Friday, January 1, 2010

Hollywood Regency, The Shop

This is where I work, and it is the best place on earth. Hands down.

Hollywood Regency was started in April 2007 by my boss lady and a friend, mostly to sell furniture and household things with a small emphasis on vintage clothes and accessories. Then the economy tanked and nobody was buying furniture anymore. So, my boss realized that the clothing etc. was paying the rent, and we switched to that over time. Her friend moved and sold his interest to her, and somewhere around October of 2007 I started working there. It has evolved into many TV appearances, numerous awards from local media for Best Vintage Clothing, quite a few mentions in magazines, most recently a brief blurb in Sunset Magazine! People come in and love us! Lately I have been hearing that we are unique; that there is nothing in Phoenix like us. It's pretty and happy, and sparkly and shiny. It is also very clean, as we wash/dry clean our garments before they are put on the floor. I spend the majority of my time there ironing and steaming, mending and organizing.

This is the BEST JOB EVER and I know I am damned lucky to have ANY job right now, much less one that rocks. I KNOW how good I have it here. I thank my lucky stars every day that things have worked out the way they have for me with this place, because I have had some crap jobs, let me tell you. I have come a long way from the teenage welfare mom I was 21 years ago. That I get to dress up every day and go to a magical, beautiful place like this to work is an everyday miracle for me. I get paid conventionally but also in so many other ways-I think I have finally acquired something that looks suspiciously like self-confidence. I've never been given this level of responsibility and it feels pretty damned nice. I've never been the best employee at my former jobs but this one I strive to be as good as I can. I want to live up, every day, to the expectations that are put on me. I think I manage to achieve that most of the time.

The pictures I have shown were taken about a month ago, just a sample of what we are all about. I want to try and show more clothing in future posts. (We are re-setting the shop this week.) But I had to include one of our shop kitties, Lamar, asleep in his suitcase-we can't sell it now because he would be very annoyed with us! He is about 12 years old, so he is a cranky old man in a cat suit most of the time, but people love him. I will get a picture of our other fella, Basil, soon. We love our cat boys-we even have people who come in just to see them!

So, that's my job. My fabulous, wonderful, beloved job. Come see me and we'll play dress up! :-D

Emma's Stuff Part 2


That was my first reaction when I saw what was there, but those weren't my exact words I said to myself....heehee. I do try to keep the blog clean, y'know.

I've been doing vintage this and that for almost 16 years, and I've NEVER seen this much clothing in one place. At least, not one single person's. Emma, gods love her, saved it ALL. Every dress, every hat, every girdle, every slip.

I felt, after awhile, like I was raiding Joan Holloway's (Mad Men) closet. I giggled with glee everytime I thought of that. I almost expected her to come flying through the door to ask me just what I thought I was doing!

Four boxes of nothing but white blouses from the 50s. One box of nothing but white pedal pushers and high-waisted shorts of the era. Two boxes of nothing but sky-blue wool, orlon and cashmere sweaters. The two boxes of white sweaters. Red sweaters. Colored sweaters. The one box of just navy blue rayon 40s 50s suits. Pencil skirts in twill and wool, never worn. A stack of countless pillowcases with crinolines and slips. The boxes of black 50s bras and girdles. Same with white. RED circular stitched bras and matching garter belts.

Dresses. Cocktail dresses. Matching jackets. Lace dresses. Chiffon, Silk twill. Summertime halter dresses. Spring pastel linen dresses with matched sweaters, in multiple colors if she liked the style. Black rayon dresses. Box after box of dresses, folded neatly 40 years ago and waiting patiently for me to come, unfold them and bring them back to life. I think she wore things a couple times and then bought more because the condition of it all is AMAZING. Those old lace-over-taffeta dresses that are almost always rotted out under the arms? Nope. Near mint. The only thing about alot of them is that Emma had a lot of weight fluctuation in her life and let the darts out of MANY of her things. (I cannot tell you how many dresses I have already re-darted. That has been an interesting experience!)

And then the boxes of purses. She loved reptile, so there were tons of those. The 40s purses were pretty cool-Corde' ones with lucite pulls were plentiful. Many of them were dried out, unfortunately, having been stored in the garage for 40 years. Every single purse was full of wadded-up hankies and gloves. One real treasure-a GORGEOUS mint condition Llewellyn amber Lucite beehive purse. I drooled over that...... And her SHOES...long, narrow spiked heels in 8, 9, 10. 40s platform shoes in suede. Small, of course!

Hats! Hats! Hats! More old millinery flowers than we will use in a lifetime! And the good ones, too-40s and 50s velvets, European-made. Floral hats, picture hats, toques, juliet caps, bonnets.

I finally ran out of time, and had to stop. I was there for two days, and we hopefully will be going back in the spring when the son comes back from Montana, as there are still boxes in the garage and the dresser drawers to go through. You know those wardrobe boxes from U-Haul, the tall ones? Well, there are four of them in the master closet full of nothing but slips, girdles, gloves, etc. I ran out of time!!!

Do you know why it is hard to find vintage? Because Emma was hoarding it lo these many years. :-)

So, Heidi and I are washing, steaming, mending, taking to the dry cleaner this treasure trove of goodies. I have a good number of dresses at the shop and will have a major influx the end of next week. The bestest, most fabulous part? NOT tiny stuff. Most of the dresses range between a 26 to 36 inch wasit, with the majority being in the 30-34" range. She also had a bust that probably could stop traffic, so there you go. Real vintage for real size does NOT GET ANY BETTER than this!

We feel very honored to have been lucky enough to make Emma's lovely wardrobe available to the next generation of ladies. Come and see the "new girls" at the shop!

Emma's Stuff

So let me tell you about Emma.

She lived in Chicago with her husband and son back in the 40s and 50s, and Emma loved to shop. From what I can tell, she could have given the rest of us a serious run for our money. I mean, she LOVED TO SHOP. And she never ever threw anything away. EVER. Even after the three of them moved to Phoenix in the late 60s, it all got boxed up, labeled, and put away in the house in Sun Lakes, Arizona.

Emma passed away, peacefully, a number of years ago, leaving it all to her only son. He had since moved to Montana and become a very successful eye doctor. One day he realized it was time to come back to Arizona and clean out the house. It did not take long for him to realize what a daunting task it was going to be, because Emma pretty much saved every single piece of clothing she wore from the 40s up until her passing. Not to mention the hats, shoes, purses, etc. So, he tried a few consignment shops in snooty Scottsdale, thinking the good quality would impress them; I mean, she had bought it all at Marshall Field and other fine establishments, so you would think, right? Nope, nobody wanted that old stuff. Too old, nothing older than 5 years for them. Thank goodness. Because one day he found Hollywood Regency on the internet and the rest, they say, is history.

The first time he came in, he brought us about 25 colorful wool knit dresses. Beautiful, late 50s, early 60s. Red, green, purple, black, white, etc. Great condition, we bought almost all of them. About 6 months after that, he walked in with some insane number of hatboxes and I really had to try hard not to drool, they were THAT GOOD. Bought all that. This time he told us about his mother's house and the sheer amount of stuff to get rid of. He had to go back to Montana and promised to bring more. By now we were DYING to see what else he would trot over to us. Almost a year later, he calls the shop and says he has a full carload, can he bring it over. OF COURSE, no problem, bring it!

We bought over 80 pairs of shoes and probably close to a hundred pieces of clothing that time. This time, we set a date for us to come to the house and just get it done. Date set, we're ready to go, Heidi gets sick and can't go. He had told us there were vintage linens there, so I reset the time and just plan to go alone, concentrate on linens for myself (that's my main thing-textiles) and then shop for the shop.

Best laid plans......

continued in next post!