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Archive for ‘Mail Bag’

Here’s Looking Like You, Kid Is Moving!

By , 5 May, 2010, No Comment

Please, please, please come visit me at the new site: heres-looking-like-you-kid.com!

Got Glamour?

By , 23 December, 2009, No Comment

glamourous-awardApparently I do! *wink* The adorable — and glamorous — Francy Jeanne of Pixie Drive-In has given me the Glamourous Award, which was created by Blonde Episodes.

The rules for this blogging award are to post about your award and pass it along to 10 bloggers you love, linking to them in your post. (And let them know you awarded them!)

1. A Tad Too Much Tan For Taupe (and her lingerie blog too)
2. B.Vikki Vintage
3. Bobbins and Bombshells
4. Couture Allure Vintage Fashion
5. Out of the Past ~ A Classic Film Blog
6. Oolala!
7. The Debutante Blog
8. Vintage Goodness
9. Vixen Vintage
10. Wallflower Vintage

I would also like to take this time, while you are most likely checking out links and bookmarking them, to mention that two Twolia bloggers, Deanna of Kitsch Slapped and Alessia of Relationship Underarm Stick, are moving at the first of the new year — their new home will be at Kitsch-Slapped.com, with Alessia’s relationship and dating blogging here.

How To Wear Vintage Looks Without Looking Frozen In Time (In A Bad Way)

By , 7 December, 2009, No Comment

Often I am asked “How do I dress vintage without looking cheesy?” or, “I love vintage makeup looks, but if I wear it, will I look old or out of date?” Here are a few tips to know:

Don't Be Afraid Of Going Vintage Glamour!

Don't Be Afraid Of Going Vintage Glamour!

Think structure. Think of your own bones like you would consider the bones of your home when decorating your space. In decorating, you take the style into consideration; a cozy cottage with rustic charm may not take an Eames era makeover. When trying a vintage fashion look, keep your own bones in mind. Most period dressing had a body type in mind as well as in vogue and that may not be yours. Even alterations may not make that flapper style sheath dress float over your curves as you’d like… So be as realistic about vintage fashions as you would the style and fit of contemporary ones; this is also true of vintage hairstyles and makeup. Sometimes we just can’t wear what we love and pull it off.

Don’t remain frozen in the past. Retro & vintage looks can look outdated & just plain horrible if they are beat-up & dusty looking. You wouldn’t want your home to look frozen in time (think about some of those homes you visit which have not been updated!). The easiest way is to make sure you have authentic pieces with modern support. A contemporary dress with 40’s makeup (heavy top lashes, red matte lipstick); pair antique shoes with a new suit; mix in both a vintage handbag and retro jewelry with an au courant sweater set and skirt.

Keep your clothing clean & bright so it looks like you choose it, not froze it! Never, ever wear that 1960’s poly top with a stain on it — no matter how cool and mod it is.

Makeup tips for following vintage glamour looks. Keep the color palette to colors which flatter your tones and coloring. You can follow the look or design of cosmetic application, using colors and shades you already own.

Two words commonly associated with vintage faces are pale and powdered, but remember to keep these basic make-up tips in mind:

  • Don’t go lighter in foundation as it will make you look washed out & old.
  • Remember, too much powder collects in lines & on dry skin areas (again making you look older), so keep it light &/or use a lighter weight foundation.

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.

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

Are Cracked Lucite Purses Worthless?

By , 29 July, 2009, 1 Comment

Continuing to help Kim with her vintage Lucite purse problems (oh, those are problems I’d love to have! lol), Kim wanted to know if any of the cracked purses had any value…

Obviously, conditions are a large part of the value of any vintage fashion &/or accessory or collectible in general, so whether there are modest signs of wear and tear or outright damages, the price will be affected negatively in proportion to the flaws. That said, I don’t think you can say that even cracked & chipped purses, or those otherwise deemed unusable, are valueless.

A lot will have to do with the rarity of the purse itself as well as the intentions of the buyer; there are other ways to use such vintage beauties.

Damaged vintage Lucite purses which cannot be repaired may have value as…

* Salvaged parts: Handles, metal hinges, etc. to repair other vintage purses.

* Entry level pieces for collectors: If the purse is fine to look at one one or more sides, beginning collectors or (like me) collectors with small budgets for buying may find a low price fine to pay to have such a pretty purse to display.

* Something else: I’ve seen some topless vintage purses in antique booths holding hankies to purchase; I’ve seen some on counter tops at vintage clothing stores holding pens etc. It made me think of ways to salvage such pretty old handbags myself and use them to hold & display items on my vanity, on my desk, etc.  I suppose very crafty girls could think of hundreds of ways to recycle vintage Lucite purses.  (I’d love to do a post just on this — but first I’ll have to find some cheap damaged old Lucite purses!)

* Nostalgia: Never ever underestimate the sense of nostalgia in vintage things… A damaged old purse may be exactly like grandma’s or one seen in childhood and it may be worth money to own & display it, just to relive &/or retell the stories behind it.

So I don’t think, unless the Lucite is shattered into fragments, that old plastic purses are ever valueless. But naturally, the degree of their damages will lower their prices (and on the internet, with shipping charges, even more so); so adjust your expectations.

But that’s my opinion — please chime in with yours!

Also, dear experts & fans of vintage Lucite handbags, Kim is looking for some help in identifying the maker of this lovely carved caramel colored one. (If you don’t have any suggestions, I’m sure you’ll enjoy just looking at it!)

Can You Identify The Maker?

Can You Identify The Maker?

Know Your Vintage Lucite Purses? Help Please!

By , 27 July, 2009, 5 Comments

Kim & her family are cleaning out her grandmother’s home and she brought home about 20 vintage plastic purses she believes are Lucite (along with about 50 other vintage and antique purses), and after spotting my guide to vintage Lucite purses, asked for some additional help.

Like I told Kim, I’m not an expert; I’ve possess far more “book learnin'” & information from other collectors about these pretty babies than actual purses, so while I’ll share what I know, I ask that those of you in the know please add your two cents.

(Since Kim has so many purses (lucky ducky!) and even more questions, I’ll be breaking these up into smaller, more specific posts — so if you love these vintage purses, &/or have knowledge to share, please keep checking back!)

First up, Kim wonders if any of us can help her identify the maker of this confetti Lucite purse with metal handles, “It isn’t marked anywhere and I’ve not seen anything close to it in all the pics I’ve looked at.”

Kims' Vintage Confetti Lucite Purse With Metal Handles

Kims' Vintage Confetti Lucite Purse With Metal Handles

Personally, I’m at a loss; there were quite a number of makers, and as I said in the guide, if the purses were marked, most of the tags have fallen of with age… If you have any help or suggestions, please share in the comments!

Here’s Looking Like You, Kid Mail Bag Q & A

By , 3 December, 2008, No Comment

A reader, who wishes to remain anonymous, asked, “Why do you focus so much on accessories?”

The simple answer is that accessories & jewelery are an easy way to change your look or imprint your own sense of style on any outfit. That’s a general fashion point — but when it comes to vintage accessories you really make a one of a kind statement.

The other reason relates to an email from Kathy, who along with making sure I said how much she “adores this blog!” asked, “Do you wear vintage all the time?”

If we include the accessories I’d have to say about 90% of my waking hours; but if we are talking about vintage clothes the answer is much less often… I’d say about 50% of my waking hours (90% of my sleeping hours — I adore vintage lingerie!). There are several reasons for my wearing vintage clothing less often.

One, I am a very picky err, “selective” shopper. I remember years ago (in the 80’s) I fell in love with the look of wearing blue and black together — but not just any blue, it had to be a bright, bold, royal blue. And I wanted it in either a dress blouse or a sweater vest. I had seen it in a fashion magazine and fell for it hard. I had the perfect black skirt (and jet black jewelery) but I wanted that royal blue top — a top which apparently only lived in my imagination, for despite the color combination being sold in the magazine (part of a feature on bold jewel tones) the color was not to be found. Unless it was in a patterned sweater, shirt, or, oddly enough, a suit. I spent three years searching for that perfect piece. (Eventually finding it in a sweater vest with pearl buttons I had to replace with black jet bead buttons salvaged from a vintage sweater with moth holes and an unraveling cuff.) After three years of searching, I was finally victorious — and yes, I wore it!

But I think you get the idea how particular (and obsessive!) I am… Right? So you can imagine how selective (and dedicated!) I am when I spot a vintage fashion I want in a photo or film.

Two, vintage clothing is indeed a rare find; it’s not like you’re going to find a round-rack full of any style in several colors and sizes like at the mall. Size being an issue most people think of, complain about, cry over (especially with a bust-line like mine!), there are other issues prohibiting fashionistas from finding vintage fashions.

Not much vintage clothing has survived, and even less of it in wearable conditions. Just like what you’ll find at rummage sales and used clothing sales of today’s fashions, most of what has survived in great conditions are garments which have been worn very little, leaving special occasion dresses to be the number one category of ‘finds’. Like prom dresses, these vintage special occasion fashions have less places in which they can be worn.

When more practical vintage fashions are found, there is a tendency for me to be a little reluctant to wear them too-too often. This not only because I knew how difficult (near impossible!) it will be to replace the item if I wear it out, stain or rip it, but because many vintage fashions require special care and laundering. Hand washing, spot cleaning, air drying &/or ironing take more time than throwing them into the washing machine & dryer with today’s fashions made of easier care fabrics. And many of today’s dry cleaners have no idea how (or indeed even the proper machines and solvents!) to work with vintage textiles. (Always, always ask a million questions of your dry cleaner before you hand your vintage fashions over to them — better you annoy them than they destroy your baby!)

Don’t get me wrong — vintage fashions are utterly & completely worth the trouble!

Not only are they styles not found today, not only are they lovely pieces of history which connect me to the past, but I find that applying such care and concern to clothing helps my budget too.

The limited selection of vintage fashions naturally limit the quantity I can buy — which when coupled with the honestly cheaper prices of vintage clothing versus new clothing prices keeps my check-out total lower. Plus, having to consider every vintage purchase I make in terms of practicality of wear and care has become such a habit that I apply the same considerations to modern made fashions. (That saves me money directly by not choosing an outrageously fussy fashion and indirectly from impulse buys just by slowing down my trip to the cashier!)

Shopping for vintage fashions has me much more appreciative of fashion in general; I really, really value what I have.

And I value the thrill of the hunt, the creativity. Together those two actions make me feel that while I didn’t literally create the garment I did create the outfit — an outfit no single other person has!

However, all of this means that there are days (or activities) for which I do not wear vintage clothing — but that’s only because I love it so much.

Have any questions for me? Feel free to email me at JaynieVanRoe@gmail.com.