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Posts tagged ‘collectibles’

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.

I Got An Award, So It’s Here’s Linking To You, Kid Time!

By , 9 September, 2009, No Comment
Kreative Blogger Award

Kreative Blogger Award

Fuzzylizzie of Fuzzylizzie Vintage Clothing just gave me an award!

I believe I’m now supposed to select Seven Exceptional Blogs & tell you Seven Things I Love… But what I think I’ll do (and I don’t think it’s cheating!), is select the seven blogs and, for the “things I love” part, show you a specific post that illustrates why I love the blog I’ve named.

(You’ll likely also notice that there is some overlap between my list and Fuzzylizzy’s… I do believe that blog award rules, like fashion rules were meant to be broken — or at least altered to fit one’s needs *wink*)

Lulu’s Vintage: A great vintage fashion blog you probably already know about — and have been wondering why it’s been absent from my sidebar. All I can say in my defense is that sometimes my intentions are thwarted by my own actions; in this case, too busy reading & shopping to get myself over here and make a link. Shame on me? Yes, but it’s kind of Lulu’s fault for showing me such grand stuff! Like Lulu’s Vintage Awards.

Speaking of Lulu’s awards, this next blog/blogger continually wins them: Couture Allure. Sure her finds are stunning, but no matter what your life style, how little is in your piggy bank, you can dream and learn with lovely long posts that show you pretty photos and fill you with fashion facts.

Bobbins and Bombshells is a blog that found me — well, the blogger found this blog and posted a comment (Yup, that really works!) and ever since, I’ve been smitten with this vintage inspired creative kitten. It’s one part vintage fashion adoration, one part DIY, and one part newsy dish. (The blog is now on the sidebar.)

Tales From A Vintage Wardrobe (you might know it as The Red Velvet Shoe, but that’s really the owner’s vintage shop’s name) is another new discovery for me that’s so good, I’m adding it to my sidebar. The Romper Room post typifies what I’m lovin’ about this blog: lots of photos, things to think about — and she’s brave enough to model for photos she uses at the blog!

Kitsch Slapped: Not always about fashion, not always glamorous, not even always vintage — but totally worth a daily visit. If you love vintge & retro stuff, pop culture, and some occasional (feminist) ranting, you’ll love to be kitsch-slapped! I won’t even tell you what this Kitsch Slapped post is about — one should just be surprised with what they discover at Kitsch Slapped. *wink*

Jersey Girl (of Dandelion Vintage) is another blog that’s not always about vintage fashion — it’s more of a vintage lifestyle blog. But that isn’t a slight (it’s on the list, isn’t it?) because sometimes I just go there to get in the mood… The days I do, my pocketbook usually suffers for it, because I’ll be dreaming & twirling in my head & then need to find just the right skirt or accessory… Just like she does. *wink*

Speaking of getting in the mood… If you’re looking for ideas for films (which may put you in the mood for fashions), check out Vintage Meld — Cliff will show you a good time. Mainly ‘the meld’ is all about collecting Hollywood memorabilia, old magazines & other ephemera, but he does offer film reviews and information about films & stars of the past — including the occasional field trip, like to the Ava Gardner Museum!

One last bit of business before you go off & visit all the award winners… Please check your readers, bookmarks & blog sidebars to make sure you are linking to Here’s Looking Like You, Kid correctly. Many of you are still using the old URL and that doesn’t work anymore! Be sure you’ve got the proper one: http://heres-looking-like-you-kid.com/ Thanks!

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

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?

Listen To Busby Berkeley?!

By , 16 July, 2009, No Comment

If this isn’t the strangest, most ironic record album…

Hooray For Hollywood, The Golden-Age of the Hollywood Musical Companion Volume, “Musical Numbers Created And Directed By Busby Berkeley.”

Hooray For Hollywood Album Cover

Hooray For Hollywood Album Cover

A Busby Berkeley billed musical recording? Of course I snapped up the retro vinyl — but Berekely’s lavish, lush and sometimes lewd choreography sure isn’t seen on an LP!

A United Artists record (UA-LA361-H-0798 Mono, copyright 1975), it comes with a 16 page booklet (the full size of the sleeve!) with lots of photos and brief information on the musical numbers, songs and film. Certainly delightful — and the music is fine (though my personal copy has a few “skips,” so I am going to have to clean it better and see if I can improve things), but just the idea of audio sufficing for the splendor of a Busby Berekely production is still too funny.

Even if you have an excellent memory and want to close your eyes as you listen to the music & remember the glamour and spectacle of Berkeley’s sequences, they will pale in comparison; nothing, not even your vivid imagination, compares to seeing the incredible art of Busby Berkeley. He’s just too magical.

The record contains the original soundtrack recordings — and if you love these old movies, you’ll love hearing them.

Songs Side A:

1. Introduction — The Busby Berkeley Girls Medley: Blue Moon, I’m Like A Fish Out Of Water, Hooray For Hollywood/Johnnie “Scat” Davis, Frances Langford

2. I’m Going Shopping With You, The Words Are In My Heart/Dick Powell

3. You’re Getting To Be A Habit With Me/Bebe Daniels

4. The Lady In Red/Winifred Shaw

5. All’s Fair In Love & War/Dick Powell, Joan Blondell, Lee Dixon, Rosalind Marquis

Songs Side B:

1. Young & Healthy, Shuffle Off To Buffalo/Ruby Keeler, Clarence Nordstrum, Una Merkel, Ginger Rogers

2. Don’t Say Goodnight/Dick Powell

3. Young & Healthy/Dick Powell

4. Spin A Little Web Of Dreams/Veree Teasdale

5. Dames

6. Dames/Dick Powell

However, the record itself has, on side B, what can only be called a Berkeley-inspired idea: a circle of ladies who will spin on your turntable!

Busby Berkeley For Your Turntable!

Busby Berkeley For Your Turntable!

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.

Vintage Sewing — My Lack Of Skills Are Showing

By , 18 June, 2009, No Comment

I have a rather large collection of vintage sewing patterns; but I do not have the skills to match. So when I read Vintage Women’s Fashions: Domestic Arts & Sciences Institute by Val Ubel, I had to laugh — not just at what I presume is a pen name (a collectibles dealer named Val-ubel, is just too cute to be real!), but I giggled at what she wrote:

I paged through the booklets, admiring the work that went into even the ’simplest’ of garments, and decided that I would not have made it in this class. Back then it was necessity and there is no way of knowing just how many ladies were actually good at what they did. There may have been a lot of kids who were unhappy with the attire they were forced to wear! I recall my husband saying his mom made him a white dress-shirt when he was in first grade and when he got to church, found the pocket had been put on upside down! Well, give her credit, she tried.

I don’t think anyone would give me credit for sewing pockets on upside down… Not my old home ec teacher; not the person I made the garment for. But believe it or not, such a blog post makes me think I really need to learn to sew.