Category Archives: Vintage Miscellany

Vintage Miscellany – January 31, 2016

The bicycle did a lot to change the lives of women and to give them mobility.  Still, riding in that skirt with all those spokes simply looks like an accident waiting to happen!  The photo is not dated, but the woman is wearing the “uniform” adopted by modern women in the late Victorian, early Edwardian era – that of neat white waist and slightly shorter a-line skirt.

And now for the news:


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Vintage Miscellany – January 17, 2016

While the rest of the US is going football nuts on this weekend, I’m thinking about basketball.  This photograph is not dated but my guess is around 1905.  I posted this on Instagram and said she might be wearing a corset, and it was pointed out that the position of the basketball adds to the illusion of a fashionable silhouette.  An intentional placement by the photographer, perhaps?

And just to show there is more to life than football, here is the news:


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Vintage Miscellany – January 3, 2016

Click to Enlarge

This Edwardian era postcard is a real treat because it shows both women and men “En Bob-Sleigh”.  Real photographs of sportswear of this time period are hard to find, and this one gives a great view of the clothes in action.  To see the details, enlarge the photo.  You can see a variety of sweaters and caps and knit gloves.  The woman in front appears to be wearing a shortened skirt with leggings or thick stockings and a turtleneck sweater under her jacket.  It’s almost enough to make me wish for snow.

And now for the news…


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Vintage Miscellany – December 13, 2015

I’m back from a whirlwind trip to the Land of the Billionaire Mouse, and I’ll have a few words on that subject a little later.  For now, let’s just concentrate on the latest from Fashion Land.


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Vintage Miscellany – November 22, 2015

Try as I might, I could not zoom in on the slacks-wearing woman’s top well enough to see what the print is all about.  In my mind, it is a novelty print of sportswomen, as I can just imagine a golfer there to the left.

So on to the news:

  •   Until recently, I’d never seen any donation bins for unfamiliar charities.  Here’s why it might not be a good idea to use them.
  •   There is a weird story about Margaret Thatcher’s clothing and how the V&A rejected them.  Or did they?
  •   The first exhibition of clothing from designer/artist Iris van Herpen is now open at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.  I’ll be headed that way soon and will report on all the fantastic weirdness of van Herpen.
  • “85% of FIT’s students are female. Yet if you go by famous names—the Armanis, the Marc Jacobs—more than half of them are men.”  So said fashion historian Valerie Style in a discussion on gender bias in fashion.
  • “As many as half of all natural history specimens held in the some of the world’s greatest institutions are probably wrongly labelled, according to experts at Oxford University and the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh.”  I know that has nothing at all to do with fashion or clothing, but it is just too interesting not to share.  We rely on museums to know their own stuff, and it is a bit unsettling when mistakes are found.
  • Have you ever wondered how a sewing machine works?
  • I am not a fan of football, but I’ll admit to a complete obsession with the new Notre Dame uniforms.  How they convinced all those young men to dress as leprechauns for their last game is beyond me.


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Vintage Miscellany – November 1, 2015

No vintage photo this week so I could post this picture of the two loveliest house guides in Old Salem, NC.  Salem was a late colonial/early Federal era Moravian settlement that was saved from the wrecking ball much as Colonial Williamsburg had been.  When I first visited the restored/reconstructed in the early 1970s, all the interpreters were dressed like Pilgrims!  They come a long way in making the experience more authentic.

My symposium was held last week in Salem, a locale that added a lot to the trip.  The village (actually a smaller part of the city of Winston-Salem) is beautiful, especially in the fall.

I’m afraid I’m a bit short on links this week, due to being away and to spending so much time wringing my hands over my impending paper-reading.  But I did survive, and am here to post another day.


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Vintage Miscellany – October 18, 2015

It’s a good thing that I love sweaters, because overnight, it seems, sweater weather arrived.  I’m well-stocked in the sweater department, just to make sure a recent Goodwill trip produced a Burberry argyle and a Ralph Lauren Fair Isle.   But looking at today’s illustration I can’t help but think that maybe I need a red turtleneck.

The picture is from an antique postcard, which was postmarked 1911.  I do believe that it is older than that, as I have a similar postcard that is postmarked 1905.

And now for the news:

* While in the US fashion design is generally not copyrighted, fabric design is.  One law firm is making a name for itself by bringing suit against alleged copiers and the clothing companies found using fabric copies.  This is not without controversy, of course.

* Are museums the modern equivalent of churches?

*  I’m going to Cincinnati, Cincinnati here I come…   Seriously, I an really excited to see High Style: Twentieth-Century Masterworks from the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection.

*  This concept of clothing manufacturing turns the traditional vertical operation (in which all aspects of manufacturing are done in one building) upside down.

*   I think I’ve written about the Loray Mill in Gastonia, NC before, but this article takes a look at what the revitalization of the mill means to the existing community.

*   I learned a long time ago that storing valuable and fragile items in a basement is a bad idea, and now The New York Times knows it as well.

*  Love him or hate him, you have to admit that Karl Lagerfeld is one interesting human being.

*  The image of the Suffragette that was so often caricatured as a frumpy old maid was not exactly fair.

*  The Met’s Costume Institute has announced the upcoming spring exhibition: manus x machina: fashion in an age of technology.  No, I did not forget the capital letters, as that is the way the title is written on the Met website.  Such edginess!  So edgy, in fact, that three years ago the Museum at FIT addressed the same topic.  Of course, the one at the Met will be a spectacle as only Andrew Bolton can produce.

*  “In the world of fashion, Willie Otey Kay is to Raleigh what Christian Dior is to Paris and Hattie Carnegie is to New York.”  Raleigh News & Observer

*  Donna Karan has stepped down from her company, and yes, that is just as newsworthy as the news that Ralph Lauren has done the same.

*  The changing fashion world, and why everyone is a fashion critic.

*  Patti Smith has some stolen clothing returned to her after being missing for thirty-five years.


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