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Vintage Miscellany – March 17, 2019

That’s Ma in the middle, surrounded by Hella, Ruza, and Nebbs. The date wasn’t recorded, but I’d say right around 1940. Ma has decided that she is going for comfort over fashion, though I’d love to know the color of her dress. Hella is wearing the ubiquitous blue overalls of the era, so great for gardening and outdoors work of all kinds. Sporty Ruza has earned a letter for her sweater paired with a fantastic pair of nautical inspired trousers. And little Nebbs is attired in what was almost a uniform for little boys, a sailor suit.

The young women’s clothes are currently having a bit of popularity, with the overalls in particular being a hot item. I have been lucky to have found two pairs in the past, which is especially good because today I’d have to pay a small fortune for a pair.  If you love the look, a pattern is available from Decades of Style.

Lots of news this week:

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Vintage Miscellany – February 23, 2019

We are having one of those winters that’s cold and dreary and rainy and just depressing. My husband and I looked at the current weather map, trying to find a spot within five or six hours of us that is sunny and relatively warm. That place, at present, does not exist, but we will continue to look. I can be packed and ready to leave in an hour.

This post is either a day early, or thirteen days late. Let’s just say I’m early. And now for some news.

  •   Let’s start with the obvious. Karl Lagerfeld has died. I knew he must be seriously ill when he did not show up for the latest Chanel show.  His death has brought about an interesting conversation on “speaking ill of the dead.” While most of what I’ve read about Lagerfeld in the past few days reminds us of his very successful career at the head of one of the most famous fashion brands, other writers were quick to point out his faults.  Let’s look at both sides. Karl was a fat-shaming misogynist.  Karl was my surrogate brother.  It does give one pause to think. How do we reconcile the bad parts of people whose work we admire?
  •  The fashion weeks have been going on, so that means another round of what the hell were they thinking. First Gucci makes a turtleneck sweater with a quite obvious reference to blackface, and then claimed the inspiration was skiwear. Not to be outdone, Burberry came out with a hoodie with ties that look like a noose. Their excuse was that it tied in with their nautical theme. No. This happens so often that I’ve concluded that they, like Mae West, have decided that it is better to be looked over than to be overlooked.
  • A study by the University of California, Berkeley found that people from the poorest communities in India worked for as little as 15 cents an hour. “Every major brand, every boutique retailer and everyone in between who sources garments from India is touched by this issue.”
  •   If clothing companies would actually pay the workers a decent wage, making clothing prices more reasonable (and by that I mean more expensive) then perhaps over-consumption would not be such a tremendous problem. In the meantime, many people are determined to stop “feeding the monster.”
  • “The calming effects of sewing can help people express and heal themselves.” True.
  •   One of my dreams is to get lost in the racks at Western Costume.
  •    Would your last wish be to visit an art museum?
  •    Don’t buy this book.
  •   How do the struggle for women’s suffrage and the use of a dirigible  intersect?
  •    One of the last hand-pleating workshops, Sorelle Antonini Atelier in Rome, has closed. The business was over 100 years old.
  •   Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving is now showing at the Brooklyn Museum and I’m really, really hoping it will travel south.
  •    The Minnesota Historical Society has digitized and put online their entire collection of hats. I hope that more museums find the resources to follow suit.
  •  The Glasgow Museums have a thought-provoking piece on their blog, “The Black History of White Cotton Dresses.”


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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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