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Cece Caruso's Vintage Shopping Tips

BE A FREAK of nature, i.e., wear a size six or smaller. If this is not your situation, bribe a sales woman so she will put aside that rare eight, ten, twelve or fourteen for you when it comes in. Remember that a fourteen from the fifties fits a contemporary eight. You can always go on a diet.

  1. DO NOT dress vintage from head to toe unless you want to look like Eliza Doolittle or a cast member of "Happy Days."

  2. BEFRIEND a good tailor, but never butcher a classic.

  3. PURCHASE DVDs of the following, and study closely: THAT TOUCH OF MINK (1962), for Doris Day's Norman Norell beige raincoat with black leather collar and buttons; BONNIE AND CLYDE (1967), for Theodora van Runkle's genius; and EYES OF LAURA MARS (1978), for kinky Helmut Newton tableaux. Recommended, but optional: THE WOMEN (1939) and VALLEY OF THE DOLLS (1967).

  4. ANIMAL prints never go out of style. Norma Kamali did them best.

  5. DO NOT BE shy about asking for a discount. Say "Let's split the difference," or "What's the best you can do on this?" or "You've got to be out of your mind to ask $600 for this Rudi Gernreich jersey dress with sweat stains!" Remember, in many cultures, bargaining is a form of entertainment.

  6. SWEAT stains can be sponged with a fifty-fifty vinegar and water solution, but don't hold your breath.

  7. BUYING vintage online is like playing the slots in Vegas. Not recommended for the faint of heart.

  8. A BOLERO can make an outfit. Ask any bullfighter. Or Yves St. Laurent or Geoffrey Beene. Ostrich feathers are particularly good. The bulkier on top, the sleeker on bottom. It's an optical illusion, but beggars can't be choosers.

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