MS. MOIRA ROE
COSMOPOLITAN RANCH GIRL
Meeting the super stylish Moira Roe in the sea of thousands of attendees at The Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender was a chance encounter. Poised and graceful with an understated vintage Hollywood glamour, at first glance she resembled an actress who had walked off a 1940s western movie set. And shortly after that encounter, we stumbled upon the Toronto-based beauty on Instagram and knew that we must feature her on our Ponyboy site. The stunningly unique images of a meticulously dressed woman in her beautifully decorated home just demanded attention and we knew we must share them with our followers. All photography courtesy of Moira Roe. https://www.instagram.com/msmoeroe/?hl=en
PONYBOY: Moira, we just love your unique, vintage style! When did you start buying and wearing vintage clothing?
MOIRA ROE: Why, thank you. My first recollection would be at about 14 years of age with a group of friends who introduced me to the local Salvation Army Thrift Store in the small town I went to high school in. I remember picking out a green wool sweater without a lot of shape to it, maybe it was circa 1960s; it was during the start of the grunge era. It was a very modest start. From that point, once I left country life and moved to Toronto as a student, vintage shopping became far more accessible.
PONYBOY: Your look is very vintage western-inspired. Tell us about your love for this style.
MOIRA ROE: It could possibly be rooted in my childhood with time spent in the countryside on horseback. Later on I guess I was taken by the wardrobe and characters from the golden age of Hollywood and early TV shows. I recall being determined to find a hat styled like those worn by the six-shooter toting dudettes of the silver screen. And I did. I found myself the best little Pigalle palm leaf rodeo hat at the local vintage shop. And my collection very slowly grew from there.
PONYBOY: From what we’ve seen from your photos, we can say that you have some incredible pieces. Where do you find your clothing?
MOIRA ROE: The advent of online shopping really helps make it possible to find unique pieces without traveling. These days I probably make most of my purchases online from Facebook, Instagram, Etsy, and eBay. And I do also hit the local vintage shops in Toronto from time to time for some in-person shopping. And trips just south of the border often turn up some good finds. Even better sometimes a seller will find me with something right up my alley. What is sold in vintage shops tends to be very regional. It’s a shame dude ranches weren’t the trend in Ontario, unlike places in the Western USA. So I don’t see much western wear show up through local estate sales, whereas there are certainly plenty of Mary Maxim sweaters to be found locally.
PONYBOY: We saw in one of your Instagram posts a vintage pattern. Do you make some of your clothing as well?
MOIRA ROE: I do indeed. I sew and I’m a fairly avid knitter. I am far more confident with knitting needles than a sewing machine, but if I’m really inspired to have something I will make sewing happen. In an ideal world, I’d spend far more time sewing than I do. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. I commute to work on public transit, so I can easily get time in, consistently, working on a knitting project while I ride the bus or subway. It really makes the whole transit ordeal more tolerable and the time productive. My focus is on the 1930s and 1940s hand knit designs.
PONYBOY: The photos are quite extraordinary. Do you use a self-timer? Or does someone shoot them for you?
MOIRA ROE: Thank you. I do shoot most of them myself using a timer. Although it can be kind of tricky to set up shots, I do like having complete control of the situation.
PONYBOY: We thought for sure that you might be a stylist or designer. However, that’s not the case. What’s your profession?
MOIRA ROE: I’m glad I fooled you. As a young art school student my current job certainly is not anything I could have fathomed; working in public service as a Business Officer for film and television tax credits. Apparently, you can take the girl out of art school but you can’t take the artiness out of the girl. I did work as a jeweler and goldsmith for the earlier part of my life though. In high school, I always saw myself working in textiles, but when I had the opportunity to work with metal in art school my affinity for the medium took over. That being said, I’ve never really gotten over textiles.
PONYBOY: The interiors of your home, the backdrops you use, really compliment the images. It’s up there with a highly produced fashion shoot. Did you decorate yourself with vintage finds?
MOIRA ROE: That is truly flattering. Yes, indeed it’s my eye, handiwork and collecting all put together. I moved into my house in 2007 and over the years my collection of art and decor has evolved and many hours have been spent planning, painting, arranging, fixing, finishing, sewing, upholstering, and renovating. It’s undeniably one of my creative outlets and it continues to evolve.
PONYBOY: You also have an Etsy account where you sell some of your finds?
MOIRA ROE: I do indeed list items from time to time: www.etsy.com/ca/shop/MissEasyComeEasyGo
PONYBOY: Tell us about your musician husband.
MOIRA ROE: Sure. When Mark is not playing jazz guitar or something on one of his many other instruments, he is teaching music classes to high school students. He is also an avid collector of old instruments and gear and has a great appreciation for tone. I’ve unquestionably learned a thing or two from him about guitars, players, theory, history, and gear. He’s even inspired me to squeeze out a note or two, but I won’t make you listen to that.
PONYBOY: And finally, out of all the old school design houses, who would you say is your favorite? And are there any designers now that interest you?
MOIRA ROE: I do really admire Schiaparelli’s surrealist-influenced designs. But really being a lover of western wear, Nathan Turk would be at the top of my list. I also love that he and other rodeo tailors were Jewish immigrants who brought with them their old-world Eastern European tailoring skills and embroidery traditions and perfected the quality and aesthetic for Western attire. That being said, it is refreshing to see embroidery work done today by Vines of the West using an antique chain stitch machine to create designs reminiscent of the golden era of western wear.