How I Collect

One question I get a lot of is do I ever display any of my collection. The answer to that is, “No,” as I’m a collector, not a museum. But it did occur to me that if I were displaying my collection, I’d want to show it the way I collect. By that I mean that I don’t collect piecemeal, but rather, I collect as if assembling ensembles that might have actually been worn by a woman of the era.

I’ve been slowly taking photos of these ensembles and posting them on Instagram, but as I know many of you do not take part in social media, I thought I’d post them here as well. First up are clothes and accessories from 1915-1919.

Above is a 1918ish bathing dress. I bought it years ago in a local antiques mall that had it labeled as a child’s victorian dress. Nope.  There were no knickers, but that’s not a problem as I have several pairs of wool knickers from the same era. The cap was an eBay find from about 2007.  I can’t imagine finding one today. The boots also came from eBay, at about the same time. The Ayvad Water Wings came from the collection of a kindred spirit.

This is what the well-dressed post-Edwardian woman wore for tennis. The middy blouse was made by the  “Jack Tar Middy” brand. When I found it I was not sure the heart-shaped smocking was original to the piece, but I later found an ad showing the smocking. The sports skirt is unlabeled, and it has very deep pockets that are perfect for tennis balls. The boots are Keds. I need a hat.

The skirt and sailor blouse were another lucky eBay find from about twelve years ago. I think it was seamstress made, especially with the hand embroidery in dark blue. The hat is labeled “New York Hat Works” and has silk ribbons and a silk covered button on top of the crown. The handbag is linen fabric embroidered in silk and is most likely homemade.

This outing ensemble is one of my favorites, and as a special thanks to you Vintage Traveler readers, this one has not yet been posted on Instagram. This set started with the skirt, which was a gift some years ago from friend Amanda in Vermont. Like the twill cotton blouse, it is unlabeled. The rucksack was a lucky Goodwill find. It’s from Abercrombie’s Camp. The gauntlet gloves are stamped, “The Buccaneer by Speare” and I found them at a flea market. And again, I need a hat.

I’ll be posting more as I get them photographed. Next up are the early 1920s.

13 Comments

Filed under Collecting, Proper Clothing

13 responses to “How I Collect

  1. Thank you for sharing these intriguing outfits. Am I right to assume that all of their sizes are equivalent to today’s extra small?

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  2. Thank you for not limiting these to Instagram users. Love those ingenious pockets!

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  3. Wonderful!! Thanks so much for sharing this part of you your fabulous collection! Looking forward to the 1920s ensembles!

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  4. Love seeing the outfits together – it really makes the pieces come alive!

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  5. I really enjoyed seeing all of the outfits and how you combined them.

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  6. What fun! Thanks for sharing your collector strategy and your collection.

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  7. I think that it is so interesting how you say you’re a collector, not a museum, because with minor exceptions, I always display what I collect, but of course it depends upon what it is you collect! Like much of my vintage ephemera stays in binders on shelves, and not displayed, but otherwise, I feel a need to display what I collect. However, with clothing, especially true antique clothing, there is the knowledge that displaying can lead to damage. I really am intrigued by your method of collecting and love how you are photographing your collection! That last outfit is my favorite (so far) and I would wear it in a heartbeat!

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