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Archive for ‘1950s’

“Billowy Circular Skirts” Of 1952

By , 26 October, 2009, No Comment

In Rebecca’s Fashion Trends From 1952 post (at her fabulous b.vikki vintage blog — you’ve got to go see it!), she’s posted some beautiful scans of “billowy circular skirts” that are “made to be worn with or without the ruffled petticoats, so popular this season,” which were circle skirts designed by — you guessed it! — Juli Lynne Charlotte of California. (Note that in this one issue of Jet Magazine, Charlotte is both “Juli Lynne” and “Juli Lynn” — something that seems to have been a chronic problem, despite the designer’s fame. For the record, the designer’s labels read “Juli Lynne Charlotte.”)

Circle Skirts, Jet Magazine, 1952

Circle Skirts, Jet Magazine, 1952

Juli Lynne Charlotte Circle Skirts, Jet Magazine, 1952

Juli Lynne Charlotte Circle Skirts, Jet Magazine, 1952

9 Lingerie Reasons To Get Thee A Little Black Dress

By , 22 October, 2009, 2 Comments

If these nine black vintage lingerie pieces don’t convince you that you really do need that quintessential little black cocktail dress, what on earth will?

1) A vintage black lace pinup bra — complete with centered red rosette.

Vintage Black Lace Pinup Bra

Vintage Black Lace Pinup Bra

2) Vintage vixens will love this black Lily Of France bustier with illusion lace and an incredibly deep plunging neckline.

1950's Lily Of France Black Illusion Lace Bustier

1950's Lily Of France Black Illusion Lace Bustier

3) This vintage French corset, from Star de Paris, is fully boned, has four adjustable garters, an elasticized back with hidden hook & eye closures, and is made of cashmere and nylon.

Vintage French Black Corset/Waist Cincher

Vintage French Black Corset/Waist Cincher

But don’t overlook the silk satin accents and the Chantilly lace. (I’m in love with the frilly hip lace!)

Close-Up Of Black Lace

Close-Up Of Black Lace

4) This sultry vintage nylon Movie Star full slip with a lush lace bodice and wide lace hem surely seduces — before you even put it on!

Vintage Black Movie Star Slip With Lace Bodice

Vintage Black Movie Star Slip With Lace Bodice

5) Slink around in this vintage black nylon Charmode full slip with a crystal pleated bust, lace details — and an very generous 4 1/2 inch crystal pleated hem.

Vintage Charmode Slip With Crystal Pleating

Vintage Charmode Slip With Crystal Pleating

6) This sheer 1950’s black panty girdle with garters has a lace covered control panel — but I think it may drive your partner out of control!

1950s Girdle Panties With Lace Panel & Garters

1950s Girdle Panties With Lace Panel & Garters

7) For sex kittens, a very sexy pair of sheer black vintage Movie Star panties with garters, accented with lace.

Sheer Black Vintage Moive Star Panties With Garters

Sheer Black Vintage Moive Star Panties With Garters

8) These beautiful vintage tap pants of black lace, likely from the 1980’s tap pant resurrection, feature a silky false fly front.

Retro Black Lace Tap Pants

Retro Black Lace Tap Pants

9) Last, but not least, another pair of sheer black vintage panties — this one stuns with rhinestones as well as lace trim.

Very Sheer Black Vintage Panties With Rhinestones & Lace

Very Sheer Black Vintage Panties With Rhinestones & Lace

Getting To The Point Of Pencil Skirts & Their Popularity

By , 22 October, 2009, No Comment

Christian Dior created the pencil skirt in the early 1950’s, as part of his H-Line collection.

Christian Dior H-line Fashions, 1955

Christian Dior H-line Fashions, 1955

The narrow and long (past the knee, originally) design of pencil skirts was reminiscent of the long skirts worn in the 1900s — right down to the similar hobbling effects of the 1910’s hobble skirts.

The Hobble Skirt Postcard, Circa 1910s

The Hobble Skirt Postcard, Circa 1910s

Note where the hobble skirt narrows around the knees, much like the narrowness of pencil skirts. This is why, even when pencil skirts have a slit or pleat in the back, pencil skirts still require some practice to walk in, some experience in elegant wearing.

Early Christian Dior Pencil Skirt Suit

Early Christian Dior Pencil Skirt Suit

The earliest pencil skirts were parts of suits, worn with jackets and tunics which covered the waist; this somewhat tended to minimize the hips while lengthening the legs.

Black Velevet Tunic Suit With Slim Pencil Skirt, 1952

Black Velevet Tunic Suit With Slim Pencil Skirt, 1952

But eventually, pencils skirts were worn with more fitted fashions, further accentuating the rounding of hips and behinds beneath nipped-in waists. (And would eventually evolve into the more flower-like full skirted fashions, and, on the other side, the wiggle dress, which we think of when we think of New Look fashions.)

Vintage Suit Ad: Pencil Skirt on Left, A-Line Skirt on Right

Vintage Suit Ad: Pencil Skirt on Left, A-Line Skirt on Right

In any case, wearing pencil skirts was far less practical in terms of ease of movement. This impracticality had, in fact, much to do with the success of the new skirts.

The lack of ease in movement may not have been part of Dior’s “Big Design” but his designs, and the many others who followed suit, certainly were able to capitalize by simultaneously a-dressing several post WWII cultural movements.

Pencil skirts were not only a new fashion silhouette — which women, tired of the more functional (and repaired, recycled) wartime clothing would of course be nearly giddy to have — but these skirts were also a more traditional and feminine style. Eager to be beautiful again, women loved them.

And men loved these skirts which highlighted and celebrated the female form too.

Vintage Lilli Ann Suit With Pencil Skirt Ad

Vintage Lilli Ann Suit With Pencil Skirt Ad

No one can blame either men or women for celebrating their reunions, the return of couples and families, but the physical restrictions of pencil skirts encouraged the hobbling of women.

Such fashions, with their physical restrictions, helped move women away from their wartime work (making room for the returning men) and placed women upon their pedestals as domestic goddesses, objects of desire and housewives. Female.

Feeding this return to gender roles via fashion were the recently available mass production advances made during the second World War and the post-war prosperity; ready-to-wear was affordable and most everyone had the the ability to afford the luxuries of lots of new clothing. The vintage popularity of pencil skirts remains with us today, making the pencil skirt more than a fashion classic, but a fashion basic.

Vintage Merrimack Ad For Velveteen Pencil Skirt Suits

Vintage Merrimack Ad For Velveteen Pencil Skirt Suits

Anne Francis: Sweater Girl

By , 18 October, 2009, No Comment

Even without the cigarette in her hand, Anne Francis is smoking hot in this sweater & skirt set.

Anne Francis Smoking Hot Sweater Girl

Anne Francis Smoking Hot Sweater Girl

For a bit more glamorous holiday look, how about this vintage black rayon sweater with cap sleeves, embellished with velvet applique and rhinestones?

Vintage Black Sweater with Velvet & Rhinestones

Vintage Black Sweater with Velvet & Rhinestones

(The velvet and rhinestones, the usual holiday fashion suspects, might distract family from noticing that you’re on the make!) The sweater’s single button closure in back, at the nape of the neck, leaves that sexy keyhole opening… Maybe that will inspire you to pose like Ms. Francis, hmm? *wink*

Dorothy Gray’s Cherry Bounce

By , 16 October, 2009, 2 Comments

In the March 27, 1950 issue of Quick Magazine (sent to me by Deanna — who continues to drag me into her snare of ephemera), an article on “Cherry Bounce,” a new color in lipstick, rouge, and nail polish from Dorothy Gray.

News of Dorothy Gray Cherry Bounce, 1950

News of Dorothy Gray Cherry Bounce, 1950

The very brief Quick article says the colors danced their way onto the fashion scene on the heels of a new dance invented by the Fred Astaire dancers.

Now dancing couples do The Cherry Bounce in store windows across the country, music publishers have translated it into sheet music and Mercury has recorded it for American’s bouncing juke boxes.

I could find very little of this dance-cum-color… A vintage ad for Dorothy Gray’s Cherry Bounce in a College of William And Mary publication, dated March 21, 1950 (link is to PDF; ad is below).

Vintage Ad For Cherry Bounce Cosmetics By Dorothy Gray

Vintage Ad For Cherry Bounce Cosmetics By Dorothy Gray

I was surprised I didn’t find anything “cherry bounce” in connection with the Fred Astaire dancers — maybe fans of Fred can turn up something about the dance? However, I was able to disc-cover that Mercury indeed did put out the Cherry Bounce recording. It was by Bobby Sherwood And His Orchestra, Mercury # 5468 (March 14, 1950)

This recording featured Kai Winding, as part of Sherwood’s orchestra; Winding would later be known for his service as Music Director for the Playboy Club — now that’s a Cherry Bounce! *wink*

Kai Winding At Playboy Club, 1966

Kai Winding At Playboy Club, 1966

If anyone has more info — especially color images of Dorothy Gray “Cherry Bounce” cosmetics, recordings of the song, copies of the sheet music, etc., please share!

Oh What A Heavenly Hem!

By , 13 October, 2009, 2 Comments

I just adore this vintage black silk taffeta dress! The lower skirt is covered with black soutache, studded with black faceted beads, and then the arched scalloped edges finish in dainty black silk tassels hanging over a hemline of rose colored velvet. (There is an attached net crinoline beneath for shaping too — which really contrasts that inset waist treatment!)

1950's Black Taffeta Fitted Dress

1950's Black Taffeta Fitted Dress

The way the black tassels hang over the rose velvet reminds me of garters on stockings!

Soutache Embroidered Hemline with Black Tassels Over Rose Velvet

Soutache Embroidered Hemline with Black Tassels Over Rose Velvet

Monday Movie Meme: Film Fathers

By , 5 October, 2009, No Comment

This week’s Monday Movie Meme theme is movies featuring Dads and it brought one name immediately to mind: Spencer Tracy.

Spencer Tracy may not have been the world’s best father or family man, but perhaps it’s his personal feelings about such personal failures which provided him with the ability to act the part of complicated fathers with such divine grace. Naturally Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967) leaps to mind — but I think the role which best captures Tracy’s ability to portray a film father is Father’s Little Dividend (1951).

Both films focus on parental reaction to the situations of their adult children, but in Father’s Little Dividend Tracy’s role as father Stanley Banks is the focus on the film. This focus on a common man’s response to the traditional life cycle change from father to grandfather makes for portrayal of full, complex person — a character rather than a caricature. But I don’t think anyone can watch Tracy and not give his acting ability its due.

It may be dutiful and doting dad Stanley Banks who struggles with his new relationship with his “modern” daughter and his disconnected and distanced relationship with a grandson who begrudges him that magic moment of bonding by crying whenever grandpa is near; but it’s Spencer Tracy who delivers those scenes and the emotions beneath them.

(Spoilers follow — Stop reading if you don’t want to know!)

It is because of Tracy’s superb acting that we understand — not just because “things were different back then” — just how useless grandpa feels around his grandson. So we understand how easy it would be for grandpa to step too far away from the sleeping-safely-in-his-carriage baby at the park and go feel useful and connected by helping a group of boys with their soccer game… And just how devastated, guilty, and frightened he would feel when he returns to the park bench to find the carriage and baby missing!

When Banks stands before the less than understanding police, confessing he lost the baby and pleading his case for his grandson to be returned to him without calling his daughter, his pain becomes our pain because Tracy is the one who inhabits it and conveys it.

When the policeman suggests the test of Banks’ claims be the baby’s reaction to him, we all flush and swallow hard lumps of fear right along with Tracy because we fear what Banks does: that the baby will cry and reject him, resulting in further embarrassment and problems. We all hold our breath while Tracy as Banks walks towards the baby who is happily preoccupied with the group of police…

And when that baby lights up with delight upon seeing his grandpa, we all feel giddy with relief — and the realization that these two finally have their magic moment and are forever bonded, their devotion sealed in this shared secret.

We wouldn’t feel any of that if it weren’t for Spencer Tracy’s ability to feel and convey all the emotions of fatherhood, including the less than flattering ones.

Spencer Tracy may not have been able to, as he himself lamented, been able to be a the best father — but he carried within himself not only such bittersweet knowledge, but teh ability to apply the bitter and the sweet to his acting roles as on-screen dads.  From watching Spencer Tracy “dads,” I’ve learned that fatherhood comes with all the expectations, mistakes, and complexity of motherhood.

While there’s certainly sadness in such things, there is also awareness — we are not alone, knowledge is power, there is hope.

Winter Is Coming — And I’m Seeing Red!

By , 29 September, 2009, No Comment

If the cooler weather is making you hot under the collar — but you know what won’t be enough to keep you warm — why not console yourself with a fabulous coat?

Swing into fall with this 1940s red wool swing jacket! (I’m soooo tempted… If only hubby weren’t aways around monitoring my monitor lol)

Soft Red Wool Swing Jacket, 1940s

Soft Red Wool Swing Jacket, 1940s

And for those really cold days ahead, how about this fabulous 1950’s red wool coat with faux fur trim?

Clear Red Wool Coat With Faux Fur Trim, 1950s

Clear Red Wool Coat With Faux Fur Trim, 1950s

Shake That Circle Skirt!

By , 28 September, 2009, No Comment

I know you’ve quite possibly been getting dizzy from all the circle skirt & Vertigo posts of late (and I promise other stuff is coming soon!), but I couldn’t help but show you this darling vintage powder compact with artwork by Hilda Terry. Look at her shake that circle skirt! (He sure is lol)

Hilda Terry Vintage Powder Compact

Hilda Terry Vintage Powder Compact

For more on Hilda Terry, visit 8HendersonPlace.com.

Kim Novak’s Spiraled French Twist

By , 25 September, 2009, No Comment

I don’t suppose any discussion of Kim Novak’s glamour in Vertigo is complete without mentioning her spectacularly spiraled hair — a unique kink in the classic coif!

Kim Novak's Spiral Coil French Twist

Kim Novak's Spiral Coil French Twist

If that spiraled sophistication gets to you as it did Jimmy Stewart, here’s how to do it. Begin with a simple French twist — only leave the the front section of hair, at the crown, out. Once you’ve made your French twist, take the still-loose section at the crown, and gently pull it back back, gathering the ends.  Coil the ends just off of center above the main twist and pin in place.