Much of what goes for good taste in the 1930s and pre-war 1940s wedding invitations is nothing lost in the crumpled papers of time, since formal invitations are the same as they were then, aside from the increase of brides and grooms requesting the presence of guests alone, rather than the parents of the bride extending the invitation.
One subtle note of etiquette missed by merely reading vintage invitations is the timing. According to Lillian Eichler in The New Book of Etiquette (1942, Garden City), the wedding invitation should be issued “Not later than fifteen days, and not earlier than four weeks before the date set for the marriage.”
Holy smokes! That is practically a shotgun wedding these days, with the rule of thumb being at least six weeks lead time today, and seems to be stretching with the inclusion of “save the date” cards and other friendly reminder. That is equal to two or three 30s or 40s weddings.
The other etiquette point brought to light by Eichler, is who to invite. Anyone who regularly calls, that is visits or drops in, the homes of either set of parents, or at the bride or groom’s home if they happen to live separately from parents, are invited to a church wedding. So, Aunt Matilda is in, but so is Mom and Dad’s bridge partners, whether the groom or bride knows them or not. Does that mean the plumber or milk man comes too?1930s, 1940s, etiquette | Comment (0)
It is very common to see items described as “40s does 90s,” meaning an item that was made in the 1990s that has some design details that evoke styling from the 1940s. Have you ever seen an item made in the 40s that was inspired by the 90s?
1890s that is.
I recently came acrossed this 1947 ad for “Tune Togs,” a resort and beachwear line that featured novelty prints. The illustrations dramatized a different song from the “Gay 90s.” This one features the tune “By the Sea.” Did you know that song was that old? Promotional song books were made to advertise the line.
If you have “Tune Togs,” I would love to see photos of them. Post a picture url in comments to share with readers, or email me. The ad was found in Fairchild’s Menswear, their March 1947 issue, which is a publication to the clothing industry. It sure makes me long for the days of summer. Even though I am not much of a shorts person, I could use a warm day or two about now. Of course, I would just complain that I have to put the wool stuff away that I like so much.1940s, vintage ads | Comment (0)
Florence Nightingale is arguably the world’s most famous nurse, but Edith Shain is a close second. Who is Edith Shain? You might not know her face, but might know the back of her head. Mrs. Shain is one half of the famous couple in the famous WWII era Alfred Eisenstaedt photo of the sailor kissing the nurse in New York City.
Mrs. Shain passed away Sunday, but she will be remembered for posterity. There were as many as 10 men who claimed to be the sailor, with Carl Muscarello proving to be the most likely, but it seems that only Edith Shain seemed to have a legitimate claim as being the nurse. She was 92.
Life magazine has a fantastic slideshow, if you’d like to take a look.1940s, wwii | Comment (0)
Los Angeles Time Machines is a site that we have been watching for awhile that we think our readers would enjoy. It focuses exclusively on pre-1970s restaurants and bars that are still in their original state. Occasionally, there are updates on when folks can make a big difference in saving a historic vintage landmark so stay plugged in!
It mainly focuses on the many sites in Los Angeles, California, but has extended to includes spots in Nevada, Maryland, Arizona, Washington and beyond. So, go look up a historic place and show up in your vintage clothing! It would make a great retro photo! I usually try to look up places along every route I am planning more than a two hour car drive, just in case I should come across something classy or outrageous.
As a teenager, I became a student of early photography. I enjoyed watching documetaries anbout it, and sitting at the library going through photo books. There was a lot of early “trick photography” made possible by the extended exposure times. You could create “ghosts” by moving the person every few seconds or so. Occasionally, a mistake would happen in the modern photo lab and you would get pictures run together. It doesn’t happen now with digital, but sometimes with 110 or even 35 mm film, you got someone who was asleep at the switch or you just didn’t advance the film far enough and got an overlap. Sometimes, the snap shooter could try to convince you that you are really seeing something wonderful and intentional.
Why am I even talking about this? There is a very disturbing 1947 suit advertisement I came across and I am just trying to figure out the purpose/inspiration behind it. It reminds me of a particularly creepy multiple exposure.
I don’t know what it is that creeps me out the most. Maybe it is not really the three headed multi exposure but the haughty glare this young man has on his face. He seems to say, “How dare you disturb me, a pox on you!” Maybe he is a vampire. Shame on me for “judging” someone who I don’t know, and may have never existed in the first place.
I understand that the advertiser is attempting to illustrate that the satin rayon lining comes in three wonderful colors – navy, black, and brown (woohoo!), but even to the trade, I could imagine that they would have inadvertantly scared people away from their booth at the trade show. Of course, the exception is if it was a booth for the National Vertigo Sufferers Association, they were enticing someone to try illicit drugs.
Maybe I am oversensitive or just have an overactive imagination, but if I was a child in 1947 and got ahold of this, I would have had nightmares for sure (worse than clown dreams).1940s, vintage ads | Comment (0)
Yesterday afternoon, I was perusing some books that I haven’t looked at in awhile, though I have lugged them with me from house to house. There are a few books that I just will never give up, as they are from a time when I was a sound designer for the theater and I have fond memories.
The following is from an instructional book on Theatrical Makeup. Richard Corson’s Stage Makeup has a line drawing reference that includes the hairstyles of ladies and men throughout the years to help the makeup crew finish off the look for historical plays and film. Do you notice anything amiss with this?
A few of you may have pointed a finger at the gentleman from 1962 with his faux handlebar mustache. That could have been considered something that was just plain wrong, though it was actually not an error. Just picture him with a natty tweed jacket and a pipe to transform him into everyone’s favorite college professor. He could also be a sitcom eccentric uncle.
While this illustration is not meant to be exhaustive of all the possible hairstyles that someone could have had throughout history, there is one glaring omission. It appears, according to this, that there was only one hairstyle for men during the entire 1940s! It was a slightly parted down the middle style full of pomade. I definitely recall the style from a variety of early 40s films. But wait…aren’t they leaving out one hugely iconic hairstyle?
During WWII, the short cuts of the enlistees was everywhere. Of course, on the stage of war, but back home, too. In fact, my grandfather has maintained this hairstyle since he was a private in the Army. There were a couple of dicey years in the 70s where it was about 1 1/2 longer and his sideburns were 7 millimeters longer, as that was the decade of letting it all grow out. Maybe it wasn’t the times, but because his grandchildren, like me, drove him crazy, and he was too busy to go to the barber.
Since the illustrations end with an entire page of styles from 1989, which is entertainment all its own, perhaps the author decided that the 40s were not a banner decade for hair. Perhaps, it was felt that it was just “more of the same” and the decade was just a holdover from the 1930s. I would like to think that it just didn’t have its heydey with reenactors until the 90s, as surely there was much more to talk about than what the chart lets on.1940s, 1960s, hysterical and historical hair | Comment (0)
Merry Christmas! By now perhaps the kids are all collapsed from their sugar high, you are sitting by the fire unwinding after an eventful day and your thoughts have not quite turned to New Year’s Eve, although it is approaching fast. I, for one, always think of formal wear, even if New Years celebrations have become less and less formal. For those of you who will be spiffing it up to ring in the New Year, or if not, you are going to mix in vintage items with casual, a vintage tux jacket dressed down with a banded shirt for the men, or a vintage beaded top or satin brocade jacket with jeans might just be the answer at casual mixers.
I spied some tails on Ebay. The labels reads Stein Bloch, Inc., exclusively for Henry C. Lyttons & Sons. Around 1870, Nathan Stein founded the wholesale tailoring business that would become Stein-Bloch, a staple of the Rochester, New York clothing trade. Up until this point, retailers typically would self label garments that had been made for them. The teputation of Stein Bloch became so prestigious that stores found a great boon in double labelling garments with the maker’s name. Arounf 1929, Stein-Bloch merged with one of its retaikers, Weber & Heilbroner, and Fashion Park, Inc., another similar quality tailor. The conglomerate than was known as Fashion Park Associates.
The store that sold this suit, Henry C. Lyttons $ Sons, opened up shops starting in 1887 with “The Hub” in Chicago, which eventually was eight stories. It expanded by leaps and bounds. A second store opened in Gary, Indiana, and over the years several other locations including Joliet, Illinois. In honor of Mr. Lytton’s 100th birthday in 1946, the name of the store was changed from “The Hub, Henry C. Lyttons & Sons” to Lytton’s. This, by using the label alone, dates the suit to before 1946 without a doubt. It is true that sometimes you cannot pinpoint an item to an exact year sometimes by a label because a maker might have decided to use some extras up, but since the name change was such a big milestone, the labels listing the longer name was probably better orchestrated. Mr. Lytton died at the ripe old age od 103 in 1949. In 1961, Lytton’s was purchased by a conglomerate.
The auction will end on Ebay December 26th in the morning (EST), so please hop to it if you are interested. There are no chest measurements given by the seller, but there are shoulder and other measurements. May be good to buy even as a display piece. Check it out HERE.1930s, 1940s, auctions | Comment (0)
One of the hottest auctions for vintage menswear currently on ebay is one for a 40s Clicker Car Coat. While vintage Levi’s and Hawaiian shirts usually soar, this is an item that I have not seen make the rounds every week.
The blue coat is being offered by seller 9tara9 and with several bidders, the price is hitting the $300.00 mark. The nice thing about the auction is that the seller includes a photo of the label. Quite often, sellers neglect that.
Why is it so important? This way, a buyer can form their own opinion on the age and authenticity of the item. Items that don’t have high profile designer names probably will be the genuine article, but a label’s look and font can tell someone a lot about the garment. If the buyer is knowledgeable about the maker, they sometimes know when different labels were used. Other clues include care instructions that will often place an item in a decade, and sizing scales. If a label is present and fastened in the original way, and clean, it can also tell the buyer a little bit about condition as well.
Showing a label does not give a seller an excuse to not bother to find out exactly what they have, but it is definitely an extra selling point, prevents additional work while the item is already at auction, and will often help the buyer make the decision.
This auction ends in less than 24 hours, so hurry if you mean it!1940s, auctions | Comment (1)
Happy Veteran’s Day!
In honor, I would like to show you this fashion show of 1940s fashions in Great Britain. The show was at Weardale Railway War on the Line weekend. The Weardale is a heritege/historic railway with many supporters. There was a 1940s dance held at Stanhope Station, and the fashion show was part of the weekend as well. The fashion show takes you back in time to see what people were wearing everyday, not just in high fashion. The models are dressed from head to toe in historically accurate clothing. Also of special interest is the appearance of a RAF (Royal Airforce Uniform) as well. Many CC41 labels appear in the garments, which was part of wartime rationing. As fabric was also rationed, coupons had to be presented to purchase them.
I hope you enjoyed this fashion show, and also take the time today to thank a veteran. If you are staying home, call someone up. Everyone has a relative, someone from work, or someone you see at church who has served in one form or another. They do not get thanked enough and today is the day to start doing it from here on out when you see a vet.1940s, wwii | Comment (1)
What exactly happened on January 6, 1947? No, I am not going to trick you with one of those “on this date at this spot, nothing happened” signs.
I have recently learned that The California Flammability Act went into effect. (Exciting, huh? Well, it certainly changed the fabric and clothing industry)
Retailers were ordered to clear their shelves of any clothing and “yard goods” were constructed of a flammable fabric. Some retailers purchased or were provided with test equipment to determine which goods were at risk. Not all retailers immediately complied.
Fabrics were not graded on the failure to protect the individual from a large scale fire (such as a house fire or those also involving flammable liquids), but the sudden catching of fire from a very small source such as a heat glow or a spark. Fabrics were considered flammable when they caught fire in less than 6 seconds. Materials most targetted were, according to Fairchild’s Mens Wear Magazine of March 7, 1947, “long napped rayons, sweaters and robes with the same characteristic, or with short or finer nap, nets as used in evening gowns, and thin, coated fabrics.” In fact, for a time, any synthetic fabric more flammable than natural cotton was banned.
The ban did not include hats, gloves, shoes, purses, or interlining materals that were not exposed.
Not only mills in the state were barred from producing them, retailers were fined or penalized for carrying flammable clothing and purchased or supplied with equipment to test fabrics. They were ordered to clear their shelves and check their insurers for liability.
Retailers did not all immediately comply. There were some questionable fabrics that individual stores inquired the fire marshall about. In doing so, the retailer could probably sell off the remaining forbidden items because it took 6 months at times for the subsequent ruling.
It is very interesting to think about the presence of particular fabrics lending towards accurately dating a garment. However, since the regulation did not immediately spread across the country, nor did it become federal law, fabric content alone cannot be relied upon to accurately date a suit or a nightie, except perhaps in the case of California Designers of the times.1940s, history | Comment (0)
The trend in watches for spring is rose gold. Style.com shows off the latest styles that will be sold for the spring 2009 season. You’ll be sure to see versions cropping up at many different pricepoints.
Gold is naturally yellow. White gold is an alloy of yellow gold and silver to create the olor. Rose gold is created when the silver content is diminished, and copper is added. The higher the copper content, the redder the gold. Sometimes, the color may get deeper over time if the copper content is high enough.
If you wish to purchase a vintage Rose Gold watch, they are not nearly as easy to come by as if you were looking for yellow or white gold, but indeed they are out there. With spring a bit in the future, they have not completely “come out of the closets” yet and those looking for rose now may either have no competition because their friends are thinking about fall still, or the price may go high with limited inventory. It is truly hard to predict what you would pay, as not all watches are created equal as far as condition, age, karat, and overall initial quality.
So far, I have seen the rose watches coming from the 1930s and 1940s being offered up for sale. This is perhaps because good watches of that era are always seen as desirous. Look for later watches being dusted off and sold depending upon the popularity. It is sometimes difficult to determine hue online, as some cameras do not pick up the subtle nuances of color. Buy from a reputable online merchant or look at shops in person.1930s, 1940s, modern fashion | Comment (0)
Tommy Goodwin, well known in golfing circles, here wears the wrap-around handkerchief suit. This probably will not become a broadly accepted type of swim trink, but it does in its way typify the Nassau idea
- Fairchild’s Mens Wear, March 7, 1947
Creepy wasn’t owned and patented by the 1970s, though the 70s definitely must have had the “creepy moustache” trademarked. There were plenty of fashions in eras that were supposed to be considered “the time of the classic and timeless attire” that had its own corner on the “what were you thinking factor. The Speedo may have been the 70s answer to the creepy bathing suit that few really should have a license to wear. The 1940s had the wrap front trunk.
Although the trade publication above doubted that it would catch on, it seemed notable enough to include in a special Southern Resort Wear Issue. It may be an exciting and sought after fashion footnote to collectors, but a sigh of relief to the general public that it didn’t catch fire. In fact, I have never found another reference on the internet or in a book so far for it. I am sure once this is published, I’ll find out that there are 42 books written about it.
Tommy Goodwin was referred to “Suntanned Tommy Goodwin” in a 1949 New York Times article, and perhaps the nom de vis was an explanation of his mental state. Perhaps too much Bahamian sun caused him to have heat stroke and influenced his swimwear decisions in years prior. He had actually spent much of his time in Nassau by then.
So, the next time you look down your nose, thinking the 40s were the epitome of style, manners, and grace, and the 70s was a sleazy time of tacky swimwear and bad hair, remember the wrap front swim trunk.
Until next time,
1940s, fashion history, vintage clothing | Comments (2)
Socks are something that are sorely neglected today. I don’t mean “today” literally. It is obviously the middle of summer so a lot of you are not wearing socks everyday. I meant, in general. Flashback to 1947, where hosiery ads (a.k.a. sock ads) were evenly sprinkled throughout the March 1947 Fairchild Men’s Wear Magazine (A trade publication to the industry). The argyle numbers, above, were being touted for the outdoors inspiration in their patterns and colors. They were retailing at $2.00 per pair. Sounds pretty reasonable for fine Australian wool, right?
Adjusted for inflation, men expected to pay approximately $21.03 for a pair if you converted into today’s money. A lot of you would say that was quite pricey, when you can make your way over to the mall and buy some for $1.99 on the clearance rack and scoff at how the $9.00 socks are the result of price gouging. The fact of the matter is, socks were just made a heck of a lot better. In fact, people used to repair their socks. When proper ladies and gentleman want to swear, but are not angry enough to forget their matters, they say “Darn It,” to this very day. So it is actually a very positive statement versus merely being a euphemisn for something far less polite.
Even though socks were more cared for back then, apparently they were still a cause for unrest. This ad from Westminster Ltd. was a little puzzling. The slogan was “You’re Asking for a Good Sock…”
The message is simple enough. What is a little puzzling is the whole scene that is playing out in the restaurant.
We have a waiter that is looking either a little peeved that the gentleman left a rotten tip or is a little snooty. The man looks really angry or embarrassed about something. The young lady appears to be looking at you, maybe to motion over to you to intervene, or to sort of apologize for what has just happened? What does this have to do with socks? Maybe I have it all wrong, and the waiter can’t believe the man lights up a cigar in this white table-clothed establishment. However, the man is so uncomfortable because he is wearing socks are too tight, and his toes are poling through the holes, that he can’t help but act on it.
This ad was directed towards the “industry:” clothing stores and boutiques, manufacturers, and others in the trade. Therefore, I am wondering if I am missing the joke or the reference, not being a post-war textile manufacturer, or perhaps this is something that will make perfect sense when I have a eureka moment at 2 A.M.
Sometimes I just think too much…
Until Next Time….
1940s, fashion history, vintage ads | Comments (4)
I added a new category to the blog called “Repository of Useless Information.” No, that is not my middle name, although some may think it is. I love trivial facts, and there will be some trivia to be gleaned here before the post is over. I’ll be adding more to the category from time to time, so read it and be prepared for your next party.
In my aimless wanderings, I stumbled by an online paintball store. It made me marginally nostalgic for participating in laser tag birthday parties, as at such parties we were imagining or hoping that we were really playing paintball. We weren’t interested in hunting. We didn’t want to harm animals, we only wanted to hit eachother. Although laser tag gave us that feeling that we were actors in the “Tron” movie of our youth, it lacked the requisite supplies and messiness. We would also argue the fact that the sensors fired by accident and would argue and cajole our way back into the game.
There is no “gray area” with paintball. The paint makes several things irrefutable. Firstly, the fact that you are “out”. Secondly, the Tippmann x7 sniper paintball guns and others firmly indicate to your friends that you are in fact an “army guy,” or a special opps person. With laser tag, half the time is spent arguing because they can’t tell that you were obviously supposed to be Luke Skywalker, and there can only be one Luke!
What is the point of all this?
Did you know that paintball wasn’t just a 1980s invention? Paintball actually originates in the 1940s from the forestry industry. Something was needed to mark trees a little more clearly and efficiently. Thus, the paintball gun was born.
I wonder who the first person was who decided to shoot their buddy to find out if it hurt or not. The recipient of the blow would have probably been the one decide that you need some sort of tactical vest or face protector. Well, maybe that person didn’t think of that, as their thinking cap probably wasn’t ready for the adventure of creativity. They probably were just complaining about how much it stung.
Of course, paintball didn’t make its way into bachelor party outings or corporate events until after 1981. Thus, it causes us to associated the activity with modern life, versus something gentleman and ladies in the middle of the century would have thought about doing after their weekly bridge game.
That’s the historical Tippmann for the day. I mean historical tip, man.
Until Next Time,
Did you know that if you were scuba diving in the Pacific you could take home a WWII souvenir? No, I am not talking about looking for buried vessels. While you are walking along the beach in your flip flops, or whether you are snorkeling, it is possible you could find black sea glass. Normally, you would find translucent whites and ambers and pastels. Why black and what does this have to do with World War II.
You see, the composition of glass bear bottles was different than today. When the glass broke and was smoothed by the natural erosion of the sand and sea over the course of time, the glass remained black. The composition was only used for a short time, due to different materials made scarce by the War. The material decomposed a lot more rapidly.
So, therefore, a World War II private could have made his choice of light versus dark while on his shore time. He could have told a few tales, and tossed it into the sea for good luck. Then, on the way down, it could have broken on the rocks. Then, about 28 years later, a member of the first club devoted to collecting, The Eastern Coast Breweriana Association (ECBA), could have scooped up the treasure in the club’s 1970 charter year. In fact, they were the first such club ever.
Twenty years after that, perhaps one of the members lost their interest and sold part of their collection at a yard sale. During that time, it was the height of the era of filling glass bowls with seed balls, sea glass, and potpourri, and displaying them on your coffee table. Fully 28 years later than that fateful yard sale, you read this blog post. You think nothing of it until Sunday dinner at Grandma’s house. You spy the sea glass in a glass beaker on her coffee table and suddenly remember this blog post. You ask Grandma if you can have a piece. After telling this tale, you all have a toast to the person who threw the bottle into the sea in the first place.
Which reminds me…
There is a contest that I hear about. It is actually a mobile survey on beer. It is limited to 1500 participants, so you have a 1 in 1500 chance in winning. The winner receives a $300 Amazon gift card. To enter and take the survey, just text the word “beer” to 247365. For contest rules CLICK HERE. You only have until midnight, March 14th, to enter.1940s, trivia, useless information, wwii | Comment (0)