C.late 1930s/early 1940s red straw hat: Frugal Frocks
Silver tone metal and imitation turquoise rhinestone earrings: Claire's
Teal blue cropped cardigan: Thrifted
Vintage aqua coloured plastic maple leaf brooch: Broesj
Short Sleeve 1947 Dress: c/o The J. Peterman Company
Light aqua coloured plastic bangle bracelets: Claire's (I think; had for years)
c. 1950s/1960s red plastic twisted bangle bracelet: eBay
Natural Straw Tote With Flowers: c/o The J. Peterman Company
Red patent faux leather pumps: Payless
Lip colour: MAC Russian Red
Nail colour: Sally Hansen Mellow Yellow
Photography by Tony Cangiano
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If the name J. Peterman Company sounds familiar, say circa a couple of decades ago, but you can't quite place it, there's a very good chance that you're remembering it from the roll this real life brand played in the wildly popular sitcom series Seinfeld.
For part of that show’s run, the character of Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) worked for The J. Peterman Company and no doubt many, especially those outside of the States, thought that it was a fictional brand, created as part of the show's plot.
I can't recall precisely when I learned that such was not the case and that the J. Peterman Company was indeed a real life, fresh and blood (or at least fabric and buttons) brand, but it was a good many years ago now and the fact that they were such has always delighted me - just as their inventory of elegant goods, coupled with what has to be the most appealing online catalog I've ever seen, does as well.
The J. Peterman Company was founded nearly three decades ago now, back in 1987, when I was a mere slip of a child. It was launched by a dynamic chap named, as one might imagine, John Peterman, who on top of being a minor league ball player, was a passionate entrepreneur who wished to tap into the vogue, at the time, for high end safari and travel related styles.
From the very get-go, the company has been embed with a sense of whimsy and history, while also being firmly grounded in the here and now.
Their catalogs are world famous for their ingenuity - a marriage of beautiful drawings and photographs alike accompany the products contained within - and the descriptive, engaging stories that bring each product all the more to life. The combination of these elements give their catalogs, and website, a novel-like quality that is vastly appealing and still wonderfully unique amongst their peers.
In a way, the J. Peterman Company is hard to sum in a single sentence, and surely that has been part of their appeal and ability to ride out nearly thirty years of epic changes in the fashion world to still remain a strong player in such.
With items, the brand happily refers to as "uncommonly good stuff", sourced from the furthest corners of the globe and chicly curated in their catalog and on their website, there is a great deal to appreciate and delight in when viewing J. Peterman's sophisticated offerings.
The sense of classicism that pervades the brand's products - which include menswear, women's wear and home goods - lends it an instant vintage inspired feel and indeed, many of their offerings are intentionally created to be vintage reproduction or heavily vintage influenced pieces, which helps to make J. Peterman a brand that should be on any yesteryear fashion fan's radar.
I've long admired the company's offerings and was genuinely surprised and thrilled alike when a representative from J. Peterman contacted me earlier this year to see if I'd be interested in working together.
After lapping up every beautiful illustration and wittily written word in their online catalog, I promptly agreed and had a splendid time selecting two items - the Short Sleeve 1947 Dress and the Natural Straw Tote With Flowers - that you see here in these photos.
My review items were promptly shipped and arrived in no time, tucked into a sturdy cardboard box with beautiful branding and packaging throughout. In fact, the dress arrived in a plastic garment bag and on a good quality hanger, something that I don't believe I've ever received from any other brand that I've shopped from or worked with over the years.
Care is clearly put into each item and order, and there was an unmistakable air of luxury to every element of my my shipment - very much including the fashions themselves.
The Short Sleeve 1947 dress, a lively mid-century cut coupled with a punchy multi-colour oversized plaid pattern, instantly appealed to me, not only for its name, but for the vibrant colours it contained.
I knew, based on the measurements provided in its listing, that this would be a very long (re: maxi length) dress on me and that such was a gamble (my hourglass shaped, 5'2" frame doesn't always take kindly to ankle grazing frocks), but the garment so appealed to me that I decided it was well worth the venture. After, all, I figured, surely Mr. Peterman himself would approve of my sense of worldly daring in this regard.
With the bag, which I also knew would be on the generously sized side of things, I was looking for a piece quite unlike any that I presently own, in terms of its dimensions, and this gorgeous straw tote delivered in spades on that front.
Both items are extremely well made. There's quality, care and top-notch workmanship at play with each, and they have the added bonus of playing together very nicely in the scope of the same outfit.
The weather around these parts has been on the grey, rainy, cloud strewn sky side of things a great deal this month and while a a sunnier setting would have been even more ideal for an ensemble this rich in summertime notes, sometimes one simply has to play the cards their dealt.
Thus, to up the warm weather vibe of both these pieces, Tony and I recently hightailed it to a small strip of beach in the nearby town of Peachland to grab some outfit shoots by the water's edge.
It was quite a nippy afternoon and a coat or jacket would not have been out of the question in the slightest, but I didn't want to obscure this charming frock too much, so I opted instead to partner it with a fitted cropped cardigan, which had the added bonus of allowing the matching sash tie style belt that the dress includes to remain visible.
The Short Sleeve 1947 dress is made from (light to medium weight) 100% cotton of a very good quality, that one senses will hold up extremely well over the years. It was, and is, true to the sizing provided by the company and I certainly appreciate the richness of the colour palette it boasts.
Likewise, the (fully lined) tote bag is a premium piece made from buttery soft straw that has none of the roughness, sharp texture or brittle quality that many beach totes made from this classic material are prone to including.
Both pieces are a joy to wear and suit the roasty-toasty months, that will soon reach us, to a true tee, and sincerely wish to thank the J. Peterman Company for both of these sophisticatedly stylish review pieces.
Aside from the very shopable catalog that the brand provides, those (in the States) who are looking to add some of J. Peterman's wonderful offerings to their own closet, may wish to enter the incredibly generous $5,000 Shopping Spree Sweepstakes that the company is currently holding on their website until October 1, 2016.
Even if Mother Nature isn't ready to slip into her summertime threads quite yet around these parts, my own wardrobe of such received a lovely boast care of these two beautifully made offerings from a brand that channels the past, while also continually looking forward.
And which stands, to date, as undoubtedly one of the finest and most intriguing brands I've ever had the pleasure of working with.