Category Archives: Vintage Miscellany

Vintage Miscellany – December 7, 2014

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I could not resist this recently found photo of three sailor girls.  It’s the oldest photo I have that shows women wearing slacks.  The photo is not dated, but there are a few clues.  First, there are those odd hair styles.  In the late teens and into the twenties when brave women were bobbing their hair, their less brave sisters were  cutting their hair short in the front and on the sides, but leaving it long in the back.   They then rolled up the long part to make it look short.

Another hint is the shoes.  The young woman on the left is wearing a 1910s boot, but the other two look as if they are wearing  Keds.  I have an ad from 1919 that shows this very style.

Finally, there is the number “23” handwritten on the back of the photo.  That might possibly be the date.  At any rate, it is a great early example of women were easing into pants.

And now for the news…

*   I’ve already posted about the Chanel Metier d’art show, and the French TV show connecting the dots between Chanel and the Nazis.  The program is on youtube, but it is in French.  If anyone finds it with English subtitles, I’d sure appreciate a link.

*   Chanel replied to this program with an arrogant “So what?” and I can almost forgive them because of all the money they have invested in saving the various little ateliers in Paris that supply Chanel and the rest of the couture.  When watching these workshops at work, I  do want to forgive Chanel for their crazy cult of Mademoiselle.

*   And do not miss the making of some very remarkable tweed.

*  If you were planning to give the gift of LL Bean boots this Christmas, I hope you have bought them already, as  there is not a waitlist of over 100,000 names.

*   The Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum in Stowe, Vermont, has a great-sounding exhibition underway: Slope Style: Fashion on Snow 1930-2014.

*   There’s a new Harris Tweed that gives off the aroma of whisky.  Really.

*   The Museum Association in Great Britain has reported that one in ten museums considered selling items from their collection this past year in order to get needed revenue.

*   “When Forever 21 settles a dispute over copying — which, again, the company has done more than 50 times in its 27 years of existence — it typically includes a non-admission of guilt, financial compensation to the designer whose work was copied, and a confidentiality agreement.”  Article at Jezebel.

*   After being closed for what seems like forever, the Cooper Hewitt in New York City will reopen on December 12 with several interesting sounding exhibitions.

*   A look at the making of Brahams Mount blankets, located in Maine.


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Vintage Miscellany – November 23, 2014

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I’m pretty sure that the letters on this 1940s cheerleader’s sweater read “BMCD”.  Does anyone have a clue what the letters mean?  A search for BMCD leads to Bishop McDevitt High School, so it could be Bishop McDevitt Catholic, but what does the D mean?

This photo must be enlarged to get the full impact of the football players, and especially the young women sitting on the ground with their fantastic coats.

For those of us not interested in football, there is always the fashion news.

*   Probably the biggest news of the past two weeks was that designer Ralph Rucci has left his own label.   Such a shame, really.

*   Most of us cannot afford to have a suit custom-made on Savile Row, so why should we care about its  decline?

*   Scottish tweed maker Campbells of Beauly has changed hands for the first time in 158 years.

*   Here are fifteen things you most likely did not know about clothing during World War I.   The information comes from a new book, Dressed for War: Uniform, Civilian Clothing & Trappings, 1914 to 1918, written by Nina Edwards.  I’ve read the book, and need to do a review.  It’s about so much more than clothing, and it paints a vivid picture of the hardships both at home and in the trenches.

*   North Carolina is becoming a leader in eco-textiles.

*   Curious about the early history of the sewing machine?

*   Need an excuse to go to Paris?  Pierre Cardin has opened a fashion museum.

*   The newest weapon in the fight against fake designer goods is your smartphone.

*   The Guardian printed trying to explain why fashion keeps reviving old brands.

*   Not fashion, but completely incredible: Children of Civil War Vets still walk among us.

And finally, I have my temporary Etsy shop up and running.  I’ve been listing patterns and books, and I have much more to sell in the next month, so please check it for patterns, fabrics, linens, and a few pieces of vintage clothing.  All the money made goes to support this site and my archives.


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Vintage Miscellany – November 9, 2014

There’s nothing like a rousing game of croquet on a Sunday afternoon.  I cannot say why the woman in the center appears to be lifting her skirt so high.  It could be that she is just holding a cloth.  But do note the girls and the length of their dresses.  The very young girl on the right has a skirt that just skims her knees.  There are what looks to be two older girls in the background, as their skirts are just a little longer.

And now for the news…

*   The Patagonia company is getting serious about sustainability.

*   The fabric of the frontier: How textiles help us understand the American West.

*   John Galliano lost his suit against Dior for unfair dismissal.

*   There are times when I read something and I just jump up and shout, YES!”  It looks like skinny jeans may really be on their way out.

*  And even more good news: Barbara Hulaniicki is returning to designing for the label she started, Biba. Thanks to Jonathan for the link

*   What do you think happened to a woman who wore slacks to a courtroom in 1938?

*   Ann Demeulemeester discussed life after fashion: “It is the first time I don’t feel like I have a rope around my neck.”

*   I’d never heard of Maria Kipp, but her story is fascinating. Thanks to Mod Betty for the link.

*   A lot is written about how authentic – or not – movie and television costumes are, and this great post shows some examples.  It makes me wonder if all the retro sewing that is happening now will cause a lot of confusion for collectors in the future.

*   How about those matching Korean sweethearts?

*   All I can say is WHY?   The Paul Poiret name is up for sale, and a revival of Courrèges is under way.

*   Okay, this has nothing to do with fashion, but I’ve got to agree somewhat.  Twitter mourning is tacky.


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Vintage Miscellany – October 26, 2014

After showing off those riding pants earlier in the week, I thought I ought to show how the garment looked on a woman in the 1930s.  Now that is a sharp look!

And now for the news…

*   One of the problems that US makers have found in their quest to be more sustainable is that very little organic cotton is grown in the country.  Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin and designer Billy Reid solved the problem by planting their own field.  And more about the project.

*   Yesterday I mentioned how many women first wore pants in their work during WWI.  Today, there is a new generation of women’s workwear that gives a nod to the past. Thanks to Megan T for the link.

*   Converse (owned by Nike) is suing to protect the design of the Chuck Taylor All Star.  Good luck to them, but I can’t see them winning.

*   In the Good News/Bad News department, the wonderful Worn Fashion Journal is calling it quits after ten years.  The good news is that I was interviewed about vintage gymsuits for the final issue.  You can pre-order the last issue and there are some remaining former issues for sale.

*   If you are to be in Madrid before January 18, 2015, be sure to take in the Givenchy retrospective at the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum.  There is a bit of an interview with him at The Guardian.

*   If you’ve been thinking that buying goods from a country like Italy means that they were made under safe and fair working conditions, think again.

*   Jen at Pintucks gives us a great look at the history of Jonathan Logan.

*  I know there are several former and present academics who read The Vintage Traveler, so this one is for you.  First the question was asked of why academics dress so badly.  Then a female academic responded with the problems female academics face in dressing for their profession.

*  The next clothing auction from Karen Augusta is coming up at noon, Wednesday November 12th, at the Landmark on the Park at 160 Central Park West at the corner of 76th Street.  It sounds like a great sale, and I’ll be watching to see how this early Pendleton coat goes, as I have its sister in red, and the Met has one in black.

*   Why older women should become the new selfie generation.  I’m trying.


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Vintage Miscellany – October 12, 2014

It’s here, leaf season. The season we here in the southern Appalachians love and love to hate.  Love, because the mountains are at their most spectacular.  Hate, because everyone who can drives up to look at them.  Of course, you can’t blame them.  It is a special time of year.

And for those of you not caught up in gridlock on the Blue Ridge Parkway, here’s the news.

*  The University of Glasgow recently received a grant to spend on adding to their Scottish textile archive.

*   The next clothing sale at Augusta Actions takes place on November 12, and features six rare pieces from the Beatles’ Apple Boutique.  Click on one of the pieces to see more photos, and take mental notes on the label.  You’ll want to recognize it if you are ever lucky enough to stumble onto a piece.

*   John Galliano has been named creative director of Maison Martin Margiela.  Publicity stunt or genius move?

*   The word “heritage” gets thrown around a lot by clothing companies, but there are quite a few companies with interesting histories that need to be celebrated.  That takes us to Madison Avenue Fashion Heritage Week where  sixteen Madison Avenue luxury  stores will decorate their windows with a nod to the company history.  The windows will be on view from October 20th through the 26th, and there is a phone app to help with interpretation (available October 16th).  I hope to see pictures.

*   Michelle Obama finally wore an Oscar de la Renta dress and so everyone had to analyze it.

*  Mrs. Obama also held an event at the White House called the Fashion Education Workshop in which fashion students and major players from the world of fashion spent the day together talking the fashion business.  It ended with a talk by Obama and a panel discussion with several of the First Lady’s favorite designers and Jenna Lyons which you can view on Youtube.  It’s really interesting to hear what these people have to say to fashion students, thought I’m a bit tired of Diane von Furstenberg’s empowerment message. And don’t read the comments.

*  There is a new exhibition at the Phoenix Art Museum, Fashioned in America, that celebrates the American fashion industry and American designers.  See it now through March 15, 2015.

*  The Guardian had an interesting article about used clothing donations and how charities have to compete with for-profit clothing recycling businesses.  I find it hard to believe that any charity like Goodwill is suffering for lack of donations, as I see how much goes through the outlet center without ever being sorted.

*    Fashion journalist Teri Agins has a new book out, Hijacking the Runway, which is about how celebrities are becoming more and more part of the stories surrounding fashion.  As an example, at the recent Paris fashion shows there was more attention focused on Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, and daughter North West than on the shows they attended.

*  In a recent password change, I somehow “lost” access to my Vintage Traveler Pinterest pages.  I decided it was no great loss and have set up new boards under my old Fuzzylizzie account.  It will be strictly photos of my vintage collection and is a work in progress.


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Vintage Miscellany – September 28, 2014

To our modern eyes, these three women look a bit overdressed to be going for a bicycle ride, but look a bit closer and you can see that they are making some adjustments in their dress for the occasion.  Compare the length of their skirts to the woman’s in the background, and you see that theirs are several inches shorter.  Except for the woman in the middle, they have chosen hats that are less fussy and that have a sporty look.

Today we tend to think of the bicycle as a toy or a tool for recreation, but to these women, the bicycle was serious transportation.  It would be interesting to know where they were headed.

And on to the news…

*   The Fashion History Museum has found a permanent home and will be opening next year.  Congratulations to Kenn and Jonathan.

*   If you are in the UK, the Fashion and Textile Museum has a great-sound new exhibition, Knitwear – Chanel to Westwood. thanks to Brooke for the link

*   John Paul Gaultier just did his last women’s ready-to-wear show, and it brings up the question of whether designers are stretched too thin.

*   I love factory visits, and this one to the Johnstons of Elgin mill is really fun.

*   I am really disgusted with the “Look at me!” tactics of Urban Outfitters.  Please don’t shop there.

*   What does your wardrobe say about you?  thanks to scrapiana for the link

*  The Southeastern Region of the Costume Society of America will be holding their annual symposium in Nashville, Tennessee November 21 -23.  I hope to be there as these symposiums are always very worthwhile.  I’ll have more details later.

*   Museum visits are good for you.

*  And finally, how J.Crew bought the name of a defunct workwear company and turned its history into theirs.


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Vintage Miscellany – September 14, 2014

How did the 1930s woman manage to look so chic?  Even on horseback this woman is tailored and sleek.  Remove boots and breeches, put on skirt, and she’s ready for lunch at the club.  What a life!

*  Last week was New York Fashion Week, and Bill Cunningham noted a trend in the woman’s working uniform.

*  The Metropolitan Museum has announced the theme of next spring’s costume exhibition, Chinese Whispers: Tales of the East in Art, Film, and Fashion.  It sounds interesting, but from reading the press release, it seems like there is to be an overabundance of more modern fashion, with a John Galliano gown being chosen as the cover photo for the release.  With Andrew Bolton as the curator, I think that is what we can expect.

*   The latest product from Louboutin, a bottle of nail polish, costs $50.  How much does it cost to produce it?

*   Jen at Pintucks has added a great visual timeline of 1950s fashions.

*   When in New York, I love walking past the Stoll knitting factory to watch the machines.  It’s an amazing operation.

*   The LA Times had a good article on how the fashion industry there is having to change in order to survive.

*   Some shoppers are beginning to buy less, but spend more per garment.

*   An intriguing new book, Women in Clothes, is reviewed at NPR.  thanks to Brooke for the link.

*   An exhibition at the Canton Art Museum (Ohio) is about art forgeries.  The twist is that the visitor is given the chance to see if he or she can distinguish between the forgeries and the authentic art in the exhibition.  In February it travels to Oklahoma City.

* Lauren of Wearing History is working toward producing a line of vintage-inspired clothing.  She is in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign that is going well, but could use a bit of support.  Even her fabrics are made in the USA!


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