Wednesday, July 23, 2014

30s Fashion & Laura Ashbrenner

Several months ago, I happened to be in The Dalles, OR with a friend. We were driving out to Maryhill Museum, but stopped there to snoop about in some antique stores. He found a small pile of 30s fashion drawings (not originals, just quality copies), and I snapped em up in a heartbeat.

If it were up to me, I would know every little bit about everything I own. I would know who originally owned a dress, where someone bought something, if they saved up for it, and how they felt about it. I would know what their name was, where they lived, who they married, if they were happy (and then, what was their secret?)

Luckily, the artist who painted these signed her work! And gosh, she sounds like the kind of lady I'd like to ask some questions. Laura Ashbrenner, born 1915. As far as I can tell, is still living in the Dalles. She was married to her husband, Edgar, for 76 years. They both grew up in my hometown of Vancouver, WA before moving to the Dalles. He passed last December - at the age of 105! I'm guessing these ending up in the local antique store as a result of some estate cleaning. Everyone should read this interview with her husband from last year, celebrating his 105th. (There is even a photo of them on their wedding day!) I'll warn you, the article is so adorable it hurts.

A couple were dated - 1935. However, I'd bet money the ones to follow were done at a later time, based on the styles. I want to say '38, but perhaps up to '40.

Aren't they fabulous? I wish I could see more of her work, she kept painting throughout her entire life. And her husband framed most of them (omg.) There are a few of her watercolors on an estate website from a couple years ago, and there is currently one of her pieces up on eBay! So talented.

If by an off chance any of her family sees this - thank you. It's an honor to have ended up with a snippet of your family history, and they will be framed & treasured.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Beach Outfit & Floppy Hats

Headed to a vintage beach party in a bit, sitting here in a playsuit & a sun hat.... realized I'm going to have to take off the hat to sit in the car! Sometimes vintage can be hilariously impractical. (Don't even ask me how I'll use the facilities while wearing a 40s playsuit that buttons down the back. Haven't figured that one out yet.)

So in that vein, here's my outfit, and this article on impractical floppy hats, from 1941.

Onto more impractical but pretty...

Feminine Floppy Hats, This Season’s Sensation, Get Masculine Approval

Big brims which flop in the breeze, halolike cartwheels, and countless other versions of the pretty picture hat are giving a new look to smart city streets this spring. Unlike some feminine headgear of recent years, these floppy hats cause masculine heads to turn and nod in approval.

Every spring an attempt is made to get women into big hats. Last year milliners plugged the big sailor. The lines were harsh and its succedd short-lived. This year hats are flattering and feminine. Typical are those on the cover and on this page. They shade the eyes, shorten long noses, lengthen round faces, balance wide hips and offset full bosoms. They have veils and hatpins to anchor them in the wind. They may interfere with a man’s work and play, but men will cheerfully suffer such minor inconveniences for something which will make a plain girl glamorous and a pretty girl irresistible. 

Now you see her and now you don’t in this enormous hat with rippling brim of yellow and blue felt which dips in front and in back, is shoulder width.

Velvet bows and wine veiling add soft touches to this hat of green milan

 Cluster of grapes, veil and broad brim make this a true picture hat

Off with the wind is the fate of most big hats unless fastened by veils and pins. Peggy Tippett keeps her hat from rolling in the dust by grabbing colored streamers.

In light breezes this hat made of pampas straw with crocheted edge is safe. To further insure it in a big wind it has a gadget which changes shape of hat. 

In strong wind, the brim may be pulled back by means of little cord. Brim pulled back offers no resistance to the wind and floppy hat becomes off-the-face bonnet.

 In crowded elevator big hat gets tall men in the neck, short men in the eye. A little genial co-operative head bending and slight shoulder twisting readily solves problem.
On the dance floor big hat discourages the cheek-to-cheek position and bow is troublesome. Back at table, hat’s nuisance value is overlooked in interest of prettiness.

Amorous swain ably demonstrates how to circumvent the big-hat hazard. Even the most willing girl feels better about the whole thing if she’s sure her hat is safe.

While I'm not terribly impressed by these hats (well... maybe the grape one...) I'm pretty into their commentary. And I'd be pretty ok if a guy held my hat on while smooching me. Love love love. 


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Fancy Pants

I basically can't get enough pants in my life right now.
A lot of you are probably thinking, "Uhh, ok... they are just pants." I realize why you'd think that. However, it's been yeaaaars since I've worn pants on the regular. It had gotten to the point where putting them on made me feel vastly uncomfortable. So this is new.

Partially, I suppose it is related to getting my dive bar summer job back, and quitting the burlesque theatre I'd been at. I really don't need to be sloshing beer all over 40s dresses, right? And while it was fun dressing up for the burlesque place, the obligation wears thin quickly. Also, no more bachelorette parties! As it turns out, being sickly polite to huge groups of drunk sorority types isn't exactly my forte. Who'd have thought.

Here are some pants pictures I've found inspiring lately....

These are family photos from the early 50s. These gals are killing it, especially their color palettes.

Jumping back a bit in time, here's these slacks from 1942.
(This article included the sentence, "women are breaking out in a rash of pants." Oh my.)

So smitten with all of that! 
I suppose this outfit is more in the vein of the 50s photos, but I am certainly keeping my eyes peeled for 40s style slacks.

In conclusion: yay, pants!


50s jeans: Lucky Vintage
40s - 50s blouse: Le Frock
Unsigned 30s - 40s Miriam Haskell dress clip: Red Light

Photos (of me) courtesy of Jaynie Healy

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Gab & Denim

Here's a shocker: jeans. I've been wearing the hell out of some pants lately. 
Chartreuse rayon gab, perfect pockets. They only attached at the top, so they are pouches. 
Bakelite & leather buttons, chain stitch embroidery. Yummm.

As Jaynie & I were taking these pictures, some red-faced middle aged man, who was in a car with his teenage son, hollered "hey, smile!" at us. You know, the usual catchphrase of creeps & morons on the go. But then he got stuck at the stoplight, and had to sit there uncomfortably, as we stared at him. I can only assume what faces we were making. He muttered something like "Well come on... I mean I was just... saying..." to his son. We burst into laughter once he drove away, and I basically giggled my way through these pictures. 

Hope ya'll are doing swell.


40s blouse & 80s jeans: Lucky Vintage
40s scarf: who knows
40s (WWII era) wood necklace: flea market
40s souvenir jacket & 50s purse: Red Light
Platforms: Audley, from Edie's Shoes

All photos courtesy of Jaynie Healy

Thursday, June 12, 2014

80s does 40s

Hello lovelies!
Today, I'm endlessly excited to have a guest post up on Chronically Vintage. I took a bit of a time hop, and did an 80s does 40s ensemble. Hey... technically still vintage, am I right? ;)

Check it out here.

Thank you to the ever-so-wonderful Jessica for having me! She's been a favorite blogger of mine for years, and was one of my first followers when I began blogging myself. Holy moly... 2 years ago. 
Huh, nuts.


Photo courtesy of Jaynie Healy

Friday, May 30, 2014

Wartime Parisian Fashion, 1940

Yay, sharing two separate fashion articles today! Double trouble.

They ran back to back (LIFE April 15, 1940), but are completely unrelated. I truly couldn't pick one over the other, as they are both to die for. The first one offers a glimpse into Parisian fashion houses during the war. Schiaparelli, Molyneux, Paquin... um, yes please. Note, Chanel is never mentioned, as she had already closed her shops (and let's be real... we know what she was up to during the war.) The second article is on an eyelet lace trend, and features some celluloid necklaces that I would do terrible things to own. Seriously.

First up:

Some scenes from the economic war front of Parisian fashions

            War came, and all over the world those to whom women’s wearing apparel is business or fun or both posed the question, “What about Paris?”
            War came, and many of the French houses closed. Men important to the industry were called to the colors. Essential materials were requisitioned. Some houses talked of reopening in the suburbs. Some considered Cannes and Biarritz as fashion centers. But some, like Madame Lanvin, never closed.
            By late October, time for the lesser midseason showings, the government had released key men and materials. By December, time for preparing the important spring collections, the great uncertainty was whether American buyers and press would risk the perils and discomforts of a trip to Paris. There was talk of shipping the clothes to New York for a gala fashion show. Nothing came of it. In January, wartime French couture made a worthy contribution to the economic front. Americans attended. A grateful French Government gave them a reception. Madame Suzy held a cocktail party. The American press countered with stories of brave Paris carrying on. Buyers, representing shops with a clientele which normally buys some of its own originals in Paris, bought more than usual. Despite the war, Paris still retains its fashion crown.
            Paris scenes during the latest collections are shown here.
Jenny Holt, French movie star, confers with Schiaparelli, here holding Berard’s dog.

  Gayest of the evening fashions is this brilliant taffeta-plaid wrap by Piguet with its huge leg o’mutton sleeves

  Finnish peasant stockings in white and bright colors startled audiences at Schiaparelli’s show 

  Paquin showed ruffled pantalets for bicycling

Bright plaid taffeta in a day coat by Paquin

  Walking outfit by Lelong has dark blue skirt, red jacket, hobo stick with a pouch bag

  Molyneux evening gown has a swathed apron skirt

  Molyneux-inspired are these two outfits – the dress above with apron front, and coat below with bloused back. Out of all the fashion ideas that came from Paris, these two features are the ones which caught the U.S. public’s fancy immediately. The apron dress has already become a fashion “Ford” (one above costs $10.95), and bloused backs are now being shown in suit jackets as well as full-length coats. 

Which ones are your favorites? Mine is hands down that Paquin bicycling outfit. Not only does it have matching bloomers, but that is definitely fancy lady novelty print. Kill me now.
 Ok, article number two!

Old eyelet embroidery is new

            When 1940 revives a style of 1890, it usually is so modified that it is recognizable only to willing imaginations. The present revival of eyelet embroidery is a glaring exception. The hole-punched cottons now being used for collars, cuffs, neck ruffles, blouses, hats, gloves and dresses are indistinguishable from the stuff sold in the general dry goods stores of 50 years ago. Main difference is the fact that once upon a time all open work cottons were imported, mostly from Switzerland. Now they are made in the U.S.
 Even necklaces take up the punched-hole fad. This one is washable

Finnish bonnet and sailor above bloom in the sun, wilt in the rain

On gloves, eyelet embroidery is new but follows same old cut-out patterns. Backs of these gloves resemble hat's ruff, but palms are plain for greater practicality.

Red stitching outlines the eyelet-embroidered collar on this navy dress. Eyelet collar and cuff sets refresh old dresses. The hat is covered with openwork ruffles.

Batiste blouse is eyelet-embroidered all over, edged with narrow lace. The white hats on this page cost $12. They are not washable, and must be sent to the cleaners.
 See what I meant about the necklaces? 
I definitely told the magazine to shut up the first time I read this.