OK, that title is gonna seem so awesome in a second, I swear.
I mentioned in my last post that I’ve become obsessed with a certain designer and it’s where my money’s been going the past few weeks. I want to talk about it here since it’s on my mind at the moment, but I’m going to have to do it without sharing any pictures of myself in the new clothes I’ve acquired. Bummer, but I haven’t had time to take photos yet – I will do so soon and share a few outfits in another post in the near future, I promise! Moving on.
It’s not so much a designer I’ve become enchanted by as it is a manufacturer, I think – and the manufacturer relates to a certain “look” I discovered a few weeks ago called Lagenlook, which is German for “layered look.” How I discovered it was rather random, as these things often are; my husband and I got into an HBO show called “Grace and Frankie,” which stars Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen, and Sam Waterston. The show can be twee and sitcom-y. but come on, how often do you get to see a sitcom with awesome 70-year-old actors in the starring roles? I’ll take the twee since it comes with the awesome, and fortunately Doug agreed. We had fun binge-watching Season 1, and I became obsessed with Lily Tomlin’s attire as the hippie-dippy Frankie.
OMG I WANT THAT SWEATER. AND THAT NECKLACE. And also, GREAT wig.
Some of her outfits were too crunchy and bizarre for me, but more often than not she was trouncing around (stoned, usually) in stuff I just loved. Then one night Frankie wore this awesome, bubble-hemmed pinafore-style linen funky number, with some baggy pants underneath it, and a blue mesh long-sleeved top underneath all that, and I finally just said to myself, that’s it. I have to find out where she’s getting all this cool stuff. I went on a Google search to find out (and yeah, I was bummed when I asked my husband which of these two women I’d be when I was in my seventies, and he said, “duh, Jane Fonda.” Which personality-wise, is totally true, because there’s no way I’d ever take peyote or smoke dope and meditate my blues away and Fonda’s character is the one that wants everything to be exactly like she wants it or she gets pissed off, so yeah. But I don’t want Grace’s wardrobe – although holy hell Fonda looks freaking AMAZING) .
Hee hee – okay, not this so much
Frankie’s style on the show reminded me so much of another company with clothes I used to love called CP Shades. I’m not sure how I discovered them, but soon after I did they made up my entire wardrobe. Their stuff was mostly washable linen, with some rayon thrown in here and there and velvet during the holiday season, and it was all big, loose, flowy, and very relaxed. And, it was pretty expensive. Back in the early 2000’s, when I discovered them and started wearing their stuff, $98 was a hell of a lot for a pair of pants; even though I’d still rather not pay that much for them now, it certainly isn’t as unheard of to me as it was back then. But still, I’d suck it up and pay because I loved them so freaking much, and their clothing was well-made and would last forever (and was also made in the USA at their own factory in CA). They’d have huge sales twice a year where everything in the one store that existed in Houston would be, like, twenty-five bucks, and me and everyone else in the city, it seemed, would line up outside at five in the morning and wait to rush the store as soon as the doors opened so we could all stock up.
Ads from the 90’s, I think
Now, the one little store my city had was in the richest area of town (River Oaks, you know – where they filmed Terms of Endearment, and where the notorious murderer Robert Durst lived), and it was generally a slightly older clientele than my age at the time (I’ll never forget the time I was trying things on at the same time a woman in her late 60’s was in there buying a TON of linen items, all in white, and when I asked her if she didn’t get nervous wearing all that white clothing, she responded ‘oh no, I just wear all this when I garden. That way when it gets dirty I can throw it in the wash with some bleach and I’m good to go.’ We’re talking at least five or six hundred dollars worth of clothes she was buying – to wear while she worked in the dirt in her backyard! I was duly impressed). I was in my early thirties, and I was generally about 10 years younger than most of the women spending money in that store – but I didn’t care. Well, I cared about the high price point, but about the fact that most of the women buying these clothes were a little older than me, I didn’t care about that at all. Because I was in clothing heaven. It was all so comfy, and it was all long and oversized, and it all FLOWED. Anyone who’s seen my photos knows how obsessed I am with long, flowy fabrics and fluid shapes, and CP Shades had that in spades.
Sadly though, the company, I suppose, had overextended themselves, and the downturn the economy took after 9/11 did them in. They managed to stay open until about 2004 or ’05, when they shut down all but their original stores in California and even – much to my dismay – shut down their online site where I could buy online. For the next few years I could find stuff on eBay, but eventually that dwindled down to nothing, and I did my best to forget they ever existed since it was impossible to get their stuff for quite awhile. I never did totally quit looking for them online, but over the years their styles have changed quite a bit, and their prices have gone even higher, so they’re no longer making anything I want to wear or pay for even when I do find a site online carrying their new stuff. It’s mostly plaid button-ups now, from what I’ve seen, instead of the lovely kurta tops and tunics they used to sell.
You can’t really see it here, but she has on this blue dress that’s amazing, with a longer black and white striped skirt underneath. So cool.
Fast-forward to Grace and Frankie. I found exactly one online interview with the costume designer for the show, and she threw out a couple of names as references for Frankie’s style. I looked those names up, and although they were all very obscure European designers with astronomical prices, somehow I eventually drilled down to a very affordable option – a store called Oh My Gauze, which specializes in, you guessed it, gauze clothing. And, the prices were really affordable. Oh joy! They even had a sale going on when I found them, and so I bought a ton of stuff for around $30 per piece, on average. I don’t think the photos on their website really do their clothing justice – they’re small and awkward and not put together to show entire outfits as much as individual pieces, which doesn’t give the right effect – but there are lots of other photos out there that show them off nicely:
I also discovered the term Lagenlook, which I’ve used to start up a Pinterest board where I’ve collected some of my favorite photos so far; as you can see, when they say it’s a “layered look,” they mean it – pants under dresses, shirts under other shirts, long-ass vests over long-ass skirts – and yeah, I know. It’s kinda crazy, and borderline weird, and possibly frumpy, and WAY too much if not done properly. When I wore this stuff back in my CP Shades days, there were some people who hated it terribly, and thought that I was dressing “old.” This is a style that is usually called “artsy,” and I guess it’s associated with women of “a certain age,” but I’ve never given a damn about that and I’m not likely to start now. I freaking love this stuff, and I’m thrilled to see and know that it’s an actual style with a name and everything. Besides, I’m probably the age now that those “older” women were back when I shopped at CP Shades anyway. Believe it or not, I actually think it’s all quite lovely. It’s definitely more common in Europe than in the states, but I was always able to pull it off fairly well, and even now I’ve gotten compliments on what I’ve worn so far. I do have to be careful not to take it to the level of costume, but I’m a pretty good self-editor when it comes to clothing, and I think for the most part I can pull it off like I did before. The dresses are my biggest love right now – which is interesting, since I generally do not wear dresses at all, and stick to straight-leg jeans or pants. But I find these dresses so unique and interesting and yes, pretty, that I can’t get enough of them right now. Even if they keep throwing pants under them in the pictures.
As I said, I just started getting my stuff in the mail, and I am still trying to figure it all out as far as how it’s best for me to wear, and what works best on my frame, but I do want to take some of my own photos eventually. And that last photo was just posted on OMG’s Facebook page a few days ago, as a new style dress they don’t even have up for sale on the site yet, and it’s called – this has to be a sign – the Planet Cynthia Dress, so yeah, More purchases are coming for me soon.
So far so good!
I am in love with the Lagenlook! I have a pinterest board as well. I’ve bought a few linen pieces…love the long tunics and bought a pair of flowy pants but you can pull them up on the sides(ruche?). SO comfy!!! LOVE Grace and Frankie as well!!! I used to wear this look when I was younger and yes, I’ve reached that “certain age” as well…but who cares? If it suits you, it suits you no matter how old or young. I think of it as “ARTSY” for sure and not “FROMPY!” even if my hubby might disagree…LOL
THe pants I bought were called: Bryn Walker lightweight linen Ruched Pant…really cute!
Yes I’ve seen a lot of Bryn Walker; more expensive than Oh My Gauze but a bit ‘fancier’ as well. Such cute stuff! As I said, I’m still playing around with how to wear it and what works best on me. It takes awhile since it’s such a departure from my normal attire. But I’m having fun learning!
My husband likes it, actually. I think he likes all the long, loose stuff. It’s very creative and unusual for sure. What’s your Pinterest board – so I can follow it 🙂
Thanks for following my board! 🙂
Have you watched the series OUTLANDER? I think some of the lagenlook style has come from that as well. Great series and book regardless.
No, I haven’t seen that one! I will check it out though.
Wow—another “coincidence”…. Back in the late 90’s I was actively involved in manufacturing those type garments you so loved–“you” were the “customer”. What a pleasant wonderful discovery. MY two customers — Laundry by Shelli Segal and Willow Boutique Sweaters. Made right here in New Jersey, USA. Garment dyed coordinates , color matched throughout , knit sweaters ,tops , bottoms and coordinated linen tops , dresses , and bottoms. Terribly difficult to execute with the colors to “match” across cottons (knitted / woven) and woven linens. All these fabrics “dye” with different characteristics within the dye process. To have coordinates of different
fabrics, all garment dyed “to match” …. requires extraordinary “hands on” oversight and knowledge to garner the desired results. It “costs”….and thus it has it’s limited “life” .. Except for the appreciation of fans like you. So good to know. Check out Willow Boutique sweaters on Ebay… I bet you’ll appreciate. Such a pleasure to continue to read along with you. I’m waiting
for the finished pool review ..
The pool is DONE! We swam in it for the first time tonight! 🙂 Such a wonderful surprise I was not expecting when I got home. We love it!!
Shelli Segal – that was a line I used to sell when I worked at Macy’s in high school. I loved it but it was always too big for me and this was before I understood the concept of getting things tailored to fit me. 🙂 So I’m wondering: my main line right now is Oh My Gauze, and it says the clothes are machine washable and dryable on cool…but I’ve read others say machine drying will cause the colors to fade and they really should be hung dry. Is that accurate? I am loving all this stuff right now but I do want to care for it properly. And honestly this new line I’ve discovered is CRAZY inexpensive compared to the CP Shades I used to wear, so I’ve gone a little nuts buying things. Whenever I do take pics it’s going to be quite the show!
Oh and Willow Boutique has cute stuff! Great prices!
Yes, heat could impact colors in a drying process. It depends upon the dye process (too boring
complicated to explain). So I would take the “caution” expressed to heart. Again, can’t wait for
the pool shots. I thought it looked very special thru your early shots.
Just checked Oh My Gauze…. Very nice. Twenty five years “young” !! Lots of hard work here.
I see “individual” items vs. color coordinated “outfits”. A very sensible way to mfg. and manage
inventory at reasonable costs. With the Mexican “peasant style” loosely woven fabrics, and
(if available) a good dye house by local cut and sew shops, it should be “great stuff” … Obviously
your measured opinion. Guys like this really need good customers (and support) from the
likes of yourself. I wonder where its made ? The offshore makers have killed virtually 90% of
any USA makers. The one exception, and he’s (Dov Charney – who I’ve known from his “beginning) in big trouble , mostly because of soft retail climates, American Apparel in Los Angles. The collapse of the industry wiped out the mfgs. of yarns and fabric mfgs. and all related support industries. The States, at this point , couldn’t mfg. for its population. Yet we grow more cotton than ever before (for export !). Come the “big war” , it would have to clothed by the southern hemisphere Peru, being the “quality” supplier. Thanks for reading my rant.
This is really interesting! I am going to respond in more detail later since I am out right now and on my phone but thanks for the great info!
OK well, I’ve definitely been supporting them the past few weeks! LOL. I like how you pointed out the individual pieces that can also be easily coordinated. As much of a clotheshound as I am, I still prefer to have a defined “look” and so when I find a label I love I want it all to match! WHen I wore CP Shades it was literally my entire wardrobe and I can just walk into the closet with my eyes closed, grab a jacket, a top, and a pair of pants and it would ALWAYS work no matter what. They had a few basic shapes they always made every season (alas they no longer make any of them) and then they’d throw in a few unique ones for that collection and introduce lovely new colors, but still – all of it could always work with previous collections too. I loved how easy it was to look put-together! So I am rapidly building a wardrobe of this stuff – like you said, very reasonably priced, much less per piece than the CP Shades! I hope I get to take some photos soon – I have noticed that with the generous sizing there are some pieces I need to get tailored for sure. Lots of their stuff is OSFM so two of the same top can fit differently; one will be a touch too big while the other fits fine. It’s all roomy but it can get TOO roomy for me at times. I’m collection a little pile to take in for alterations soon. 🙂
Thank you ever so much for your “appreciated” reply. As I’ve told your many times before, you would be more than a “natural” on 7th Ave Fashion Centers in NYC and beyond. You just expressed some very “savy” insightful understanding of the garment industry. Even down to your very last sentence seeking alterations. One of my still very best friends is the on site”seamstress”
and sometime sample maker for Victoria’s Secret. (And Tommy Hillfiger , Guess ,++++ over the
years.) She has to alter garments at the “photo shoots” on the models, etc. etc. I see a very
similar understanding / reality on your side with your every day considerations of your wardrobe.
Such a pleasure to be able to see / read the mind of such a “real customer” re. garments made
imagining just what you explained. As always. so many thanks.
Willow Boutique —- They are no more .The Ebay stuff is whats floating around. They were
very pricey $85.00 — $125.00 retail. I was intimately involved with their line and its production.
The “designers” were two gals from Chicago. The product made in Passaic , NJ. Murel Knits.
Drayton Ave, Complex. I throw all this in out of pure nostalgia . Willow had a good run . The gals
“signature” other than the garments , was their novelty (usually big) buttons. Really good
quality, nice stuff. Thanks for the compliments.
One more “note” Per your style “descriptions”, have you heard of Soft Surroundings ? I’ve made
for them. Their Fall catalog looks like you were the stylist/merchandise mgr. ! (I think. And
please excuse me if I’m getting a little too “personal”) Check it out. http://www.softsurroundings.com
if you haven’t already.
Cute stuff there! Gonna try and take some Lagenlook pics this weekend – we’ll see if I make it happen.
I wish I had the guts to dress more like this. I have at least one outfit like this and wear it only occasionally. But I have a hard time finding appropriate pieces. What I think will be flowy is never really flowy and sometimes too tight around my fat parts. Or the stuff doesn’t have that “rich” look that the clothes above do.
It is a rather pricey look, I’ve noticed. Oh My Gauze has great prices compared to other sites I found, while maintaining the nice shapes that make it work. There is another site I found that I like called “Vivid Linen,” slightly more dressy and structured than the gauze, but more expensive. It’s a much more European look and kinda hard to find here. And the European stuff is expensive!!
I bought a really expensive tunic online and didn’t realize how “sticky” the fabric is. Then I thought how cool it would be as an under layer and put a shorter loose top over it. But where to get that . . . .
This top looks cute over longer layers: http://www.ohmygauze.com/gauze-tunic-vanna-discontinued-colors
Those are the sale colors; they also have that top in the non-sale colors for $50. I have two of these and really love to wear them over other tops.
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Did you happen to find the source for the sheer long sleeve shirts that Frankie wore underneath dresses and those great vintage tshirts? I’m looking for that look!
I found these things called Sleevey Wonders, they’re basically just sleeves to put under things, but they have them in a sheer fabric that looks a lot like the ones she wears! You can google it and find the company 🙂
They are the tops that I want also! So flattering to the arms. Or, more likely, Lily exercises for those arms. Anyway, I will look that company up. Thank you.
HI, just found your site. The items you describe are so much like what I wore in the early 80’s.
But recently I found a site http://www.gundrunsjoden.com. She is Swedish, loves color and loose styles. She does have a shop in NYC and in several European cities. But, she has a small catalogue you can order and get closer pics. The prices are not too bad. If you haven’t seen her things, might wanna give it a look. Thanks for you posts and I do remember CP Shades 🙂
Yes! I have been to that site and put a lot of things in my cart but haven’t bought anything yet. Such cute clothes!! Thanks for stopping by 🙂