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How to Pull off Vintage '60s Style

Costume designer Ane Crabtree is a self-proclaimed tomboy and lover of menswear tailoring, but you would never know it based on the glamorous, feminine looks she puts together for the girls of Pan Am. Sartorially speaking, the ’60s-set program is probably the most elegant show on network TV. Each of the stars has a unique style, but classic pumps, vintage girdles and corsets, sweet flirty dresses and, of course, those signature cornflower-blue Pan Am uniforms are staples. Crabtree tells Lucky how us modern girls can work a bit of jet-age style into our wardrobes.

1. How can we channel a little bit of the Pan Am style without looking dated?

The easy route, and the most obvious route, would be to wear a beautiful wool sheath dress with a little scarf around the neck, or maybe add a circle-pin to make it more vintage-y. Try a beautiful trench coat, a pencil skirt, a bow blouse, or a turtleneck—all those pieces are so classic. If you add a brooch, a scarf or a ¾ length leather or cotton glove, and maybe even a hat, I think an outfit becomes really beautiful. It’s all in the details: the handbags, the jewelry, the hats. The silhouettes are quite classic, really.

2. What current designers do you recommend for those classic silhouettes?

J. Crew. Always. They have a beautiful sartorial view of things and a beautiful eye for fabrication. Zara is doing some great ’60s stuff right now. I also think that, on the higher-end, Jil Sander’s and Bottega Veneta are great. Burberry always does stuff that is so classic and so beautiful, and Balenciaga was huge, huge, huge in ’63, as was Yves Saint Laurent. I think that they’re still going back to their archives and doing beautiful work today. Blumarine is another one of my favorites and also Alberta Ferretti. And don’t forget the old standbys like L.L. Bean and Ralph Lauren for very Americana type classics for men and women.

3. Can you share any of your secret sources around New York City?

There’s one place in Brooklyn called Bopkat Vintage. It’s a tiny, tiny store in Redhook. Everything is in perfect condition, from jewelry to clothing and even some home stuff. And then upstate I go to Right to the Moon Alice. It’s a giant, giant barn and it’s all vintage clothing. And then Lee Hartwell; he is in Callicoon, New York and is fantastic for jewelry. I just got beautiful stuff for all four girls there. Oh, you know who's also great?! Fabulous Fanny’s in the East Village. They have spectacular glasses, vintage spectacles, and hats.

4. So is the ’60s your favorite era for fashion?

I am a strange bird because I think, like most designers, I become influenced by what I’m working on. My personal style is very sort of tomboyish/depression era. I love menswear tailoring and then I love little boyish 1930s wear. And I really, really love the whole dandy menswear look. But this show is absolutely taking me to a place of extreme femininity, and because that’s also what’s in fashion right now, I can’t help but be moved by it. A dress with a waist or a pencil skirt with a waist is so feminine. And so yes, I’m finding my inner Natalie Wood as we speak. Sincerely. And I don’t mind! I’ve sort of been embarrassed to be that girly before but I’m so surrounded by it that I’m embracing it!

5. Is there one character on the show whose style really speaks to you?

You know, that one is hard because I interject so much of my own personal style into each of them. I love little bits of each girl. I love Maggie’s adventurous spirit; I love Colette’s French take and understatement in her color palette—her sexiness is very understated in a way that, say, Bellini’s women were. I love Kate’s sort of handsome Kate Hepburn look. I would wear that personally all the time. And for Laura, I love her innocent color palette and her shirtwaist dresses and her all-American appeal. I love all of that and connect with all of it. And I love the boy’s stuff, too!

Check out our slideshow for some great pieces to Sixties-ize your wardrobe.

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