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Vintage Miscellany – February 11, 2020

My new favorite thing is a photo album I recently acquired. I only buy entire albums when they tell a story. This one tells the tale of friends on a fishing vacation in the mid 1920s.  It shows these women wearing some of the best 1920s bathing suits I have ever seen, along with some treasures like the plane ride photo above.

And now for some news…


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Vintage Miscellany – January 6, 2020

Undated, but from the 1940s, based on slacks, shoes and hair. Little dogs pretty much look the same.

And now some news that won’t make you scream and pull out your hair…

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Vintage Miscellany – December 8, 2019

I collect photographs for several reasons. I love how you can glimpse into the past to see how people actually dressed, and sometimes a photo helps me assemble an ensemble of clothing and accessories. I also look for photos that help date and document items in my collection.

Between looking for old photos, I managed to read some interesting news.

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Vintage Miscellany – November 17, 2019

Could the photo above be giving us a glimpse inside an early 1920s sporting event, perhaps at a school for girls? What else could explain the presence of the two women, who could possibly be mothers of some of the girls? There’s no way to know because there’s nothing at all written on the back of the photo to give us a hint. All I can do is speculate.

And here is a bit of news…

  •   Momentum is building in the movement to build a museum devoted to women’s baseball.
  •    Here’s a taste of what we might expect from Ingrid Mida’s new book, Reading Fashion in Art.
  •    Well, along with the corruption of the words vintage and curate, you can now add provenance to the list.
  •    Another Nazi-tainted work of art will be restored to the heirs of the rightful owners.
  •    In an upcoming movie, Lady  Gaga will play Patrizia Reggiani, the ex-wife of Maurizio Gucci who was convicted of plotting his murder in 1996.
  •    Here’s a nice article about textile designer Tammis Keefe.
  •   Bride Lyndsey Raby chose her flower girls wisely, and they even had matching dresses that looked good on them all.
  •    Jane Fonda is giving up clothes shopping, sort of.
  •   “Where there is wool, there is a woman who weaves, if only to pass the time.” Thankfully, that is what many women of the Bauhaus did.
  •   Clothing collector Sandy Schreier is really having her moment.
  •   One of the forces behind Columbia Sportswear, Gert Boyle, has died.



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Vintage Miscellany – October 27, 2019

Gladys is wearing her new knickers in a way that I see so often in photos from the mid 1920s and earlier. It’s a clear lesson on choosing accessories that match the feel of one’s clothing. The casual knickers and middy look more than a little weird with her white stockings and dressy shoes. I’d love to call her up with the advice to invest in a pair of oxfords and darker hosiery.

And yes, there is some news…


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Vintage Miscellany – October 7, 2019

The news has been so stressful that I’ve had a hard time concentrating on fashion history. But in times like these, is it somehow wrong or shallow to think about frocks and pajamas and pretty shoes? Truth is, and I probably don’t have to tell you this, fashion is more than just what we wear.

Politically, my teen and early adult years were also stressful. From the time I was ten years old in 1965, I was aware of the war in Vietnam, and as soon as that ended, Watergate and the threat of impeachment of Nixon became the chief source of anxiety. No wonder fashion in the late Sixties and into the Seventies looked to the past. Even as a preteen in 1967 I was aware that fashion was flirting with looks from the wartime Forties. That’s because my mother pointed out to me how the gathered sleeved blouses and dresses, and the above the knee dirndl skirts we saw in stores reminded her of the clothing she was wearing when she was my age in 1943.

I have a theory that one of the big appeals of nostalgia in the Sixties and Seventies was that so many Boomers saw the stark contrast between our parent’s wartime experiences and that of our own. My mom described feel-good stories of community sacrifice in order to help defeat Germany and Japan. My wartime memories involve protest and the horror of Kent State. Who wouldn’t give that up for a country seemingly united in a common cause? At least we could wear the clothes.

And now for some news…

  • The middle-class collector is being priced out of the art market. I can see this in the vintage market as well, but on a smaller scale. There are, at least, bargains still to be had.
  • Esther Williams: The Swimming Queen of the Silver Screen will be on view in the Catalina Island Museum through March 8, 2020.
  •   Idiocy is alive and well in the fashion industry.
  •   The Eastern Band of  Cherokee Tribal Council’ approved the Native Arts and Crafts Bill, which outlaws the sale of fake Cherokee-made crafts.
  •   I loved this short video about the men characters and their shirt collars in The Maltese Falcon.
  •    Remember that church altar cloth that turned out to probably be a fragment of a dress belonging to Elizabeth I? It will be on display at Hampton Court Palace starting October 12, through February 23, 2020.
  •    Moths and old clothes just don’t mix.
  •  Fans of Jane Austen will be interested in a new book, Dress in the Age of Jane Austen: Regency Fashion.
  •   The US has Madeleine Albright, and the UK has Lady Hale.
  •    Illustrator Mac Conner has died. I saw an exhibition of his work last year at the Upstate History Museum in Greenville, SC.
  •    Time to burn your Vans.


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Vintage Miscellany – September 15, 2019

For work or for leisure, the denim or cotton twill overall was a standard in the early 1940s. It was sort of the jeans and tee shirt of the day.

  •  Amber Butchart explains the enduring popularity of seaside style.
  •   Designer Isabel Toledo has died.
  •   Second hand September urges us to go a month without shopping for new stuff. I can do that.
  •    There’s a new book featuring the photographs of Bill Cunningham.
  •    Many historic sites are finally beginning to acknowledge the work of the enslaved. Not surprisingly, some ninnies are complaining.
  •   Pendleton Woolen Mills is celebrating 70 years of making clothing for women.
  •    Project Runway favorite Chris March has died.
  •    Companies know that there are many labor issues that need to be fixed, but little is being accomplished in the way of improvement. I’ve been posting stories like this one for fifteen years.
  •    The same can be said for racism and the fashion industry.
  •    Here’s a great story about how a housekeeper saved a treasure trove of historic clothing.
  •   And finally, a story from The New York Times about the Jantzen diving girl. Thanks to the many readers who emailed this link to me.

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