Category Archives: Vintage Miscellany

Vintage Miscellany – March 4, 2018

Is it just me, or is bowling somehow usually thought to be a sport of the 1950s? This postcard (1910ish) reminded me that bowling was enjoyed way before the time of Laverne and Shirley.  Also, my recent visit to Biltmore Estate included a look of the bowling alley they had installed in the basement as part of their recreation area. And that was in 1895. It’s harder to find bowling lanes these days, but for those of you in the big freeze looking for a way to get exercise indoors, you might seek one out.

And now for the news…

  • February is over, so that also means the end of all the various fashion weeks. I don’t pay much attention to them, but the Dior show was interesting to me because of the use of the crazy quilt concept. Crazy quilts were a late Victorian craze, and have a very old fashioned feel and appeal. Also seen in the Dior show were decorative bits that look like needlepoint. Is this a trend? Be sure to click through the slideshow to see the various usages of needlework.
  •  Stylactivism for the over fifty set.
  •   “A New Jersey woman says she was thrown out of the Metropolitan Museum of Art last weekend because she showed up in an authentic period costume that a security supervisor accused her of stealing.”
  • How dressing the part helps connect us to the past – Cheney McKnight talks about how it is important to have an honest dialogue about slavery.
  •  Here’s a great article about Elizabeth Keckley, friend and dressmaker of Mary Todd Lincoln.
  •  I love stories about old books and those who care for them. thanks to Juliet for the link
  •  There are two new fashion history podcasts you might enjoy. Bande à Part is by fashion historians Rebecca Arnold & Beatrice Behlen, and if it seems like a conversation between two friends, that’s because that is what it is.
  •  Also really good is Dressed: The History of Fashion with fashion historians April Calahan and Cassidy Zachary.

10 Comments

Filed under Vintage Miscellany

Vintage Miscellany – February 18, 2018

Is winter ever going to end? Is it just me, or has this been a particularly depressing season? Maybe what I need is a good old-fashioned weenie roast. Thanks to Lynn at American Age Fashion for the photo.

And now I’ll try not to add to the depression with the news…

      • The last link comes with a bit of commentary. I’ve stated before that I have mixed feelings about the reporting fashion history gets in non-history websites.  On one hand I love that fashion history seems to be having a moment in the sun, but on the other I find it really hard to trust the telling of a fashion history story by a reporter who is not familiar with the subject. A new concern came up last week on twitter – that of non-history writers taking the information found in fashion history discussions and rewriting it for their more general audience.  Of course, this practice happens in all sorts of disciplines, not just history, but history is what I pay attention to and what I care about.

      • The article that started my thinking on this subject appeared on The Atlantic site. Being about pyjamas and WWI, it was just the sort of thing I’m always looking for, but the problem was that I’d already read this information. It wasn’t on The Atlantic site, but in a Twitter thread authored by fashion historian Lucie Whitmore. To be fair, the author of the article gave all the credit for the research to Ms. Whitmore, but it turns out, Whitmore had been contacted by the author and declined to participate in the article. So the author wrote it anyway.  Legally, there’s nothing wrong (that I know of anyway) but it made me sad that Whitmore lost control of her research because she shared it freely in a Twitter workshop.

7 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized, Vintage Miscellany

Vintage Miscellany – February 4, 2018

Click to enlarge

When it comes to human beings, it’s best to never use the word never as there are always going to be exceptions to the generalities. This photo is a good case to show what I mean. Except for women on ranches and farms, and except for performers, and except for women climbing mountains, and except for women wearing pajamas on beaches, it is pretty much accepted that women did not wear long pants in public before the 1930s. But check out this girl squad and their long overalls. Of course we know young women have long raided the closets of their brothers, but these pants all look new, and were maybe bought for the occasion.

There’s no date on the photo, but my best guess based on the hair styles and shoes, is late 1920s. Probably even more surprising than the overalls is the one girls who appears to be wearing shorts. And check out her rolled stockings.

This is one of those times when I’d gladly pay to know what exactly was happening in the photo. The presence of the book being held by one of the girls might be a clue.

And now for the news…

 

11 Comments

Filed under Vintage Miscellany

Vintage Miscellany – January 21, 2018

Someone’s photography practice produced a delightful record of a woman at her sewing machine. It was taken on June 25, 1932, and I could tell you the camera settings the photographer used. Unfortunately, I don’t know who she is, nor where the photo was taken. It’s interesting to see what was and was not important to someone all those years ago. Today, the who and the where would tell us much more than the how.

And now for some news…

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized, Vintage Miscellany

Vintage Miscellany – January 7, 2018

Compared with these Edwardian women, I am an official weather wimp. Today was the first in over a week that the temperatures climbed above freezing and I’d promised myself a long walk when things hit 33* F. But the reality is that I’ve spent yet another day indoors, curled up with a selection of books. The weather person says 41* for highs tomorrow, and so I’m sure I’ll be able to manage that.

But now for the news…

  •   Cotton is again being manufactured in Manchester, UK.
  •    And not all textiles made in Bangladesh are cheap “fast fashion.
  •    One thing I have learned over the past year is that we can get all tied in knots over what is wrong in the world, or we can look for the special things that inspire hope.
  •    Back in the 1970s they were practically giving these things away.
  •    Here’s a fun interview with the conservator at the Bata Shoe Museum.
  •    The Weather Channel linked to my very-much-in-need-of-an-update article on ski clothing.
  •    Because I also collect paper that has to do with my clothing interests, I was mesmerized by this conservation of an 1868 receipt at the New York Historical Society.
  •    Just because you can afford to buy antiquities, does not mean that you should.
  •    You may have read that the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is eliminating their “pay what you wish but we want $25” policy for admission. A lot has been written about the change, but I’ve chosen to link to an op-ed in the NYT. As an out-of-towner who has visited the Met on quite a few occasions, I have paid the $25 on all but one visit, and that time was a run into the museum with a friend to look at one small thing. I’ve gladly paid the full price because it was worth it to me to do so and because, frankly, I could afford to do so. I think the interviewees in the article can explain better than I why the new policy is not a good idea, especially in this time of them verses us.

3 Comments

Filed under Vintage Miscellany

Vintage Miscellany – December 23, 2017

Skating party, circa 1923, showing a mix of bloomers and skirts on the ice. The sweater seems to be winning out over the coat. I find that is true today, at least here in the South. Coats are seen less and less as our winters get warmer and warmer. I love a good, cozy coat for walks in the snow, but I’m finding myself reaching into my large collection of heavy sweaters more than ever.

Vintage Miscellany is a day early this fortnight, as tomorrow is a day for not worrying about computers and devices. I hope everyone is enjoying the Holidays, and that you are finding some peace in this crazy world.

And on to the news…

3 Comments

Filed under Vintage Miscellany

Vintage Miscellany – December 10, 2017

 

Here’s Geraldine Kirkendall, 1941, wearing her fancy ski suit and posing next to a 1938 Plymouth. Her suit is probably the same year as the car with the puffed sleeve caps, hip length jacket, and Germanic style motifs. Yes, even as Hitler was bullying his way across Europe, Bavarian and Austrian-inspired clothing continued to be popular in the US.

And now for the news…

10 Comments

Filed under Vintage Miscellany