Vintage rug dealer Kelly Vittengl recently moved herself and her business, Frances Loom, from Los Angeles to London. As she adjusts to different weather and wording — “Right now we’re crashing at a friend’s ‘flat,'” she told me — Kelly’s style is also evolving to be a mix of everything she loves: California flea markets, European fashion, female designers and, most of all, jeans. Here, Kelly shares five outfits she wore in a week…
“There’s no magical secret to vintage shopping — you just have to search and search and search. But one thing I always do at flea markets is make a beeline for the less obvious booths. I look for the person who has two rugs tucked under their table or a rack of clothes beside some knick knacks, instead of the big dealer specializing in one category. If you step off the beaten path, you’ll find unicorns. There’s a vintage seller named Mira at the Rose Bowl in L.A. I always stop by her booth, even just to chat. One day she pulled out these 1970s French jeans and I was like, ‘These are insane.’ I put them on and they fit like a glove.”
“Jeans are my all-time wardrobe staple, my uniform, my addiction. When my Italian boyfriend first saw my closet, he was like, ‘I’ve never seen so many jeans in my life. You are so American!’ For stretchy, my favorites are from Rag & Bone — stretchy jeans look really great in black. I also think new Levi’s are amazing, especially the 501 skinnies. For a while now, the company Re/Done has been reinventing vintage Levi’s and there has been such a craze for them, but Levi’s finally realized and is killing it. I love 100 percent cotton jeans without stretch. But the only catch is that they’re in no way comfortable when you’re sitting down. When I sit at a table to eat, I reach down under my sweater and unbutton that sucker. My friends and family joke that it’s a patented move.”
“California style and London style are different in many ways, but if I could put my finger on two things they would be the weather and the level of formality. In L.A., it’s warm and dry and casual, so you can throw on denim shorts and a vintage T-shirt, and you’re ready for the day. But the look in London is more sophisticated, experimental and feminine. One easy outfit I love right now is jeans and a pretty blouse. My absolute favorites are from Dôen. Their beautiful clothes embody everything I care about: they’re made by women; they’re modern but have a vintage sensibility.”
“I spend long days looking for rugs in outside markets, so I prioritize comfortable clothing at work. I even put cushy inserts into my boots! Jewelry or a hat can give a look a boost if you’re bundled up or wearing basics. A friend made this pendant for me with my Frances Loom logo on it, and the word ‘slinger,’ as in rug slinger. I never take it off. One of my goals is to always dress for myself. I like quirkiness in my outfits, even if somebody else doesn’t get it. If not for myself, then I feel like I’m dressing for all the awesome women out there.”
“My mom is one of my style inspirations. When I was growing up, she always looked great in her casual clothes — comfortable in her own skin. It’s taken a long time for me figure how to feel that way. I’ve struggled pretty intensely with anxiety for much of my life, particularly with panic attacks. Therapy and spirituality are important parts of who I am. I began questioning my Christian upbringing when I was 14, and read about Buddhism and meditation. When I moved to L.A., a friend introduced me to the Agape Spiritual Center. It’s a non-denominational community that promotes positivity and authenticity, and it has totally changed my life. Overall, I try to practice positive living through meditation, exercise, eating well and being kind. Something as simple as smiling at strangers can turn my day around.”
Thank you, Kelly!
(Photos by Julia Robbs for Cup of Jo.)