I’ve written a lot on this blog about the book Cheap Chic, and how it was the book that introduced me to vintage clothing. That was in 1975. I was in college, and I found the newly released book at the library. No one else got a chance to read it because I hoarded that book for the next two years until I bought my own copy. I still have it, and I still pull it out from time to time to reread parts of it.
When the book was released forty years ago, I’d never seen anything like it. Most fashion books that I’d been exposed to were advice books for teens, and all were terribly out of date for the late Sixties and early Seventies. But Cheap Chic was relevant to me, a very young woman in the mid Seventies. At that time fashion rules were being broken, with the young (and not-so-young) taking up the wearing of everything from antique underwear to the uniforms of the working class.
To me the biggest value in Cheap Chic today is that it is a good document of how many people in the Seventies were dressing. To completely understand the attitudes toward dressing in that decade, you really must read this book.
But what about the “hundreds of money saving hints to create your own look”? To be honest, much of the content is still relevant, while some of it is now old hat. Still, it is hard not to be inspired by the content, even though a lot of it is a bit quirky. Or maybe we can be inspired because it is quirky. At any rate, the writing is honest and sincere, and very 1970s.
It used to be that to get a copy of Cheap Chic, you had to search for a used copy, but as of yesterday the book is back in print. And the good news is that the publicist for the book has sent a copy to me to offer as a give-away to readers of The Vintage Traveler. All you have to do to put your name in the hat for the book is to leave a comment on this thread. I’ll be taking names until Sunday, September 6 at noon, EDT.
And to encourage participation, here’s a little taste of the contents.
Cheap Chic, by Caterine Milinaire and Carol Troy, 1975