Saturday, January 31, 2009

Weekend Eye Candy - 1955 Lilli Ann Suit

We can't have a week of suits without showing a design by the incomparable Lilli Ann. This one is from 1955.

January 31 - Steal of a Deal

Today is the last day of January and this is your final Steal of a Deal. Gorgeous 1950's party dress in pink and black tulle with polka dots. Original price - $145.00. Today only, 50% off - $72.50.

Friday, January 30, 2009

January 30 - Steal of a Deal

Today's Steal of a Deal is this luxurious 1950's coat with genuine fox fur collar. Original price - $250.00. Today only, 50% off - $125.00.

Suits in the 1970s

1965 Biba suitThis week, we've looked at suits in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. I'm going to close out the week with a look at the late 60s into the mid 70s. Fashion changed radically at this time, and it started with the Youthquake movement in London. In the above photo from 1965, you can see how different this Biba suit is from the suits I showed yesterday. Not only is the jacket much longer, but it has pants instead of a skirt! Pants had been fine for casual wear up to now, but they were not worn by women for business, streetwear, or dressier occasions.

vintage pantsuit, 1969Over the next 4 years, the ideas from young London designers began to take hold on the Paris runways and in American fashion. Here you can see clearly that jacket lengths have nose-dived to the hips or below, sleeves are full length again, and pants are acceptable. And while we don't see the sculpted tiny waists of the 40's and 50's, there is a bit of shaping in the jacket.

vintage suit, 1969Skirts were shorter in length, and suits were often made of unusual fabrics with wild prints or textures. Here velveteen is used for a day suit. Jackets are often belted to shape the waist.

vintage suit, 1969The convention of a suit having of a jacket on top is gone, and we see it replaced with vests, tunics, and coats.

vintage suit, 1972By 1972, skirt lengths are all over the map, with minis, midis, and maxis offering women freedom of choice.

vintage suit 1972Jackets remain longer and collars are huge.

vintage plaid suit, 1972In the early 70's plaid is everywhere, and using a large scale, brightly colored plaid on top and bottom is not too much.

vintage suit, 1975By the mid-1970's, the use of knits has made tailoring less necessary. Jackets are soft and belted for shape, and are often unlined.

I hope you've enjoyed this short history of suits. Hopefully, when you find a vintage suit, these posts will help you identify when it was made.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Suits in the 1960s

We've looked at suits from the 1940's and 1950's so far this week. As I said yesterday, about 1958-59, the shape of suits changes quite a bit. This red suit is from 1959. Here you can see that the length of the skirt is still below the knee, but suddenly we have a much shorter and less fitted jacket. All those darts in the jacket that emphasized a tiny waist are gone. Slight gathers or tucks start to appear at the skirt waist.

Sleeves are always elbow or 3/4 length during this period and suits are worn with long gloves.

Another jacket style that enjoyed a brief period of popularity was the longer, looser sacque jacket worn over a slim skirt. This style is seen from about 1958 - 62, and then disappears.

Dramatic and intricate details are gone from jackets. The most we usually see is topstitching, large decorative buttons, or pocket flaps without pockets. Collars are usually open, and the stand-away collar starts to appear. About 1963, hemlines creep up to right at the knee or 1" above and continue to creep shorter as the decade progresses. Princess seamed skirts often have hidden pockets at the hips.

The shorter jackets are often paired with dresses, or with a skirt and matching or contrasting sleeveless top. Evening suits are fashioned from fancy brocades, heavy silks, or metallics.

Closures sometimes disappear completely from jackets and they are worn open.

What happens next? Pantsuits! Check back tomorrow for suits from the late 1960's and 70's.

January 28 - Steal of a Deal

Today's Steal of a Deal is this opulent vintage 1960's metal thread brocade top and skirt. Original price - $95.00. Today only, 50% off - $47.50.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

January 28 - Steal of a Deal

Today's Steal of a Deal is this enchanting vintage 1950's strapless party dress. Original price - $125.00. Today only, 50% off - $62.50.

Suits in the 1950s

How do women's suits change from the 1940's to the 50's? While we still see lots of interesting details, they are not as elaborate as those seen in the 1940's.

The most obvious change is in the length of the jacket which becomes shorter. Most sleeves are now 3/4 as opposed to full length. If the sleeves are full length, they will either have no cuffs or much narrower cuffs than those of the 1940's.

Skirts change too. While Dior's 1947 New Look line introduced the full skirt, it didn't start to show up in ready-to-wear until about 1950. The more common skirt for suits in the 50's was the slim pencil line, as opposed to the A-line skirt of the 40's.

Dresses with matching jackets add a new category to suits, in addition to the typical jacket and skirt combination.

We see lots of fur collars as the separately draped full pelt fur stole loses favor.

About 1958-59, suits start to change more radically. Stay tuned, as I'll take a look at that tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

January 27 - Steal of a Deal

Today's Steal of a Deal is this gorgeous 1960's silk print dress by Ben Barrack. Original price - $95.00. Today only 50% off - $47.50.

What's So Great About a 1940's Suit?

It's all in the details - details you won't find in suits off the rack today. But in the 1940's, a woman could walk into any fine department store or boutique and find styles like this. And she could have the suit altered to fit by the in-store staff!

Click on the picture above to get a larger view and take a look at the details of this red suit made of Miron red wool gabardine. It's got a double collar rather than a simple lapel. The hip pockets have extra room built in, not only for your hands, but to accentuate the waist appear tiny. Not only is the waist shaped by the side seam, but 4 darts disappear into the huge pocket. That's 8 darts total on the front and there are probably at least 4 on the back. Now, go take a look at your favorite suit jacket. How many darts did you find? Probably 4 at the most.

You'll find two-tone effects in many suits from the 40's. This one takes the darker color of the skirt and uses it for contrasting trim at the collar, sleeve cuffs, pockets, and buttons on the jacket. Have you ever seen a fabric covered button that uses not one, but two fabrics?

1940's suits often have unusual pocket treatments. This one has a pretty curved flap accented with a button. Does your modern suit jacket even have pockets?

Why don't modern suits have great details like these? Money. It takes skilled seamstresses much more time to sew this intricately. It also takes more fabric to make a suit fit well with darts, to add contrasting trims, and to add interesting details. A suit like this would be cost prohibitive to the average woman today. But these wonderful suits from the 1940's were made so well, many still survive today. So, yes, you can still get high quality at a great price. Wear vintage!

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Promise of Spring

It's 9° in Boston this morning. A look at the 10 day forcast reveals that we're not expected to get above freezing all week. The holidays are over. The pleasure of the first snow has come and gone. The unique feel of the cold on my cheeks has lost its charm. It's the last week of January, and it's right about now every year that I start to long for spring. Unfortunately, we've got at least two more months of cold weather to endure before hints of warmer weather start to appear here in Boston. (Insert huge sigh here.)

In my office, though, it is starting to feel like the new season has arrived. I have started to list pretty spring and summer dresses at Couture Allure. It is always fun to start working on a new season and to play with lighter weight fabrics and pretty pastel colors. I also derive much pleasure through perusing my vintage magazines from the spring and summer months. The photo above brings to mind warm breezes on the lanai. A bowl of freshly picked strawberries, palm fronds rustling in the background, and a wide brimmed straw hat to shade the face all promise warmth from the sun to come. A romantic dress with huge balloon sleeves and a voluminous skirt looks so right in this setting.

Get the look with this 1950's light blue silk organza dress now available at Couture Allure. Can you feel those tropical breezes?

January 26 - Steal of a Deal

Today's Steal of a Deal is this 1950's full skirted party dress in light blue taffeta. Bonus - its a larger size, which is so hard to find in this style! Original price - $135.00. Today only 50% off - $67.50.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

January 25 - Steal of a Deal

The First Lady wore lemongrass lace. Why not you? Today's Steal of a Deal is this exquisite vintage 1960's yellow lace evening gown. Original price - $125.00. Today only 50% off - $62.50.

Vintage Roadshow - Links of the Week

And more vintage links from my colleagues at Vintage Roadshow. Enjoy!

Glamoursplash looks at vintage swimwear in advertising.
Here's Looking Like You, Kid shows us how to get those 1950's eyes.
Debutante Clothing strikes a pose in her vintage plaid pencil skirt.
Freudian Slips Vintage showcases new year vintage dresses.
Couture Allure offers a full week look at the style of Jacqueline Kennedy, including her inauguration fashion.

Links à la Mode: January 25

Please enjoy these links from my colleagues at IFB:

  • A Few Goody GumDrops - A Few Goody Gumdrops tells you how to own a Rockstar!
  • Aysha’s Rabbit Hole - my new creation! still working on it though!
  • Capitola Girl Jewelry Blog - brick house reds
  • Couture Allure - Couture Allure takes a three day look at the inaugural fashions worn by Jacqueline Kennedy.
  • Debutante Clothing - Mad for Vintage at the Golden Globes
  • Dogmom’s Dish - Hayden Harnett for Target: The Good, The Bad, The So So
  • dramatis personae - Etsy Designers: Mischief, My Dear! Shop Launch & giveaway!
  • fashion in my eyes - Blake in Vogue
  • fete a fete - Spring denim by Freedom of Choice & interview with founder Nathan Menashe
  • Independent Fashion Bloggers - Swag Etiquette: How to approach the ‘freebies’ in blogging.
  • Iwanttowearit - Come along as we mine Flickr’s Commons for fashion-related history lessons. Take a trip to Pie Town at the tail end of the Depression.
  • Mademoiselle Robot - Vintage inspiration for Spring fashion.
  • Nico Assatly - Old School Spring Favorite : American Eagle!
  • Retro Chick - Brighten up the dull winter days
  • Shopping and Info - Shopping and Info found some great deals on Graydn leather motorcycle jackets, Ella Moss, and Lily Mcneal cashmere this week.
  • Solo Lisa y Nada Mas: - Affordable essentials for incorporating colour into a colour-phobic wardrobe
  • Studio Purpura - Vicente Villarin - A Fashion Newcomer that Dares to Dream!
  • Style Symmetry - Eyeliah loves props in outfit photos, do you?
  • THE COVETED - Become Red Lip Royalty: Interview with Lipstick Queen founder Poppy King
  • the musings of ondo lady - Meet Stephanie Savage, the queen of teen dramas such as The OC and Gossip.
  • two months rent - i’ll take (or make) one of those a diy braided chain necklace
  • Saturday, January 24, 2009

    January 24 - Steal of a Deal

    Today's Steal of a Deal is this early 1960's Jablow suit, which is a copy of a Chanel design. Original price - $175.00. Today only, 50% off - $87.50.

    Weekend Eye Candy - André Dallioux Handbag

    October 1946 - Crocodile handbag by French designer André Dallioux as shown in L'Officiel.

    Friday, January 23, 2009

    January 23 - Steal of a Deal

    Today's Steal of a Deal is this late 1950's black wool suit with fur collar by Jack Feit. Original price - $125.00. Today only 50% off - $62.50.

    Jacqueline Kennedy and Her Hats

    It is ironic that Jacqueline Kennedy is so well known for her hats, when she really did not like to wear them. As a politician's wife, though, she had to bow to convention and wear a hat at times when not doing so would have been seen as disrespectful.

    During her time as First Lady, Jackie turned to Bergdorf Goodman for all her millinery. Halston was the custom milliner at Bergdorf's at this time, and he would make copies of Paris models and also create custom designs for her.

    Jackie preferred hat styles that would not crush her hair nor obscure her face, so as to be visible to the public. This is why you most often see her hats worn tilted to the back of her head.

    jacqueline kennedy, givenchy coat, pillbox hatOctober 19, 1960 - Three weeks before the election, the Kennedys are honored during a ticker- tape parade in New York City. Jackie wears a wide cut coat and pillbox hat by Givenchy.

    jacqueline kennedy, halston hatMay 31, 1961 - Jackie dons a yellow natural straw hat by Halston that matches a favorite yellow silk suit for luncheon at the Élysée Palace in France.

    jacqueline kennedy, pink hat, mexicoJune 30, 1962 - Jackie wears a pink parabuntal straw hat designed to match her pink silk shantung sleeveless suit by Oleg Cassini, which was perfect for the summer heat in Mexico. Here Jackie gives a speech in Spanish at a luncheon with Mexico's President Adolfo López Mateos.

    March 27, 1963 - Jackie wears a navy lacquered straw brimmed hat during a welcoming ceremony for King Hassan II of Morocco at Union Station, Washington, DC.

    May 8, 1962 - Jackie wears a chartreuse silk shantung brimmed Breton hat for the launch of the nuclear submarine USS Lafayette.

    April 11, 1962 - Jackie wears a natural straw brimmed Breton hat with a simple navy suit during a welcoming ceremony for the Shah of Iran and his wife. The bag? Christian Dior.

    I hope you've enjoyed this week of exploring the fashion of Jacqueline Kennedy as much as I have. Of course, there is far more than what I've shown here, so I'll definitely come back to her sometime in the future.

    All photos from "Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years".

    Thursday, January 22, 2009

    January 22 - Steal of a Deal

    Today's Steal of a Deal is this 1950's black wool dress with white angora trim. Original price - $75.00. Today only 50% off - $37.50.

    Jacqueline Kennedy Evening Gowns

    One of Jacqueline Kennedy's important jobs at the White House was serving as hostess for State dinners and attending formal events. Her new role as America's fashion icon required distincive and memorable evening gowns. She often achieved traditional splendor in a modern simple way. Here are just a few of her choices.

    On November 13, 1961, at a State dinner honoring Puerto Rico's Governor and his wife, President Kennedy invited Spanish cellist Pablo Cassals to perform at the White House.
    jacqueline kennedy, chartreuse evening gownJackie wore a 3 piece evening ensemble in chartreuse silk faille by Oleg Cassini. Consisting of a beaded top, long skirt, and short jacket, Jackie once again stood out from the crowd with her choice of a vibrant color.

    On April 29, 1962, the Kennedys entertained 39 Nobel laureates, including Pearl Buck, Robert Frost, and other distinguished guests, among them astronaut John Glenn. Actor Fredric March read from the writings of American Nobel prize winners.

    jacqueline kennedy, oleg cassini, silk jersey evening gownJackie had just returned from a vacation in Palm Beach and was deeply tanned. She was luminous in green draped silk jersey by Oleg Cassini.

    jacqueline kennedy, evening gown, guy duvier, christian dior new yorkOn May 11, 1962 at a State dinner honoring Andre Malraux, France's minister of culture, Jackie wore a strapless pink silk dupioni gown by Guy Douvier for Christian Dior New York. The dress had a draped panel at the back which was attached with a bow at the left side. Jackie worn a large jeweled brooch in her hair and carried a gold mesh evening bag.

    On September 6, 1962, the President and First Lady attended a benefit performance of Mr President for the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation.

    jacqueline kennedy, Joan Morse evening gown, silk brocadeIn February 1962, King Saud of Saudi Arabia had presented a length of magnificent silk brocade to the First Lady. She had the fabric made into this evening gown by A La Carte, a fashionable Manhattan boutique. Designer Joan Morse was noted for her designs using fabrics collected on her world travels. In the photo from the benefit, the dress has a green velvet bodice. Jackie later had the bodice replaced with pink silk organza for summer wear. A capelet made from the brocade tops off the outfit.