Vintage Miscellany – October 7, 2019

The news has been so stressful that I’ve had a hard time concentrating on fashion history. But in times like these, is it somehow wrong or shallow to think about frocks and pajamas and pretty shoes? Truth is, and I probably don’t have to tell you this, fashion is more than just what we wear.

Politically, my teen and early adult years were also stressful. From the time I was ten years old in 1965, I was aware of the war in Vietnam, and as soon as that ended, Watergate and the threat of impeachment of Nixon became the chief source of anxiety. No wonder fashion in the late Sixties and into the Seventies looked to the past. Even as a preteen in 1967 I was aware that fashion was flirting with looks from the wartime Forties. That’s because my mother pointed out to me how the gathered sleeved blouses and dresses, and the above the knee dirndl skirts we saw in stores reminded her of the clothing she was wearing when she was my age in 1943.

I have a theory that one of the big appeals of nostalgia in the Sixties and Seventies was that so many Boomers saw the stark contrast between our parent’s wartime experiences and that of our own. My mom described feel-good stories of community sacrifice in order to help defeat Germany and Japan. My wartime memories involve protest and the horror of Kent State. Who wouldn’t give that up for a country seemingly united in a common cause? At least we could wear the clothes.

And now for some news…

  • The middle-class collector is being priced out of the art market. I can see this in the vintage market as well, but on a smaller scale. There are, at least, bargains still to be had.
  • Esther Williams: The Swimming Queen of the Silver Screen will be on view in the Catalina Island Museum through March 8, 2020.
  •   Idiocy is alive and well in the fashion industry.
  •   The Eastern Band of  Cherokee Tribal Council’ approved the Native Arts and Crafts Bill, which outlaws the sale of fake Cherokee-made crafts.
  •   I loved this short video about the men characters and their shirt collars in The Maltese Falcon.
  •    Remember that church altar cloth that turned out to probably be a fragment of a dress belonging to Elizabeth I? It will be on display at Hampton Court Palace starting October 12, through February 23, 2020.
  •    Moths and old clothes just don’t mix.
  •  Fans of Jane Austen will be interested in a new book, Dress in the Age of Jane Austen: Regency Fashion.
  •   The US has Madeleine Albright, and the UK has Lady Hale.
  •    Illustrator Mac Conner has died. I saw an exhibition of his work last year at the Upstate History Museum in Greenville, SC.
  •    Time to burn your Vans.


Filed under Vintage Miscellany

9 responses to “Vintage Miscellany – October 7, 2019

  1. Love those slacks! And thanks for the Maltese Falcon video — deciding what kind of collar a character would wear is very much what theatrical and film designers do. I’d add that except for Sam Spade, the men in that scene are all “up tight” — dripping with tension, while Bogart’s character remains “cool.”


  2. Fashion (versus just wearing clothes for practical purposes— which I do not denigrate— is essentially demonstrating a need to express oneself. Sometimes wearing a uniform expresses “clubship”, sometimes wearing slacks expresses female equality (I.e. 1930s).
    We currently live in times in which the rights of many individuals are under threat, when some of us may even fear to speak openly within our own communities. For all us, I say “Viva la fashion”! And may we wear it well!


  3. Jacq Staubs

    Fashion?! ?? Plagiarized / victimized / custom” (ized) Personalized? It has always reflected the social / political atmosphere in which we live. NEVER before has it reflected such cognitive dissonance. Wear it well?!


  4. Thanks for the collar video, just great!
    bonnie in provence


  5. J Brunner

    Thanks for your blog – I too am feeling stressed but nostalgia via fashion has helped


  6. Dear Lizzie
    thanks for all your wonderful information on your blog!
    I wish I lived on the east coast for all the great museums you have visited in the last several years–to see textiles and costumes. I did visit an exhibit
    in LA 2 years ago with Game of Thrones costumes–amazing detail for the
    17th century.
    Regarding the stress of our present times:
    We all have to work next year-
    It helped me to see this response by Hunter Hammersen:
    in her blog Pantsville Press:
    Mary Sears
    Berkeley Ca.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. If you make it to this coast for the Catalina exhibit, please, please, PLEASE let me know! I would love to meet you in person!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.