It’s SO good to get out into the field again! Here’s part of what the latest investigation uncovered. A classic fitted-sheath design, which we still see a lot of on the market, always flattering and always in style. So, what makes this one stand out amongst those that are on the racks today?
1. THE QUALITY:
the FABRIC – 100% rayon in a really nice artistic print, substantial but with a soft hand and glossy finish.
the CRAFTSMANSHIP – Careful finishing, with piping around the neckline and armholes. Facings and hem allowance with some depth.
2. THE DESIGN:
AUTHENTICITY – Hawaiian style, made locally in Hawaii.
CUT AND FIT – shaping darts front and back to fit the curves of the torso gently and move with the wearer.
WALKING SLITS – on each side of the skirt enhance comfort and prevent tearing.
I don’t see garments this nice in the stores today. The material is to die for – both in how it looks and feels. The dress has a real authentic vibe. Garments this well-made also fit more nicely, last a long time and rarely need any kind of repair. The only possible downside is that dry-cleaning is the proper care but, since we can now do this safely and effectively at home in the dryer, extra expense is minimal.\ It’s another one that I’ll wear frequently and forever! More to come . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
A gold rayon satin sheath, perfect for cocktails and dinner out in 1960. The over-dress with high slits and frog decoration is very much a style of that time. The white embroidered design is a little showy, but understated fashion wasn’t a big thing then. However, this dress still manages to be elegant.
Sadly, there is no label remaining and I doubt that it was home-sewn. Could have been custom-tailored by an expert dressmaker, which was a favorite thing to have done back then. Of course, I miss my mannequin models big-time when showing off this frock. A fitted sheath looks best on hourglass figures and was really cut to fit that way when it was new.
I’m discovering things from the late ’50’s and early ’60’s a little more often in the last year or two and it’s obviously a sign of the times. Not sure how many 80- and 90-year-olds might still be hanging on to a favorite Mod designer outfit. I guess I’ll find out later, but we’re still going in that direction tomorrow. Hang on . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fun find – a custom-tailored frock made sometime between 1960 and 1985. It’s got overall a great day dress style, harking back to the 1940’s. The best thing about the styling, I think, is the flared skirt design which will flip and twirl with every movement. A perfect dress for dancing!
Another neat thing is that the seamstress put in a LONG side zipper so that it’s really easy to put on and take off – no need for contortion or someone to help you zip, as sometimes happens with back zippers.
This is a relatively simple dress, but little clues tell me that the maker put special thought into the styling and construction, which make it special. Love it!
A perfect little black dress for day – wonderful find! The classic elements – 3/4 sleeves, decorative detail and shantung weave – make it very fun and versatile. A best of the best everyday garment to discover.
This style is a very elegant, body-skimming sheath design with back zip and a low plunge behind. Notice the chiffon drape which hangs from the waist, and the simple embroidery on the bodice.
Although the interior size tag reads 8, an attached paper tag dangling from a side-seam give the sizing as 7/8, meaning that this was a Junior size frock rather than Misses, with a youthful cut. LOVE IT when original sales tags are present and testify to a garment that has never been worn!!
Knee-length to moderate-mini, depending on the wearer’s height, and with a 3″ hem allowance. Perfect. Just my size! Never fails . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..
Here’s a very special woven wool jumper dress with big shell buttons. Although I have it pinned since it’s a little too teeny for Madge, you see how much difference a little change in one’s figure could make in the fit!
It’s really cut for a petite woman, maybe slightly under average height. But, a couple more inches here and there and VAVOOM! Unfortunately, a shade too much on the petite side for me and no Vavoom, so I sold it before Stella joined me and it would have fitted her well!
Dresses like this were super popular right around 1960 and might have been worn with a turtleneck, but a blouse would have been more likely. I show it with this sweater just because the color matches so well.
The most outstanding feature of this design is the big abalone shell buttons asymmetrically closing the front. And, the hem-line is fairly long, especially on a shorter person. A sign of the times.
Definitely a sophisticated back-to-school or a career dress for some aspiring young woman!
MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY
BOOK: HOW TO FIND THE BEST IN VINTAGE FASHION – AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.COM
While we’re in a New Year mood, here’s a really special dress from, I believe, the 1950’s. It’s more or less a cocktail style, but could go to dinner and dancing, too.
Originally, it had nude netting on the front bodice and upper back, with skinny binding around the armhole area and the neckline. The purpose is to give a bare look, without the bare.
Very elegant but, unfortunately, the material had some small holes which could not be repaired. I could not locate material of the same type for a replacement, so I reluctantly removed it and restyled things a bit to make skinny straps instead. It works! Being versatile is an indispensable skill.
I love this dramatic pointy accent on the front! The fabric is also very elegant – probably a rayon that looks for all the world like silk shantung. And the hourglass shape!
Worthy of Peggy Lee any day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
This custom-tailored dress is really special for several reasons. The style and color are not unusual – a shaped sheath with back metal zipper in a lovely olive (not as grayish as the photo seems). BUT, the fabric (probably a rayon or blend) has interesting slubs and visible weave throughout. The most fascinating part, though is the cummerbund . . . . . .
it is not a machine-made trim that came from a sewing store. The treatment at the waist is completely hand-crocheted in fine thread and then was attached to the dress, probably while the person worked. It’s backed with cheesecloth to protect the attachment. Very carefully done – no wonder it has lasted so long.
One of the most fun aspects of my sleuthing is the original and astounding details found in many of the garments and accessories that I uncover. Love delightful surprises!
About 4 – 5 sizes too big for Stella, but it has to be shown on a model because of the swishy skirt and the way it drapes. Lace overlay was very popular in the Kennedy era and much more nicely-done than the cheap versions we’ve seen lately. The fabric is glossy substantial, and there are pearl bead accents sewn all over.
Another great part of the design is the way that the back swoops toward the waist. So, it’s not a drop-your-champagne-glass-when-you-see-it type of frock but it’s a lovely, classicaly-tailored garment that was worth collecting (and a design that is easy to alter!). .