Oldies into goodies...

by - Sunday, May 05, 2013

Steampunk  from Tumblr
Some families spend weekend time together enjoying sport events, watching a current movie or entertaining friends at home. We certainly spend quality time together like this too, although some of our weekend activities are not your average fare. Those who are familiar with our past theatrical mingling in the Hermitage murder mystery dinners will not be surprised by our latest adventure. This time, Brenna is the leading force, introducing Robert and I to the ingenious world of Steampunk... Think of Victoriana meets sci-fi, a subculture of neo-Victorian, cyberpunk and retro-futurism. Pretty cool, huh? Swiftly approaching on May 17th through the 19th, we booked our tickets for The Steampunk World's Fair. For this family affair, we decided to attend in full regalia, accessories and all! So over the last several weeks, we have been searching the Internet for fashionable inspiration and vintage clothing shops to dress-up the weekend in style. 
We narrowed our list to four shops around New Jersey and one in New York. After adding the local thrift stores, we comprised our route of time travel from Tarrytown, New York all the way down to Somerville, New Jersey.
We started our journey at a small, but loaded consignment shop in Tarrytown called Deja Vu. Here they carry many high-end current designer names, but only a select amount of vintage frocks. Brenna and I enjoyed browsing, but were unable to find anything to fit this assignment. Robert was told their other location in Port Chester housed menswear items. Perhaps another day...
The following weekend, we visited a Pompton Lakes locale that produced a bit more. In Charisma, Brenna scored a pair of retro blue sun spectacles and a pinstriped vest. The shop is layered with vintage looks for men and women, dresses, suits and separates awaiting to be cleverly assembled for the stage or a private soiree. Oodles of costume jewelry had my attention for most of this visit, but once again, Robert didn't find a thing. Okay, onto the next...
We managed to find a great place in Hawthorne called Udelco, at least I thought it was. Brenna was put off by the manner of the warehouse strewn inventory in a sea of cardboard boxes. The website said they are "a wholesale vintage clothing distributor open to the public". You need a lot of time to sift through the boxes of items simply categorized as "70's PRINTS" or "HANDBAGS". I found it intriguing and will have to get back there on my own one day soon. On another lengthy trip down to Sommerville, we visited Incogneeto and enjoyed discovering the charming selection of hats, clothing, shoes and accessories packed in all corners of the deep shop. Owner Stacy LoAlbo showed us around, bringing our attention to her published book, Vintage Fashion Accessories, which features many of the finds within the walls. A thorough inspection of the shop enabled us to pick up a few items that secured elements for our transformations. Brenna finally found an affordable black bowler hat and I was lucky with the size 8 zip-up granny style boots. LoAlbo also has an online shop on Etsy if you are trying to locate something special from the comfort of your own home without the mileage. 
But low and behold, our most fruitful excursions for Robert were closest to home in Bergen and Rockland counties. Thank God for Good Will! Robert scored the best gear in three different fancy fabric vests coordinating with shirts stuffed into the racks. The vests were certainly in abundance because I laid my hands on one in hunter green with pockets and scooped peter pan collar.
Even the dollar store provided fringe benefits to our looks. Water guns we purchased as accessory items still need to be painted and detailed to complete the costumes. Brenna has already gotten a head start with this project. She layered the metallic colors in detail carefully over a base of black. Her creativity never ceases to amaze me! I want her to make our accessories too.
Inexpensive dollar store water guns we just bought...
...can look like this with some creativity and spray paint.
We have a great start, but much more work needs to be invested to produce our wardrobe for the three day event. Stay tuned for our ensembles of oldies into goodies. I promise to take lots of pictures of the final curtain call!

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