Category Archives: Vintage Miscellany

Vintage Miscellany – January 27, 2019

Choosing a photo for today’s post posed a bit of a dilemma. With so much of the US suffering bitter cold, with colder temperatures and snow to come, and with people Down Under sweltering through the heat, I almost picked a photo of neutral weather. But instead here’s some cold snow for you in Australia, and a reminder to Chicago friends that it is possible to have fun in the snow. Just not this week.

And now for some news.

  •   There’s a reason haute couture is so expensive.
  •    Fast fashion copycats are alive and well.
  •    The Museum of London shows us how they mounted a mourning dress worn by Queen Victoria.
  •    Here’s a great story about a hidden art treasure, found when Oscar de la Renta planned to open a store in Paris.
  •    “The relationship between sports and fashion is often overlooked, but the Historic Costume and Textiles Collection at Ohio State is seeking to show students that fashion isn’t exclusive to the runway.”
  •    Veteran Rodney Bly  is using sewing to cope with PTSD.
  •    Climate change, as seen through knitting.  Also, train delays as seen through knitting.
  •    Who made your sports team apparel? If it came from Badger Sportswear, it’s possible it was made in Chinese internment camps.
  •   In case you are one of the many people who still thinks that what we choose to wear is not important, take the case of the maga red hat. Would the confrontation between a group of boys and a Native elder been so fraught with emotion had the boy been hatless? We have all made up our minds on how that sorry scene played out, but I thought this article about how teens are looking at the maga hat as a statement of another sort was interesting.


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Vintage Miscellany – January 6, 2019

There has been a lot of talk this past week about what people choose to wear, so let’s join in the chorus by analyzing this couple’s attire. She wins on basis of appropriateness. Her neat breeches topped with boots or leggings are perfect for the snow. Both have the layering thing down pat, but where the heck are his gloves?  Another view of them is at the bottom of the post.

  •   The new Congress was sworn in and clothes mattered. From a veteran’s shorts that showed his new legs, to a feminist white pants suit, to an ultra-femme bisexual look, to Native touches and looks that showed off the wearer’s ethnicity, the 116th Congress is not your grandpa’s government.
  •  The International Tennis Hall of Fame has posted an online gallery, showing off their tennis clothing collection.
  •   We are to be treated to a TV mini-series on designer Halston.
  •   Dress reformer Dr. Mary Edwards Walker was  the first and only woman to receive the Medal of Honor.
  •    To kids of the Sixties, it will always be a Nehru jacket.
  •    This one is not so much about clothing, as it is about bad history in general. However, the main issue of bad history and false research applies to many disciplines. I see a lot of problems with TV “documentaries” when images are chosen to illustrate fashion.
  •    It’s time for us to decide whether or not our historical artifacts are worth preserving.
  •   Exhibition Lab: Sargent and Fashion is an experiment by the Museum of Fine Arts Boston in which visitors get to give input on a future exhibition. Boston readers, if you go, let me know what you think.

Thanks to Janey for the great photos.


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Vintage Miscellany – December 23, 2018

I’m really glad this photo was dated on the back, otherwise I would have spent agonizing hours trying to detect a solid clue. As it looks to me, this could have been made anytime between 1940 and 1965.  As an older woman, it might be accepted that she’d still be wearing this hair style in the mid 1960s. I know this for certain because my own grandmother and her sisters wore a very similar style at that time.

The clothes are not fashionable, and if not for the good fit and the lack of a front fly closure, they could even been borrowed from a man in her life.  So, what’s your guess? The answer will be revealed at the end of the post.

And on to the news…


And the year of my photo? 1943.


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Vintage Miscellany – December 2, 2018

Weather people are saying we have a chance of snow here in the Southern Mountains later in the week.  I’ll probably look something like this when we go searching for the perfect tree.

And now for the news…


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Vintage Miscellany – November 12, 2018

Today is the day that in the US we celebrate the armed services veteran. In the rest of the world, yesterday was Remembrance Day, in which we stop and remember the horrific losses of war, and especially of WWI. But in the US, we have Memorial Day in May. Maybe if we switched the two days it would be less confusing to our friends in other countries.

And now for the news…

  •  There is what sounds like a textile lovers dream exhibition at the Cincinnati Museum of Art – The Fabric of India. It then travels to the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida.
  •   Did this hat belong to Abraham Lincoln?
  •   Halloween is in the past, but this is still a pretty good ghost story.
  •   One of the big problems in publishing a book on art – or fashion – is the cost of image fees.  An undesired side effect is that writers then come to rely on images from institutions that offer them at no cost, and we start to see the same objects over and over.
  •  John F. Kennedy’s Harvard sweater recently sold at auction for $34, 140.
  •   “80 percent of objects sold on the Internet under the Hermès names are fakes.”
  •   If you missed out on Marc Jacob’s “grunge” collection for Perry Ellis in 1992, great news! He’s reproducing much of it, and the clothes “based on ‘found crap'” will be for sale soon.
  • #ClothingofConflict
  • Thanks to Lynn at American Age Fashion for the wonderful photograph.


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Vintage Miscellany – October 21, 2018

We just got back from a road trip to southern Pennsylvania, by way of the Shenandoah Valley. The good thing about that route north is that one is never more than a few highway exits from a historic site or natural sight. One of our stops was at the Natural Bridge, which is actually both historic and natural. I’d been wanting to see the Natural Bridge ever since my cousin Nancy (above) visited it on a trip with our Aunt Adore and Uncle Corky in 1962.

Being gone for a while is absolutely the best thing one can do to revive interest in the world. So much to see! I put the news on hold (a big relief) and just soaked in the experiences. But the news was here waiting for me, and I do have a bit to share.


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Vintage Miscellany – September 23, 2018

Three young women, sisters, or maybe friends, wearing the casual outfits of the late 1910s and early 1920s. The girl on the right sports a middy with skirt (and could that be a wristwatch on her arm?), while the girl on the left is wearing a slightly more grown-up blouse with a banded bottom. The middle girl is wearing a knit sweater, which looks like it might be layered over another top. I hope they were as happy as they look.

And now for the news…

  •   The National Museum of Brazil burned, and the cultural artifacts of a nation were destroyed. It could happen here.
  •    The news came out earlier this month that the FBI had recovered a pair of Ruby Slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz that were stolen in 2005. Details about the recovery are sparse, but the Smithsonian blog tells the fascinating story of how their conservators authenticated the shoes.
  • Jennifer Daley of the Association of Dress Historians, has compiled a list of online sources for fashion history research.
  • Burberry has announced they will no longer destroy unsold goods, and now other companies need to follow suit.
  •  Here’s a great story of how an exhibition led to the rediscovery of a dress belonging to Queen Alexandra.
  •   The Junto blog has just finished up a series of articles on colonial era dress.
  •   H&M is launching a line of clothing with prints from William Morris. Normally this would upset me (no fan of H&M) but they have promoted the connection instead of merely stealing his designs like happens so often.
  •   Henri Bendel is closing, and it is really not a surprise.  If you are in New York City before it closes in January, be sure to go by, if for no other reason than to climb to the second floor and revel in the Lalique windows.
  •  The word is out: Trump’s trade war is working… to the benefit of handbag counterfeiters in China.


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