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Archive for ‘1950s’

Tips For Preserving The Fit Of New Look Foundation Garments

By , 25 February, 2010, No Comment

Deanna sent me this scan from a vintage (circa 1945) issue of Modern Woman magazine which has tips for preserving the fit of New Look foundation garments. Such care likely serves the collector and/or wearer of vintage lingerie pieces as well as the fashions which are worn over them.

Tips To Preserve "New Look" Foundation Garments

Tips To Preserve "New Look" Foundation Garments

Personally, I never ever would have thought of hanging my vintage girdles to dry by the garters — I’m eager to try it and see if and how it might affect things.

Thirsty For Vintage Lucite Purses?

By , 29 January, 2010, No Comment

How about a Lucite purse from the 50’s in a root beer color? This vintage tortoise shell box purse has brass fixtures and rhinestones — like little glittering ice cubes in the root beer! lol

Vintage Root Beer Colored Lucite Purse With Rhinestones

Vintage Root Beer Colored Lucite Purse With Rhinestones

OMG Vintage Moment Of The Week – For Fashion & Purse Lovers!

By , 15 January, 2010, 2 Comments

This vintage black wool circle skirt by Madalyn Miller features a working purse applique!

Vintage Madalyn Miller Circle Skirt With Purse

Vintage Madalyn Miller Circle Skirt With Purse

The cream wool felt purse with silver and black detail work has a working gold clasp that opens up, making it a functional vintage purse!

Working Felt Purse Applique On Vintage Black Felt Skirt

Working Felt Purse Applique On Vintage Black Felt Skirt

Available for sale at, and photos from, Wear It Again Sam Vintage Clothing.

Madalyn Miller Original Label

Madalyn Miller Original Label

A Dress To Match Liz Taylor’s Eyes

By , 12 January, 2010, 3 Comments

This vintage dress by Ida Mea of Chicago is a lot like the legendary eyes of Elizabeth Taylor: absolutely stunning in both shape and color. Created by layers of periwinkle chiffon over a pinked lavender shade of what I believe looks like a taffeta, note the incredible way the chiffon not only drapes, but is ruched and folded to create lines as well as depth. But the beauty doesn’t stop there — there’s ivory lace at the bodice, a shelf bust, and boning too.

Elegant Vintage Dress With Chiffon Overlay

Elegant Vintage Dress With Chiffon Overlay

Ida Mae Tag Inside Vintage Dress

Ida Mae Tag Inside Vintage Dress

I’m Dreaming Of A Rhinestone Christmas

By , 16 December, 2009, No Comment

What could be more impossibly impractical — and therefore more glamorous — than an incredible nightgown with rhinestones?!

Vintage Vanity Fair Nightgown With Rhinestones

Vintage Vanity Fair Nightgown With Rhinestones

I’d say that question was rhetorical… But since this beauty isn’t a stand alone piece (it may be a one of a kind now, due to age, but it wasn’t always so), there are additional goodies in the collection.

The gold embroidered label or tag tells you that this piece is from the Vanity Fair Conversation Pieces collection, circa mid-1950s — but you don’t really need that tag to tell you that, do you?

Gold Embroidered Vanity Fair Label

Gold Embroidered Vanity Fair Label

Vanity Fair’s elaborate and impractical lingerie creations, featuring rhinestones and gold lame, certainly tell you these are lingerie pieces one talked about — and probably showed off too. Not only bringing such fabulous lingerie pieces out of the shopping bag to show friends while the ladies lunched, but maybe by wearing it while entertaining and playing hostess too. Oh, the days when you didn’t fear unexpected company, but glamorously dressed-up for it, lounging about all dolled-up, hoping for it…

Vanity Fair Black & Gold Lame Nightgown From Conversaion Pieces Collection

Vanity Fair Black & Gold Lame Nightgown From Conversaion Pieces Collection

This Swing Is No Miss, Miss!

By , 14 December, 2009, No Comment

They say it don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that swing — but how about adding a fur collar and a big bold silver buckle in the back to a red velvet Lilli Diamond swing coat? Well, I’d say that’s a swing that hits a home run!

1950s Lilli Diamond of California Red Velvet Swing Coat

1950s Lilli Diamond of California Red Velvet Swing Coat

PS Don’t forget to enter my home spa and “teddy bare” lingerie contests!

How To Determine Vintage Stocking Size

By , 13 November, 2009, No Comment

Vintage stockings, original non-stretching nylon stockings, are sold by two measurements: foot size and leg length. But what if the stocking’s size markings, usually printed on the stocking welt (the top, where you attach the garters), aren’t legible or missing entirely? Well then you are going to have to measure the stockings themselves to determine their size.

Before we begin, please note the following:

In this case, “vintage stockings” refers to non-stretch nylon stockings which were made mainly from the 1940s through the 1960s, when Lycra and other stretch hosiery entered the market. Though 100% nylon stockings continued to be made, and its form of sizing continued to be used by some brands, the stretch hose limited the range of sizing to today’s more familiar ‘Small’, ‘Medium’, ‘Tall’ and ‘Queen’ — and the related A, B, C or D. (The extra give in these stretchier stockings and pantyhose literally allowed manufacturers to ‘lump’ women into fewer sizes, reducing cost and, we vintage fans feel, decreasing a more specific fit.)

Then, as today, there are variations in sizing by stocking brand — and sometimes within the same brand. The top brand names tend to be more consistent in their sizing (Hanes & Berkshire, for example, tend to be incredibly consistent), but even specific brand consistency may vary greatly from the sizing of other brands (stockings by Alberts, including the sub-brand of Araline, for example, measure an extra half inch in the foot and an extra inch longer in length too).

Since worn stockings will be a little larger (even freshly laundered ones), than unworn stockings, these sizing measurements work for unworn vintage stockings.

However generalized these sizing measurement tips are, you can get a pretty good idea of fit — especially if you compare the measurements to the measurements of your favorite fitting pair of worn vintage stockings!

How To Find The Size Of Vintage Stockings

In order to best measure the stocking, I recommend beginning by securing a tape measure to a table top, taping it down just like at the counters in fabric departments, so that you have both hands free to handle the stocking.

If you don’t have a measuring tape, get one; they’re cheap and you’ll use them over and over again. (I suggest you carry a tape measure with you when you visit estate sales, thrift stores, flea markets, etc. too — you can always ask for a literal hand with measuring!) Or, you can tape paper the length of the table, mark off your dimensions, and measure them later.

Once you have the measuring tape securely in place, you’re ready to get your measures. Since true stocking size is always determined by the foot measurement, we’ll begin there.

The industry standard for measuring the foot of a stocking is to measure from the tip of the toe to mid heel, however, most people are more comfortable defining the end of the heel rather than making a guesstimate of the middle of the heel, so I’ll be discussing measurements from the tip of the toe to the end of the heel. That said, that’s what you do.

Place the tip of the stocking toe at the top of your measuring tape and, holding it firmly in place, extend the stocking foot taut along the length of the tape measure. As you extend the stocking’s foot, keep it pulled taut — not stretched; apply just enough tension to remove the folds and wrinkles in the nylon. Measure the distance between the tip of the stocking’s toe to the end of the heel (the darker, reinforced area).

Just as with shoe sizes, a measurement of 10 inches does not equal a size 10 stocking — well, not quite, anyway. If your measurement was taken from the tip of the toe to mid-heel, then the number of inches does indeed give you the stocking’s foot size. (So if you’re comfortable with assessing the middle of a stocking’s heel, go for it!) But if you’ve measured the stocking from the tip of the toe to the end of the heel it’s still easy to get the size: subtract either ½ or ¾ an inch to obtain the true stocking size.

Which one? If your stocking is smaller, measures 9 ½ inches or less, subtract half an inch; if your stocking is larger, measures 10 inches or more, subtract ¾ inches. (Larger stockings have a larger heel reinforcement.)

To get stocking length, measure from the bottom of the heel to the top of the welt, using the tips above. The measurement you get is the size; no math necessary.

STOCKING

SIZE

STOCKING
LENGTH
SHORT MEDIUM LONG XL OPERA
8 1/2 28 1/2 29 31 33
9 29 30 1/2 32 33
9 1/2 29 1/2 31 33 35 37
10 30 32 34 36 38
10 1/2 31 32 1/2 34 1/2 36 1/2 39
11 33 35 37 39
11 1/2 33 1/2 35 1/2 37 1/2 40
12 40
13 40

What You Need To Know About Vintage Full Fashioned Stockings

By , 12 November, 2009, 16 Comments

After getting the following email from Crystal, I decided it was time to do another primer on buying and wearing vintage:

Hi Jaynie,

I have a question… After hearing that “vintage full fashioned stockings are the best!” I bought several pairs on eBay. They feel lovely, but after a few hours of sitting at work I find they are bagging around the knees and wrinkling at the ankles… Is that normal? Am I getting the wrong kind — too cheap of ones? Or am I buying the wrong size?

Thirteen Points To Know About Vintage Fully Fashioned Stockings

#1 ‘Full Fashioned’ or ‘Fully Fashioned’ stockings are easily recognized by the sexy seam that travels the length of the stocking and the famous ‘keyhole’ or ‘finishing loop’ at the back of the stocking welt (the top portion of the stocking, made with a heavier gauge of nylon which is doubled over and finished closed, were the garters are attached).

Vintage 'Star' Full Fashioned Seamed Stockings With Key Holes

Vintage 'Star' Full Fashioned Seamed Stockings With Key Holes

#2 Full Fashioned stockings are also called ‘flat knit’ stockings because they were knitted flat and shaped to fit the leg; flared at the thigh, and curved to fit the calf.

#3 This ‘knit to fit’ shaping was done by decreasing the number of stitches towards the ankle, dropping stitches much like hand knitting. This cast off stitching gives the stockings ‘fashioning marks’ — the little V’s on the back near the seams — and so explains their name.

#4 The stockings are then joined at the back on a looping machine by hand, creating the seam up the back. This is how black, contrasting, or other color nylon seams can be made.

Vintage Glamour Girl Fully Fashioned Stockings Ad

Vintage Glamour Girl Fully Fashioned Stockings Ad

#5 Generally speaking, the ‘knit to fit’ shape of a vintage Full Fashioned stocking favors a long slender leg; lengths are available.

#6 For those who have shall we say a curvier or more difficult leg proportion, look for ‘outsize’ vintage stockings which were made wider for larger legs. Fewer outsize stockings were made, which makes them more difficult to find (and pricier when you do find them); but the better proportion makes for a better fit and so they are worth the extra investment.

#7 Because vintage Full Fashioned stockings are 100% nylon and do not contain Lycra or stretch spandex, they will generally wrinkle (and even sag a bit at the knees) after a few hours of wear, requiring some adjustment in the ladies’ room. (The good news is that perhaps your face could use a bit more powder, your lips more color?)

Tiana Hunter Wearing Black Stockings

Tiana Hunter Wearing Black Stockings

(I think we can all agree there’s not a thing wrong with the lovely Tiana Hunter‘s legs, yet her stockings have that — to be expected — bit of wrinkle at her ankle. So don’t take it personally; nylon is not Lycra.)

#8 Once the stockings stretch, they’re stretched — until you wash them. Washing them frequently not only helps them regain their original shaping, but prevents damages. (Even the smallest grains of sweat & dirt can do a great deal of damage to such fine nylon yarn.)

#9 I recommend that you always wash hosiery by hand. Don’t even be tempted to trust those hosiery bags for vintage full fashioned stockings.

When it comes to fit, some ladies also consider the denier and/or gauge of the stocking:

#10 Denier an Italian unit of measure for the density of knitting yarn — it’s mathy, and really all you need to know is the basic principals here: The lighter the thread (the less number of deniers) the finer the weave; stockings knitted with a higher denier tend to be less sheer but more durable. So a 15 denier (15d) yarn is twice as fine and sheer as 30 denier (30d) yarn. And some women swear that a 30d fully fashioned stocking resists stretching (wrinkling) twice as well as a 15d stocking. Also note that the seams usually are less visible on low denier stockings.

#11 Gauge is an English unit of measure, equally mathy, which measures the number of needles in a 38-millimeter section of a knitting bed, so a 60 gauge (60g) knitting machine has 60 needles to a 38-mm section. What you need to remember here is that the more needles you have in a section (the larger the gauge number), the finer the needles are — and the tighter the weave will be. The two most common gauges of Fully Fashioned stockings were 51g and 60g; the 60g stocking will have a have smoother, denser look (and feel) — and the tighter weave will help the stocking keep its shape longer.

Vintage Taylor-Woods Ad Explaining Nylon Denier & Gauge

Vintage Taylor-Woods Ad Explaining Nylon Denier & Gauge

#12 If all else fails, check your size. Vintage stockings are sized differently than modern ones; Stocking Showcase has great sizing charts.

#13 When buying vintage stockings, check the stocking welt itself for the stocking size rather than trusting just the box. The box may be easier to read (much easier than the previously worn & washed stocking welt), but the box may no longer contain its original contents. Even when the stockings appear never to have been worn or are “new old store stock,” what lies inside may be quite different — sometimes the pairs don’t even match! So look them over carefully or ask the seller to check for you.

Come back soon for more on buying vintage stockings!

More Thursday Thirteen participants can be found here.

Personal Drama In A Street Car Named Desire

By , 9 November, 2009, No Comment

I’ve been meaning to talk about A Street Car Named Desire (1951) for quite some time… I’ve put it off because it’s a heady film, connected to some pretty personal things for me and I’ve never been quite sure how to separate those things from a ‘film review.’ Or end up with a post too long for anyone to bother to read. *wink* But since this week’s Monday Movie Meme is about movies that have changed your life or your behaviors/beliefs, I thought now’s the time to try…

Though I am speaking personally, about changes, and not giving a real review of the movie, I will clarify and say that I’m speaking of Elia Kazan’s film version, starring, among others, Vivien Leigh (as Blanche DuBois), Marlon Brando (Stanley Kowalski), Kim Hunter (Stella Kowalski, Stanley’s wife and Blanche’s sister), and Karl Malden (Harold ‘Mitch’ Mitchell, a suitor of Blanche’s). It’s the only version I’ve seen, and the only one I wish to — because it is perfection.

Also, if you have not seen the film and do not wish to have my story color your viewing of it, please, stop reading now!

There are three points that must be made and understood before I can tell you about the effects of the film. One is that I’m a survivor of abusive relationships, including date rape and physical violence; the second is that my husband is, among other things, a kind, sensitive, and intelligent man who became my husband after I survived such horrible things; and the third, as I’ve mentioned, hubby was a theatre major.

These things matter; they are all tangled-up in this mess.

It was only a few years into our being married. I had previously seen the film, when I spotted it on TCM’s lineup and asked hubby to watch it with me. He resisted, for, as it turns out, he had some sort of college class discussion on the play and felt he’d floundered through it — he’d felt there was ambiguity between reality & fantasy in this film, and wasn’t able to defend his position on such plays of the ‘modern theatre genre’ which seem to force audiences to conjure questions and evolve, rather than watch story and its characters evolve.

This discomfort of his would surprise me greatly for I found nothing ambiguous in the film. And when our discussion fell to the subject of hubby using the rape scene as an example of fantasy, of not having occurred but a figment or excuse of Blanche’s, I was stupefied.

Street Car Names Desire

Street Car Names Desire

Naturally, as a survivor of acquaintance rape, I would find no ambiguity in that scene — nor anything but pain in those which followed, when Blanche is not believed.

Finding my husband questioning even a fictional film victim was difficult. Yet defending or debating my stance that I was ‘right’ didn’t feel right when hubby seemed so vulnerable to those past fears and failings of his own… Should I remain silent, out of deference to his feelings, or give voice to my own feelings and needs?

I opted to remain silent and watch the film, hoping that he would see something in this film version which would remove any doubt that Blanche’s rape was film-reel real.

But it didn’t.

One one hand, my silence had worked; post viewing, hubby felt comfortable enough to assert his beliefs that Blanche had imagined, if not fantasized, the rape and used its cry in an attempt to manipulate her sister.

On the other hand, silence didn’t work for me; it rarely does for victims.

I felt the heat of anger rise and knew I’d need to confront the issue for myself. But I didn’t want to be confrontational with my husband. Plus, didn’t he, the theatre major know more than I? I’m a simple movie lover — who admittedly watches a lot of film purely for the fashions and vintage style, yet; what do I know? …Maybe I’ve got Street Car all wrong?

In the end, I was brave. I forced myself to voice my opinions, thus not cowering as the silenced victim nor playing the ‘intimidated ‘girl’ to his ‘educated man.’ But I also didn’t need to be right. For this is a movie; named as much, in my opinion for it’s ability to move emotions and project passions as for the moving images projected on the screen. And that means no two viewers will — or even need to — be moved the same way.

A Street Car Named Desire remains one of my favorite films. I don’t think he particularly shares my sentiments; but our relationship has more than survived — it thrives because we can share our feelings, our individual vulnerabilities, even when we disagree.

Get A Pair Like Jayne Mansfield

By , 27 October, 2009, No Comment

Everyone wants a pair like Jayne’s — a pair of her Lucite heeled shoes, that is!

Jayne Mansfield Wearing Lucite Shoes

Jayne Mansfield Wearing Lucite Shoes

Clear Lucite shoes go with nearly anything — and when laden with rhinestones and embellished with carvings, they’re perfect for the holiday season!

This vintage pair of Springolators has acrylic vamps with a double row of rhinestones, rhinestone-studded heels (with original metal cap heels), and foiled under soles for a mirror-like affect.

Rhinestone Embellished Springolator Mules With Lucite Heels

Rhinestone Embellished Springolator Mules With Lucite Heels

Another pair of embellished vintage Lucite-heeled Springolators, these acrylic vamps have sparkling clear faceted beads and etched heels with original metal heel caps.

Vintage Lucite Heeled Springolators With Baubles On Vamp

Vintage Lucite Heeled Springolators With Baubles On Vamp

These vintage slingbacks are by Qualicraft and they feature both vamps and heels embellished with a stylistic floral motif.

Vintage Clear Acrylic Qualicraft Slingbacks With Carved Lucite Heels

Vintage Clear Acrylic Qualicraft Slingbacks With Carved Lucite Heels