Mighty Closet, Catie Nienaber


Catie and I have known each other for a few years, and some of you will remember her from Camp Mighty. She runs Dronning Vintage, and is so tall and striking that I always notice her around town.

Mai shot these a while ago, and now Catie’s style incorporates a lot of modern pieces as well, but here’s what she has to say about her affection for vintage clothes:

Being an online vintage shop owner means I am utterly surrounded by my work at all times. I operate the business out of my home, and it’s not unusual to see hand-washed dresses hanging from the shower curtain rod to drip dry, or receipts and checklists stacked on a tower of hat boxes.

The apartment building I live in was built in 1923, and I love that so many of the original details, like glass doorknobs, the enamel bathtub, and the picture frame moulding that wraps around every wall, are still intact. I don’t wear vintage every day – it’s too delicate for what my real life entails – but when I do, I feel that much happier in my home. Sometimes I go all out and do my hair and makeup in a vintage style, too. Soft waves or victory rolls are my favorite.

This simple late 1950s/early 1960s cotton day dress is super comfortable.

I dressed it up with Miu Miu kitten heels, but I would just as easily wear it with ballet flats (maybe from Tieks or Repetto).

I especially love when mid-century dresses have a belt because I like accentuating my waist.

This late-1940s rayon blouse has palm trees and surfers on it. The blouse is a little on the short side so I always wear it with higher-waisted trousers. Although these pants have a ’40s-style influence to them, they are in fact from the 1980s.

The platform sandals are also 1940s though.

I got the fresh gardenia from a flower stand in downtown San Francisco, you can find them at most stalls in the city.

This red 1950s Suzy Perette dress is a great example of how Christian Dior’s New Look influence trickled down into mid-price American design houses, with its huge skirt and smaller waist.

Bag is from Tory Burch.

These black and cream heels are from Miu Miu. It’s very rare that I have vintage shoes that are big enough to fit my feet, and Miu Miu usually has strong vintage styling in their designs. If you don’t want to shell out for a brand new pair, you can get some very gently worn ones on eBay quite often so watch for deals.

Celluloid was a popular and affordable material used for making jewelry in the 1930s and 1940s and these days the pieces are quite collectable. I have a nice collection of animal novelty pins and brooches and this celluloid parrot is a great one.

These butter-yellow 1950s shorts are made of soft, very fine-wale corduroy.

The blouse is Miu Miu, as are the loafers.

I’ve had them resoled several times because I wear them so often. Cobblers are more and more rare these days so if you find a good one, give them your business!

The story behind this suit is amazing. Someone took a 1940s wool suit and expertly dismantled it, eventually flipping it upside-down, making the jacket into a skirt and the skirt into the jacket.

I call it the Surrealism Suit.

I wore it with a 1940s hat and simple, classic Christian Louboutin heels.

Like a lady. Catie, thanks so much for showing us your amazing closet. If you’re a vintage devotee, have a look at Catie’s shop, Dronning Vintage.

Photos by Mai Le of Fashioni.st.

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