Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Lauren Naimola and I run the Etsy shop DearGoldenVintage. I live in a sweet house built in 1924 with my husband, Chad and our four cats. I’m a lover of goat cheese, old timey gin cocktails, tatted lace, historical novels and films, yoga, woodsy hikes, felted wool, snow, antique malls, bebop jazz and fresh sheets on the bed. I am a big-time neat-nick and can’t stand not having the bed made everyday. I have a bawdy personality and usually laugh louder than anyone in the room. I went to the University of Michigan and graduated with a degree in English, later going to art school and working as a graphic designer for many years. Through it all, I was (and still am) enamored with vintage clothing. I tend to wear mostly vintage and thrifted clothing. I mix up the eras and never really settle on one style or decade I like best. But all said, I get pretty misty at the sight of a late 1930s dress, that’s for sure.
Apart from collecting and curating, what do you do?
My hobby outside of vintage is yoga, which I have practiced for 10 years and taught for a few too; I also like road biking and winter hiking. As corny as it may sound, I love taking trips with my husband and eating our way through new cities. We have known each other since middle school and are the best of friends, so we always have an amazing time.
What would be the title of your memoir? Why?
At first I thought this question was quite hard, but after a while I started coming up with pretty funny memoir titles, and then I couldn’t stop. Please don’t take any of them too seriously!
Bury Me In All of It — Because I love vintage maybe a bit too much, and I don’t want it going to the Salvation Army when I am dead!
Are You Wearing Your Diapers? — That’s what I always say to Duff of Jean Jean Vintage before I show her some amazing vintage piece I found.
Blunt: The Art of the Truth — Because I’m known for telling it like it is.
Do you have any personal collections? How did they start?
For someone who can’t deal with clutter, I have too many! It seems like I start collecting something new every month. But here’s the short list: tatted lace blouses, 1920s dresses, 1930s hats, 1930s-40s knit dresses and Buzza Motto art pieces.
What decade or style inspires you?
There are things about every decade that inspire me, starting with the lace of the Victorian and Edwardian periods.
1920s: The attention to detail in the garments alone is enough to woo even the non-collector.
1930s: The gorgeous cut of a crepe or rayon dress fits so nicely on the body.
1940s: The platform heels are just so damn sexy.
1950s: The structural/architectural construction of the dresses accentuate all the positives.
1960s: The fun of a short 60s party dress is unmatched during the holidays.
1970s: The high-waisted trousers and the whole “college girl” look of the 1970s has always had my heart.
What are the challenges of finding great vintage?
Finding it! There is less and less of it in the world, and the days of old ladies with a closet full of swing dresses is pretty much over. If only I could go back in time, even 15 years ago and just buy every darn thing I could get my hands on — now it’s a struggle to discover vintage clothing at estate sales and thrift stores. Garments often have flaws and it’s almost crucial that you can sew and have experience getting stains out of certain fabrics, otherwise you have to pass up great vintage that could be saved with a little know-how.
What’s the most interesting back-story of an object you’ve acquired?
I once bought a large collection from a woman who lives not too far from me. She is in her eighties, and I spent half the day talking with her and her husband. The woman remembered where she wore each dress. I loved hearing her stories; it was amazing how much she could recall. Her father was pretty high up in the automotive industry in Detroit, so she went to some fantastic events in the 1940s and 1950s. When I know a lot about a garment, I love to let the buyer know — it really adds to the experience of wearing something.
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
I would LOVE to go inside the studio of Jeanne Lanvin in the 1920s. More than art, I love poetry and jazz and I would just freak out if I could:
1) Hang out with Dorothy Parker or Frank O’Hara for evening cocktails.
2) Spend an evening at Minton’s in Harlem in the early 1940s and see Charlie Parker play.
Was there an object that was particularly hard for you to give up? If so, why?
I weep a little when I look at a few of my sold items, asking myself, “What was I thinking? I should not have sold that!”
The list of things I wish I had not sold:
How do you get out of your creative ruts?
If I just get away from feeling immersed in vintage, it all feels fresh again. When I take a break, I usually do a yoga practice, plan a night out with my girlfriends or cook a big batch of soup.
Where would you like to be in ten years?
I love what I do for a living so much that I hope this is what I do for a long while. I’d love to have a giant level of a big old building where I can have color-coded racks of vintage and everything is ultra-organized with a designated photo area, sewing station, laundering area — sort of like an atelier. I hope I still have all the energy to work constantly like I do now. And I hope to have a fridge full of fancy cheeses and a firm yoga butt. (Just kidding. Wait, no I’m not.)