What to Wear: Jeffrey Campbell Shoes and a Ceil Chapman Dress (But Not Together)

This is my 250th Blog! And do you know what that means, boy and girls? It means time for NEW SHOES (for ME, not you). I have started a tradition of rewarding myself for every 50 blogs I post in the form of shoes. (See my blog on 4/24/10.) This is one tradition I seriously doubt will fall by the wayside.

Jeffrey Campbell shoes with gold metal studs.

The reward shoes this time are an oxford style called “Capone” by Jeffrey Campbell. (BTW, this brand always runs 1/2 size small). Jeffrey Campbell shoes, made in Spain, make up in style what they lack in quality. I own four pairs of JC shoes. The leather is always soft, but lightweight and easily scuffable. The construction is a tad flimsy. The price is a tad pricey. But boy are they cute!

You can buy Jeffrey Campbell shoes at Nordstom, Urban Outfitters, SoleStruck, and Free People. They are made more for the youngster crowd than us mature ladies, but some of their styles are age defying.

The Capone shoes come in two colors. I got the plain black—more versatile. Very cool, dontcha think?

I have calculated that if I continue to write blogs at the same rate as I have been, I should post my 1,000th blog sometime in December 2012. I think that is a huge accomplishment, and as such, it calls for a reward even more fun than a new pair of shoes: a vintage designer wiggle dress.

I would LOVE to own a Ceil Chapman dress. Who’s Ceil? She’s an American fashion designer from the 1940s-1960s (from Staten Island) who had an incredible eye for the female form and attention to detail. Her dresses are noted for their draping, tucking, ruching, and sometimes floral prints.

Ceil Chapman dresses are timeless. They are rare and pretty and therefore cost a pretty penny. I think you can snag one on-line for about $500-$800. I wear a size 10 and by vintage standards that is a large size. Larger dresses are more scarce and as such usually cost more than smaller-sized dresses. I better start saving my allowance now if I want to afford a Ceil Chapman dress in 2012!

Recently I purchased (on EBay) an unopened bottle of Ceil’s perfume from the 1950s called Bleuewhich smells like Lily Daché’s perfume, which smells like Estée Lauder’s Youth Dew. All of these smell better than Schiaparelli’s vintage fragrance Shocking, which smells like Tabu—which is code for P.U.!

There is little biographical information on Ceil Chapman and no biography written about her. That’s a shame as she is an American treasure. Supposedly she was a favorite of Marilyn Monroe, but there is no definitive proof. I’d like to know more about the woman who designed such amazing dresses. I bought Tom Tierney’s paperdoll book on Marilyn Monroe’s fashions, hoping to spot a Ceil Chapman dress in it. No luck.

The award-winning fashion designer for Mad Men, Janie Bryant, has written a book about 1960s fashion called The Fashion File. It will be published this fall. I’m keeping my fngers crossed that Ms. Bryant mentions Ceil Chapman.

Such a talent…so little known about her…

See what you think…

Ceil Chapman floral dress.

Ceil Chapman cocktail dress with signature draping.

Vintage Ceil Chapman satin wiggle dress.

Ceil Chapman fuchsia extravaganza!

Ceil Chapman navy and white lace and ruching dress.

According to internet folklore, possible Ceil Chapman dress designed for Marilyn Monroe.

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