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Posts tagged ‘Accessories’

The Misplaced Or “Rocker” Belt

By , 3 August, 2009, No Comment

Pam at Fashion’s Side Dish posted about this Fall’s rocker belt, so I thought you should see the vintage version:

Dresses Stressing the Misplaced Belt
Dresses Stressing the Misplaced Belt

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!

Vintage Wardrobe Building With Accessories

By , 23 July, 2009, No Comment

When it comes to building a wardrobe — a real, honest-to-goodness working wardrobe — ladies used to insist on a few high quality dresses and then make the most of accessories.

Vintage Photo: Basic Dress & Accessories For Change

Vintage Photo: Basic Dress & Accessories For Change

There were collars (to go over & peep out from under), bows & belts, clips & jewelry, gloves & handbags… Matching & contrasting color combinations… So many styles & combinations, making one dress go from day to night & always seem new (or at least not the same old thing!)

When we made the switch to separates (tops & skirts, as opposed to one-piece dresses), we somehow became more dependent upon more garments rather than accessories. It’s rather a shame, both in terms of our budgets and our devotion to our wardrobes… You have to ask yourself how many times our modern garments actually are worn — or how much they are truly missed and need to be replaced. Having fewer dresses — but those you love — oh, that was not only more economical, but more about finding a dress that fit you well and that you loved.

And playing with the accessories is certainly a lot more fun than the Garanimals dressing we do today.

Photo, Basic Dress & Accessories For Change, by Nina Leen for Life Magazine, 1947.

A Guide To Vintage Lucite Purses

By , 9 July, 2009, 25 Comments

I’ve long admired vintage Lucite purses — I say “admired” because these rare babies keep me at arm’s length with their hefty price tags and my fear of damaging them while using them. Don’t get me wrong; their rarity completely warrants the digits on tags. In fact, I don’t see them at antique stores or vintage fashion shops very often, and even online, they can be difficult to find. (All of this only reinforces my fear of using them.)

Anyway, because I don’t see them very often anymore, I was surprised to find not one but two sellers at my local antique mall selling multiple old Lucite purses; so I snapped some pics.

Vintage Lucite Purses

Vintage Lucite Purses

Shopping for vintage Lucite purses becomes even more thrilling when you consider the vast array of styles, shapes and colors these vintage purses came in. And that’s part of the challenge too — as with most fabulous vintage finds, when you fall in love with one, rest assured, finding another just like it is no picnic.

Of course, you can always fall in love again with another, right? (But trust me, your heart will still ache for that long lost love…)

pretty-vintage-lucite-purses

Because I do far more longing for & playing peek-a-boo with vintage plastic handbags, I know more about them than a non-owner or non-collector should…

Here are Thirteen Things About Vintage Lucite Purses

1. While we collectively call these vintage purses “Lucite purses,” there’s a bit of irony to the name. Technically the purses are made of Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) poly(methyl 2-methylpropenoate), a thermoplastic and transparent plastic first patented by German chemist Otto Röhm in the early 1930’s and sold under the name Plexiglass. Lucite is the registered name of DuPont‘s acrylic:

Both DuPont and Rohm & Haas licensed the process and began commercial production in 1936. Lucite®, however, never generated substantial earnings for DuPont. Since it was that company’s primary product, Rohm & Haas was able to commit more resources to Plexiglas® and it consistently undercut DuPont in price.

While DuPont claims poor earnings for Lucite, it’s the name we give to these beautiful vintage plastic purses.

2. Some people mistake Lucite for Bakelite. This is easy for novices to do, but once you’ve held both old plastics, you can more easily discern between the two. Deanna Dahlsad says:

[Lucite] has a slicker feel and is lighter than Bakelite. Like Bakelite, it would be rare to find a piece with mold marks or seams. Generally speaking, Lucite comes in bright colors and patterns that are not seen in Bakelite. Sometimes in darker colors it is confused with Bakelite. However, if you’ve done the Bakelite tests (and feel the piece does not have a damaged or altered finish), the piece is likely Lucite. “No smelli, Plexi” is what I say.

(Her article on identifying and caring for vintage plastics contains the referred to Bakelite tests.)

3. The most expensive Lucite purses were made by Wilardy of New York and once they were showcased in major department stores throughout the country, as a cheaper alternative to leather handbags. Some of the best Lucite purse designers were Rialto, Llewllyn, Charles S. Kahn, Gilli Originals, Patricia of Miami, Evans, and Myles & Maxim. Over time, of course, many cheaper versions, including knock-offs, were made. Most companies marked their handbag creations on the inside, with a stamp on the metal frames or by affixing a clear or paper label — but over the years many of the clear labels have fallen off, making identification & attribution difficult — both for Lucite purses by famous makers and even for identifying other makers of vintage Lucite purses.

4. There are many opaque or translucent colors of Lucite purses. While many agree the carved clear plastic is the most beautiful, it is far from practical in terms of use. Because it’s clear, you can see everything inside & most ladies prefer the contents of their handbags & clutches to be secret.

Vintage Clear Carved Lucite Purse From Iwannas

Vintage Clear Carved Lucite Purse From Iwannas

(You can see Marie Windsor displaying a clear carved Lucite purse — and the contents if it! — here.)

5. The most popular (and therefore pricey) color of vintage Lucite purses seems to be the tortoiseshell — followed closely by amber. My guess is that, along with being so pretty, the darker brown colors are more practical both in terms of keeping the purse’s contents hidden and, like brown leather, very easily mixed into one’s wardrobe.

Vintage Tortoiseshell Lucite Purse

Vintage Tortoiseshell Lucite Purse

Vintage Amber Lucite Purse

Vintage Amber Lucite Purse

Of course, the near rainbow of available colors, means fashionistas and collectors are always looking for the unusual shades, such as pearlized pastels and always-in-fashion black.

6. Vintage Lucite purses come in many shapes too. There are square & rectangular “box” styles, ovals, trapezoid, cylinders, “kidney” shapes, “beehives,” scalloped shaped “kidney” clutches… Some vintage Lucite purses will have “lids” that open, others open like “clams.” Most have Lucite handles, but some will have straps of chain or other material.

7. Along with the myriad of color choices & shapes, Lucite purses are often embellished with carvings, metal work (not just clasps, hinges & feet, but fancy filigree and woven metal work), and/or rhinestones, confetti, shells, flowers, lace, etc. embedded into or set upon it.

Vintage Cylindrical Lucite Purse With Carved Ends On Metal Feet

Vintage Cylindrical Lucite Purse With Carved Ends On Metal Feet

Tortoiseshell Lucite Purse With Open Metal Work ($96)

Tortoiseshell Lucite Purse With Open Metal Work ($96)

Vintage Clear Carved Lucite Purse With Large Rhinestones

Vintage Clear Carved Lucite Purse With Large Rhinestones

When it comes to some of the designs & themes, like this fantastic vintage Lucite purse with a poodle on it — or this wooden purse with a genie on the Lucite lid, you’ll be competing with collectors of poodles & genies.

Vintage Grey Lucite Purse With Retro Poodle

Vintage Grey Lucite Purse With Retro Poodle

Vintage Purse With Lucite Lid With Genie Design

Vintage Purse With Lucite Lid With Genie Design

8. One area of cross-collecting, and therefore pieces with higher prices, are the Lucite purses with built-in compacts. (These are my ultimate fantasy pieces.)

9. As I said, I’m very worried about damaging vintage Lucite purses. Along with cracks, of which no elegant & effective repairs are known (the glue discolors &/or muddles the old plastic), Lucite scratches rather easily. These scratches are especially noticeable on clear and lighter shades of Lucite. Use soft cloths and avoid products with abrasives when cleaning them; extra caution should be taken with tortoiseshell purses because the pattern can be muddled or removed. Novus Polish Kit: Plastic Polish & Scratch Remover is highly recommended for cleaning & minimizing scratches in Lucite. (A metal polish, such as Simichrome Polish, is recommended to clean & keep the metal hardware in good condition — just keep it confined to the metal.)

10. If you find a lovely vintage Lucite purse with a missing rhinestone or two, they can be replaced with care; Sparklz has very detailed information on how to replace missing rhinestones. You’ll have to consider if the vintage purse is worth saving in terms of price, other conditions issues — and your dexterity to make the repairs. (Do not replace/repair and then sell without disclosing that you did so!)

11. Clutches especially have metal frames which should be inspected for damages; if they are too bent to clasp properly, I’d avoid them. Likewise missing or damaged clasps, handles etc. Sure, if you search diligently enough, you can find replacement Lucite handles and metal fittings. (Some are old store stock; others are salvaged from purses too badly damaged to rescue.) Purse-onally, I’m not sure I’d try to tackle all the varying metal fittings — risking cracking the purse. But there are those who claim to be able to make such repairs. (Exercise extreme caution & investigation in these persons/companies before entrusting your vintage purse in their care; see my other vintage guides for more on evaluating professional repair services.)

12. The myth that antique shops and vintage fashion boutiques (real stores or virtual ones) price their items higher than eBay is false. The purses I found & photographed at my local antique mall were priced from $60 to just under $300 (for the torti), which when compared to eBay prices is fair if not actually lower than current auction prices (and recent past sales). Of course, prices will depend upon the conditions & attributes mentioned above. And if you’re looking for something specific or quickly for a special event, online searching will produce more options & more quickly than hunting in physical locations.

Vintage Lucite Box Purse At Antique Mall ($64.50)

Vintage Lucite Box Purse At Antique Mall ($64.50)

13. If you love the look of vintage Lucite purses, there are folks making reproductions & “vintage style” Lucite purses. These vintage styled Lucite purses (found via The DebLog) are beautiful, and if you fear using an authentic vintage purse, it’s an option…

Vintage Style (Reproduction) Pink Lucite Purse

Vintage Style (Reproduction) Pink Lucite Purse

Carved Lucite Top and Handle on Reproduction Lucite Purse

Carved Lucite Top and Handle on Reproduction Lucite Purse

The prices on the modern made Lucite purses are in the same range as their vintage inspirations; but, again, you won’t have the worry of having destroyed a potential one of a kind vintage piece. However, please note that even the new Lucite will be prone to scratches (and cracks).

For more on these fabulous vintage pieces, pre-order Carry Me: 1950’s Lucite Purses: An American Fashion by Janice Berkson.

More Thursday Thirteen participants can be found here, and here.

Let Audrey Hepburn Go To Your Head With Accessories

By , 24 June, 2009, No Comment

When most of us think of or visualize Audrey Hepburn, we see her simple elegance (at least when she wasn’t playing roles wearing period costumes) But Audrey did use accessories; she just wore less of them at a time and let each speak boldly. For example, head scarves.

Audrey Hepburn Scarf

Audrey Hepburn Scarf

Few today think of head scarves as a beautiful way to frame your face, but these practical pieces are found on the cheap — often for less than a dollar!

Audrey (and her costumers) made use of scarves on hats too.

Audrey Hepburn In Breakfast At Tiffany's

Audrey Hepburn In Breakfast At Tiffany's

Audrey Hepburn In Funny Face

Audrey Hepburn In Funny Face

We sure don’t wear fashion hats like we used to, so such dramatic statements are usually reserved for very special occasions, but just think of the extra life you can get out of your hat if you consider working it with a scarf from time to time? (Your wedding hat won’t look the same year after year if you change it up!)

These last two are stretching “scarves” a bit… But what is a wrap but a very big scarf? *wink* And you sure can’t beat these looks when it comes to bold fashion statements! Makes one reconsider raincoats & even cloaks to go for a dramatic wrap.

Audrey Hepburn In War & Peace

Audrey Hepburn In War & Peace

Audrey Hepburn Bold In Red

Audrey Hepburn Bold In Red

The Cycling & Recycling Of 60’s & 80’s Fashions

By , 1 June, 2009, 1 Comment

Speaking of Let’s Make Love & stuffed sausages

As I mentioned, the film straddles two looks; struggling between remnants of New Look fashions and early 60’s looks. Certainly not yet “mod”… But then again, it rather fails to really capture much of any real style. However, the theatrical “sex pot meets Beatnik” style Monroe wore (the sweater over the black catsuit), does warrant some discussion.

Marilyn Monroe In Let's Make Love

Marilyn Monroe In Let's Make Love

I’m not sure how prevalent such a look really was (outside of performance garb, anyway), but those of us who lived — and dressed — through the 80’s can’t help but see shaker sweaters and stirrup pants when they see Marilyn’s costume for the big My Heart Belongs To Daddy number.

Thankfully, whatever the 80’s stole from the 60’s, they “over-sized” it & managed the proportions better.

1982 Diane Von Furstenberg Ad

1982 Diane Von Furstenberg Ad

The sweaters & tops not only were longer (fully covering the behind, no matter how round or large) but V-necks and bolo necklaces etc. helped lengthen the lines too. Long sweaters and knit tunics were also worn over short skirts to help give the appearance of length over nylons & leggings. Also, over-sized sweaters were typically worn belted (with chain belts, hung low; wide leather belts; scarves twisted into belts; and even the sleeves from other tops tied about the waist made a belt), so as to help define the bust from hips, ending the “apple” look. (While I was younger & thinner then, I was still aware that a size 8 or 10 was miles away from the fashion ideal; I still had moments where I felt more like a “lumpy Marilyn apple” than a supermodel.)

1980s Over-Sized Sweaters & Stirrup Pants

1980s Over-Sized Sweaters & Stirrup Pants

Leggings were worn, but stirrup pants also offered the opportunity, (especially with jackets, shaker sweaters & tops which stopped at mid-hip) to start wide and then narrow down to a tapered ankle — appearing as a geometric style rather than having legs suddenly appear like weak stems. Legwarmers also offered the opportunity to balance out top-heavy silhouettes.

Catsuits were also popular in the 80’s — but unlike the see-thru black nylon Marilyn wore, these were opaque Lycra or Spandex knit blends. Black was still a basic; like a blackboard for the crazy colored drawings or layering of sweaters, belts, big earrings and booties.

Laura Branigan In Black Catsuit For Zodiac Boots

Laura Branigan In Black Catsuit For Zodiac Boots

In fact, layering itself was huge in the 1980’s. And that’s before we even get to the eclectic layering of lingerie ala Madonna.

For Fall 09 RTW, Gucci’s Frida Giannini has an 80’s inspired line, said to be inspired by 80’s fashion icon and model Tina Chow — which is to say, it’s a minimalist 80’s look (as I type that, I’m aware of the oxymoron). Slimmer shoulder pads, more subtle asymmetrical looks, bold stripes — but carried more softly than the big loud stick of decades ago… A general softening of the retro look. (Or, more casual Dynasty meets classic Chanel than the rock or punk 80’s I wore.)

Guccie Returns To The 80's For Fall 09

Guccie Returns To The 80's For Fall 09

Which reminds me quite a bit of what we saw in the transition from the 80s to the 90’s; far more body conscious & monochromatic than powerful geometrics & contrasting colors. Perhaps this is how we too will swing back into the 80’s?

Frida Gianni For Gucci, Fall 09 RTW

Frida Gianni For Gucci, Fall 09 RTW

The Fabulous! Festival

By , 18 May, 2009, No Comment
Vintage Hane's Stockings Ad

Vintage Hane's Stockings Ad

For fashionistas who like to learn about fashions — old & new — I’m proud to share with you this month’s edition of the fabulous! festival. Hosting was fun!

Beauty:

Icy presents L’Oreal Infallible 16 Hours Lipstick Compact posted at Individual Chic.

Woman Tribune presents Piggy Paint Finally Makes Non-Toxic, Kid-Friendly Nail Polish a Reality posted at Woman Tribune.

Fashion:

Azrael Brown presents Three Gents In Snappy Hats posted at Infomercantile.

Deanna presents Smoking Hot Fashion: Recycled From Cigarette Butts posted at Kitsch Slapped.

Ed Biado presents Today’s most common fashion mistakes posted at Ed Biado at MST Life | Philippine Lifestyle News.

Ed Biado also presents Sunglasses at Ed Biado at MST Life | Philippine Lifestyle News.

Fabulously Broke presents 3 work environments to dress for posted at Fabulously Broke …in the City.

Pop Tart presents Tips On Darning Stockings & White Satin Blouses Yellowing? at Things Your Grandmother Knew.

Savings not shoes presents How to update your wardrobe after a major weight loss or gain posted at Savings not Shoes.

Personal Style:

Deanna presents The Answer To One Of Life’s Hardest Questions posted at Kitsch Slapped.

Icy presents A handbag of uniqueness, Part 1 & Part 2 at Individual Chic.

Pop Tart presents Kilgallen’s Boo-Boo posted at Kitschy Kitschy Coo.

Tali presents Mexican Pinups – A Cinco De Mayo Special- The Pinup Blog Way posted at The Pinup Blog.

Lastly…

This one may not entirely fit the theme, but I found Matt Curt’s Mafia Looking College Basketball Coaches (posted at NCAA Football 10 News) too clever not to include.

The next edition of the fabulous! festival will be hosted by Barry at 3stylelife.com on June 15 and the deadline for submissions is June 12th. You can submit your posts here.

Vintage stocking ad Found in Mom’s Basement.

What’s New In Vintage? Vintage Roadshow (And Tell!)

By , 8 April, 2009, No Comment

Another Vintage Roadshow, where you travel to near & far blogs to see what’s new in vintage:

Glamoursplash poses a quiz on starlets from the 1920’s & 1930’s, Who’s That Girl?

Here’s Looking Like You, Kid explains why there is so much peach, pink & ivory lingerie from the 1920’s & 1930’s.

The Vintage Traveler thinks about economizing.

Freudian Slips Vintage shares some sentimental vintage shoe finds.

Glamoursplash looks at the vintage Turban as seen in Vogue 1953.

Also, I’d like to thank Collectors’ Quest columnist Deanna (of Twolia’s own Kitsch Slapped) not only for including a link to me in her post on living with your collectibles, but for pointing me to “Purse Week” at Collectors’ Quest. (“Purse Week” was last week, I guess, but what a wonderful collection of vintage purses!) That’s where I found this lovely pink beaded 1960’s handbag.

Pretty Pink Beaded 1960s Purse

Pretty Pink Beaded 1960s Purse

Going Garbo

By , 16 March, 2009, No Comment

Continuing my salute to the many hats of Greta Garbo…

This fantastic headpiece isn’t really a ‘hat’ — but I do have a great story that goes with it.

Garbo in headpiece as Mata Hari

Garbo in headpiece as Mata Hari

I saw this photo (or another like it) of Greta as Mata Hari when I was about 14 or so, and was so smitten, that I tried to create such headpieces myself. I began by draping necklaces & pendants from my hair (securing the chains with bobby pins) onto my forehead. Yes, even out in public. I’m sure I looked ridiculous, but the vision of me in my mind’s eye was soooo beautiful that I didn’t see what others saw.

Once I spend an entire Saturday trying to make a headpiece like this with one of those safety pin and beads kits… After spending so many hours unable to even complete what was supposed to be a belt or a choker — and knowing I’d need several of these kits to make what I envisioned in my mind to be the equivalent of Garbo’s headpiece, I let my friends talk me into going to the mall and hanging out. Whatever they did there must have been some sort of intervention, because I never resumed making the headpiece or even wearing the necklaces strung in my hair.

I know I should be a bit embarrassed that I did all that; but honestly I’m mostly just sad that I stopped trying to recreate the look.

Now all I need is another free Saturday.

(I haven’t had one of those since I was 14!)