FABULOUS COTTON DRESS FROM THE U.S. SOUTHWEST – CIRCA 1940’S TO 1950’S

How about a little break from the coats right now? I promise, there will be more coming. 2 piece dresses like this were all the rage in the early mid-century and many women who lived in the Southwest United States or had the leisure to travel there had a dress like this hanging in their closet. The color combos varied across the spectrum and this black and gray one is somewhat unusual.

What I love even more than the ease and comfort of the lightweight cotton and circle skirt freedom are the design elements of the garments made in that era. The blouse closes with a side zipper from waist to near the underarm on the left – a feature rarely seen. There’s also a side zip just below that, on the left side. 3/4 sleeves and a high neckline make it very easy to wear and also provide some sun protection. Not surprising that would have been important in the Southwestern states. Women living there often wore these dresses everyday, just as women in the northern states wore their cotton shirtwaist frocks.

Yes, it was a very middle-class thing, but so much of the best-loved and iconic true vintage wardrobe was just that. Perfect for the agent who takes care not to leave a trail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

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HERE’S THE SWEETEST POST-WAR EARLY SPRING COAT THERE IS!

Don’t you love those great big buttons, dyed a pale mauve to match the lining of this coat? Also, those sweet bows on each sleeve and Peter Pan collar, paired with the always-necessary and convenient hip pockets – good design that makes this a wonderful true vintage garment. The wool shell is a rather loosely-woven fabric that provides warmth, but not enough for the weather we’re having now. But, just wait . . . . . . . . . . . it’s almost February and warmer days aren’t far away.

Always love the cut of swing coats, as you can tell. Some are much more flared than others, but all are classic and comfortable over whatever is worn underneath. That’s especially important in a 3-season item like this one, when temps may vary a great deal while the season is changing. Over a dress, sweater or even a suit underneath, the coat will still fit well. What could be more practical when disguises may have to be changed frequently . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

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LET’S GO UPTOWN AGAIN IN A BEAUTIFUL 1950’S CASHMERE(?) COAT WITH MINK COLLAR

Our investigator is a quick-change artiest, no? Never would she be suspected of having spent last evening in a dance hall, being thrown over the heads and through the legs of downtown boys and laughing all the way. Nope, this lady’s got a pedigree even though she’s not associated with any old family name.

The only identification remaining is a Union Garment Workers tag. But, we know that some powerful force (maybe old money?) was pulling the strings behind the factory that put her together. Not only is the style perfectly classic but the materials leave little question about their quality. Though not top-of-the-line, the wool shell, which feels for all the world like cashmere, is beautiful and soft. The perfect lining, which could be silk, is like a caress against the skin. Sturdy, stylish buttons and practical pockets make the tailoring elegant. The careful attachment of the fur collar, which can easily be removed and replaced whenever the coat is cleaned, shows that this is a high-quality design.

Therefore, our investigator can travel in the environs of high society. Later on, we’ll probably see disguises which would allow her to actually breach the gates of Fifth Avenue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

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SING, SING, SING AND SWING, SWING, SWING. A COUPLE OF 1940’S SKIRTS FOR THE DANCE HALL

Sifting through the archives is so much fun. These photos look very much alike, but they’re actually two versions of the same style – made for swing dancing and the jitterbug. Gotta have freedom of movement! At least one was sewn at home. I wouldn’t be surprised if most gals had at least one skirt or dress like this during the wartime 1940’s and many had been swingin’ since the ’20’s. So interesting to note that they are both made from a heavy twill fabric which will keep the skirt very much in place as long as your body is upright. Being off your feet dressed in a clingy fabric can lead to some embarrassing situations and a difficult recovery. Still, it would be a disguise challenge, even at a popular venue with great opportunity to blend in with the crowd – stick to the Lindy or there’s no place to conceal your espionage tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

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AS PROMISED, MORE BEAUTIFUL SLEEPWEAR FROM THE EARLY 1960’S

Very elegant. Not as luxe a label as Gossard, but still very nicely made. Mid-century women loved these kinds of pretty sets for sleeping and then enjoying morning coffee and newspaper, with maybe a pastry. Watch the movies from about 1950 to 1965 and you’ll see a lot of them. Looks so innocent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

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BEAUTIFUL GOWN & PEIGNOIR SET BY GOSSARD ARTEMIS – EARLY 1960’S

Just yesterday I delved into the sleepwear file. Police always find bedrooms to be prime locations for crime scenes, but they’re also a hot spot for hidden evidence. Some of the most bewitching things I’ve come across have been stored away in this archive. The Gossard label was one of the best and these photos show why. Not as deeply lovely as some of the silk gowns produced in the 1930’s and 1940’s, but the decoration is always beautiful and the colors so vibrant. I’ll probably be showing more to you . . . . . . . .

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

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FINE SILVER PILLBOXES – A COMMON UP-TOWN PURSE ACCESSORY FOR THE MID-CENTURY WOMAN

Just opened another old file that is rarely consulted and found, among others, these two sterling silver pillboxes for m’lady’s handbag. The one on left is older and may be antique. Although the tiny round one is very pretty and has a nice green liner, the other captures my attention more. Looks like it’s been around the block many times and has potentially witnessed a lot of intrigue.

Specifically, it is from Italy. Aside from the pretty metalwork they both have and the ingenious little clasps that are worked into the shape of the boxes without any moving or attached parts to break or be lost, the rectangular box has that beautiful mosaic on top. It is made of tiny, tiny pieces of what might be shell and/or enamel. And, I don’t think that a single one has gone missing in all the years! Maybe it’s even newer than the metal box itself. Hmm . . . . . .Such an innocent-looking design would be a perfect way to pass identification or other permanent information. Must have it examined for possible code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

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ANOTHER FABULOUS FIND FROM THE FORTIES

Stella looks fabulous in this frock, as she does in everything, but actually it’s several sizes too large for her and, so, for me, too. I can’t get away with the things that she does! Therefore, this file is to be retired. However, it’s been fun to review, with all the great features of the dresses in that era. This is a specialty design also, with the dressy velvet bow that pigeonholes it for some type of non-everyday event. Very unique and intriguing clue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

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MID-CENTURY COPPER BRACELET TO COMMEMORATE THE NEW QUEEN ELIZABETH II

A sad file to retire, but this case is definitely closed. However, in the early 1950’s costume jewelry made of copper was a big fad so what better material to use for this chunky souvenir bracelet? All around the world, women were admiring the young Elizabeth who had just been coronated. She was a pretty mother of young children with whom it was easy to identify, at least from that aspect of her life. Like with many celebrities, popular fashion trends grew out of her personal style and what the rest of us saw as British culture. It wasn’t just the Brits or citizens of the British Commonwealth who were captured by the royal mania. It has died down over the years but still, take a look at the tabloids stacked up in the grocery check-out lane. Why should we give a hoot? but we do . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

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1920’S – 1930’S DROPPED WAIST CREPE DRESS WITH BEADED TRIM

This dress was a really great find and incredibly rare. The slouchy, dropped sleeves, loosely fitted silhouette and tons of beading design are very indicative of the few years pre-war – whether talking about WWI or WWII, although other style elements still were frequently seen. This frock was custom-made for dressy dinner or party events. As often happened with vintage rayon crepe, there is some color fade but the condition of the garment is still remarkable. Since it turned up away from its original home, there are no specific clues associated with it. But, the city in which it was found and where its original owner undoubtedly went about her business has been known, for decades, for its high-rollers, shady dealings and clandestine activities. Need I say more? The case will probably never be closed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

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