Vintage Miscellany – May 17, 2015

It appears to me – but I can’t say with one hundred percent certainty – that this young woman is wearing the uniform of a camping group, perhaps the Girl Scouts. My best guess is that this photo dates from the early 1930s.  I even have a Girl Scout manual from that time period, and the uniform pictured in it is remarkably similar to this one.

It could even be earlier.  I have an early 1920s manual that an afternoon of on again/off again searching has not located.  I will be updating as soon as the elusive manual is found.

I’m in the process of developing a presentation about women’s hiking attire for a local hiking club.  I’m looking at the late Victorian period through the 1930s and would greatly appreciate any sources or photos that you might want to share.

In the meantime, here is the news…

*   The Imperial War Museum in London has a very interesting artifact – the corset cover a woman was wearing when she was sucked into one of the  funnels of the sinking Lusitania.  The ship went down 100 years ago last week.

*   The buzz about the new exhibition at the Met has been mainly positive.  There are those who do question whether or not the show will engage viewers in having the thoughtful experience that is needed.

* John Frederics gets the credit for making the hats for Gone with the Wind, but there is, of course, more to the story.

*   The Museum at FIT has recently posted two videos from the conservation department that are fantastic.  One by Marjorie Jonas shows her conservation of a Jeanne Lanvin dress, and the other has Nicole Bloomfield describing the work that was done on a Paul Poiret coat.  This highlights the extreme importance of the paper archives at FIT and other institutions.   The Poiret coat was found through Instagram!

*   Earlier I posted a link to how LL Bean duck shoes were sold out in the months leading up to Christmas.  Here’s more about the effect of fashion on “heritage” brands.

*   Splurge and Purge:  the “sin” of fast fashion.

*   Here’s how designer Bill Blass helped trick the Nazis.

*   I have not yet seen the new film about Iris Apfel, but I’m hoping it is full of gems like this: “But 70-year-old ladies don’t have 18-year-old bodies & 18-year-olds don’t have a 70-year-olds’ dollars.”

*   I just found this fantastic blog on the history of women cycling and women’s rights.

*  And finally, the last episode of Mad Men airs in just a few hours here in the USA.  If you have not been watching this program over the past seven years, you have missed a real treat, and I suggest you get yourself to Netflix and watch the entire thing.  I do want to ware you that the sexism in the first seasons is especially hard to stomach, but stay with it to be rewarded with one of the richest viewing experiences in American TV.

The costuming of the show, which takes place from 1960 to 1970, has been discussed to death, but I found it really interesting that people actually donated clothing to the wardrobe department of the show.

I’d also appreciate any help identifying this uniform.  Thanks!

Update:  Thanks to the helpful comments and nudges in the correct direction, I’m confident in saying that this is a Girl Guides of Canada uniform, late 1920s or early 30s.


Filed under Vintage Miscellany

15 responses to “Vintage Miscellany – May 17, 2015

  1. Great pictures. The only thing that makes me wonder if it’s an earlier outfit is the black stockings — but I don’t know anything about GS uniforms. They might have been a little “old fashioned.” 🙂


  2. Christina

    This might help to identify the date of the uniform. If you go to the link and click on “Overview.”

    I checked the other links which give useful detail and uniform sketches but I couldn’t see a similar uniform although the descriptions seem to have the features shown in your photograph.

    The uniform could be early 1930’s. I have seen photographic references of British Girl Guide uniforms c1929 where the hat shape is almost identical to the one shown in your photograph.


  3. Wow! The time consuming conservation work on the Paul Poiret coat and Jean Lanvin dress was absolutely fascinating. Thanks for sharing Lizzie. 🙂


  4. I had to click on the link about the woman sucked into the Lusitania’s funnel, only to learn that she actually survived the ordeal. Incredible!

    How fascinating–but not surprising–that people donated clothing to Mad Men. I particularly loved that purple dress Peggy wore, and I’m not surprised Moss would want to keep it. I’m so sad that Mad Men is over!


  5. Christina

    Cycling suffragettes was a very good read. Thank you for the link and I liked the play on words “Wheelwomen.” I am tempted to comment on “Splurge and Purge” but you will ban me forever (21).


  6. I found the ‘fast fashion’ article “Splurge and Purge’ out of date and uninformed. As for ‘charge backs’ that she implies are enforced only by ‘fast fashion’ retailers, contractors of all types of products have had to deal with this for decades and at all levels of retail from super cheap to expensive. Many use services to keep their charge backs under control: (be sure to catch the link to video at bottom of page). What is really bothering ‘fast fashion’ contractors and vendors right now in LA is the upcoming minimum wage. We are about to loose the last of our ‘made in the US’ contractors:


    • Valid points, and I appreciate you bringing them up.

      I need to point out that just because I post a link does not mean that I endorse it. I posted this particular on because I found the author’s take on “sin” to be convoluted, to say the least. I should have made that clear in my original post.


  7. Hey Lizzie … A gal gave me her 1950’s New Zealand Girl Guide (I think) dress and it looks VERY much like the above photograph – including the belt. The scarf/ascot is different. I’ll have to try and find her and get more information.


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