perspective.

I keep chinchillas as pets, and also foster animals for a local rescue. I've had animals in my home that have been removed by the authorities from inhumane conditions such as pet shops and fur farms. I've nursed many of them back to life, and lost some along the way that unfortunately came to s beyond help.

It makes a difference being face to face with animals prized for their fur. I could never wear a chinchilla coat, even if it were a hundred years old and free. I know you think your fox is cute, but honestly how would you feel if you ran into someone wearing a skinned kitten? You can't tell me it wouldn't make you sad, and perhaps even horrified. It's not right to give respect only to animals you know on a personal basis. That's how I look at it.

Solanah said...

I think you may have missed the point if the post. Im not arguing why I think wearing vintage fur is acceptable. Frankly its a tired subject, and it's not something I want to get into in detail on the internet. But to answer your question no, I would not like to see a house cat fur, its a double standard, but that's how I feel.

Solanah said...

Forgot to add, I feel a similar way about my foxes as you do about the animals you rescue (kudos for doing that btw!). They're no longer living, but such beauty needs a good home, not to be thrown in a landfill to rot. As a vintage lover my priority is preservation, and after many years of forcing myself not to care about them, I finally realized it's better to not lie to myself about how much I live them, and give them good homes.

vintagevisions27 said...

I just started following your blog and I love it!
I think you and others here have made some great points about vintage furs. I love them too but also feel torn about owning them and wanted to wear them because so many people are negative about fur. I would never buy new fur but can't seem to resist vintage! I own several fur stoles and a late 50s mink coat. I certainly agree about wanted to preserve them! They are beautiful items and should be saved and loved by somebody! Even if they do take up space in my closet!! ;)

Beth said...

I really love this and i have to say that you do inspire me to be more like myself. Yes, i do like your style and i look up to you a lot, but i use your looks and tips for inspiration
thanks for all you do for the vintage world and all the inspiration!
We love you
Beth
Victory Vintage
Outside My Window