Category Archives: Vintage Miscellany

Vintage Miscellany – December 4, 2016

I found several photos of this 1920s woman on a horse.  She’s not in typical riding attire, as she could be dressed for almost any outdoor activity with her breeches and socks, and what looks to be a sweater or knit jacket.  Click on the photo to see the details a bit clearer.

And now for the news…


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Vintage Miscellany – November 20, 2016

I found this photo of the perfectly attired beach couple along with a few others from the same roll of film.  At some point I want to show all of the photos, but for now let’s just admire them the way they are admiring each other.

And in that frame of mind, here is the news:

A few words before I post the next few links:  This blog is about fashion history and fashion issues.  I have never shied away from links to sites that might make those of us who are more privileged feel uncomfortable.  I have posted links to articles that discuss the clothing of world leaders and the wives of leaders.  I have posted about abuses within the clothing manufacturing industry, both in the past and the present.  As an historian, I know that fashion and clothing are an integral part of our culture, and should not be treated as mere fluff.

In keeping with this practice, I will be posting links to articles about the president-elect that are of interest to fashion scholars.  These links all will have to do with fashion, and are not meant as a political statement.  Each reader must take each link as it is meant – to inform about fashion issues.

That said, I want to make it clear that I am very dismayed at the way the election played out, and at the events still occurring within the presidential transition.  I will continue to ask the president-elect to bring his own family’s clothing manufacturing to the USA.  You can feel free to disagree with me or with the content of any of my links, but fair warning, this blog is a place where only civil discourse will be tolerated.

And to help us all with our own personal struggles, take a listen to the Avett Brothers’ No Hard Feelings.



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Vintage Miscellany – November 6, 2016

Photos of snow are starting to show up in my Instagram feed, so I’m not really jumping the gun by posting this wintry scene.  I found this photo is a box overflowing with others, many of the same two women.  Not a single one identified them, though I could tell a lot by looking at the bits of their lives they felt was important to capture on film.  There were two little boys.  One was a ballerina.  They took skiing trips to Austria.

Of course, many other things are left to the imagination.  Were they sisters, or sorority sisters, or best friends?  Where did they live?  Were they happy?  We can only guess.

And now for the news:


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Vintage Miscellany – October 16, 2016

One of the most interesting things about this photo from the 1930s is that the original is only 1.25 inches square.  The edges are blurred, but enlarging this digitally opened up a world of detail that went undetected when viewing the original.  Still, there are so many unanswered questions.  What is the woman on the left holding?  What is the bracelet the other woman is wearing?  And most importantly, what is going on with those hats?

With images all over the internet, it is tempting to just help oneself to the goodies, but before using any image, be certain that you have the right to it.  There are so many sites today where the images are free of copyright that it is a shame that people resort to (alleged) theft.

The whole point of Instagram is to post one’s own photos, but I’m noticing more and more people are treating Instagram like Tumblr or even Pinterest, posting photos from museum sites and fashion runway shows.  The pictures are nice, and there is often great commentary, but I prefer seeing what people have going on in their own lives.  I want to see your collection, and your vacation pictures, and your dog.


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Vintage Miscellany – October 2, 2016

In this month leading up to the election of the next president of the United States, I want to remind all eligible voters of the long struggle to obtain voting rights for all Americans.  Voting is a right and a privilege, and I want to encourage all of us to take part in an activity that was denied to women and minorities for many years.

The photo above was a very lucky find. Could this be a mother and daughter in solidarity, holding a Votes for Women pennant circa 1912? The small print on the pennant reads “Woman Suffrage Party”, which was a New York organization. Unlike some other women’s rights groups, WSP was racially inclusive and recruited women of all economic classes. The two women in my photo certainly seem to be from a lower income group, judging by the clothes and hair.  They want you to vote!

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Vintage Miscellany – September 18, 2016

I’ve had a not-so-great automotive week involving a lost set of keys and a frustrating two hour trip that ended up being twice as long.  And now my precious supply of gasoline is disrupted  right before I need it to get to the Liberty Antique Fair.  I’m thinking of getting a horse.  These ladies seem pretty proud of their little guy, but I’m more interested in the one photobombing from the window on the left.  I love a horse with a sense of humor.

  •   Tim Gunn addressed the problem of clothing sizes in an opinion piece in The Washington Post.
  •    Prince Charles is doing a science fair type experiment to show why wool is superior to synthetics.  I love the photo of him shoveling.
  •    Investors in Nashville-based denim company Imogene + Willie have accused the company’s founders of fraud and mismanagement of company money to fund their lavish lifestyle.
  •    Rebecca at the Documenting Fashion blog had an interesting conversation with Gavrik Losey, the son of designer Elizabeth Hawes.
  •    Here’s a great little video showing the workings of the Woolrich Woolen Mill. (Thanks so much, Beth!)
  •   A disturbing trend in New York City’s Garment District is the closing of fabric shops, with their former spaces being converted to restaurant use.
  •    There has been a lot of discussion about dreadlocks recently, due to a video showing a confrontation between a black woman and a white man wearing dreads went crazy on Youtube, the brief wearing of dreadlocks by Justin Beiber, and most recently, the wearing of dreadlock wigs by models in the Marc Jacobs fashion show last week.  Dazed has two beautifully written essays that look at both sides of the issue.
  • We all see how others dress, and we all have opinions.  But sometimes (and by that I mean usually) it is best to keep one’s opinion to oneself.
  • What can I say about Kanye West?  For those of you who do not follow the craziness of Fashion Week, you probably need a bit of background.  On the day before the day before New York Fashion Week, West sent out invitations to his fourth “Yeezy” collection which was to take place the next day.  The chosen ones invited to the show were directed to get on special buses on the Upper West Side, with a destination of Roosevelt Island.  This meant a crosstown ride that was actually quite short, but not in New York traffic.  Many spent an hour on the bus, only to get to the venue and be left standing in the heat for another hour or so before being admitted to the outdoor seating.

Once there, another wait ensued, and so by the time the “show” actually started, models who were standing in a formation of sorts were starting to pass out from the heat.  Angry tweets from the waiting crowd showed the frustration of people who were starting one of the busiest weeks of their year, and yet were sitting waiting for the Kardashian clan to arrive so the show could start.

Not surprisingly, the reviews were brutal, but not just because of the wait and the heat.  Robin Givhan called the show “boring.”   So did Cathy Horyn.   But my favorite statement came from Women’s Wear Daily’s Jessica Iredale who called the relationship between Kanye and the fashion press, “abusive.”

I’ve got to agree.  If this disregard for other people was being practiced by anyone other than a big celebrity like Kanye West, do you think anyone in the fashion press would give a care?  Of course not, so I really had a hard time feeling sympathy for people who know better, but who could not say no to such a big star.  Besides, Anna Wintour would be there, but she certainly did not come in on a bus.

The icing on the cake came in the form of one of Kanye’s famous rants, in which he whined about and threatened the fashion industry.  He needs to learn that in order to get respect, one must also give it.

Please, keep comments about Kanye and the Kardashians civil.



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Vintage Miscellany – September 4, 2016

“This is Nellie on the beach, Fla. 1941”

I can sympathize with Nellie. Labor Day is the symbolic end to summer, and I’m not happy about it.  She may be taking it lying down, but I am up and squeezing every bit of warmth out of these cool-ish days.  I love fall, but why does winter have to follow so closely?

While I’m trying to figure it all out, here are some stories from the past two weeks.

*  Major clothing companies continue in their refusal to learn more about the people making clothes for them.

*  Urban Outfitters had  more than $3.4 billion in sales in 2015, but still asked employees to give up their weekends to  volunteer at the company’s fulfillment center.  The CEO is worth $1.3 billion but salaried employees often work 16 hour days. And so on…

* “Jayne Shrimpton explains how photographs of our ancestors at leisure can give us an insight into their lives.”

* After being “lost” for 250 years, Clones Castle was found – “behind a Georgian terrace known as Castle Street, which contains a building called Castle House.”

* Here’s proof that bad human behavior does not happen only in museums.

* Clothing sales are suffering because people are beginning to recognize that the quality is bad.

* Are any of you watching The Collection on Amazon?  I am waiting for a rainy day.

* “Charred tatters that were part of one of Britain’s greatest tapestry collections are to be publicly displayed for the first time…”

* The conservation labs at the National Scottish Museums show the conservation of a rare dye laboratory book.

*  When a clothing exhibition focuses on the wearers rather than the clothing.

* Fast fashion is bad for us, article number 974.



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