Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Many Faces of 70s' Fashions

I think the 70s get a really bum rap when it comes to its fashions. People usually think of the clich├ęd polyester leisure suits, ugly wild prints, and over-the-top disco styles. And, yes, we did live through those, if just barely. But, the 70s were a decade of ever-changing fashions, many that have either endured through today, or have seen repeated resurrections over the years, such as platform shoes, hippie-inspired jewelry, bell bottoms, and more. It was the era when mod met rock, and rock met disco. When flower child met hippie, and hippie met dance-club maven. When culture was in the throes of near-cataclysmic change--from the peace movement to the "me" movement.

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And as the decade evolved, so, too, did the fashions. So, the 70s weren't just big collars and big shoes. They featured sleek, chic styles, such as Yves St. Laurent's pantsuits and Diane von Furstenberg's wrap dress, perfect for the decade's modern woman, as well as affordable trendy fashions for the young. Companies such as Jonathan Logan, David Crystal, and even Bobbie Brooks offered all the "in" looks of the day. Some of the stores that had great junior departments were Sears and Montgomery Wards, where you could find good-looking, nicely made fashions, including some designer-licensed lines.

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So, the 70s weren't really all that bad, after all. And we at Reflections of Vintage have a few classic pieces from the era to share today with you!

The maxi dress was a staple in the early to mid 70s:

Like this Designer Mr. B. Border-Print Caftan in Purple and White Novelty Floral Print from Catseye Vintage:



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And a Gay Gibson Black and Paisley BoHo Corset Maxi Dress from After Dark Vintage:
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And this
Designer Don Luis de Espana Corset Laced Maxi Dress from My Vintage Cocktail:
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How about those quintessential floral prints like this Bright Floral Vintage 1970s Velour Long Skirt from After Dark Vintage:

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Don't forget accessories like these:

Hand Carved and Stamped Leather Pendant Boho Necklace
from Catseye Vintage:
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Italian Plastic Bead Boho Hippie Shoulder Bag Purse from My Vintage Cocktail:

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mamie Doud Eisenhower: Woman in Pink

Mamie Geneva Doud Eisenhower: November 14, 1896 - November 1, 1979
First Lady: 1953 - 1961

Mamie Geneva Doud was born 1896 in Boone Iowa to John and Elvira Doud. A family of privilege that afforded her luxuries like jewelry, clothes and travel. She attended public schools but completed her education at Miss Wolcott's a prestigious private finishing school for daughters of prominent families.

The Douds spent their winters in the warmer climate of San Antonio TX. In 1915, while visiting nearby Fort Sam Houston, Mamie was introduced to the handsome Second Lieutenant Dwight D. Eisenhower. Less than a year later in July of 1916 they were married. Until the start of WWII Ike's assignments took them to various locations around the world. Mamie always managed to create a comfortable home for her family no matter what the circumstances. Home and family were always her first priority. Two sons were born to the couple, however sadly they lost their first child when he was only three.

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Mamie was a charming hostess and they entertained frequently, their home being nicknamed "Club Eisenhower". She once said "I had a career. His name was Ike". While preferring to stay in the background, she did provide the perfect social setting to enhance her husband's career.

Her unusual hair style, noting the curled over the forehead bangs were created for her by
Elizabeth Arden in Paris, completed what became known as the "Mamie Look". Her bangs and off-the-shoulder dresses helped define her own personal style.

Known for her china blue eyes, creamy complexion and the love of the color pink. Love of pink truly set her apart and she even had a shade of it named for her. During the 1950s, many women influenced by the First Lady, wore fashions and accessories in “Mamie Pink.” She was a fashion icon in her day with a natural sense of style that she personalized with her accessories, pearls, button earrings and her famous hats. Sally Victor designed many hats for Mamie, one being the famous pie crust hat which she wore to the Presidential Inauguration.

She was loved by the American public because she was one of them. She clipped coupons, always thrifty, spending as little at $9.95 on a mail order hat. Sometimes she wore designer fashions, but she also delighted in finding a bargain in a department store. She was always on the "Best Dressed" lists during her White House years.



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On display at the Eisenhower Museum in Abilene KS is her hat collection.
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Mamie Eisenhower's 1953 "First Lady pink" silk inaugural gown designed by Nettie Rosenstein, embroidered with 2,000 rhinestones. Matching evening gloves and a pearl-encrusted clutch finished the look.

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The Eisenhower's pink bedroom in the White House.


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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Reflections of Vintage - Weekend Eye Candy


WEEKEND EYE CANDY --

The members of the Reflections of Vintage seller's network are pleased to offer wonderful dresses, a cozy sweater, a kimono robe, and a gorgeous red hat perfect to start the new year in style.

Vintage 80s St John for I Magnin Royal Purple Santana Knit Sweater Dress with Enameled Buttons from CATSEYE VINTAGE



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Vintage 1950s 1960s Sky Blue Floral Japanese Kimono Robe from AFTER DARK VINTAGE


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Vintage 80s Designer Laura Ashley Romantic Puff Sleeve Dress, Sz Sm from VINTAGE BAUBLES TOO

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Vintage 80s Super Fluffy and Furry Mohair Multicolor Abstract Pattern Tunic Cardigan Sweater - Size L or XL from CATSEYE VINTAGE



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Vintage Ruby Red Wide Wavy Brim Hat by Gwenn Pennington from AFTER DARK VINTAGE


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Vintage 80s 90s Bodycon Knit Bandage Mini Dress, Chiffon Tiger Print Draped Neckline from MY VINTAGE COCKTAIL


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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Audrey Hepburn - Actress, Philanthropist and Style Icon

Audrey Hepburn - Actress, Philanthropist and Style Icon

Audrey Hepburn, who was born on May4, 1929 in Brussels, Belgium, was one of Hollywood's greatest and most imitated style icons.

Ms. Hepburn was well known for her beauty and elegant and feminine glamor. She always choose classic contours that complimented her tall and thin frame.

Her designer of choice was Hubert de Givenchy, and they worked on many films including Funny Face (1957), Love in the Afternoon (1957), Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), Paris When It Sizzles (1963), Charade (1964), and How to Steal a Million (1966).

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Their lifelong partnership was first established when Givenchy was given the task of designing Hepburn's wardrobe in Sabrina (1954). The designer was initially relucant to take on the young actress, but was won over by her beauty and sense of style. The gorgeous dress she chose for Sabrina is an iconic symbol of their work together.



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In
the film Two for the Road (1967) Ms. Hepburn appeared wearing a daring silver metal sequined mini dress designed by Paco Rabanne, which was very modern for it's time.


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Ms. Hepburn was a five time Academy Award nominee, winning the award for best actress for her performance in the film
Roman Holiday (1953). She also won the 1954 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her performance in the Broadway play Ondine.

Her co-star in
Ondine was actor Mel Ferrer, whom she married on September 25, 1954. They had a child, a son named Sean, in 1960.

Ms. Hepburn separated from Mel Ferrer in 1967, and later divorced him.

She married Italian psychiatrist Andrea Dotti in 1969, which whom she had a son, Luca, in 1970.

Ms. Hepburn became a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF in the late 1980s.

She won a special Academy Award for her humanitarian work in 1993, but she did not live long enough to receive it.

Hepburn died of cancer on January 20, 1993, but her iconic image will always live on.

The Reflections of Vintage sellers network present these fashions which Audrey herself may have worn:

Vintage 50s 60s Deep Black Illusion Cocktail Party Wiggle Dress -- Size Small from CATSEYE VINTAGE


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Vintage 60s Exotic Ostrich Skin Handbag from
VINTAGE BAUBLES TOO


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Vintage Frank Olive Pink Straw Lamp Shade Style Hat from
AFTER DARK VINTAGE


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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Getting to Know Weave and Fiber

Welcome to another “Fabric Junkie” blog! Today we’ll continue the discussion on fiber and weave. In my last piece about this, I noted that many sellers (buyers, too) either think of the two as the same, or treat them as such, e.g., by stating the weave in the description, they believe they’ve covered both. But, weave is only half the story. People often know weaves but don’t realize that several different fibers can be used to create the same weave. Last time I talked about satin, taffeta, and chiffon. Today we’ll look at three other fabrics that are also popular and typically presented in terms of weave only. These are jersey, velvet, and gabardine:

Jersey: A single-knit fabric that is thin and smooth, and drapes well. Many people associate jersey with cotton (those popular concert t-shirts, soft cotton tops and skirts, etc.). But jersey knit can be made from a very wide variety of fibers: silk, rayon, polyester, nylon, even wool. Cotton/polyester blends are quite common. Jersey is very flattering and suitable for body-conscious styles. Take a look at these pieces:

Cole of California nylon jersey animal-print dress from Catseye Vintage:

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Late 30s/early 40s rayon jersey dress at Vintage Baubles Too, recently sold:

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Velvet: One of the most common fabrics for which people mistakenly equate fiber and weave. But, like jersey, velvet can be silk, rayon, cotton, nylon, polyester, or blends. A cut-pile fabric, it’s woven into a plain or twill backing with a “pile” of yarn formed by loops raised from the surface. The loops are then cut to form “strands,” or the nap. Cotton is made into both velvet and velveteen. It’s difficult to tell the difference between them only by looks. But when you feel both, they’re distinguishable from one another. Velveteen has a very short, dense nap and feels “stiffer” than velvet. Cotton velvet is softer, generally with a slightly longer nap, and has more sheen to it than velveteen. But still not as lush as rayon or silk velvet. Today’s silk velvets are often a silk pile woven into a rayon backing. Although one can still find all-silk velvet, its cost as a yards good can be prohibitive.

Here’s a Victor Costa rayon velvet dress (bottom of page) from Vintage Baubles:

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And a cotton velvet Ralph Lauren dress, which will soon be listed at at Vintage Baubles Too:

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Gabardine:
A type of twill weave, it exhibits steep diagonal lines, or ribbing, on its surface. It’s very sturdy and durable, used for suits, trousers, coats, etc. Relatively wrinkle free, it’s also good for sportswear and work clothes. Although many people think of it as wool, it can be made from polyester, cotton, rayon, and blends.

Here's a Handmacher wool gabardine suit from Catseye Vintage:

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And a gabardine topper jacket from After Dark Vintage that appears to be a wool/rayon blend:

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How to determine fiber and weave? The best way is through handling as many different known fibers and weaves as you can. Note the content and weave of modern and vintage garments you already have--how they feel, how they drape, etc. Go to the fabric store, take a bolt of rayon velvet and one of cotton velvet, and compare the feel. There is nothing like “hands-on” practice! Identifying fabrics will become much easier over time. But, no matter how well versed you are, sometimes you just can’t tell. You should learn how to do a burn test for fibers you can’t identify. This isn’t always possible, but it can be valuable when it is. Do a search for “fiber burn test,” and you’ll find charts, tips on methodology, etc. Because many fabrics consist of blends of fibers, even a burn test may be inconclusive.

It’s not a crime to not know what fiber an item is made from. But, I think sellers should at least state a “best guess”; be clear that it is a guess. In online selling, where a buyer can’t handle an item, it’s important for them to have an idea how something feels, drapes, and will look on them. Knowing the fiber and weave of a piece can go a long way to that end.

Thanks for reading, and be sure to keep an eye out for the next installment of "The Fabric Junkie" at Reflections of Vintage!