Category Archives: Shopping

1910s Red Tam

I am always looking for accessories to complete my sporting ensembles. One thing I never pass up in an antique store is a rack of hats. Ninety-nine percent of the time the rack will be full of hats from the 1960s. I have a theory, that when hats began to lose favor in the late 60s women stored their old hats instead of investing in new ones. What else could account for the abundance of 60s hats at estate sales and antique stores?

But this post is about that rarest of hat finds – the pre-1960s sports hat. I gave a little happy dance when I spotted this little red tam among all the faux turbans and pillbox hats.

Items like this hat that were worn for decades with little change in the style, so they can be hard to date from that alone. Fortunately there were a couple of things that let me know this tam dated from around 1910 to the 1920s. First, the seams were finished using a Merrow overlock machine. The stitch is similar to a modern serger, but it is easy to see the difference. I see it a lot in pre-1930 knit bathing suits.

Second, the band of the tam is in a type of machine knit that is commonly seen on knit items from this era. I have a pair of navy blue mittens in the same type knit.

In looking at catalogs and other illustrated sources from the 1910s and 20s, the tam is the hat worn by most women for winter sports. The illustration above is from a 1921 Bradley catalog.

This illustration is on a late Edwardian postcard.

And this one is from the mid to late 1920s. It fits a bit closer to the head, and might even be called a toboggan.

Another factor that contributes to the scarcity of early knits is that so many of them were consumed by moth larvae. Thankfully, this one somehow escaped the hungry little buggers.

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Filed under Collecting, Proper Clothing, Shopping, Sportswear, Vintage Clothing, Winter Sports

Shopping with the Vintage Traveler, Summer 2021

Over the past few months I’ve spent much more time finding homes for vintage treasures than I have in looking for new ones. Still, I have been able to carve out some time for vintage shopping.

The sign above would have been great for my collection except that it is a reproduction. Still, it was a great example of how the promise of leisure was a big selling point in 1911.

One of the theories of how “flappers” were named comes from the huge floppy hairbows they wore as girls. Here we see a future flapper and that giant bow.

I’m not a “cat person” but this was such a great buy for some feline fan.

Remember Remco? That toy company made lots of novel products, many from molded plastic like this “spinning wheel”.

I don’t know if you can make sense of my photo, but the wheel was actually a giant knitted cord maker. It’s a gadget we used to make with an old wooden spool and a few nails. No wonder this one was like new. There was so little that could actually be made with it.

I loved this hair dryer case.

For once the WAC is out front instead of in the flyer’s shadow.

Simply put, this is one of the nicest thread spool cases I’ve ever seen.

This is a cold weather mask, probably for a pilot. The store was closed, so this was window shopping at its worst. I suspect this was a military piece.

Cypress Gardens was an attraction in Florida that showcased skilled water skiers.

Someone bought one of these toy sewing machines for me when I was about ten. It only made a chain stitch, and I hated it.

Oh, my, but these Dior counter displays were peachy.

The dealer’s tag declared this was a 1970s Betsey Johnson dress, but I had my doubts. There was no label, and it sure looks 1990s.

In one antique mall, Liza and I found three antique parasols. All were pretty, but unfortunately, they were also shredding.

So, how was your summer?

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

What Lurks Beneath

I posted a photo of this poster on Instagram, along with a plea for followers to encourage me to buy it. I left it in the antique store where I spotted it, but I could not forget about it. So a month later I decided to go back to the store, and if the poster was still there, I would buy it. And so I did

Not only is this a great piece of sports ephemera, it’s a bit of Asheville history. According to my mother, everyone roller skated in the 1940s, and so the Skateland Rollerdrome was opened in 1946 to capitalize from the fad. The craze faded, and the rink was closed in 1962, The building was converted to a music venue in the late 1960s, first as the Jade Club, and later as the Orange Peel. Both clubs were mainly R & B, and later, Soul, and the clientele came mainly from the nearby Black community. But being the Seventies, the club was not segregated, and White music lovers crowded in to see nationally known acts like The Commodores. By 1980 the (Almighty) Orange Peel had closed, along with everything else in downtown Asheville. But the late 1990s brought a revitalization, and in 2002, the Orange Peel was reborn.

So I bought the poster and brought it home. I knew that antique frame was not the right fit for a mid-century poster. An examination of the poster in the frame showed that it was mounted on some questionable paper, and needed to be removed.

The back showed some interesting mounting, including some tape and corrugated cardboard. It was all going to have to go.

But then came the big surprise.

Between the cardboard and the poster was this early twentieth century portrait. Unfortunately, there was nothing at all written on the back, so I have no clue as to who she might be. What a shame!
At any rate, the portrait is a much better fit for the frame, which has, unfortunately, been painted with blue enamel with a dark overglaze. Still, it’s a lovely portrait which did not deserve to be hidden away. I’ll not be keeping the frame and the portrait. I’m donating them to a local animal rescue group that runs a thrift store with an area for collectibles. I hope she goes to a good home.

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Filed under Advertisements, Collecting, North Carolina, Proper Clothing, Shopping, Summer Sports

Shopping with the Vintage Traveler, Spring 2021

I’ve been spending my stimulus money in local antique establishments. At this point in my life I don’t buy everything that I see that I love. I buy old stuff with a particular goal in mind – it has to either fill a gap in my collection of vintage sportswear, be a print source that aids in my research, or be a good graphic representation of what women wore for their fun times. So here are some recent finds that didn’t come home with me.

The spool case above was an excellent buy for someone who loves using cotton thread. I have enough already.

For the most part, I don’t collect undergarments. But I found this corset to be interesting with its soft boning and supporting straps. I know next to nothing about corsets, so I’m asking those of you who are more knowledgeable – Is this a riding or sports model?

I almost bought this poster for Skateland in Asheville. Had it not been for the overbearing frame and the price tag to match, I would have added it to my collection. For those of you who know Asheville, this rink was in the building that now houses the Orange Peel, or as we said in the 1970s, the Almighty Orange Peel.

Fishnet stockings had a moment around 1967. I remember wearing white ones over pastel colored stockings. It was a fun look, and not a bit tarty.

Here’s a sorry photo of a cute little pin. I have a hard time justifying paying a lot for “jewelry”.

Again, I apologize for the terrible photo, but this dress was just too interesting not to share.

It was worn by actress Rhonda Fleming in the 1953 film, Inferno. How it ended up in an antique mall in Western North Carolina is anyone’s guess. It’s actually a very nice linen dress, with pretty bodice details.

This 1930-31 basketball team photos shows an important step in the development of gymwear – the transition from bloomers to shorts.

I love this so much, in spite of the fact that men’s sportswear is not my thing. It’s a standing counter display card.

This hat had to have been worn by the “kooky” girl in every 1960s beach movie.

I probably should have bought this photo of a sportswear storefront. This will be my first stop if I ever get that time machine.

This store display was cute. Several years ago I passed on the chance to buy some really great Keds store displays, but I didn’t have the space. I still regret letting those get away.

Great image of 1890s cyclists, but I can’t help but hate to see magazines torn apart for the ads.

And here’s another fantastic counter display.

I wish modern drivers were this attentive.

I love this photo so much, and would have bought it had the factory been identified.

And finally, this shopkeeper is not having it with the anti-maskers.

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

Shopping with The Vintage Traveler, Spring, Summer, and Fall 2020

Let’s not pretend that the past eight months have been anywhere near normal. All my favorite shopping events were cancelled, and day to day antique and vintage shopping has been difficult. Still I persevered and made a few well-protected trips into those wonderous spaces called antique malls. Here’s a look at what I did not buy.

I love vintage packaging, and had there been a little dog on a leash helping with the Christmas shopping, I would have bought this.

This was just sad. I found the perfect slippers but in a child size.

This is a vintage picnic hamper. I’ve been wanting one for quite a while, but I just can’t seem to find just the right piece. Someday…

There might have been treasure in this box, but I just didn’t have the patience to sort it all out.

I guess I could have used that sportswear sign.

This ready-made collection of eyeglasses surely delighted some reseller who knew these were a bargain at around $12 a pair.

Somehow the thought of cleaning my face with a substance that comes out of what looks like a Comet scouring powder container is not very appealing.

The temptation was real, but so was the fact that I do not need another Scottie bookshelf.

Technically, this quilt was not for sale. It’s part of an old stuff display in a roadside tourist trap. But the applique elephants were just too good not to share.

Sorry about the quality of this photo, but I hope you can tell this is a 1920s salesman’s sample box with an ice skating scene.It’s from Detmer Woolens, and I have a similar box featuring a beach scene. Had this one been in color, I would have bought it.

I’ll let these 1960s boots speak for themselves, and what they are saying is, “I am fabulous!”

So many wonderful vintage posters; so little wall space.

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Filed under Shopping

Edwardian Divided Skirt

The world is reopening, whether or not Covid-19 is under control.  I’m a bit conflicted, as it seems like the more people are out being “normal”, the greater the likelihood is that we’ll again find ourselves in lockdown again this fall. I have discovered that antique shops are a good compromise between staying home completely and jumping into a swimming pool with 100 strangers, yelling about our right to party.

So, after getting my hair cut for the first time since February, I went to an antique mall in a nearby town, as a little treat for myself. I had never been there before, so I didn’t have any expectations. As I walked up the aisles, I saw ahead a booth that clearly had clothing. Ten years ago I’d have been all excited, but so many booths in antiques malls are now selling modern clothing that I really didn’t get my hopes up.

But, praise be, there were old clothes in this booth! I immediately spotted a pair of old black cotton exercise bloomers. $12! As I grabbed them, I took a quick look around the booth, and then I saw it – an Edwardian divided skirt. This is the garment women wore for hiking, for camping, and for horseback riding. It’s an all-purpose sports garment, with a big secret.

That secret is that the skirt is actually a pair of pants. Unbutton the front panel, flip it to the right, and you are now wearing culottes.

For years women had been wearing some sort of pants under their skirts for sports. The divided skirt was a late Victorian innovation that allowed the wearer to switch from one to the other with the changing of a few buttons.

Even buttoned to expose the pants, the garment could pass for a skirt.

These were sold by the Standard Mail Order Company of New York  City.  There are digital copies of catalogs from that company all over the internet, so I will be doing a bit of searching for my divided skirt.

This was not a product unique to Standard. My 1910 Abercrombie & Fitch catalog has a very similar style  for sale for $12.50 to $20  dollars. According to the inflation calculator, that would have been  $320 to $512 in today’s money. Perhaps Standard was a bit more accessible to the less-than-rich.

And I’m guessing it was more affordable, as I have in my collection of vintage photos various women wearing the garment. It was such a great innovation, which allowed women to ride a horse astride, to safely ride a bicycle, and to romp freely through the woods. Can’t ask more of a garment than that.

My divided skirt shows a lot of signs that it was worn a lot. It’s missing a button, and there are a few small rips around some of the buttonholes. The hem you see with the darker thread is not original. Either the original wearer was very short, or she shortened the skirt in the mid 1910s when fashion dictated a shorted skirt. Either way, it’s a part of the skirt’s history, and will remain.

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Filed under Collecting, Shopping, Summer Sports, Vintage Photographs

Shopping with the Vintage Traveler – Winter 2020

I’m here to break to monotony of home exile with a bit of virtual shopping for the cabin fevered.  I went on my last shopping expedition for a while last week, and I’m hoping the Liberty Antiques Festival will go on as usual at the end of April. Otherwise, I might have a meltdown. Joking aside, be smart people.

All these photos were taken over a period of several months, in Western North Carolina, East Tennessee, and North Georgia.

I love souvenir items from my region. I’m only about thirty miles from the Eastern Band of Cherokee “reservation”, which is not in Tennessee at all, and is not a true reservation.  Still, this pillow accurately shows what tourists were apt to see in the 1940s or 50s when visiting Cherokee, NC.

If this had pictured a woman golfer, I would have bought it.

Scariest Santa ever.  I love old masks, and have collected a few Halloween ones. They are always creepy.

If I return to this antique mall and this is still there, I’ll probably buy it. As it was, the piece was over-priced and over-ruffled. Still, I love that sailor so much.

I love how sometimes you can tell where an antique store is located just by thinking about the products for sale. In North Georgia I saw a lot of chenille bedspreads. That’s where they were made.

Some time ago I wrote about the Iowa button industry. I had no idea they were also made in Chattanooga, from mussel shells from the Tennessee River.

I liked this Squaw Valley souvenir ski thermometer.

As the Boomers start dying off, will anyone care about Howdy Doody? (I met Buffalo Bob at an Asheville Tourists baseball game some years ago. Such a nice man!)

Sex sells anything, even Mosco Corn Remover.

And here’s more chenille, this time in East Tennessee. This one is a more modern synthetic, but what about that peacock!?

I’ve seen a lot of Enid Collins bags recently, including quite a few I’d never seen before. I loved this poodle. I was once lucky enough to talk with Collin’s son, and asked him if they ever produced a Scottie dog bag. He told me he did not know, and there were many that had limited production, so it was possible one might show up one day. I can hope.

This beach jacket is for a small child. I want a big one, please.

There are some sellers on Instagram who could sell this holey sweater for $$$.

I found the semi-local label interesting.

How pretty is that lavender dress? It came with the hat and the dressform and was priced accordingly.

Simply gorgeous!

I’ve always tended to think of Victorian and Edwardian collars as white, so seeing these striped ones was an education.

Slickers, with the original box!

This is the only way to effectively sell hair nets.

At first I was distracted by the stand-up ad for the World’s Lightest Outboard, and then I noticed the Christian Dior gloves display piece. What a treasure!

And may your day be filled with treasures as well!

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Filed under Curiosities, Shopping