PRETTY MID-CENTURY AND ANTIQUE COSTUME JEWELRY

Since I’ve veered into the area of accessories a bit, I decided to open the jewelry archived evidence file. It’s a big one, as jewelry pieces are often found at investigation sites. That’s especially true when it comes to mid-century pieces, which were so popular during the 1950’s and 1960’s and considered an essential part of the wardrobe of any well-dressed woman of the time. However, items always appear from years before and after, since women have always loved jewelry and will never stop.

Here’s an assortment of bling that might have been seen on any given day in 1960. All are costume and most are unbranded. These everyday types of clues are not as likely to be the element which makes or breaks a case but agents know better than to leave any stone unturned, and you just never know . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

BLOG: MAGICVINTAGESPY.COM

BEAUTIFUL 1950’S WOOL COAT IN CLASSIC BLACK

Surprising as it may seem, coats of this type were often more commonly seen in beige, brown and colors than in black. Those alternatives certainly would have been easier to keep looking clean – we all know what lint-magnets black garments are! So, maybe this just became a market-driven issue among the general population. At any rate, it’s true to my sleuthing experience and a clue for the file. However, market characteristics like that can sometimes vary by location or even by year so never ignore a mundane-seeming piece of evidence. That’s especially true when no other signs of its origin can be found.

This particular item, with its de rigueur big sculpted buttons, also has interesting design in back with a big welt seam and a somewhat distinctive collar shape and color, disguised as mink. These little design features are what differentiated one coat from another, as the general style of the time was quite uniform, and can make or break a case whenever witnesses can be found. I guess that’s always true with coats that are built for warmth and outdoor wear. No operative could ask for a better element of disguise while carrying out her daily routine now that our old stand-by, the trench coat, has lost its cover in film noir.

Tomorrow, another example that’s just a pretty fashion piece with no occult interpretations attached. But, you just never know –

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

BLOG: MAGICVINTAGESPY.COM

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

BLOG: MAGICVINTAGESPY.COM

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

BLOG: MAGICVINTAGESPY.COM

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

BLOG: MAGICVINTAGESPY.COM

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

BLOG: MAGICVINTAGESPY.COM

WHEW! FINALLY DONE GOING THROUGH ALL MY TRUE VINTAGE HANDBAGS & PURSE ACCESSORIES

I THINK I’ve got it all done. From the 1930’s through the 1960’s these bags, some handmade (I LOVE hand-tooled leather) and the little accessories that women used to carry were so much fun to sort through again. A fine leather billfold with matching key-case. A tapestry-look eyeglass or cigarette case. A padded silk holder for a few tissues. Little pads for organizing phone numbers (with attached pen) or writing little notes. A plastic rain bonnet folded up in a plastic case and distributed by a local funeral home.

Such a varied assortment of evidence. Imagine all of the suspects and witnesses who may have carried them – lots of stories. But, again, the cases are closed so it’s time to clean out the files. However, there are still so many archived items as well as those currently being investigated. As ever, occasionally something “new” turns up. So, stay tuned for further intel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

BLOG: MAGICVINTAGESPY.COM. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1940’S VELVETEEN PENCIL DRESS

Though it’s an iconic mid-1940’s style, the dress looks a little plain, eh? But, it’s got beautiful tailoring and a couple of really neat 1940’s style features that aren’t often found anymore. One is a true 1940’s Talon metal zipper. The second is zipper vents at the wrists. Skinny sleeves like these required it for easy dressing and the intended slim, slim fit.

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

BLOG: MAGICVITAGESPY.COM

KENNEDY-ERA COCKTAIL FROCK #2

Nothing to write home about style-wise. Obviously, this one was made just a bit later with a higher hemline. It’s still got a maker’s label, but just not a well-known one. Same type of fabric as the one from Saks and fully-lined, too, so there’s no skimping on the basic quality elements.

However, the neckline treatment is the real star feature. Done as a thick band of bugle-beading to look like a ribbon collar – it’s far from the more boring sequins and embroidery used on the version shown yesterday. Never seen this before or since . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

BLOG: MAGICVINTAGESPY.COM

KENNEDY ERA LITTLE BLACK COCKTAIL DRESS #1

This baby has a good pedigree – Saks Fifth Avenue. Made from, what else? – rayon crepe. The stand collar was super-popular at that time, with the expected fancy trim. This dress is, of course, fully-lined and well-cut. The style is nothing revolutionary, but you can’t beat this kind of quality.

MORGANA MARTIN, THE MAGICVINTAGESPY

BLOG: MAGICVINTAGESPY.COM