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In My Closet: Crystal Hammon

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Name: Crystal Hammon

Her work:A writer and creator of Dressed Her Days Vintage blog.

Her play: "My work is my fun, but when I'm not working, I love to read, play golf and practice yoga."

Closet Cliff Notes: A mixture of vintage coats, purses and jewelry, as well as classic pieces including blouses and wide-leg trousers.

Favorite pieces: All from the 1950s, a pink crochet swing coat; a houndstooth swing coat with a bright red lining; iridescent sequined sweater; a pair of double-square rhinestone earrings; and a red patent leather purse.

Something she'll never have in her closet: Ugg boots. "On the right girl, I'm sure they are awesome, but I've never wanted a pair for myself."

Her style philosophy: "I think my philosophy is rooted in simplicity, practicality and a belief that getting dressed should be an expression of beauty that brings as much joy to others as it does to you. I also think what you wear should be an expression of who you really are, which includes considering your body's design over what happens to be fashionable at any given moment."


Crystal Hammon's fascination with retro clothing and accessories  kicked in following college and she's collected vintage pieces ever since.  - PHOTO BY JENN KRISCUNAS
  • Photo by Jenn Kriscunas
  • Crystal Hammon's fascination with retro clothing and accessories kicked in following college and she's collected vintage pieces ever since.

One of the first memories that writer and fashion blogger Crystal Hammon has is of a little tailored cotton blazer and skinny pants she often wore as a kindergartner.

She loved it so much that she recalls wearing it during a fishing trip as a youngster.

"I fell in the lake that day, so what I was doing wearing a pantsuit in kindergarten and for fishing that day, I really don't know," says Hammon. "But I felt very comfortable in jackets and little blazers, and that ended up being kind of my style as adult."

It wasn't until right after college that Hammon started incorporating vintage clothing and accessories into her style.

Her first two finds? A man's navy-blue tuxedo jacket, with a shawl collar and satin-lined sleeves; and an iridescent sequined sweater from the '50s.

"I loved that jacket and wore it with everything," says Hammon. "Unfortunately, I left it on the back of a chair in a Bob Evans restaurant, and when I went back to get it, it was gone."

Hammon admits the jacket and sweater were the gateway pieces to her love affair with vintage clothing and accessories. Since then, she has kept her eye out for similar treasures.

To say that Hammon has had success scoring cool retro pieces is an understatement. She's known for mixing these pieces from the past with with classic wide-leg trousers and blouses. However, her attention is 1950s accessories.

Crystal Hammon showcases her brown patterned swing coat. - PHOTO BY JENN KRISCUNAS
  • Photo by Jenn Kriscunas
  • Crystal Hammon showcases her brown patterned swing coat.

There's the collection of purses in a range of colors and materials (from floral tapestry to two-toned and red patent leather bags); a closet full of vintage coats; and a mixture of jewelry, including lapel pins, brooches and rhinestone choker and earring sets. She even has a collection of sewing patterns from that era.

"I had this ambition at one point that I was going to sew my way through the entire vintage sewing collection, but that was back then," says Hammon, with a throaty laugh. "I know I could sell them and make a lot of money, but, nope. I just keep them. This is kind of like hoarding."

Hammon's collection is located in various closets and rooms throughout her house. Here's glance at some of her favorite vintage finds.

This '60s pink crocheted coat came from the estate of the first resident of Riley Towers. - PHOTO BY JENN KRISCUNAS
  • Photo by Jenn Kriscunas
  • This '60s pink crocheted coat came from the estate of the first resident of Riley Towers.

Pink crochet coat

"This was hand-crocheted in Portugal, which I think is very cool," says Hammon. "It's got a vibe all its own, and the buttons are amazing. You can just wear it with great trousers and a turtleneck."

The 1960s coat used to belong to a woman who was the very first resident of the Riley Towers. Her nieces were selling the entire collection and called Hammon to see if she was interested in buying any of the garments.

"Sometimes I know the backstory of the clothes and the people who owned them, and sometimes I don't. I really enjoy when I do find out that information," says Hammon. "It just feels so cool. I later regretted that I didn't get her name or more information about her."

Because the coat is crocheted, Hammon says it's not practical for the winter months.

"I can only wear it two months out of the year, in March and April, because it's not warm enough to wear in the winter, and it doesn't look right in the fall," she says. "But for two months out of the year, I've got the perfect coat. So I'm hanging onto it."

Other outerwear Hammon loves:

  • A brown patterned swing coat
  • "I adore this coat. This is the coolest coat, and I have a hat that goes really well with it," says Hammon. "This could be late '60s or early '70s. The buttons are cool, too."


  • Houndstooth swing coat
  • "This also came from the Riley Towers lady. One of the draws of this coat is the houndstooth pattern and the dark red lining inside the coat," she says. "The quality, the fabric and the cut ... it just has so much. It's really one of my favorites."

Hammon's handbag collection is dominated by vintage pieces from the 1950s.  - PHOTO BY JENN KRISCUNAS
  • Photo by Jenn Kriscunas
  • Hammon's handbag collection is dominated by vintage pieces from the 1950s.

A collection of vintage handbags

Hammon has about 25 vintage purses in her collection -- several from the 1950s and a few from the 1960s.

The purses range from floral tapestry to a red patent leather, which is probably her all-time favorite. "It reminds me of a little red pair of patent leather shoes that I had when I was in kindergarten," says Hammon.

Fifties-style handbags are Hammon's favorite, mainly because of the shape. She also enjoys many of the small details of the purses designed back then.

"One funny things about all of them is that they always came with these little coin purses or mirrors," she says. "You can't hold very much in them. Women back then obviously didn't carry these big honkin' wallets."

These rhinestone double square clip-ons from the '50s prove painful but pretty as Hammon's favorite earrings.  - PHOTO BY JENN KRISCUNAS
  • Photo by Jenn Kriscunas
  • These rhinestone double square clip-ons from the '50s prove painful but pretty as Hammon's favorite earrings.

Lapel pins, chokers and earrings

Of all of the vintage jewelry that Hammon owns, it's a pair of double square, clip-on earrings she loves most.

"These are by far my favorite earrings in the world," says Hammon as she pulls them out of a drawer. "You can just put these on with anything and it lights up your face."

Because most women during the 1950s didn't have their ears pierced, most earrings from that era were either clip-ons or screw-ons.

Hammon says the clip-ons are "murder" on the ears, but it's a pain she's willing to endure. "I'll sacrifice one evening of pain for these, because I love them so much."

Iridescent sequined sweater

Tucked away in a bag underneath Hammon's bed is a full sequined, iridescent sweater with a notched collar. Usually worn with a camisole and a pair of off-white or winter white pants, she wears the 1950's sweater every chance she gets.

Her first time, however, was on her first date with her husband.

An iridescent sequined sweater from the '50s holds a special place in Hammon's heart, because she wore it on the first date with her (now) husband.  - PHOTO BY JENN KRISCUNAS
  • Photo by Jenn Kriscunas
  • An iridescent sequined sweater from the '50s holds a special place in Hammon's heart, because she wore it on the first date with her (now) husband.

"What I love most about it is that it says it's a 40. I have no idea how this relates to size because I certainly do not have a 40-inch bosom," says Hammon, chuckling.

Although considered vintage, the lined sweater looks like it could be found in any upscale women's clothing store or boutique today.

That versatility and timeless appeal is what draws Hammon to vintage wear.

"I grew up in the 1960s, but I'm drawn to the 1950s. I think I like the '50s accessories and the '60s clothes," she says. "They transcend time. Most of my great pieces, nobody knows where they came from. You might recognize that they are great pieces, but you're not going to say, 'Hey, that's vintage.' "

Although a collector of vintage wear, she doesn't it do it for the resale value. Hammon wears everything she has.

"(The pieces) aren't sacred, but I do protect them," says Hammon. "If something happens to them, it's OK because it's a miracle that they've lasted this long. (In the meantime), I'm going to give them the best second life that they will have."

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