Tag Archives: vintage

Vintage Shopping – Part Two

I your weather is anything like mine (cold and snowing) then you’ll not be vintage shopping this week.  I hope you’ll enjoy instead part two of my virtual shopping expedition.

I thought at first that the above object was a folded hat.  Nope.

It’s a handbag, and a very nice one.  It still has the change purse, comb and mirror, and look at the pristine condition.

This piece of 1940s doggie print rayon fabric was a real heart breaker.  Besides the scattered holes, there were dark stains throughout.  

Hat or wig?  Does it even matter?

This great psychedelic print from the late 1960s was made into a maxi skirt.  

I stumbled across plaid heaven.  Most of these were pleated Pendleton skirts.

This beautiful suit has a label I’d never personally seen before, but thanks to my friend Monica, I knew the story behind the label.

Utah Tailoring Mills made custom fitted clothing for their wealthy clients.  The clothing was ordered through sales representatives across the country who placed the order using the client’s individual measurements and personal preferences.  To finish the garment, a personalized label with the client’s name was attached.

When I spotted this dress, my first thought was Geoffrey Beene.  Instead the label was Teal Traina, where Beene was designer from 1958 through 1963.  My guess is that this dress is later, from the late 60s, but it sure does have a Beene aesthetic to it.



Filed under Shopping, Vintage Clothing

Vera Neumann Jollytop

If you are a newer reader, you might not have realized that I’m a big fan of the work of Vera Neumann.  I’ve done multiple posts on Vera and her scarves and clothing, and just when I thought I’d said it all, a nice surprise lands in my lap.

I spotted this little top on eBay and thought it was so unusual that I bought it.  When it arrived, I was even more puzzled, as it was not made from the soft cotton twill that I’ve come to associate with Vera clothing.  In fact, it felt and looked like a bed sheet, and it flitted through my mind that this was a pillowcase project.  After turning it inside out, I noticed the details, that did, at first glance, tend to make me think this was a project.

The shoulders were shaped solely by an angled stitching line.

The arm holes were where just openings that had been machine finished.

There was a bias binding casing through which ran ties.

The only thing that wasn’t saying “pillowcase/blouse” was the shape of the top.  Instead of being an oblong rectangle, it was a square, like a scarf.

And that’s when I found the label.  It was not the label usually found in Vera clothing.  It was a “Scarves by Vera” label, the one she put, well, in scarves.  That’s when the truth dawned on me.  I remember reading that the first garment made at the Vera Company was a top made from two scarves.  Somehow I always thought that meant silk scarves, as at that time, 1960, that was the material that Vera was using.

Note:  I really do want to show that label, but it came off in the wash and I can’t find it.

So I got my copy of Vera, the Art and Life of an Icon, and found the passage I needed:

In 1960, Vera fashioned two scarves into her first garment, the Jollytop, a flowing, square blouse.

And while this cotton version isn’t exactly flowing, it is quite obviously fashioned from two scarves.

It’s interesting that I’ve never seen one of these, and yet, right now there is another on ebay.  It is made exactly like mine, from cotton and with a drawstring waist.  And the scarf from which it is fashioned, a smiling fish,  is pictured in the Vera book.

Another hint about the age of the top is the signature.  This is the ladybug, signature and copyright symbol that was first used in 1960.  The ladybug and the V are pretty much the same size, and are quite inconspicuous compared to the huge signatures that followed in the later 60s.

My next quest?  This print in a silk scarf.  I’m sure they were made.

I cannot recommend the Vera book enough.  You can easily find it on Amazon or eBay for around $10 including shipping, and if you love textiles and design, this is a must have volume.  It would have been easy for Susan Seid, the author and owner of the Vera Company, to have produced just a book with lots of pretty pictures, but instead she gives us the pictures and a great deal of information about Vera that can’t be found in any other source.


Filed under Designers, Vintage Clothing

A Christmas Satchel

Here’s the perfect Vintage Traveler Christmas card, a little satchel with Christmas travel stickers.  I’ve had this 1920s card for probably 30 years, long before I imagined I’d be spending part of my retirement writing about fashion and textile history.

I want to wish each of you a very Merry Christmas.  Thanks for taking the time to read The Vintage Traveler, and for all the nice words of encouragement.  Slow down, relax, and enjoy the Holiday!

Click to enlarge



Filed under Holidays

Vintage Shopping in Asheville, NC

Over the past two weeks I’ve visited all my favorite vintage shopping places in Asheville.  To be such a small city, there are lots of interesting places to look for vintage treasures.  I actually took these photos over three days.  There is no way you can do justice to the old stuff stores of Asheville in just one day.

This record tree and the Santa ladder above can be found at The Screen Door.  This place is a little off the beaten path, but it is well worth finding.  It seems like no matter how often I go there, I find new things of interest.

I really liked this pretty equestrienne.

I actually found this Scottie print at a thrift store.  The thrifts in Asheville sometimes seem to be really picked over, but it is possible to still get lucky.

Click to enlarge.

There are several antique stores and malls downtown.  I’ve shown this fantastic store, Magnolia Beauregard’s, before but it is worth another look.  The collection of mannequins and hat heads is really impressive, plus he sells some great hats and vintage clothing.

Here’s an interesting twist on an old favorite: Pin the Shoe on Cinderella.

This is the cover of a 1920s tourist brochure for Glacier National Park.

Lexington Park Antiques is also a favorite of mine.  I found these cute 1950s clam diggers.  They were made by White Stag.  Note the striped lining where the leg is rolled.

This forearm looks a bit gruesome at first, but note that it is a display piece for Van Raalte gloves.  It actually stands on the base.

My photo comes nowhere near to showing off this lovely quilt, made of velvet pieces.

Time for a break.  This is the Mellow Mushroom, which is housed in an old service station.

These two coats were made by Davidow.  I was happy to be able to examine them so soon after writing about the company.

If I don’t stop with the vintage patterns, I’m going to have to get one of these vintage storage pieces.

The day after I took these photos of this Red Cross vest, one of my Instagram friends posted an old article on knitting a Red Cross Sweater.

Someone bought this Sally Victor flower explosion and didn’t have the nerve to wear it.  Or at least that’s my guess.  Anyway, it was fun seeing the hangtag.

And here I am, unable to pass a mirror without taking a look at my own image.  I’m wearing my favorite vintage coat, a Pendleton!


Filed under North Carolina, Shopping

What I Didn’t Buy – Victorian Jacket

My area of collecting (and knowledge) pretty much starts around 1915, and anything earlier is just a mystery to me.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t take the time to look at and examine the odd piece of antique clothing that might show up in my local antique malls.  You just never know when there might be a Worth label or something insane like that sewn inside.

Well, unfortunately, the label was not Worth, but there was a label, which you don’t always see in antique clothing.  This one reads “Allemus, Philadelphia, Pa.”  I’ve come up empty in a search for this store or maker, although there were quite a few people with the Allemus surname living in Philadelphia in the late 1880s.

But I thought the jacket and its details made it interesting enough to show here.  It was a combination of cotton velvet and a plain weave wool.  The  cording was applied in an intricate pattern.  The inside was lined in an off-white silk that was completely shattered.  In fact, there were bits of silk on the floor below where the jacket was hanging.

In the late 1960s and early 70s when some crazy kids were starting to become interested in wearing old clothes, this would have been a real prize.  Today I can see it as part of a Steampunk ensemble.

There were only two unfortunate holes on one sleeve.

This looks like a very labor (and time) intensive button to me.

This was priced at $10, which I thought was a real bargain.  But I wasn’t tempted.  I’ve learned how to say no to all kinds of lonely old clothes hanging forlornly on wire hangers in antique malls.  It has taken years for me to get to the place where I can actually say that!


Filed under I Didn't Buy..., Shopping

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.


Filed under Collecting, Holidays, Proper Clothing

Novelty Textiles: Nautical

It would be hard to tell the story of American sportswear without using the term nautical.  Some of the very first sportswear garments for women borrowed heavily from the traditional sailor’s uniform.  In the 1800s when more and more women took to sea bathing, their bathing suits often had a sailor collar and middy braid.  Gymnasium attire followed suit, with the middy blouse, modeled after a midshipman’s shirt, becoming the favored top for girls and women’s sports attire.

Through the years a nautical theme has been favored in prints for sports clothing, especially for that made to be worn for a seaside vacation.  I’m always happy to run across novelty print fabric that has a nautical motif.

My latest is this cotton duck from the 1950s or early 60s.  I love the turquoise and yellow colors, but I especially love that Sailmakers font.

Though nautical prints are generally in a red, white, and blue colorway, this print shows that there is no need to be stuck in that design rut.

I found this print several years ago, and it remains a favorite.  There is something especially crisp about blue and green on white.

How about some green and lavender gulls?

In a more traditional vein is this terry cloth.  I’ve got plans to make this into a beach robe.

And finally, not fabric yardage, but a super nautical hankie that has all the bells and whistles.


Filed under Collecting, Southern Textiles, Sportswear, Summer Sports