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Posts tagged ‘vintage fashion’

When Film & Fashion Really Meshes!

By , 16 November, 2009, 1 Comment

These vintage Whiting & Davis mesh bags with the faces of screen legends enameled on them are really the ultimate in film meeting fashion!

These and other stunning pieces up for auction at Collect.com (starting November 23, 2009 through December 12, 2009), rare vintage mesh bags from the LaMothe Collection; found via Deanna’s Collectors’ Quest post on vintage Mandalian mesh bags.

Whiting & Davis Charlie Chaplin Portrait Mesh Purse

Whiting & Davis Charlie Chaplin Portrait Mesh Purse

Whiting & Davis Enameled Mesh Clark Gable Purse

Whiting & Davis Enameled Mesh Clark Gable Purse

How To Determine Vintage Stocking Size

By , 13 November, 2009, No Comment

Vintage stockings, original non-stretching nylon stockings, are sold by two measurements: foot size and leg length. But what if the stocking’s size markings, usually printed on the stocking welt (the top, where you attach the garters), aren’t legible or missing entirely? Well then you are going to have to measure the stockings themselves to determine their size.

Before we begin, please note the following:

In this case, “vintage stockings” refers to non-stretch nylon stockings which were made mainly from the 1940s through the 1960s, when Lycra and other stretch hosiery entered the market. Though 100% nylon stockings continued to be made, and its form of sizing continued to be used by some brands, the stretch hose limited the range of sizing to today’s more familiar ‘Small’, ‘Medium’, ‘Tall’ and ‘Queen’ — and the related A, B, C or D. (The extra give in these stretchier stockings and pantyhose literally allowed manufacturers to ‘lump’ women into fewer sizes, reducing cost and, we vintage fans feel, decreasing a more specific fit.)

Then, as today, there are variations in sizing by stocking brand — and sometimes within the same brand. The top brand names tend to be more consistent in their sizing (Hanes & Berkshire, for example, tend to be incredibly consistent), but even specific brand consistency may vary greatly from the sizing of other brands (stockings by Alberts, including the sub-brand of Araline, for example, measure an extra half inch in the foot and an extra inch longer in length too).

Since worn stockings will be a little larger (even freshly laundered ones), than unworn stockings, these sizing measurements work for unworn vintage stockings.

However generalized these sizing measurement tips are, you can get a pretty good idea of fit — especially if you compare the measurements to the measurements of your favorite fitting pair of worn vintage stockings!

How To Find The Size Of Vintage Stockings

In order to best measure the stocking, I recommend beginning by securing a tape measure to a table top, taping it down just like at the counters in fabric departments, so that you have both hands free to handle the stocking.

If you don’t have a measuring tape, get one; they’re cheap and you’ll use them over and over again. (I suggest you carry a tape measure with you when you visit estate sales, thrift stores, flea markets, etc. too — you can always ask for a literal hand with measuring!) Or, you can tape paper the length of the table, mark off your dimensions, and measure them later.

Once you have the measuring tape securely in place, you’re ready to get your measures. Since true stocking size is always determined by the foot measurement, we’ll begin there.

The industry standard for measuring the foot of a stocking is to measure from the tip of the toe to mid heel, however, most people are more comfortable defining the end of the heel rather than making a guesstimate of the middle of the heel, so I’ll be discussing measurements from the tip of the toe to the end of the heel. That said, that’s what you do.

Place the tip of the stocking toe at the top of your measuring tape and, holding it firmly in place, extend the stocking foot taut along the length of the tape measure. As you extend the stocking’s foot, keep it pulled taut — not stretched; apply just enough tension to remove the folds and wrinkles in the nylon. Measure the distance between the tip of the stocking’s toe to the end of the heel (the darker, reinforced area).

Just as with shoe sizes, a measurement of 10 inches does not equal a size 10 stocking — well, not quite, anyway. If your measurement was taken from the tip of the toe to mid-heel, then the number of inches does indeed give you the stocking’s foot size. (So if you’re comfortable with assessing the middle of a stocking’s heel, go for it!) But if you’ve measured the stocking from the tip of the toe to the end of the heel it’s still easy to get the size: subtract either ½ or ¾ an inch to obtain the true stocking size.

Which one? If your stocking is smaller, measures 9 ½ inches or less, subtract half an inch; if your stocking is larger, measures 10 inches or more, subtract ¾ inches. (Larger stockings have a larger heel reinforcement.)

To get stocking length, measure from the bottom of the heel to the top of the welt, using the tips above. The measurement you get is the size; no math necessary.

STOCKING

SIZE

STOCKING
LENGTH
SHORT MEDIUM LONG XL OPERA
8 1/2 28 1/2 29 31 33
9 29 30 1/2 32 33
9 1/2 29 1/2 31 33 35 37
10 30 32 34 36 38
10 1/2 31 32 1/2 34 1/2 36 1/2 39
11 33 35 37 39
11 1/2 33 1/2 35 1/2 37 1/2 40
12 40
13 40

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.

Cheer-Up, Pup!

By , 3 November, 2009, No Comment

What do you do to perk up a rather sad solid sweater or sweater set? Why you pin on a vintage mink poodle pin, of course!

Vintage Mink 1950's Poodle Pin

Vintage Mink 1950's Poodle Pin

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

“Billowy Circular Skirts” Of 1952

By , 26 October, 2009, No Comment

In Rebecca’s Fashion Trends From 1952 post (at her fabulous b.vikki vintage blog — you’ve got to go see it!), she’s posted some beautiful scans of “billowy circular skirts” that are “made to be worn with or without the ruffled petticoats, so popular this season,” which were circle skirts designed by — you guessed it! — Juli Lynne Charlotte of California. (Note that in this one issue of Jet Magazine, Charlotte is both “Juli Lynne” and “Juli Lynn” — something that seems to have been a chronic problem, despite the designer’s fame. For the record, the designer’s labels read “Juli Lynne Charlotte.”)

Circle Skirts, Jet Magazine, 1952

Circle Skirts, Jet Magazine, 1952

Juli Lynne Charlotte Circle Skirts, Jet Magazine, 1952

Juli Lynne Charlotte Circle Skirts, Jet Magazine, 1952

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

Getting To The Point Of Pencil Skirts & Their Popularity

By , 22 October, 2009, No Comment

Christian Dior created the pencil skirt in the early 1950’s, as part of his H-Line collection.

Christian Dior H-line Fashions, 1955

Christian Dior H-line Fashions, 1955

The narrow and long (past the knee, originally) design of pencil skirts was reminiscent of the long skirts worn in the 1900s — right down to the similar hobbling effects of the 1910’s hobble skirts.

The Hobble Skirt Postcard, Circa 1910s

The Hobble Skirt Postcard, Circa 1910s

Note where the hobble skirt narrows around the knees, much like the narrowness of pencil skirts. This is why, even when pencil skirts have a slit or pleat in the back, pencil skirts still require some practice to walk in, some experience in elegant wearing.

Early Christian Dior Pencil Skirt Suit

Early Christian Dior Pencil Skirt Suit

The earliest pencil skirts were parts of suits, worn with jackets and tunics which covered the waist; this somewhat tended to minimize the hips while lengthening the legs.

Black Velevet Tunic Suit With Slim Pencil Skirt, 1952

Black Velevet Tunic Suit With Slim Pencil Skirt, 1952

But eventually, pencils skirts were worn with more fitted fashions, further accentuating the rounding of hips and behinds beneath nipped-in waists. (And would eventually evolve into the more flower-like full skirted fashions, and, on the other side, the wiggle dress, which we think of when we think of New Look fashions.)

Vintage Suit Ad: Pencil Skirt on Left, A-Line Skirt on Right

Vintage Suit Ad: Pencil Skirt on Left, A-Line Skirt on Right

In any case, wearing pencil skirts was far less practical in terms of ease of movement. This impracticality had, in fact, much to do with the success of the new skirts.

The lack of ease in movement may not have been part of Dior’s “Big Design” but his designs, and the many others who followed suit, certainly were able to capitalize by simultaneously a-dressing several post WWII cultural movements.

Pencil skirts were not only a new fashion silhouette — which women, tired of the more functional (and repaired, recycled) wartime clothing would of course be nearly giddy to have — but these skirts were also a more traditional and feminine style. Eager to be beautiful again, women loved them.

And men loved these skirts which highlighted and celebrated the female form too.

Vintage Lilli Ann Suit With Pencil Skirt Ad

Vintage Lilli Ann Suit With Pencil Skirt Ad

No one can blame either men or women for celebrating their reunions, the return of couples and families, but the physical restrictions of pencil skirts encouraged the hobbling of women.

Such fashions, with their physical restrictions, helped move women away from their wartime work (making room for the returning men) and placed women upon their pedestals as domestic goddesses, objects of desire and housewives. Female.

Feeding this return to gender roles via fashion were the recently available mass production advances made during the second World War and the post-war prosperity; ready-to-wear was affordable and most everyone had the the ability to afford the luxuries of lots of new clothing. The vintage popularity of pencil skirts remains with us today, making the pencil skirt more than a fashion classic, but a fashion basic.

Vintage Merrimack Ad For Velveteen Pencil Skirt Suits

Vintage Merrimack Ad For Velveteen Pencil Skirt Suits

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*

Our Collective 80’s Flashbacks

By , 16 October, 2009, No Comment

It’s impossible to avoid the return of 1980’s fashions. From the latest shots of Kim Cattrall & Sarah Jessica Parker 80’s re-do in the filming of the next Sex And The City film

Kim Cattrall's 1980's Flashback For Next Sex In The City Film

Kim Cattrall's 1980's Flashback For Next Sex In The City Film

Sarah Jessica Parker On Set For Latest Sex In The City Movie

Sarah Jessica Parker On Set For Latest Sex In The City Movie

To the coverage of retro English punk in the November issue of Marie Claire

Marie Claire English Punk Re-Do

Marie Claire English Punk Re-Do

(It’s interesting to note that as American’s jumped into the punk scene, they dropped the more dramatic graphic of the English flag — I say it’s a better fashion graphic and offer the fact that it was not replaced with the US flag as proof of my statement — and the term “Punk” was replaced with New Wave.)

As the spread of retro 80’s fashions comes ever-closer, I now will get off my arse and look to see what few items I saved from the 80’s have survived the various downsizings with each household move. (You know how you desperately dry to lighten and compact those boxes!) If I find anything worth noting, I will share it here. Threat or promise? *wink*