Where does 1930s style live?
Well, in Art Deco buildings along Wilshire Boulevard, yes. In black-and-white films of the era, for sure. And with people, alive now, dressing stylishly now, too. These practitioners of vintage dash don pinafores and fedoras on a daily basis, even to run to lunch or on their errands.
Devotion to vintage wear requires equal parts panache, historical knowledge, and devil-may-care-ism, which frees one from modern trends.
Southern California happens to be a center for long-gone garb. Thank the movie industry and our excellent costume shops for the local love of the retro, thank the Rose Bowl Flea Market and other fine fleas, and thank Vintage Fashion Expo.
The Expo's on again, at The Reef downtown, on Saturday, Feb. 7 and Sunday, Feb. 8.
The few-times-a-year extravaganza is flush with frocks and suits of the decades associated with our grandparents, and great-grandparents, too. Some dealers started the dresses-and-more event in San Francisco, our city-sibling in old-school sartorial love, back in the late '80s, and it grew and grew (picture a lace hemline being lengthened and lengthened due to changing styles).
Now the shows pop up in both San Francisco and LA five times annually, bringing with them dozens of exhibitors purveying in pocket squares and Bakelite bracelets and crinolines and suspenders of every stripe.
A weekend pass is $17, but you can choose your day to attend, too.
And while you most certainly can run errands around Hollywood or the Valley in the pretty 1950s big-skirted dresses you buy at the Expo, take note that Southern California boasts a bouquet of bashes where vintage dressing is a must. Next up? The Edwardian Ball on Feb. 14.