Another favorite, the ’50s styles with nipped waists. Love ’em! – who doesn’t – they’ve remained a fashion favorite for many years and a style that keeps on repeating itself. The bateau neckline is also a favorite – SO flattering. I call it a summer dress, but the cotton material is heavy, so it’s perfect to wear almost all year.
The skirt on this one has a bell shape, too – an unusual feature that is somewhat unique. This dress was custom-tailored and the construction is very unusual. I’ve never seen anything like it. Although it zips up the back, there is also an inner bodice that hooks together. It may have been the design of the woman who sewed it – in place of a bra(?)
Sometimes you’ll find a garment like this that is as interesting on the inside as it is on the outside. The tailoring details can sometimes be elaborate, even on commercially-made items. Not to mention what seamstresses can come up with on their own when they’re being creative –
I actually bought this at a shop, which is unusual for me. There are lots of great ones that I have visited and included in my book references – no better place to see a collection of wonderful things in one spot and get the wisdom of the owner’s knowledge. It pays to know all the different types of places where true vintage likes to hide – because you just never know .. . . . ..
MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY
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Here’s another dress from about the same time as the last one. It has the same features of design – the side metal zipper is the most significant. I don’t know why that was a favorite feature, rather than allowing the front opening to be longer.
Although it was more trouble to put that side zip in, it was hidden (more or less) from view and allowed the front and back lines of the garment to be unbroken. My best guess is that this style feature is more elegant than a back zip or long front opening would be.
So many of the styles and tailoring methods from the ’50’s and before paid a lot of attention to keeping the lines of a garment very elegant, with good fit and clean silhouette. Back zippers on pants and skirts are a good example of this.
This dress is, I’m sure, custom tailored. The skill of the sewer is excellent and it would challenge the quality of any commercially-made things today, outside of haute couture.
The reds, golds and mossy browns in this print make me think of leading into Fall, but let’s not rush our summertime, when the livin’ is easy . . . . . . . . . . . .
MORGANA MARTIN, the Magicvintagespy
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Book: How to Find the Best in Vintage Fashion available on Amazon.com
What a surprise! I wasn’t expecting this one, but that’s how it goes for the Magicvintagespy. Beautiful, heavy ivory satin fabric, with covered-button and loop front closure, fitted waist and full skirt. Custom-tailoring with hand-finishing on the seams as well as the bead decoration around the wide collar. Vintage metal side zipper.
Though I see many gorgeous wedding gowns in my sleuthing investigations, it’s rare that I will pick one up. In this case, the pristine condition (just a little soil around the hem) and the period-perfect styling made my decision. It will fit in well with my half-dozen other elegant bridal gowns dating from the 1930’s to the Kennedy era early 1960’s.
Can’t wait to see it on Stella (my 1950’s mannequin, for those who are not regular followers). What next – can hardly wait . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
This purse is a great example of the things I love about handbags made in the 1950’s. The true size is about 10″x 12″x 2″ – not too big, but it can hold a lot and has many interesting features:
Soft fabric finished to mimic suede.
Several inside pockets and a matching satin lining
High quality, attractive hardware
Two large outside pockets worked into the design so that they are invisible
A cute attached coin purse that keeps cash safe and accessible
So many of these older bags are in near-perfect condition, too – many with tissue paper inside. Owning fine accessory items and caring for them well (even without servants) used to be one of the hallmarks of an elegant lifestyle, and still is . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Marlene is mesmerizing in this gorgeous veiled hat. Just covering the eyes, it adds a bit of mystery to a bright and open face. She was so inspired by the Spring hue that she even changed her haircolor . . . . . . . . . . . .
I’ve honestly not seen a veil made this way before and am a bit unclear about how it is supposed to be worn. However, it’s situated in the right direction so maybe this is it. Perhaps it could be worn tipped a little farther back on the head. Many hats from the Forties had parts hanging over the shoulder in kind of a gypsy touch.
Anyway, it’s beautiful and just right for the season. When flowers and grass are coming up, here we go . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The first thing I uncovered on a recent sleuthing adventure! This dress is made of a glorious glossy fabric which may be a polished cotton. I just love the finishes put on many of the old textiles that far excel anything that is sold today in the mainstream market.
With cap sleeve styling, wasp waist, full skirt and, of course, excellent tailoring which includes a hem width of several inches, some lucky girl looked stunning. The ladies garment workers union label testifies to the care and expertise of these tailors half a century ago.
When I spied this one, I could hardly wait to see what else the day’s expedition might uncover. The treasure hunt continued, and you just never know . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
We’ve done a little film noir leisure dressing for the men, so here are 3 of my very favorite women’s things of the same era. The fabulous ’30’s robe with shoulder pads and tassels, the cute little wartime rayon dressing gown and the glam ’40’s rayon dressing gown. Hollywood movie star all over!
Imagine Veronica Lake or Joan Crawford sweeping into the room. Deanna Durbin would have looked sweet in that blue and white dressing gown.
I like to recline in one of these while sipping a cognac and reviewing the latest assignment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Although very similar, I might place this dress as having been made a little earlier than the one shown yesterday – looks late 1940’s to me. It might or might not have been worn with a crinoline underneath. Like the other, it’s completely hand-made and this one has the tailor’s label sewn into the neckline.
One of the best things about this gown is the fabric – a plush, heavy velvet that feels like old rayon. Love the sweetheart neckline and off-the-shoulder sleeves that, to my taste, are done a bit more artfully than those on yesterday’s dress. I think it’s mostly a style change that took place over a couple of years around the turn of the ’40’s to ’50’s decade.
Anyway, who wouldn’t love it! I so wonder what events these dresses were made for and where they went. That part of the mystery is as yet unsolved . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
This gown is hand-tailored with extreme attention to detail. It would be worn with a crinoline for a full, bell-shape. Because of the styling, I would guess that it was made in the early 1950’s but, possibly, as early as the late 1940’s. A special occasion dress, of course, and there’s hardly any evidence of wear. Maybe it was even made for a Prom or Homecoming dance back in the day.
Women were so happy to dress in longer skirts, sumptuous fabrics and new styles after the austerity of the war years.
I’ll be showing a sister gown tomorrow – very similar style and probably made a few years earlier. What fabulous discoveries!