Tag Archives: social media

Fashion History on Instagram

Some time ago I promised to make a list of the best fashion history accounts that I follow on Instagram, and I apologize to all the people who requested a copy of the list.  Instead of trying to figure out who wanted it, I’m just going to post it here.

I also apologize to those of you who do not have an Instagram account.  If you have a smartphone or tablet, then you can open an account just to enjoy this resource.  You don’t have to post any photos.  And you can always see my latest photo by clicking on the photo in the right sidebar, under “More Fashion History on Instagram.”

Keep in mind that  I follow a lot of people on Instagram and these are just the ones that have a strong fashion history emphasis.  Also, I only follow accounts where the person running it gives the source of each photograph.  There are dozens of people who post lots of pretty pictures from other sources, but this is not Pinterest.

I’m sure I have left some out, so I’ll be adding to the list.  And feel free to suggest any others that I may not have found.

https://www.instagram.com/myvintagevogue/  @myvintagevogue

https://www.instagram.com/documentingfashion_courtauld/  @documentingfashion_courtauld

https://www.instagram.com/jacqwg/ @jacqwg

https://www.instagram.com/americanagefashion/ @americanagefashion

https://www.instagram.com/madameweigel.patterns/  @madameweigel.patterns

https://www.instagram.com/fashiontextilemuseum/ @fashiontextilemuseum

https://www.instagram.com/nyucostumestudies/ @nyucostumestudies

https://www.instagram.com/amberbutchart/ @amberbutchart

https://www.instagram.com/historyalamode/ @historyalamode

https://www.instagram.com/beecroftartgallerycostume/  @beecroftartgallerycostume

https://www.instagram.com/julenmorrasazpiazu/ @julenmorrasazpiazu

https://www.instagram.com/fidmmuseum/ @fidmmuseum

https://www.instagram.com/fashionhistorymuseum/ @fashionhistorymuseum

https://www.instagram.com/isabellabradfordauthor/ @isabellabradfordauthor

https://www.instagram.com/historicalgarments/ @historicalgarments

https://www.instagram.com/oliapresnyakova/ @oliapresnyakova

https://www.instagram.com/the_art_of_dress/ @the_art_of_dress

https://www.instagram.com/unl_historic_costume/  @unl_historic_costume

https://www.instagram.com/fox_historic_costume/  @fox_historic_costume

https://www.instagram.com/scadfash/ @scadfash

https://www.instagram.com/museumatfit/ @museumatfit

https://www.instagram.com/fitspecialcollections/ @fitspecialcollections



Filed under Viewpoint

Back to School

If you’ve read my “About” page, you know that I spent twenty-eight years in an elementary school classroom.  Recently I’ve been having dreams about teaching – dreams that are not necessarily pleasant.  The children are either unruly, or there are a hundred of them packed into a room designed for twenty-five.  Or I forgot to get dressed that morning and spend the day looking for something – anything – to cover myself.  It happens every late summer as soon as the “Back-to-School” banners start appearing in stores.

Scary dreams aside, I loved teaching, otherwise I’d never have spent twenty-eight years doing it. But when it came time to retire, I delightedly passed my plan book and 437 apple figurines on to the next teacher to occupy my classroom. The photo above was taken for the yearbook as my “retirement portrait.” I don’t think they used that one, though.

Even though I’ve been retired for nine years, people still ask if I miss teaching. My answer is generally, “No,” but there are times when I realize there is nothing like a good captive audience to make your thoughts and opinions seem important. I miss that, but then I do occasionally turn to this blog to do a bit of teaching, and preaching. And so today we are going to have a little writing lesson.

One of the biggest rules for writing is to write for your audience.  In the case of my fifth graders, I was most often their audience. I stressed to them that they had to write in a manner that allowed them to correctly communicate their thoughts to me, and in order to do so trendy slang was not permitted.  I felt like I was doing them a big favor in not allowing “words” like gnarly (1980s) or phat (1990s) to be used in their writing.  And it’s not just that those words sound dated today, it also helped some of them develop a habit that would help them if they had to do more formal writing in high school and college.

Today I’d be banning terms like cray-cray and amazeballs and dope and totes and fail (used as a noun).  I see these “words” on social media all the time, and I realize there is a need to look cool (one of the few trendy slang words that has endured, being popular in the 1940s)  but slang changes so quickly that one runs the danger of sounding dated.  Who could have been cooler in 1969 than Arlo Guthrie”

“Far out , man… Like I was rapping to the fuzz. Right, can you dig it?”

Believe me, by 1971 that just sounded weird.

Write for your audience. Remember that if you are writing on the internet, you have a multi-generational audience.  You also have an international one. Many struggle to read standard English, much less English that is sprinkled with slang that changes as soon as a celebrity uses a word in a cutsie way and everyone rushes to copy.

If you find that you are guilty of using these slang terms, don’t be offended.  As the teacher I’m here to help, not to criticize!  And, yes I do know that my own writing is not exactly textbook writing.  I’m writing to my audience, my vintage and fashion history friends, so I use a conversational voice.

I wanted to end this with a photo of me in the classroom, but the best I could do was this shot that was taken while watching the class on water safety day.  This was taken in 2000, so I want to stress that I was the person who started the whole nautical stripe trend.  And yes, I do still have and wear that striped tee.


Filed under Viewpoint

Being Social

I recently read an article about how fashion companies are missing the boat when it comes to their use of social media to connect with their customers.  I think that what it boils down to is that the meaning of the word social somehow escapes them.

I don’t know who minted the phrase social media, but when it comes to companies  it seems like a misnomer.  To quote Webster:  “social – relating to or involving activities in which people spend time talking to each other or doing enjoyable things with each other.”

The problem with the way so many companies use the term is that they view twitter, instagram, facebook and their own blogs as a platform to talk to people.  Instead it should be a vehicle for conversation.  The article I read quoted a study that said that at least 60% of companies who are tagged on social media do not respond to the tagger regardless of whether the message is positive or negative.

It got me to thinking about my own experience with companies and social media.  Over the past several years I’ve tagged several on twitter and instagram, and I can tell you my reply rate is lower than 40%.  The only company to ever acknowledge my tags has been Pendleton.

But what is interesting is how differently vintage sellers respond to internet messages.  I don’t think I’ve ever had a vintage seller ignore a  message I’ve sent through twitter or the other platforms.  They seem to know what the big guys do not know – that communication builds customers.  I’ve been on Instagram less than five months, and I’ve bought three things that I first saw posted at Instagram.  In all three cases I asked the seller about the item and in all three cases the seller replied.  Do you think I’d have bought their stuff if I’d been ignored?




Filed under Viewpoint

A Thank You and a Giveaway CLOSED

I usually do only one giveaway a year to celebrate the New Year, but I’ve reached a few blog milestones and wanted to spread around a little love.  The Vintage Traveler has reached 500 followers, I’ve passed 200 followers on Bloglovin’ and I just noticed that I have 100 plus followers on Instagram.   I also recently passed 800 followers on Twitter and I’m closing in on 700 likes on Facebook.  Thanks to all who boost my ego daily by reading , commenting, following…

I was lucky enough to find another copy of Amy de la Hay’s excellent book, Chanel, which I reviewed a few weeks ago.  To have a chance at winning the book, all you have to do is post in the comments that you want to be entered.  The giveaway to open to everyone, worldwide.  It will be open until Monday, November 11, at 6 pm EST.

So many of us feel overwhelmed by “social media” and the feeling that we must keep up with the latest thing on the internet.  The problem is that it all takes time.  I’ve come to the conclusion that I have to have priorities, and just use what works for me.   I find Twitter to be a quick and easy way to keep up with the news and with fashion and museum happenings.  And while Facebook might serve the same purpose, I just don’t find it to be so easy to use.  Knowing that Facebook filters out my posts and the posts of others makes it much less valuable to me as a source of information.

My relationship with Pinterest is of the love/hate variety.  I’m still bothered by the copyright issues associated with the random pinning of other people’s work.   On the other hand, it is great exposure for people who are selling, and I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve bought things after seeing them on Pinterest.  But some days it just seems like so many pretty pictures, all removed from any context that would give them meaning.  Not that I don’t love pretty pictures.  I find Pinterest on my smartphone to be very useful when sitting waiting for an appointment.

I’ve used other photo sites like Tumblr and Flickr.  I find tumblr to be very similar to Pinterest, and I can’t be bothered with both of them.  Flickr is very nice, especially since so many historical institutions have posted their photo archives.  But it’s not a site I spend much time on, and I never post photos there.  It tends to overlap in usefulness with Instagram, which I do find myself using every day.  Why?  Because Instagram has an actual social feel to it.  People post things from their real lives.  It has a fun voyeuristic feel.

If you read a lot of blogs, you might try Bloglovin’, which is actually just a page that previews all the blogs you follow there.  I find it saves me a great deal of time.

So feel free to follow and friend, and to suggest people I should be following at Instagram, Bloglovin’  and Twitter.

And please, let me thank all of you again for supporting my writing and my love of fashion history.


Filed under Viewpoint

Pretty Pictures

For some time I’ve been trying to think of a way to share the interesting and beautiful things I encounter in life without posting photos of the sunset to this blog.  I’ve posted photos to Twitter, but that darn thing moves so fast, and even though it allows photos, its primary function is not visual.  I’ve tried Flickr, but things tend to just sit with no interaction from other users.  My photos are not “pretty” enough for Pinterest.  And forget Facebook.  I’d delete my account if not for the little bit of traffic it generates for The Vintage Traveler.

On a whim, I decided to try Instagram.  I had been determined not to like it because I hated whenever they stopped their photos from being seen on twitter.  But I set up an account to see what all the fuss was about, posted a few photos and was really surprised when I immediately had people responding.  It is mainly visual, but the amount of interaction was encouraging.

Best of all, unlike Pinterest and Tumblr, there are very few issues with copyright.  The photos come from users’ smartphones, not from the web.  It’s a great way to see the interesting things that are going on in the lives of web friends.

If you have an Instagram account, I’d love a follow.  If not, you can still see the photos I post by clicking the “View on Instagram” link on the right.


Filed under Viewpoint

An Early Pendleton Jacket

There are times in my life that I’ve been very happy to be wrong.  That statement will come as a shock to those of you who think I’d never admit to ever being wrong, but that’s another story.  Let’s just say I was wrong about this jacket, and I was thrilled to discover my error.

The jacket has been in my possession, and actually in my closet, for at least 15, and probably closer to 20 years.   There are no labels, and when I found it I thought it was most likely from the 1940s, and maybe from a Southwestern US weaver, or possibly Mexican.  Was it the colors that made me think this?  I’m not sure, but I was definitely not as experienced at evaluating a garment then.  To be honest, I have not even thought about it , nor worn it, since 1997. My father always complimented me on the jacket whenever I wore it, and after he died in 1997, I just haven’t had the heart to wear it.

Last week I was sitting here wasting time on that huge time-suck otherwise known as Tumblr.  If you don’t know Tumblr, it is a photo blogging site, where people post anything and everything, most of it taken from other sites.  One blogger does vintage and antique clothing posts, pulling dozens of photos from around the web, all on a theme.

Last week she was posting coats and jackets.  As I was scrolling through them, I found myself feeling envious at some of the wonderful skiwear in the holdings of various museums.  Suddenly there was a photo of a jacket, labeled as 1929-1931 Pendleton,  that looked very familiar.  It looked like… my jacket!  I clicked through to the Metropolitan Museum of Art‘s site, and there it was – not exactly my jacket, but one that is so similar that I’m sure it is indeed a late 1920s Pendleton.

As you can see, the only differences are in the stripe and in the collar.  Every other detail is identical.  Even the buttons are the same.  Mine, however is missing the label.

If I were to have found this jacket today, I would have suspected that it is earlier than the 1940s.  But as I’ve pointed out in the past, we often see what we think we have, rather than what is really there.  I’m quite content to be in the wrong.

Of course, this really does point out the value of a label.  The graphic is clearly from the 1920s, though it could have been used a bit later.

The label also contradicts a bit of often-read information that is even alluded to on the Pendleton website, and that is that the 49er was the first women’s garment made by Pendleton.  The 49er was certainly the beginning of Pendleton developing a line of sportswear separates, but it is pretty obvious it was not the first garment Pendleton made for women.

Jacket and label photographs copyright metmuseum.org


Filed under Collecting

Getting Up to Speed

Is it just me, or do any of the rest of you feel like you are always running behind, trying to catch up with the latest in “social media?”  After years of being happy with just this blog, I learned that I must be sharing on Facebook and Twitter.   I finally got the hang of those, when I was told that I needed Flickr.  Okay, done.  And just when I think I have that under control, along comes Tumblr.

I’ve written in the past about the ever-changing world of social media, and I’ve got to say that I still believe that a “traditional” blog is my favorite way of communicating on the www.  I still don’t quite understand the appeal of Facebook, and but I do find myself checking in at Twitter and Flickr.  So why is it that I actually think that I *need* a Tumblr account?

I actually started with Tumblr several months ago, spent a day working on my site and then deleted it.  The thing that makes Tumblr so easy to use (and thus so appealing to so many) is what I find off-setting.  And that is that one’s  original content tends to become diluted or lost in the constant “reblogging.”  Two clicks and you have reblogged someone’s content to your page.  One click and you “heart” someone’s entry, which most likely started out life on some0ne else’s site.  Many, many times there is no indication of the original source of the content.

After setting some rules for myself, I’ve decided to give Tumblr another try.  For one thing, I enjoy the site.  It is truly amazing the things that turn up there.  But I plan to use it a bit differently from my other sites.  It is to be a purely what-I-like sort of thing, with little relation to this site, though at first I’ll be posting a lot of photos readers here have already seen.

If you have a Tumblr blog, let me know and I’ll “follow” it, and I would appreciate some Tumblr love in return.


Filed under Viewpoint, Vintage Photographs