Category Archives: Holidays

Vintage Halloween Costumes

I love Halloween.  I’ve always loved it, though I think it was a lot more special when I was a kid back in the 1960s.  That was before people were too afraid to let their kids wander about after dark, dressed in weird clothing and begging for candy.  Today Halloween is “safe” and “organized.”  Not really to my taste, but I do have my memories.

By the time I started trick or treating in the late 50s and early 60s, most of us were buying costumes at the dime store.  They were cheap, and you could “be” pretty much anyone.  One year I was Lucy Ricardo.  Looking back, I can see how cheesy the costumes were.

But go back even further, to the 1920s and 30s, and you’ll see that kid’s costumes used to be downright scary.  The commercially made masks were constructed of a stiffened gauze with the features painted on.  Above you can see a black cat mask from the 1930s.  I found this mask, believe  it or not, in the Goodwill clearance bins.  Since then I’ve seen photos of the entire costume that includes a black glazed cotton jumpsuit and a white ruffled collar.

The costume was in a box like this one, only I do not have the entire box – just the lid.

Today all the photo sites like pinterest and instagram have been full of vintage photos of kids and adults in creepy costumes.  It’s amazing how truly scary some of them are, all without the benefit of stupid fake blood.  I never see these photos when sorting through stacks of them at flea markets, so I’m betting that they are popular with collectors.

In the good old days of the 1980s I collected Halloween decorations, but then someone published a book and the prices soared.  I rarely buy anything to add to the Halloween stuff, but it is interesting that the last two items I bought were things to wear.

I recently bought this crepe paper party hat because it was too good a deal to pass up.  Plus, I really, really like the pumpkin guy.

I spent some time on ebay today, looking at the sold prices of vintage Halloween collectibles.  I only wish all the investments I’ve made in life were as good as the dollars I spent on Halloween tin and paper.  And that does not even take into account all the fun I had finding my treasures.

UPDATE:  My friend Amanda alerted me to a fantastic page of vintage photos of people in costume.

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Filed under Collecting, Holidays, Proper Clothing

Vintage Miscellany – March 31, 2013

I hope that everyone has a new hat for Easter, but without the dead birds, or live birds for that matter.

*   Tonight is the US debut of Mr. Selfridge, the story of the founder of  London’s  Selfridges department store.  I’ve heard that it is quite good.  PBS Masterpiece Classic, 9 pm ET.

*   Celine’s Phoebe Philo takes inspiration from Geoffrey Beene, 2004.

*   I really bet there is more to this story of Francesca di Damon designer Frances Rappaport and a family dispute.

*   The story of Willis and Geiger, the “Lost” expedition clothing brand.

*    Here’s a great reason to travel to Washington, DC, this summer – the National Gallery is hosting a huge exhibition on the art and costumes of the Ballet Russes.  May 12 through September 2, 2013.

*  The Savannah College of Art and Design is holding their annual event, SCADStyle and they have a great line-up this year with Betsey Johnson, Stephen Burows, Pat Cleveland, Lisa Vreeland and Fern Mallis.  April 15 – 19.

*   Jody at Couture Allure has written a good biography of largely forgotten designer, Nelly de Grab.

*  And Jenn at Hatfeathers profiles the other Nelly - Nelly Don.

*  An article at Forbes tells how Jen Guarino bought a dying  100+ year old leather goods company, J.W. Hulme,  and turned it into a $5 million a year business.

*   Ghosts of D.C. found some super photos from the Library of Congress  of girls in 1899 exercising in a gym.

*   The April issue of American Vogue features the 1950s inspired clothing of spring 2012 in a fashion feature based on the Hitchcock film, Rear Window.     Starring Tobey Maguire and Carolyn Murphy, it’s beautifully staged by Grace Coddington.  Weirdly, the name of the film is not mentioned until the ninth page of the story.  I can’t help but wonder if the connection to that movie was immediately obvious to readers who are not classic film fans, or is the imagery from Rear Window so much of pop culture that they did not need to identify the “classic Hitchcock film.”

* Last of all, with all the talk of the death of Google Reader  I decided to take a closer look at Bloglovin’, the site where many people say they are retreating to for their blog feed.  I signed up for Bloglovin’ years ago, but honestly, have never used it.  But after seeing how easy it was to see blog updates in one place, it made me wonder why not transfer all my blog links to it.  My gosh, but I am enjoying it, and I was able to follow all but a very few of the blogs I regularly read.  It is a real timesaver.

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Filed under Holidays, Vintage Miscellany

Show a Little Love

I need a Valentine like you,

To help me paddle my canoe!

Gosh, a whole day dedicated to love!  So spend the day doing the things you love, or being with those you love, or just finding something new to love.  And then feel free to share it.  I’ll go first:

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Filed under Holidays

Bonne Annee

Enjoy this first day of a new year!

Thanks to Poppy’s Vintage Clothing for the great postcard!

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Filed under Holidays, Winter Sports

Greetings!

I hope each of you has a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday.  Thanks so much for reading The Vintage Traveler, and for making this such a fun experience for me.

It’s time to relax, put your feet up and just enjoy the season!

Vintage card by Hallmark

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Vintage Miscellany – December 23, 2012

I love Christmas cards, and I especially love vintage Christmas cards.  So here’s a little greeting from the 1920s.  I hope you take some time for yourself over the next week.  I’ve learned that holidays are best when savored, not when frantically rushed through.

And now, some links to entertain you with that cup of cocoa or glass of wine:

*   The  Queen Sofía Spanish Institute in New York has done it again, this time with an exhibition on Fortuny.  Get there before March 30, 2013.

*    Some famous people give it all up, go into seclusion, and they are barely remembered.  And then there was Greta Garbo.  71 years after she retired from film-making, and 22 years after her death, her family sold some of her personal items earlier this month with surprising results.  (In the article I was a bit perplexed at the use of the word “starlet”.  Shirley Temple was a “starlet”; Garbo was a STAR.)

*   WWD has named “Moral Hazard” as the number 1 fashion business news story of 2012.  You may not be able to read the article if you do not subscribe, but I thought this was important to at least mention.  It is past time for the fashion industry to wake up on the issues of dangerous working conditions for clothing construction workers worldwide.

*   Vogue: The Editor’s Eye, has been showing on HBO, and it is quite interesting.  I would show you the official trailer, but this clip is much more entertaining.

*   Blogger Jo at Joyatri asked some people to tell about their favorite vintage labels, and mine was included.

*   I was fascinated by this page of fabrics from the Soviet Union in the 1920s and 30.  As expected, there are lots of tractors and factories and other such symbols of “The Worker”, but also check out the sporting motifs.  Amazing that such stuff can come out of such an atmosphere.  Thanks to Tina at What I Found for the link.

*   This actually deserves an entire post, but I’ll share it anyway.  Take 30 minutes or so and watch this video in which Valerie Steele describes fashion as a giant Hoover sucking up many influences from around the world.   With all the talk about cultural appropriation, I thought her comments on global fashion provide a lot of food for thought. (Though this was posted recently, it has to be a bit older as she talks about Galliano being at Dior.)

*   Here are lots of vintage photos showing the people of Toronto having fun in the snow.

*    Jayne Shrimpton analyses an interesting photo of a sports team.

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Filed under Holidays, Vintage Miscellany

Brooks Brothers Ad, 2011

I should have known this ad for Brooks Brothers wool scarves and sweaters was staged, really I should have.  I mean, whoever heard of singing lambs anyway.

View the second video only if you want your illusions shattered.

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Filed under Curiosities, Holidays