Thursday, September 16, 2010

Just Like Candy

So, since Vixen Vintage is being so great as to help me get new followers (due to the GIVEAWAY in progress) I figure I should give you something to read.

Let's talk about my favorite kind of candy: Bakelite. Of course, the best thing about bakelite is not talking it - it is looking at it, and better - wearing it!

From FaithandFranny on Etsy

From judysgems2 on Etsy

From slapmefabulous on Etsy

Here's my two newest THRIFT STORE Bakelite finds from yesterday - a total cost of $4.98, and I'm quite the happy camper. Of course, I'd really love to have the amazing pieces shown up above, but they're a tad more into the "luxury spending" ranges!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I've made it! My very first ever HATE mail.

No one bothers to send you hate mail if you're a nobody. I got my very first one today, and hell, I hope it is the first of many, if it means that I'm gaining the success and notoriety that I want for FabGabs! This isn't really about my business, although it stems from my response to a "thank you" letter I got, saying that they appreciated that I use a plus size model for the plus size clothes. I'm not really plus, but I'm all I've got, right? I replied and included my measurements. I got this four days later (today) from a shill account:

Um okay my friend is friend with this couple who wrote you & you said you have a 31 inch waist?My sister is a 31 inch waist I know whut that looks like.Hahahahahahahahah-LMAO!!No way you are a 31 inch waist try 40 at least..I just saw your photos and gurl you are an XXXXL you are huge so why lie about it?WTF?That's so stupid.By the way liquid diets do wonders.Okay like bye.ugh and don't write back I don't talk to fatsos.

Don't worry - I won't let it go to my head or hurt my ego! Especially not when I have Lulu of Camera Bandit around to take foxy photos of me (can't believe I'm posting one of the cheesecake shots!)




Friday, June 11, 2010

A Timeless Beauty: Boue Souers Dress


This stunning dress sold in the summer of 2008. I purchased it from an amazing estate loaded with treasures the likes of which I have not seen since. This was, however, the crowning glory of the collection, without a doubt. Although I did not know at the time it was Boue Souers, it is something I later learned to some chagrin. But although the label had been lost to time, the quality and exquisite details were impossible to miss. It is why I saved photos, when I kept photos of very little in my short stint on ebay.  A late teens transitioning to the shorter 20's style, it is still primarily Edwardian. The black silk underdress, however, could have as easily been styled by a couturier in France in the 1950s as earlier. It features this amazing side drape, which was later to be copied and adapted decades later. As beautiful as the netted cotton overdress is with its gorgeous Alencon lace, it was really almost tragic to cover up the underdress. Of course, this would be ten times more lovely shown in my current set on one of my beautiful models - but it deserves to be shown off anyway.

These days, I would recognize Boue Souers work, but this business can come with a steep learning curve. It did go to a museum in Japan, so it is being preserved.

The draped wiggle skirt of the dress:


The interior:

And with the overdress:



From the sturdy cotton net, to the extremely fine silk taffeta, amazing drape and style - to those incredible details in the form of handmade silk flower arrangements - I will never see another like this. It was exquisite. The photos are all I have, but I was honored to help preserve this piece.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Evolution of Fab Gabs

I've been kinda drunk on praise recently, as the set improves, as I give my photographer more leeway, introduce new models to the shop. (Thank you, thank you please, don't stop)

Most - not all - of you who follow me on Facebook, Twitter, etc. only found me in recent months, when the pictures got pretty! While I love people asking me how I do it well, it was two years of evolution, trying find my "voice." It is like developing a writing style. I'm proud of it, but totally recognize that I started well, pretty dang humbly!

So I give you... the Evolution of Fab Gabs

July 2008 - This dress set does happen to be the most rare and fantastic thing I've sold. It is a two piece set, moving from the teens to the 20s - the end price was $927, and I sent it to Hong Kong. I've spent hours dreaming what this would look like on Ruby! She could fit it, and both pieces - the black "wiggle" underdress and lace overdress were amazing. But my pictures well, don't really do it justice! Maybe I'll do a blog about sometime, though, it is worth seeing all the details.


November 2008 - I started experimenting with models. This not-well-done removed background lasted all of one photo shoot. Recognize the model? That's Kim of Jitterbuggin!

May 2009 The phone table enters the photos! Woo-hoo! That's actually MY Shaheen (hands off!) we did photograph it the week I bought it... but I wasn't able to give it up. Can you blame me? The print is "Pagan Primitives" - tiki god heads all over.

November 2009 - Fab Gabs finally starts to look like Fab Gabs! Used a student photographer and my new model Ruby.

January 2010 - Lulu of Camera Bandit comes on board and we add the couch to the set! This set required me to swap the layout of my living room every week. Whew! Super cute, but that's done with!

June 2010 - I buy my new 1930's Art Deco couch and chair, and suddenly my whole house - and therefore my set - finally come together! We take breaks in the shoots to play, too. And of course, Solanah is the new addition to the Gabettes (bonus if you can think of a better word for them!)

Gosh, I hope that's the last update to it all for a while!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


I can't wait to post photos for you of the crazy over-packed car. I'm terrified about how wrinkled everything will be when it is unpacked. There are 265 women's garments, 55 pairs of women's shoes, 25 handbags, six hats (had to cut back), 7 pieces of lingerie, 60 men's garments, five racks (including a four way!), two folding bookshelves, one dress form and two mannequin heads inside and on top of my PONTIAC VIBE. For those of you who don't know, they look like this: (same car as a Toyota Matrix.)

Take 20% off any one item in the Fab Gabs Booth at the Santa Monica Vintage Expo. Not Valid with any other discounts.

This is insanity. I need a mini-van again! (Mine was totalled in 2008 ... got this hunk of junk instead.)

I leave in 4.25 hours for the first leg of the trip - get to stay with my favorite person in the world in San Francisco for the evening. Then leaving at 5am again to get into Santa Monica at unloading time.

I'm filling a 10x20 booth (that's 200 sq ft) out of a car with 54.1 cubic ft of cargo space. Start laughing now. Start laughing any time! And you can laugh all the way to the bank by printing out that Pontiac Vibe pic with the coupon text underneath. Nifty, no?

See you there! xoxoxo!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Classing up the Joint

Welcome to the new, slightly more professional world of Fab Gabs. A physical presence at trade shows. An actually active blog. And LAYAWAY. Yes, I know you've been waiting for it.

Some very fabulous return buyers have given me terrific feedback over the past few months, that I've been chewing on for a while. I hate losing sales because I feel I have to turn someone down, but I'm also not a big fan of having sold merchandise sitting in the store disappointing others. But, I think I have a very good policy worked out, and I think you'll be pleased. At least, I hope you will.

Layaway will be available to returning Fab Gabs customers and also to other Etsy buyers with 10+ positive feedback and a 100% positive rating on Etsy. It will be valid for items of $100 or more before shipping costs. The standard terms will be a 50% NON REFUNDABLE deposit paid at the time the items is reserved and 50% plus the shipping costs in two weeks. Items that are very expensive may be broken into more payments at my discretion. I will always send a reminder three days before a payment is due. Items that have not been completely paid within three days of the due date for final payment will be released for the general population to purchase. This is, of course, to keep anyone from defaulting!

The thing is, it isn't YOU lovely customers that I'm unsure of - its all the rest of the people I haven't interacted with that I'm cautious of!

Although it is technically official, I haven't added this to my shop policies page, because I wanted to swing it buy you first. What do you think? Does it make you love your Fab Gabs garb even more?

Thanks for your input!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Viva Lost Wages in Show and Tell

Well, I've been back for a few days. As it happens, I forgot my camera - and so did Dave. (But all out clothes got there, organized in outfits, and that's what is REALLY important!) Because of that, I've had to rely on photos taken by friends to record the outfits, and there's only a fraction of the 17 different ensembles I wore represented here.

My birthday night ensemble, featuring the finest hat in my collection. A New York creation, with gathered red rayon over black felt. The rayon is gathered at the bottom and can be pinned around the hair.
Dress: Bombshell Vintage, Portland, OR

This black taffeta dress has an amazingly gathered bodice with a dropped waist. More impressive in person, but it really isn't "me." I'll be selling it.

I lived in these suspender pants almost every night for the record hops! I brought two pairs, but one got rum & coke all down them. The blouse is a 1930's gathered silk crepe with wide, ruffled collar. One of my favorite thrift finds ever. The pants! JITTERBUGGIN of course!

I really was living in pants a large percentage of time. These mustard rayon pants are worn out, but I can't give them up! The 40s short sleeve sweater is red-orange, navy and cream. A dear favorite of mine.

More of Jitterbuggin's suspender pants, with a silky pink rayon blouse.

Until this suit, I never had anything to wear these not quite mustard colored gloves with. Enjoying the ONLY quality cocktail of the whole weekend.

I am extremely fond of this hat. Tore the heck out of my stockings that night though, had to lose them.

Birthday pants! Black rayon gab - one of my gifts from Dave. I *LOVE* these. Bought the blouse that night from Santa Fe vintage to make a perfect set. There's even more bakelite on the other wrist. Turns out I have a LOT of green.

Okay, bombshell isn't my natural state, but I can play too! This smokin' deal of a dress was a surprise find by my friend who runs Eagle Eye Vintage. Most - not all - but most of the bakelite on my friend to the left is mine. I was a bakelite ATM at Viva.

Actually, this was one of my favorite ensembles and I almost forgot it! Silk 1940's novelty print halter, clearly made out of the remnants someone had hanging around. I've always thought this was something I could actually make while I learn to sew. The skirt is a 40's rayon wrap with ruffley/drapedness to the closure.

Sooo... go buy yer Jitterbuggin pants and peek in at Eagle Eye, too! She has a knack for finding amazing handbags. And of course, you can peek in my shop. I'll be listing things perfect for NEXT VLV shortly.

My thoughts on the weekend: finally, I felt like Viva got too crowded. The car show was stupidly big. The main showroom for Wanda Jackson was beyond packed - you literally COULDN'T move. All in all though, I had a fantastic time, one of the best weekender experiences I've been too over all. Maybe because I gave up on trying so hard to bring my strictly "rockabilly" stuff - and just wore what I pleased!

In fact, it seems there were a number of gals in hardcore 40's attire there - including my fashion icon from Chicago, over whom I have major hair and clothes envy. She's positively inspiring. I wonder if she has a blog....

Oh oh oh! And I met two customers (one wearing the carousel dress!), the other recognized me and someone from Twitter/FB recognized me, too! That does good for my ego.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Finishing Touches

I frequently get a tad frustrated with my collection. The thing is, I spend so much time (and resources!) buying for the shop that in the last few years, I feel like my closet gets short shrift. That I don't have full matching outfits, or that the matching pieces I have aren't "enough." That my clothes need something other than the foundation garments underneath!

I've been recently inspired, looking at other gals' blogs, by the careful finishing touches so many use - things that I LOVE, but often don't have, and never remember to look for, when my brain is all focused on business. Little deco rhinestone hair combs or clips. Bakelite dress clips. Shoe clips. Sweater clips (my goodness, a lot of little details are "clips" of one kind or another!) They really finish an ensemble, make you look complete, and put you in the time so much more than simply zipping up a dress.

So, I'm challenging myself a bit - I'm bringing seven hats with me to VLV, twelve pairs of gloves, four scarfs, every scrap of bakelite I own (included two pairs of dress clips), a pair of hair combs, and a set of shoe clips. And the plan is to use it all. (Well, I have more bakelite bangles than I could use in even a very busy 5 days. But I'm going to give it a go.)

I'm not sure that we'll be able to put the pics from his camera onto the computer we'll have with us, but if so, I'll make a couple updates throughout the weekend detailing each day's VERY COMPLETE ensembles!

In the meanwhile, here's some of my picks from Etsy for great finishing touches - there's some great accessories there at terrific prices!!

1930s Deco Dress clips from VintageFabulous:

Shoe clips! So hard to find ones that aren't rhinestone covered!

A fantastic 1930s hat with grosgrain trim from SnootieSeconds:

A truly terrific PINK studded belt from Denisebrain:

Orchid hair combs! (and earrings) DARLING! from treasurespast

Until some drunken evening at Viva - Yours very truly,

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Last of the Contest Entries... A Little Late

It was such a pleasure to have everyone participate in this contest! I'll be sending out an email today or tomorrow gathering your addresses if you wish to provide them - all participants will be getting a little "thank you" just for trying!

Here's the last two collections of gals - such lovely ladies you all are!

Things that make me go WOW! Fur coat, stunning hawaiian-esque dress, and the FOX!

Left to Right: OliviaBanana, Tiddley Wink, Olygirl

Fantastic Separates and Suit Ensembles!

From Left to Right: Golden Girl of the West, Lolita Haze, Charlotte

NOW!! Now that I have your attention I promise to make at least one semi-interesting blog post every ten days. (If I tell you ever week, I'll just get overwhelmed and behind.)

And there WILL be more contests and giveaways in the future!

Friday, February 19, 2010

And the Winner Is!


But wait! Everyone who entered will get a little thank-you, too!

More information and AND more photos from the last minute entries to be added tomorrow!

Many, many thanks to all who participated! I had a LOT of fun. It is inspirational - not to mention a bloody comfort! - to see so many other well dressed gals out there. Because sometimes - just sometimes - I think we all wonder if maybe we're the only vintage obsessed weirdo in the world.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Contest Entry Photos Round 2!

Gals, there's less than 48 hours left to enter! I've been so excited to see all the different ways gals wear their vintage - it has been really fun! These collections bring the collages current to who has entered - but if I managed to miss you, PLEASE send me a reminder!

In Black and White - vintage-y pics of gals in vintage!

From Left to Right: Brooksie and Art Deco Dame (sorry! two from her - I needed another b&w shot)

Girls Who Wear Glasses - I'm a four-eyes myself, in all honesty!

Left to Right: SweetClothes, Miss Emmi, RaeNicki

Gals Who've Got the Blues

Left to Right: GGAVintage, Baby Steps Vintage, Crazy Daisy

A little golden Yellow - yellow dresses and books, too!

Left to Right: Andi B. Goode, Rockabilly Bebe, The Dreamstress

Accessories - you know, cars and vintage furniture...

Left to Right: Miss Fitrhi, SabrinaHolly

I've had SO much fun with this! I wish that every single one of you lovely gals could win! Good luck to all of you!

And tell you friends - there is still time to enter!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Contest Entry Photos Round 1!

I'm totally thrilled that such stylish gals are participating! It is great to know that wherever the prize lands, it will go to someone that will use and enjoy whatever they "buy!"

Here's only some of the great entries so far - I'm trying to group them a little by theme into groups of three - there are two entries not yet represented. YES! That's right. Only 11 ladies have entered photographs to quality for the contest - you have a GREAT chance of winning the prize! So get me those photos, ladies! The next collection will be made once I have a twelfth photo!

Ladies in Red - women after my own heart for sure!
Left to right: Tempermental Broad, Twila Jean, and Archivia

Fur and Finery - need I say more?
Left to Right: The Vintage Baroness, Dizzy Dame, and Mary Deluxe

Casual Separates - the MUST HAVES for living in vintage!
Left to Right: Joanna of Brahdelt, Va-Voom Vintage, and Tart-Deco

More will be posted in this series tomorrow! For NOW, get your entries in ladies!
You MUST send a picture to qualify for any other entries
If you sent a picture, you'll get an extra entry for tweeting or blogging about it, and ANOTHER entry for coming up with a cool way for me to promote my business!

Now, I'm gonna veg out with a movie. Cheers!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Be Yourself in Vintage! A Fab Gabs Vintage Giveaway!

I know, you won’t read anything past this, right? So what can you win?

A $75 Fab Gabs Gift Certificate, a box of Valentine’s chocolates and grab-bag surprise! Not bad, eh?

I wear vintage every. single. day. I’m not good with visual art or crafty things, so my personal style is the number one way that I express myself. My best friend lives several hundred miles away, so on occasion we send each other photos when we’ve really put ourselves together well. (Hurray for the iphone.) Okay, so its vain. I’m alright with that.

I want to see how YOU wear vintage and how YOU express yourself best!
The first way to enter this contest is simple: send me a photo of how you express yourself. I want to see how you wear your vintage or how you use what you create! The photos will be posted to this blog in batches, collage style. I’ll extra love you if you send camera phone pictures like these. You HAVE to do this entry to qualify for the other two chances! Email your photo to Make sure to post a comment so I can count your entry easily!

If you've qualified by sending a photo expressing yourself, you’ll get a second entry for tweeting OR blogging about it! (You can blog/tweet first and send a photo after.) Post a separate comment here with a link once you do.

There’s a third way to get an entry, and it is pretty free form. Suggest, provide or brainstorm ways new and creative (also ethical and non-irritating) ways for me to promote my business. Please leave your comment in a separate comment to make it easy for me!

This contests begins when the blog is posted and ends Thursday, February 18th at 11:59 Pacific Time. The winner will be posted here and on Twitter by 9am Pacific Time Friday morning. In fact, I’ll post several times to Twitter to make sure everyone sees it! Good luck everyone! I’ll looking forward to this – it should be fun!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Featuring a Fabulous Guest Blogger! Holly Jackson with a Word on Hats

The Art of the Hat: Vintage Hats in a Modern Era
By Holly Jackson

When you think of vintage, the first thing that comes to mind is hats. Katherine, Audrey, Ginger: they all wore them gloriously and without reservation. Think of your favorite old movie, and now think of the outfits. It’s all about the hats, right?

Unfortunately, if you’re anything like me, you feel pretty removed from this whole world of glamour clothing. I, like most working women in America, wear a whole lot of jeans, and a whole lot of wallpaper colored suits. Katherine Hepburn would not approve (well, maybe of the suit pants), and Ginger Rogers would most definitely look down her nose at me.

However, you don’t have to have Givenchy at your fingertips to bring some glamour into your life. Hats are a great introductory vintage purchase, for several reasons. One, they tend to be less expensive, and highly unique. Two, they don’t require specialized underwear, or crinolines to make them look great. For some of us, these are serious considerations. The problem with hats is that they were originally designed to go with a full outfit. The idea of wearing a vintage hat to the grocery store is intimidating. What if people laugh at you? Hell, what if it falls off your head? All of this is a shame, because hats really are the best entry point for someone who wants to mix and match vintage pieces.

So, how do you wear a hat without looking silly, or having a massive wardrobe crisis? The first trick is the hardest, and also the most important: be confident. Ever coveted someone’s dress at a party, only to find that their incessant fidgeting and nervousness changed your opinion of it? Well, that’s how hats work. If you feel like you are the classiest and best dressed woman in the room, you project that to others. Now, this is easier said than done. I suggest starting out with one hat that you truly love, and wearing it to a special occasion. A dinner out with friends, or a cocktail party. The fact that it’s a special occasion will help you feel like your hat is appropriate, and give you practice wearing one for a limited period of time. If you’re worried about it falling off, use pins to keep it on.

The next step to wearing a vintage hat is more complicated. Again, think of all those classic movies that you love. These ladies don’t get out of the shower and throw on a hat, right? They do their hair. For a vintage hat, your hairdo is almost as important as the hat itself. Now, this doesn’t mean that your hairstyle has to be time consuming or fancy. Take some time to look around and find a sleek style that you like, and can do in under 15 minutes. Again, if you get stumped, think of your favorite screen idols. Your hair can be sleek and shiny or curly and bouncy, but it should be fabulous whichever way you choose to go.

Thirdly, work your hat angles. A hat that is tilted can give off a completely different impression than a hat that is put on straight. If you get really creative, try one with a small veil to obscure your eyes and give you that air of mystery. Your hat angle can change based on your mood, or your outfit. Play with angles in the mirror and find the one that reflects you the most.

Once you’ve collected a hat or two, and tried out different hairstyles and angles, start thinking about wearing them to non-events. Try a small plain hat with a suit when you go to work, or buy one that matches your favorite long coat. If you get really brave, find one that reflects your mood and pair it with jeans and heels and a casual sweater. Again, think about your screen idols. What would Audrey wear to the grocery store to meet Gregory Peck in our modern age?

The ultimate secret to wearing vintage hats is really simple. Find a hat you love, and it will wear itself. Find a hat that speaks to you, and you’ll want to wear it all the time, modern clothing or not!

A Note From Julie of Fab Gabs

First, many, MANY thanks to Holly of Cottage Copy for her fabulous and enthusiastic contribution! This is a big step in actually making this blog something that well, you
want to read! Please visit her site!

Cottage Copy

I realize that my glamour style photos aren't exactly a great illustration of her point; but for me, those sort of clothes ARE my daily wear. I love and enjoy vintage hats, and love to see them on others, whether matched with modern trousers or a vintage dress.

All the pieces in the article are Coming Soon in my shop! Here's a few others you might like: