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Archive for ‘Marlene Dietrich’

Ruffled, Almost Elizabethan, Collars

By , 27 September, 2011, No Comment

I don’t normally cover period films or fashions, but when I found this Ralph Lauren Blue Label Ruffled Infinity Scarf in my Shop It To Me Sale Mail Alert, I couldn’t help but think of Ruff Elizabethan collars.

Ralph Lauren Blue Label Ruffled Infinity Scarf

What a wonderful way to add volume and texture to any little white blouse!

Here’s another modern, yet more traditional, take on these large feminine collars — a creamy dreamy one in muslin and pearls by by MaggieGlynn.

Modern Elizabethan Collar Muslin and Pearls by MaggieGlynn

Ralph Lauren’s Ruffled Infinity Scarf could also help you achieve Marlene Dietrich’s ruffled look of in Angel (1937).

Marlene Dietrich in Ruffles in Angel

Or this rare ruffled look of Katharine Hepburn’s.

Katharine Hepburn Rare In Ruffles

Of course, if you’re Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave, you could make your own out of paper. *wink* (Link & photo via.)

Isabelle de Borchgrave Cardboard Lace Collars

Vintage Wardrobe Must Haves: The Little White Blouse

By , 30 September, 2009, 2 Comments

The Little Black Dress always makes the list of fashion staples to have in your closet. Like high heels, I think little black dresses are easy to find and even easier to splurge on — but what one really needs to be mindful of are the more elusive basics, like The Little White Blouse.

Without little white blouses, what will you wear with your vintage suits and separates? It can be terribly difficult to match or coordinate with vintage fashions because their shades are from yesteryear’s color palettes. Plus, as these vintage photographs show, little white blouses with ruffles, pintucks, lace, and other details are the little touches which make an outfit an ensemble.

Dietrich With Dramatic White Ruffles

Dietrich With Dramatic White Ruffles

This retro Saks 5th Ave. lace blouse has a gorgeous accordion pleats!

Retro Saks Lace Bloue With Accordion Pleats

Retro Saks Lace Bloue With Accordion Pleats

This vintage lace blouse may lack ruffles, but those 3 inch medallions of lace certainly will get attention!

Sheer Vintage Pin-Up Blouse With Loads Of Lace

Sheer Vintage Pin-Up Blouse With Loads Of Lace

Ralph Lauren’s sleeveless Forster Ruffle Blouse is less than $30 (sale found via Shop It To Me) and it will work past summer under suit jackets.

Sleeveless WhiteForster Ruffle Blouse

Sleeveless WhiteForster Ruffle Blouse

And the Venessa Ruffle-Front Blouse, also by Ralph Lauren, is also a good Little White Blouse choice.

Ralph Lauren Venessa Ruffle-Front Blouse

Ralph Lauren Venessa Ruffle-Front Blouse

Katharine Hepburn With Wisps Of White Ruffles

Katharine Hepburn With Wisps Of White Ruffles

If you’re looking for a ruffle to rise above the call of “just plain white,” the Ruffled Racerback Top adds interest as it adds a soft feminine contrast to more severe suiting.

White Ruffled Racerback Blouse

White Ruffled Racerback Blouse

The Escada Long-Sleeve Ruffle Blouse has an incredible ruffle collar that stands up in back!

Escada Ruffled White Blouse With High Collar

Escada Ruffled White Blouse With High Collar

And this retro white blouse has a ruffle that will be visible above most suit jacket necklines as well as a ruffled front and ruffled cuffs.

80's Ruffled White Blouse

80's Ruffled White Blouse

Hedy Lamarr With Bits Of Ruffles

Hedy Lamarr With Bits Of Ruffles

Off The Cuff With Gable, Garbo, And Dietrich

By , 16 December, 2008, 1 Comment

There are lots of elegant bits & bobs we once used to wear that have fallen along the fashion wayside; these are often the treasures of vintage dressing. Cufflinks are such treasures.

Vintage Siam Sterling Silver Cufflinks From No Egrets

Vintage Siam Sterling Silver Cufflinks From No Egrets

Once such a fashion staple that no well-dressed man would be without them, we now rarely see cufflinks on anyone other the very wealthy. But cufflinks don’t need to be all fancy-schmancy, or even all that expensive. Cufflinks come in many styles and designs, from elegant high fashion looks to kitschy fun looks. Often found for just $10 or less for a pair, vintage cufflinks are an inexpensive way to add that unique and spiffy touch to the standard — perhaps even generic — suit and tie.

Vintage Six-Shooter Pistol Cufflinks and Tie Bar Set

Vintage Six-Shooter Pistol Cufflinks and Tie Bar Set

I love men wearing cufflinks — in fact, the first Christmas my husband I spent together while dating I got him cufflinks, a vintage white tuxedo shirt and a smoking jacket. He was, after all, my Clark Gable. *wink*

Clark Gable Wearing Cufflinks

Clark Gable Wearing Cufflinks

You don’t have to be Clark Gable — or even a man — to wear cufflinks though. Both Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich both knew that cufflinks were the proper finishing touch to their “cross dressing” suits.

Greta Garbo Wearing Cufflink

Greta Garbo Wearing Cufflink

Marlene Dietrich In Suit With Cufflinks

Marlene Dietrich In Suit With Cufflinks

To properly wear cufflinks, you must have a shirt designed for wearing them. There are several styles of shirts still made today which allow you to wear cufflinks. Look for shirts which mention French cuffs. What we now call traditional button cuff shirts have barrel cuffs and they are not to be converted by any means necessary to allow the wearing of cufflinks. A la Seinfeld:

JERRY: Nice cuff links, by the way.
GEORGE: (Pointing to them) Office Christmas gift. I tell you, this Human Fund is a gold mine!
JERRY: That’s not a French cuff shirt, you know.
GEORGE: I know. I cut the button off and poked a hole with a letter opener.
JERRY: Oh, that’s classy.

You can, however, often replace the cuffs on any shirt with French cuffs. (As many places offer shirts, both modern and vintage, with French cuffs, it isn’t necessary to do so.) But you must at least understand the basic mechanics of shirt cuffs before you do so. Otherwise, even if you attempt a more proper way of altering the shirt to accept cufflinks, you might be missing the proper fit — and therefore the showcase — for your cufflinks.

Simply put, French cuffs are looser than barrel cuffs; the placket of the French cuff laying more smoothly and not producing the close fit or strain at the wrists that the barrel cuff has.

Barrel and French Cuffs

Barrel and French Cuffs

(Image of shirt cuffs from Shirtmaking: Developing Skills for Fine Sewing by David Page Coffin.)

French cuffs are quite showy (and I mean that in a good way!), which means they require starching and ironing. Especially those with double cuffs. For those sewing or unsure in their ironing, the fold of the double cuff is not at the halfway point. The fold is slightly greater than half — meaning a larger part of the cuff (approximately 3 inches) is folded back over toward the shirt, covering the seam where the cuff joins the sleeve.

French cuffs are not required nor solely made in the double cuff style. There are single French cuffs on shirts which allow you to wear cufflinks, but not be held to the extra work and bulk of double cuffs. A single French cuff is not folded back; the sides lie together pointing away from the wrist and are joined by a cufflink. (Like in the photo of Garbo above, as opposed to Dietrich’s cuff.)

Vintage Face Cufflinks From Cufflink King

Vintage Face Cufflinks From Cufflink King

With vintage cufflinks you not only capture vintage style, but a great bargain too. Even the very expensive ones are worth paying for — they are rare pieces keeping your look unique. And I like to think that you also continue to carry on the happy life & celebrations the cufflinks and the former owner had too.

Cufflinks shown — and for even sale! — from No Egrets at Collectors’ Quest and Cufflink King at eBay.