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.


Filed under Vintage Miscellany

Shopping with the Vintage Traveler

It’s time for another edition of shopping adventures in which I show some interesting things I spotted, but that I did not buy.  The photo above was taken at the Liberty Antiques Festival last month.  This seller had tubs and tubs of textiles and old clothes and yes, I did manage to find a few wonderful things.

One thing I passed on was a pair of men’s wool swimming trunks with this label.  It was such a great example of a woven label, but I really can’t start buying things just for the label, can I?

I loved this official souvenir of the Ice Capades.  I would have loved it more at the original price!

One vendor at Liberty had stacks and stacks of super woolen fabrics.  I managed to limit myself to just one fantastic piece, which I’m sure you’ll see somewhere down the road when I get around to sewing it.

I spotted this in a local antique mall, and it was labeled as an Edwardian jacket.  I would have loved to be able to examine it, as to me it looked like it was made from old embroidered table linens.  I could be wrong, but all the square mitered corners just gave it that appearance.

I’m crazy about unusual display pieces and mannequins, and so this vintage little girl fits into that category.

This fantastic twig furniture set is for the cabin in the woods that I do not have.

I’m guessing that this Revlon make-up display is from the late 1950s or early 60s.  The sales person had to get the products from the back of the case, and that sure did help eliminate the shoplifting problem.

I tried to find a reason to buy the velvet and sequined beret.  It was from Hattie Carnegie.

The scarf I found at a local shop was indeed Hermes, and was priced quite attractively.  This proves I have strong willpower.  You also get a nice look at my vintage Converse All Stars.

I loved this shop sign, but what would someone do with something this large?

Finally, my favorite find of the month, a WWI poster encouraging the many women workers to ride their bicycles to work instead of taking a motor vehicle.  It’s interesting how this one does not reference the woman’s patriotic duty, but instead focuses on the benefits of cycling.



Filed under Shopping

Ad Campaign – Jantzen Kharafleece, 1951

That wonderful top-to-toe look…

it’s Kharafleece



and match-mate


all together now-

heavenly sweaters and skirts

in Jantzen-exclusive

Kharafleece: purest virgin

worsted wool, nylon and

miracle vicara… cashmere soft…

washable… practically

wrinkleproof.  And stunning sox for an echo!

The question in my mind was what the heck is vicara?  I had seen the fiber listed on sweaters from the 1950s, but I’d never really given it a lot of thought.  As it turns out, vicara is a protein fiber that is extracted from corn.  Those twentieth century chemists were nothing if not creative.

As were the ad copy writers.  See how they tied together vicara and cashmere?  It’s enough to make you think there was a vicara goat.


Filed under Ad Campaign

Catalina Official All America Board of Football Sweater Vest, 1940s

If it were up to me, this label would read “Bored of Football” but then if everyone were like me there’d not be lots of old athletic sweaters to covet.  I’ll admit, I bought this mainly because I thought the label added a lot to the story.

As you can see, this sweater is official, of what though, I’m not entirely sure.  Googling brought up some vague references to a Board of Football helping to select the All American college players for each year.  Unfortunately, I soon got bored with the search and decided to just focus on the sweater.

Athletic letter sweaters are a fairly commonly found item.  Unfortunately, the moths often find them first, as I’ve found many that were nibbled beyond repair. There is a reason these are so common, as the letter sweater was a standard trophy for not only high school and college football players, but also for cheerleaders, basketball players, track runners and even band members.

Older athletic sweaters, before the mid 1930s or so, tend to be pullovers.  My 1936 Lowe & Campbell Athletic Goods catalog has both pullovers and cardigans, for both men and women.  They are called warm-up pullovers and coats.  Later athletic sweaters, from the late 1950s or so, are often made from acrylic yarn.


It’s such a nice hefty knit.  My color here is wrong though.  The real color is what you see in the top photo.  I obviously have not mastered the art of color balance.

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Filed under Collecting, Sportswear, Winter Sports

Style and Influence: First Ladies’ Fashions

I usually share links to other sites during my Vintage Miscellany posts, but this video is so interesting (and so long) that I thought it deserved a bit of extra attention.  This is a video of an event that was held in Washington, DC last week.  Hosted by the US National Archives, it is a conversation about the fashions of the First Ladies.

The moderator is Tim Gunn of Project Runway, along with Valerie Steele of the Museum at FIT, Lisa Kathleen Graddy of the First Ladies Collection at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, and fashion designer Tracy Reese who has dressed Mrs. Obama.  Each participant brought an interesting perspective and set of knowledge, and Gunn kept the program moving.

Many of the clothing examples shown came from the Smithsonian’s collection.  For years there was a wonderful exhibition that started with Martha Washington and featured a dress from each First Lady.  They were all lined up in chronological order and it was an excellent timeline of two hundred years of fashion.

Several years ago this exhibition was taken down and was reinstalled as a sampling of clothes and personal items from the First Ladies.  I’m so glad that I got to see the First Ladies in all their glory, as the new exhibition is not nearly so impressive.  It is, however, wildly popular.  I was there last spring and had to squeeze into the smallish gallery along with busloads of field-tripping schoolgirls.  Still, it is a must-see exhibition for the visitor to Washington.

The question was asked of the panel participants: “Which First Lady’s style do you most admire?”  To me it is Dolley Madison, if only for the fact that she came from the North Carolina backwater and was reared as a Quaker, and went on to be one to the style leaders of her day.  Feel free to answer the question in the comments, and do yourself a favor and take an hour and a half to enjoy this program.



Filed under Proper Clothing

September in Review

I love September.  It’s warm enough that one can pretend that it is still summer.  But not October.  Today was blustery and quite chilly, and there is no doubt that summer is over.  Before long I’ll be excited about snow.

The wolf dressmaker’s form was up for silent auction at my local Habitat for Humanity.  I gave up at $265, as it was a bit too small for me to actually use.  Still, it was an incredible find.

Welcome to Frog Level.  This is an old warehouse area in Waynesville that has been made commercial.  There is a great coffeehouse and a new brewery, plus the best thrift store in town.

I love having lunch outside, and so many restaurants now offer outdoor seating during the warm days.  This is at my favorite local coffee shop, Panacea, in Waynesville.  Out back is the best seating in town, on the banks of Richland Creek.

Back in the day, lunch in Asheville might have been at the S&W Cafeteria.  Now the top floors have been converted into condos.  There’s at least one unit left:  1000 square feet for half a million dollars.  Not too many years ago the entire building could have been bought for a fraction of that.

This 1930s Vogue was a lucky flea market find.  These are getting harder and harder to find.

I got all dressed up in my favorite Marimekko dress just to go to lunch with my husband.  And I took the photo without straightening the room just so you would know I’m keeping it real.

I called this a crime against mannequins.  Can you just imagine the time (and glue sticks) it took to do this?  Why?

Here’s a photo of the lucky bins at the Liberty Antiques Festival, where I found the gym shirt and some other really great sports clothing.  There must have been twenty boxes and bins full of old textiles and clothes.

A great thing about fall is that it is apple season.  This is the exterior of the Barber’s Orchard Fruit Stand, built in 1932.  The apples are good, but we go for the cider doughnuts.

And as always I leave you with the beautiful Carolina sky.


Filed under Viewpoint

1920s Spalding Ted Shirt

Last week I got to take in the big Liberty, NC Antiques Fair.  Actually it is more like a big flea market where most of the stuff is old.  It’s usually not the best place to find clothes because it is outside and some dealers don’t like to exhibit clothing out in the weather, but I have found some fabulous things there over the years.

The first booth I came to had the dealers still pulling bins of textiles off their truck.  There must have been over a dozen big plastic binds full of clothing and linens from the past 125 years.  According to the seller they cleaned out the clothing from an estate and this was everything in the house.  There was no rhyme or reason to the packing of the bins.  You might have one with Victorian underwear and 1940s kids’ clothes together.

So I settled in to go through all the bins, and I was rewarded with some really interesting items.  One was this shirt from sportswear maker, A.G. Spalding.  It looks a bit odd, kind of like a shirt with legs.  I knew I’d seen a similar one in an ad in a 1929 EveryGirl’s magazine.

As you can see, in this ad from Man O’ War, it was called a ted shirt, which I assume is a cross between a teddy and a shirt.  Even though it is shown without a bottom in the ad, I assume it would be worn with bloomers.

I think this ted shirt is also from the late 1920s, with the popular round collar that is also seen on dresses from this era.  Also, the label is very similar to another Spalding suit from the late Twenties that I have in my collection.

Note how the top of the opening is shaped like a V and fastens beneath the collar.

As in the ad, there are curved shirt tails.

It looks like the purpose of the ted shirt was to keep the tails of it neatly tucked inside the bloomers, rather like the bodysuit of the 1970s.

Click to enlarge

Here’s the entire ad.

I’ll be sharing some of the other great sportswear I got from this dealer in the coming days.


Filed under Curiosities, Sportswear