Vintage clothing, designers topics for Steubenville Club

GUEST SPEAKER — Cadiz resident Kristen Willis of Kristen’s Vintage Clothing, center, was the guest speaker at the April 2 meeting of the GFWC/OFWC Woman's Club of Steubenville held at the YWCA of Steubenville. Her topic was vintage clothing and four pioneering female designers. With her are Iris Craig, left, club president, and member Margaret Brown, who introduced Willis. -- Janice Kiaski

STEUBENVILLE — Carlotta Jordan will lead the GFWC/OFWC Woman’s Club of Steubenville when it begins its 2018-19 club year in September.

The organization’s April 2 luncheon and business meeting at the YWCA of Steubenville was the forum for the announcement when President Iris Craig noted the new slate of officers to come on board in the fall.

Joining Jordan in leadership roles will be Kate Sedgmer, vice president; Marge Bedortha, corresponding secretary; and Sophie Spencer, recording secretary. The office of parliamentarian is to be filled by the incoming president.

The officers will be installed at the club’s final meeting of the 2017-18 club year on June 4 when Pat Ketzell, president of the Southeast District GFWC/Ohio, will be the guest speaker.

The club’s April meeting featured a program on vintage clothing as presented by Cadiz resident Kristen Willis of Kristen’s Vintage Clothing. She was introduced by club member Margaret Brown, who joked that one look in her own closet confirmed a collection of such apparel, including her prom gown from 1961.

Willis said she’s always loved vintage clothing and that, as a child, she collected vintage hats she used to decorate her bedroom.

While she initially thought she might own a children’s bookstore because she is an avid reader, she elected instead to pursue her next love — vintage clothing.

“After obtaining my bachelor’s degree in business and finishing my contract with the military, I started Kristen’s Vintage Clothing,” she said. “My first collection of vintage clothing basically fell into my lap by way of my half-sister’s grandmother when she passed away. She had kept all her fantastic dresses from the 1960s to the 1980s in her finished basement,” Willis said. “She was a very stylish woman who loved fashion and costume jewelry, so thanks to her timeless style and my sister’s giving nature, I started my vintage business with that collection.”

Willis opened her Etsy shop in 2011. Etsy is an e-commerce website.

Guidelines identify vintage clothing as anything 20 years or older “so anything from 1997 and back is considered vintage,” she noted.

“One thing I do love about the vintage world is that all the dealers and vendors want everyone to succeed, so they are more than happy to share their knowledge and history with you, which is something I absolutely love, and so now that I have been in this business a while, I can also contribute to those who are still learning,” Willis said.

“Between them and a lot of research on my own, I have come a long way in the last seven years,” she said.

“I always tell my clients the best thing about vintage clothing is it’s like playing dressup as an adult, but you don’t have to change your clothing when you leave the house.”

Because March was National Women’s Month, Willis devoted her time at the podium sharing insight on four pioneering female designers who paved the way for fashion designers of today.

They included Madeleine Cheruit, Coco Chanel, Jeanne Lanvin and Madeleine Vionett.

Guests at the April meeting included Jessica Elias, Tara Dzvonick and Mary Ann Parker.

Club members will learn about the history of Fort Steuben through guest speaker Andy Celestin at its May 3 luncheon and business meeting at the YWCA, beginning at noon. Celestin is a tour guide at Historic Fort Steuben.