Thursday, November 21, 2013

My Vintage Inspirations, What Are Yours? And A Grand Giveaway

Don't forget to enter in the giveaway.  Details here.    I always wanted to answer what my ten vintage journey inspirations are.

In no particular order, as this would be near impossible to do.

1.  Princess Coats - Ahh, where to begin?   I'm not quite sure what it is but vintage princess coats are a Fascination (note I capitalized this word) with me.  There is just a timeless elegance about them and the 50s certainly had their share of grand designs.   There is something majestic about the nipped waist and the attention to detail.

Princess coat from 1939:

Now tell me is there a vintage lady out there would wouldn't love this coat below?

2.  Puffy Sleeves -  a late 30's vintage outfit would not be complete without this required tailoring trick.  There is also just something special about an extra puff to a blouse or a beautiful bias cut dress to create this effect.

3.  Vintage Pattern Envelope Illustrations -  As I delve more into vintage sewing, I find the pattern envelopes to be so very captivating.    The color illustrations reflect a moment in time and represent an ideal of the period.  I often try to see if I might find the fabric that is illustrated on the pattern. These illustrations certainly set a mood and it's also an experience.  These are dresses that one hopes to create that are just as lovely as the illustration.

I've also been recently trying to find some of the patterns related to Vogue's New Book of Better Sewing. 

Yes, this is my dream acquisition pattern, I could stare at this pattern illustration all day long.  I know that when it goes up for sale it commands multiple hundreds of dollars so it is doubtful I shall own it as I do think at some point these are just slices of paper but just revel in the beauty of this dress!!!  <sigh>:

Update:  One actually sold for $610 in March! 

4.  Fashion Magazines - Bazaar and Vogue are right up there on my understanding of vintage fashion.  I love the period of the late 30s to the late 50s in fashion so I tend to look for decently priced fashion magazines of this period.  I do also like other magazines like McCalls, Glamour, and Mademoiselle.  I also love to look for the obscure fashion magazines too, anything to gain enterance into the styles of the 30's to the 50's. I look at these magazines as works of art and ideals of the times.  It is interesting how so much change in fashion occurred from the 30s to the 50s but the art of fashion still remained.  Today, everything is so mass produced and made only to last a season, if that.  In addition, the quality of materials is lacking.  I think if there is some truth to the idea that we are reincarnated, I'm sure I was once heavily implanted somewhere in the late 30s with my puffy sleeves or in the early 50s with Lilli Ann.

5.  Lilli Ann -  I honestly cannot remember the exact first Lilli Ann image I came in contact with but I do know that Lilli Ann has left a lasting impression on me (like you didn't all know right?).  I also thank all of you for encouraging my suit adventures.  I'm sure I will forever keep some of these key suits and coats in my wardrobe.  I do have two Pinterest boards on Lilli Ann, if you'd like to follow them.  Also for those of you recently tuning in, here is a link onto the history of Lilli Ann.

I know I'm not the only one who loves Lilli Ann as certain of these gems are highly sought after.  I hope one day I'll be able to explain to my grandchildren how once tailoring meant something and how clothing can really be an art form.  I think also through fashion, it helps me to understand these time periods.

I also wanted to say that I found an "everyday" vintage lady wearing a Lilli Ann suit!   The photograph is a random 1950s snapshot.   I was quite excited to find this as it is a needle in a haystack.  I'll share the image of this lovely 50s lady in a future post and boy does she have on a "dream" Lilli Ann suit.  You think about all these Lilli Ann suits and coats out there and you really don't see images of lovely ladies wearing them from the 1950s so this is quite nice to see.

I don't think I have ever seen this princess coat up for sale.  I'm sure it would sell near $1,000.

6. Vintage In Color - There is just something crazy fabulous about seeing the right fashion print and outfit fully viewed in color.    These ladies really did wear some beautiful prints but it sometimes gets lost in the black and white history we see so when a really great color image crosses my path, I immediatly want to take in all the details.  I invite you all to take a good look at John Rawlings.  There are a lot of wonderful color images of his work out there.  On Pinterest, I've started a board called "Vintage In Color".  Check it out.  I also have a Pinterest board on John Rawlings.

John Rawlings 1944 (my favorite fashion photographer)

Fashion Magazine Image

1930s fashion illustration

Amazing images in color.

7. 40's shoes -  If I find a decently priced pair of 40's shoes in my size, odds are I want to buy them, which lucky for me isn't too often as 40s shoes normally are in a smaller size.  There is just something special about those strappy ankle shoes and blocked heal that I love.  One of the first vintage items I bought when getting into vintage fashion, was a beautiful pair of 40's swing shoes and I happened to be the first one to break them in.  Amazing in itself.

My first pair of 40's vintage shoes:

These shoes below I took to a cobbler and was able to save the straps.  Very lucky for me!

These shoes are on the market right now, wish they were my size!

I once put together a list of vintage shoe vendors, some of you may find this helpful if you decide to search out a pair.  I've actually found a couple of pairs of vintage shoes through having this list.  

Vintage Shoe Designers (Ads seen in fashion magazines)  I put a date next to each brand to reference the year I'd seen it in a magazine so of course, you may also see these shoe brands in other years too.

Sorry list is not in any particular order.  Do any of you ladies have these brands?

Enna Jettick Vogue 30s ad
Queen Quality early 30s
Red Cross Shoe 1921(seen in 40s too)
Naturalizer 1935
Vitality Shoe 1930s
De Liso (Debs) 1939
Rice O’Neill (1939)
Lotus (1950)
Dorothy Dodd (1940s?)
Selby (1940’s start?)
Bally shoes
I. Miller shoes (1930s +)
Kays-Newport (Californian USA shoes 1940s)
Johansen 1947
H Liebes 1947
Selby shoes 1947
Paradise shoes 1947
Laird shoes 1947
Peacock shoe 1947
John Marino 1947
Rhapsody shoe 1941
Lastex 1941
Marquiese Shoes 1940
TreadEasy shoes 1948
Natural Bridge Shoe 1949
Newton Elkin 1949
Valentines Shoe 1949
Jacquelines Wohl shoe 1949
Tweedies 1949
Twenty-Ones (as seen above)

8.  A Sparkly Brooch (preferably Eisenberg) -  You can actually find a very lovely sparkly brooch on ebay for even less than what you may pay retail and these have stood the test of time.  There is just something extra charming that the right brooch adds to an outfit.  It truly is like adding a bow to that nicely wrapped present.

You know even a placement on the belt line is fabulous!

9.  Tilt Hats - There is just something glamourous about the right tilt hat. It adds a certain artistic charm to a vintage outfit.

10.  Umbrella's - Vintage umbrella's from the 40's and 50's are quite a scarce item to find in good working order and when I find the right novelty umbrella, I'll certainly add it to my collection.  The handles are works of art in themselves.  I'm still on the look out for the right bamboo handled umbrella.
 I have a Pinterest board "Umbrella Style".

Lastly and as a big mention, a giant inspiration to me is all of you fellow vintage bloggers out there who  view my blog and  provide perspectives into your own vintage journey.  Your words of encouragement mean a lot:)  Thank you!


  1. Great list Joanna, and you've found such beautiful images! That first coat is gorgeous and the green one as well (under vintage in color). Like I said before, this is a great question and I love reading everyone's posts!

  2. I can only agree with all your points!!!! But unfortunatly it seems that every vintage lovers like almost the same thing, so prices keep growing.... Princess coats are often so price, and almost impossible to find in a larger size... I can see 40's hats sold for $200 on Ebay, probably bought by people who will never wore them...
    But we can also have some bargains, umbrellas and magazines can be found for a few euros where I live.
    Love this post!

    1. This is so nice you are able to find vintage umbrellas cheaply. We can't find them here very cheap. I have to really keep my eyes peeled on ebay/etsy. I would one day love to find an umbrella with a matching hat, bag, or dress. Wouldn't this be lovely? Have you ever found or seen anything like this?

  3. Great list! It really reflects your journey as far as I can see :)

    I hope to write my post next week, when I'm feeling better again!

  4. Whenever I hear of Lili Ann or princess coats, even anything new look by Dior, you automatically come to mind. :) You really have a wonderful way of embodying them!

  5. I loved reading through your list, some great images here too. Those princess coats are gorgeous.

  6. This post is an unending feast of delights for the eyes and vintage loving spirit! I adore that you highlighted each example with multiple images and must so much time and thought in your selections. There isn't a single thing here that doesn't make me go weak in the knees either.

    I so love this idea for a post and am really enjoying seeing other bloggers I follow post their lists as well. I so wanted to take part, but suspect that it won't happen before the contest closes because I'm between computers right now. Would it be okay if I still blogged about my own ten things later on (not to enter the contest, which will be long over, but just because this awesome topic spoke to me so much, too)?

    ♥ Jessica

    1. Jessica, I would very much love to hear you list:) I completely understand how things are difficult right now for you to get it all together. Please do enter the contest as I know that you'll get to it when you get a chance:) I loved putting this list together because then I was able to search out some wonderful inspiring images to ad. I hope things get back to normal for you soon!

  7. Thanks very much for your post. Lovely images and thoughtful commentary. I really like Lilli Ann as well, although I've yet to own any. I do enjoy looking, anyway!

    1. You know if you keep a keen eye out there are still Lilli Ann's out there at pretty decent prices:) There are some pieces I did pay a premium for but I knew it was still worth it in the "Lilli Ann" world. But, there are pieces that totally flew under the radar like the red suit I wore for the photo session (posting next week). Thank you for posting Christine, nice to meet you!

  8. Oh man, I think the tilt hat is one of mine for sure!