Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Frugal Fun: A Vintage Touch Down!



When you look at men's fashion over the years, you'll notice that little has changes over the past 50 years. Some guys still wear a suit and tie if their jobs require it, but most professionals have eased on down with a sports jacket and shirt, either with jeans or slacks, as Haggar , which has dressed men since 1926, would have it.

A few weeks ago I was invited to rummage through the Haggar archives in Dallas, Texas. Here's one of the many images I landed upon.

Dating back to 1983, this ad appealed to me because it features superstar Len Dawson from my hometown football team, Kansas City Chiefs. I was never a big football follower, but I do know that Dawson lead the team to victory in Super Bowl IV and remember seeing him on the news desk at  KMBC, the local Kansas City affiliate.

Now I can't help but shift gears to the lady in the red sweater "snapping" the group photo. It appears to me that she's using a Kodak Stylite camera -- one that made barely viewable images with miniature rolls of film.  The only camera that produced more pitiful pictures was launched a year before this ad appeared. That would be the Disc, which has been listed as one of the biggest technological failures of all time.

But back to football and fashion, and this ad is a winner! Dawson all tailored and handsome  looks as  if he could be today's MVP, and the "Super Fan" in the green sweater remains just a goofy as ever.

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifter





Monday, February 10, 2014

The Object of My Desire: What A Doll


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Photograph by Stan Williams

Ever since I was a little boy, I have always wanted a Dolly Parton doll.

Yes, I can hear your snickering right now to hear me say it, but it's true.Other than G.I Joes, I don't remember wanting another doll.  I never saw her in the toy aisles of stores in Independence, Missouri, but I knew of her existence from ads placed in the back of country music magazines in the 1970s, when this doll was released.

I don't think I ever specifically asked for a Dolly Parton doll; I do remember, however, clipping out the magazine tiny ads in case I ever had the opportunity to send in a few dollars and claim a Dolly doll for my own.

Decades later when I saw this lovely in her original box offered in an Etsy shop, I decided it was about time for me to have her. I even sprang for an extra costume, a "Coat of Many Colors" look modeled after Dolly's beloved song of the same name.

Childhood is a distant memory. And all the Tonka trucks, Lincoln Logs and Matchbox cars from years gone by have been replaced by adult toys like iPhones and iPads. But I am a boy who still plays with dolls.

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifter








Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Photograph by Stan Williams

You see, these toy blocks from a garage sale in New Jersey really DO come in handy sometimes.

Wishing you a vintage year filled with joyful surprises and bounties of love,


The Elegant Thrifter

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Gift of Thrift: A Dolly Dollar

Photograph by Stan Williams

The talent for giving the gift of thrift only requires practice and a keen eye, such as the one that my sister possesses. She told me the story of a recent trip to a thrift shop in Southern Missouri where she spied this 1991 Dolly Dollar from Dollywood hiding in the corner of a display case. She asked the shop owner how much she wanted for this more-than-two-decades-old piece of paper, and since it didn't have a price tag on it, it was up for grabs for a mere $2.

 I've been a Dolly Parton fan since childhood, so this gift was a perfect choice for me. Believe me, I won't be spending this dollar any time soon!

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifter

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Object of My Desire: Tree Trimmings

Photograph by Stan Williams

The holidays seem to start earlier and earlier every year. But when I was a kid, they couldn't come early enough. We started preparing for Christmas in the dead-heat of the summer break by making  ornaments out of kits my mom ordered from Lee Ward's catalog.

Photograph by Stan Williams
 It might be  a 100-Midwest-muggy degrees outside, but we would stay inside where it was cool, pinning beads and sequins to foam shapes that would eventually become a Santa Claus, a Christmas tree, a fanciful orb or maybe even an oil lamp.

These ornaments were probably made in the late 1970s, and they still find themselves on the Williams Christmas tree every year, looking as twinkly and magical as they did more than 30 years ago.

Wishing you a warm and bright holiday season.

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifter

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Object of My Desire: The Twin Towers

Photograph by Stan Williams

Yet another September 11 has passed, and it's hard to believe that its been 12 years since the horrifying destruction of the iconic Twin Towers. As most New Yorkers I know who were here when the attacks occurred, I remember the day well as if it were yesterday.

Even though the World Trade Center is no more and a new Freedom Tower is rising into the sky to take its place, relics from the short life of those gleaming wonders still exist, even as far away as Kansas City, Missouri, where I discovered this pamphlet from the 1980s at a vintage shop called Westside Storey.

Photograph by Stan Williams

While I did not purchase this pristine piece of ephemera, I did marvel over its descriptions that were written when the New York city attraction was not  even 20 years old.  

Back in the late 1980s and early '90s when I worked in the vicinity of the World Trade Center, I was inside the the massive complex almost every day, either taking a subway in its transportation hub, grabbing lunch in its food court or shopping in its underground mall. I never had the opportunity to dine in its glamorous Windows on the World restaurant on the 106th and 107th floor in the North Tower  or visit its Observation Deck on the 107th floor of the South Tower.  

It appears that the person who owned this brochure made it to the outdoor viewing area, since the admission ticket remains stapled to the booklet's interior.


Photograph by Stan Williams


I am not a fan of extreme heights, but I can imagine the spectacular perspective visitors that visitors must have experienced, a sky-high view that took them all the way to New Jersey, Staten Island and across all of Uptown Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.  

Those views are gone and the New York City skyline has been altered forever.  To this day, every time I catch myself looking in the direction of the Twin Towers, I still find it hard to believe they they have disappeared.

We will never forget.

The Elegant Thrifter



We'll never forget.

The Elegant Thrifter

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Reuse & Repurpose: Luxurious Spins

Photograph by Stan Williams

I walk by the Chanel boutique in SoHo  at least three times a week, but it wasn't until the other day that I stopped to look in the windows more carefully, only to realize that these glamorous, scalloped pillars are made with carefully warped vinyl LPs.

Photograph by Stan Williams

Created by German artist Gregor Hildebrandt, the works appear both in the retail space and in the windows of the shop that the illustrious architect Peter Marino offered  a re-do in 2010. Fanciful yet chic, the repurposed records maintain their grooves that not long ago would have transformed a turntable into a music-making machine.

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifter
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