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Archive for ‘1960s’

Jaynie Went Missing — But Not Like Bunny Lake

By , 6 November, 2009, No Comment

I’ve been sick; that explains both the little blogging this week and the number of magazine posts coming up *wink*

It also explains the absence of any discussion of films.

You’d think, being sick & sofa-bound, that I’d have seen quite a few of them; but the truth is, whatever once I began watching, I fell asleep during. I cannot express how confusing it is to fall asleep watching one movie on TCM and waking up with another on! My addled cough syrup infused brain then desperately tries to find the connections between the two — or more? movies… But without Robert Osborne there to guide me, I struggle until I pass-out again — waking to do it all again.

Bunny Lake Is Missing Film Poster

Bunny Lake Is Missing Film Poster

The only film I did manage to see all the way through was Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965). And it scared the crap cough syrup out of me.

I’m no fan of horror films; but I do love a good thriller that scares me to my bones and makes me want my mommy. And I not did Bunny Lake do that, but I hadn’t guessed the plot.

It may not be fair, given my problems with lucidity, to declare Otto Preminger a genius. But I’m going to anyway. At least for now. I’m going to watch it again when I’m more ‘normal’ just to be sure… Even though I’ll now know the plot, I’ll see if it still holds up.

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

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

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*

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.

The Story Of Circle & Poodle Skirts Continues

By , 16 August, 2009, 4 Comments

Continuing the story of the circle skirt… The story began with a simple skirt Juli Lynne Charlot made for a Christmas party (not the actual circle skirt shown here, but how cute is that?!) and the skirts were quickly transformed into a multitude of novelty themes.

1950s Christmas Themed Circle Skirt

1950s Christmas Themed Circle Skirt

Fashion legend says that at some point it was suggested to Charlot that she put animals, including poodles, onto her skirts and that when Charlot did so, the popularity of the circle skirts increased greatly — which has led to the skirts being called poodle skirts.

In fashion reality (or at least by my own personal definition), poodle skirts are different than novelty circle skirts… And fit a different market or fashion niche. As we shall see.

While adult women did wear novelty circle skirts, especially in the beginning,the heavily petticoated novelty skirts (what I call poodle skirts) quickly became not only de rigeur for girls, but seen mainly as a fashion trend for the youth.

The poodle skirt craze among teens is often attributed to those new rock n roll dances; teens found the big circle skirts enchanting while dancing. But it’s quite probable that mom & dad preferred their Kitten to wear a longer full skirt that hid at least part of her figure (especially when stuffed with crinolines and petticoats to prevent anything more being seen) to the more fitted along the hips structured fashions; watch Kitten’s skirt swing, not her hips sway. *wink*

(Of course, the irony was that fuller skirts looked like fuller, more womanly, hips and that boys dreamed of ladies’ underthings, so…)

But let’s not overlook the marketing machine in all of this either…

10 Year Old Girl Wearing Poodle Skirt, Christmas, 1954

10 Year Old Girl Wearing Poodle Skirt, Christmas, 1954

During the 1950’s, companies began to court the youth market as they never had before. This shift in attention to teens had fashions, like the poodle skirts, forcefully marketed to young girls rather than the former long history of marketing fashions to adult women. The proof of this can be seen in the ephemera trail which shows that ads for poodle skirts in magazines published for teens clearly outnumbered those in publications for women (which focused on less voluminous circle skirts).

There were other factors for the popularity of poodle skirts for teens too.

In the 1950’s you also had less of an emphasis on sewing as a skill for women. More ready to wear, priced more affordably, began to edge out the need to know how to sew. Girls still took the sewing classes, but they knew far less & had less interest in sewing as their mothers did. (The difference between my grandmother & mother’s ability to sew may only seem anecdotal; but I assure you, it was happening all over the atomic 50’s suburbs!)

However, the ease of making a circle skirt, and the influx of printed novelty fabrics that allowed one to make a circle skirt without even having to sew on appliques, tempted those teen girls… She could save a few dollars by making her own skirt rather than buying one — do that a few times, and Kitten ends up with more skirts for the same amount of Daddy’s money. *wink*

Also, speaking contextually of women’s lives and fashion at the time, it’s easy to see how such full, un-tailored skirts would seem unfamiliar — perhaps even ill-fitting — to a woman wearing more traditional fashions at the time. Even the full skirted New Look fashions had a more tailored, refined look about the hips (and either had shorter crinolined skirt lengths, or longer skirts with voluminous folds or a softer “outness”), indicating the more mature woman’s sophistication and duties in life as compared to their whimsical, dancing daughters.

Mother & Daughter, Wearing Different Fashions, Waving Goodby To Daddy In The 1950s

Mother & Daughter, Wearing Different Fashions, Waving Goodby To Daddy In The 1950s

Of course, this lack of tailored appearance was part of the design; if circle skirts had required more seams, Charlot never would have made one! (Nor would the idea of circle skirts have been so readily snapped up by the Mexican souvenir making market, which realized a full skirt with a simple waistband, zipper or no, was not only easier & cheaper to make, but required less actual sizes to be made than tailored or more accurately sized skirts — another reason why such souvenir circle skirts with novelty prints or details are still made today.)

1951 Wide Wool Skirt (And Jeresy Top) Ad

1951 Wide Wool Skirt (And Jeresy Top) Ad

All of these things created a schism, of sorts, leaving poodle skirts and circle skirts with more flirtatious petticoats a far more fashionable dress for teens & young women than for their mothers & grandmothers.

In short, the poodle skirt was one of the very first “too young for you” fashions.

Of the authentic vintage circle novelty skirts that remain, the waists are typically smaller & hems shorter; percentage wise what’s left indicates that the fashion was a marketplace primarily for teens and younger women. What this means for vintage fashion collectors and the fashionistas who covet authentic 1950’s poodle skirts & vintage novelty circle skirts is that it’s slim pickings on the full skirts with novelty prints, appliques, embroidery & other details.

Vintage Embroidered Circle Skirt

Vintage Embroidered Circle Skirt

But the good news remains that circle skirts are in fact very easy to make. You can purchase a circle skirt pattern, old or new — and don’t overlook making them in Charlot’s original manner either: Just cut a circle from fabric, make a hole in the waist, and decorate!

Still to come… How to wear circle skirts!

Vintage Butterick Circle Skirt Pattern

Vintage Butterick Circle Skirt Pattern

Not Circle Skirting The Origins Of The Circle Skirt

By , 14 August, 2009, 4 Comments

The only thing more fun than vintage & retro novelty print dresses are circle skirts — you may know them as “poodle skirts,” even if the themes haven’t all gone to the dogs.

Vintage Red Poodle Skirt

Vintage Red Poodle Skirt

What you may not know is that the credit for the circle skirt, or at least its popularity, is attributed to one woman, Juli Lynne Charlot. A woman who described herself as “unable to sew” in an interview in a UP article, Girl Who Couldn’t Sew Booms Into Business With Circle Skirt, published in the Toledo Blade, February 25, 1953.

Five years before this article, in 1947, 25 year old Juli Lynne Charlot made a skirt to wear to a Los Angeles holiday party by cutting a big circle of felt with a hole in the middle to fit her own waist and appliqued “whimsical felt Christmas tress” to it to wear to a Los Angeles holiday party. According to that news article:

I cut it out of felt, because I didn’t know how to sew, and that was the only material I knew wide enough to cut a complete circle skirt without any seams.

(Also worth noting, I think, is Charlot’s description of her own appearance. As was the norm in newspapers, from fashion pieces to crime stories, the clothing, hairstyle & appearance of those featured in the stories were greatly detailed. In this case, the now 30 year old Charlot “counters” what the reporter sees with a visual description of her 25 year old self, saying she was “a big girl — I was just plain fat and frumpy when I made that first skirt.” Why is this worth noting? Well, for one it serves as a reminder to read old magazines and newspapers for clues to what was actually worn rather than trusting the ads; two, it suggests that circle skirts are flattering on any figure; and three, it shows Charlot as a rather self-deprecating woman — at least as a young designer.)

Anyway, just one week after the holiday party, Charlot sold her Christmas circle skirt because she needed the money. From there, demand grew. Charlot put herself in “designing school to learn how to sew” as well as managed to save enough money to start her own factory.

Juli Lynne Charlot Label

Juli Lynne Charlot Label

Charlot had orders, but her business struggled to pay the bills. “I can’t do arithmetic. Mother hocked her diamond ring three weeks in a row to help me meet the payroll,” she said in that 1953 interview. Charlot & her factory struggled until, the story goes, an unnamed New York dress manufacturer visited Charlot, found her in tears, and invested in Charlot’s factory, allowing the designer to more successfully continue to make her whimsical & constantly changing felt designs applied on felt (in winter) and poplin (in summer) skirts, like this stunning Parisian themed circle skirt.

Vintage Circle Skirt With French Theme By Juli Lynne Charlot

Vintage Circle Skirt With French Theme By Juli Lynne Charlot

Just one year prior to this 1953 newspaper article, Juli Lynne Charlot designs were so successful that one of them appeared in a national ad campaign for Maidenform bras.

I Dreamed I Went To The Races In My Maidenform Bra Ad (1952)

I Dreamed I Went To The Races In My Maidenform Bra Ad (1952)

Part of Maidenform’s famous & iconic “I Dreamed…” ad campaign, this 1952 ad shows a Juli Lynne Charlot race horse themed circle skirt on a model who has dreamed she was at the races.

In what can only be described by me as a “Holy Crap!” fashion moment, the skirt shown in the ad was available for sale at AntiqueDress.com.

Vintage Juli Lynne Charlot Circle Skirt

Vintage Juli Lynne Charlot Circle Skirt

Speaking with the lovely Deborah Burke, the owner of AntiqueDress.com, I confirmed that the iconic Juli Lynne Charlot horse racing circle skirt sold two years ago for $665. I can only imagine the delight of owing such a special skirt… It’s exactly this the sort of thing that keeps me searching for vintage fashions.

Come back, because I’ve got more to the story of circle skirts comin’ up next week!

Vintage Horse Racing Circle Skirt Featured In Maidenform Ad

Vintage Horse Racing Circle Skirt Featured In Maidenform Ad

Inheriting Vintage Purses: Keep Or Sell?

By , 12 August, 2009, No Comment

Kim’s still busy sorting through all the vintage purses her grandmother had, trying to decide which to save & which to sell…

Vintage Metallic Mesh & Lucite Handbag

Vintage Metallic Mesh & Lucite Handbag

Such problems! *wink*

One question she asked me was regarding how to decide what to save & what to sell.

That’s a really subjective question…

Not just because beauty is in the eye of the beholder (or the holder of the vintage bag), but because value is a tricky thing.

(Just like those MasterCard ads say. lol)

Certainly those purses which remind Kim of her grandma are “priceless,” as are any purses that Kim may have no memory of — like vintage handbags which are connected to special family occasions (worn to weddings, etc.), and/or those which appear in family photographs. But then again, purses in photographs may have stronger sales appeal because collectors like proof of the vintage item’s age — it’s a form of provenance which adds to its collectibility. So if you want to get the most bucks when the auction gavel bangs… I guess those are the ones to sell.

Rare purses will fetch the biggest bucks too; but then, will you kick yourself later for parting with such a rare purse that you’ll likely never see again?

Ultimately, what it comes down to is what would you like to get for them vs. how much they mean to you — or any other family members (including your children or future children!) who might skin you alive for getting rid of them.

Then again, whatever you keep had better be stored &/or cared for properly…

So the choices may not be so so easy, huh? *wink*

Though for me, it would probably be easy: Keep them all!

The photo shown here is another vintage Lucite purse that Kim would like some help identifying; this one is rather unusual: metallic mesh with tortoiseshell Lucite bottom & handles with rhinestones. Have any ideas? Please comment!

Was My Vintage Lucite Purse Originally A Different Color?

By , 6 August, 2009, No Comment

As promised, more of Kim’s fabulous vintage Lucite purses.

Yellow Pearlized Confetti Vintage Lucite Purse

Yellow Pearlized Confetti Vintage Lucite Purse

This one comes not with an identification question (it has a Myles sticker), but rather Kim has concerns about the vintage handbag’s conditions: Was it originally a different color?

The twist handled confetti Myles looks like a pretty pearlescent color in the pics, but it looks kind of yellow to me in real life – that is why I was wondering if the color sometimes changes in these. If it did – it changed evenly!

While vintage plastics are susceptible to damage from heat, Lucite in particular is more resistant to discoloration & damage from heat. You still should store Lucite items, especially vintage items made of it, away from sunlight and not in places of extreme temperatures, like attics, because it can be damaged.

Damages from heat include fogging, “smearing” or “smudging” of color &/or the transparency, but most often seems to show up as what’s called “sun shattering.” Sun shattering is spider-web or tiny veins of cracks within the Lucite that cannot be felt on the surface — signs of the stress within the Lucite, as opposed to an external force hitting it, causing cracks, scratches, or chips you can feel.

In theory, exposure to extreme heat from being stored in a very hot attic, for example, could result in a uniform changes such as fogging that would change the color of the entire piece. But it’s not very likely… You’d probably still find variations in color &/or transparency — and I’m betting that you’d find other signs of damages, such as sun shattering to indicate the purse has been stressed by such temperature changes.

So, if I was to place a bet on whether this vintage purse had changed color, I’d bet “no.”  But I’m not infallible — what do you other vintage fashionistas have to say?

Open Vintage Myles Lucite Handbag Showing Black Lining

Open Vintage Myles Lucite Handbag Showing Black Lining

Swingin’ Chicks Of The 60’s

By , 31 July, 2009, No Comment
Swingin' Chicks Of The 60's

Swingin' Chicks Of The 60's

Swingin’ Chicks of the 60s, by Chris Strodder with foreword by Angie Dickinson, is “a tribute to 101 of the decade’s defining women.” A large claim, but Chris Strodder really knows his ladies!

An over-sized paperback done more in a mod magazine style than a traditionally slick coffee table format, it’s full of beach girls, blonde beauties, Elvis girls, models, television stars, singers, American, British & international movie stars, as well as cartoon chicks.

You get photos (because some of the photos were from private collections many of them were new to me), information on each chick’s reason for fame, her style and a bio. I particularly liked the ‘Bonus Swingability’ sections which share little known facts, such as who was up for what roles and the information on official websites.

Swingin’ Chicks of the 60’s is as much of a thrill for those who remember these women as it is for those who are new to them.