Hello Easter Bonnet, Goodbye Winter!

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Easter hats and Joanne Woodward-Family Circle Magazine

Easter hats and Joanne Woodward-Family Circle Magazine-1958

Image source

Spring is springing and Easter is almost here! Many Easter traditions have their roots in pre-christian, ancient times, including the Easter bonnet.

During ancient times women wove crowns of fresh flowers to wear at Spring gatherings to celebrate the renewal of the earth and the end of winter. By the 16th century it had become customary to wear new clothing at Easter and in the 1870s the NYC Easter parade was established where couples strolled 5th avenue en mass, to show off their Easter finery. Competition was fierce and fashions were cutting edge. As hats were considered an essential part of a woman’s wardrobe, a fabulous Easter chapeaux became essential. Victorian women loaded theirs with ribbons, silk and flowers.

Easter hats-McCalls Magazine-1920

Spring  hats-McCalls Magazine-1920

 

Although hat trends changed drastically over the decades, the idea of the festive Easter bonnet remained steadfast. Even the simple cloche of the 1920s took a fanciful turn for Spring and during the depression of the 1930s, when most women were diligently pinching pennies, they still found a way to make or buy a new hat at Easter time. After WW11 women were more than ready to relax their frugal ways and the fashion industry was there to oblige. Styles became more feminine and lavish and the idea of a new outfit for Easter morphed from tradition to craze. Of course the “Easter Bonnet” took on special importance, with many women coordinating their entire ensemble around the hat they chose…gloves, purse, shoes, jewelry and dress or suit.

Easter bonnet-1945

Easter bonnet-1945

Back in the day women didn’t need much of an excuse to get dolled up, but today our closets are filled with jeans and T-shirts and dressing up is the exception instead of the rule. But weddings and Easter are two of the final hold outs where one can pull out all the stops to look like a million bucks. Dressing up for Easter is still pretty popular nowadays.  And although the Easter bonnet might not be as common as it once was , it’s still a fun way to herald Springs arrival.

Navy Saucer Hat

Navy Saucer Hat

Now the question is, how DOES one find a fabulous Easter hat, when milliners have become rare as hens teeth?  You really need to hit the vintage market.  The array of choices will astound you, as will the quality and prices.  Maybe a sweet pastel cloche from the 2os or perhaps a smart 40s tilt hat, bedecked with ribbons and veil. Like a bit of drama? Look for wide brim, portrait or platter hats. Want even more drama? The plain pillbox might be iconic of the 60s but there was a lot more going on in the hat world at the time.  Fashion was being pushed to the outer limits and bold, statement hats were having their day. Millinery might have been fading from popularity at the time but you can find some jaw dropping designs from this era.

Vintage Easter Bonnets

Vintage Easter Bonnets

1. 60s Pink chiffon and flowers hat  2. Pink 60s toque with netting and flowers
3. Vintage chiffon flowers half hat   4. Flower pillbox hat.

Too timid to wear a full hat?  I have a personal fondness for the little 50s  flowered half hats, or what is often referred to as  “cracked egg style” or shell bonnets. Or try a decorative vintage or retro headband or even a simple silk flower tucked behind your ear.

Whatever your choice, hello Easter Bonnet goodbye long cold winter!

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New Arrivals! Lace and Tulle Gowns with Glam 1930s Flair

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I absolutely adore the fashions from the 1930s. In the  1920s  the trend was toward a more loose fitting silhouette that reflected womens’ rebellion against the restrictive styles of the turn of the century. But when the 30s rolled around dresses became more form fitting with an emphasis on  the waistline and back.

Also, in the 1930s  designer Madliene Vionnet popularized the “bias cut”  with her sensual figure flattering gowns. Many of the glamorous silver screen stars at the time wore costumes of this style in their movies, fueling the trend for these looks.

Because of this, the fashions from the 1930s tend to be very feminine, sleek and body conscious, but in a very classy way.

Mary Brian actress

Mary Brian actress

Publicity still of Mary Brian in a Robert Kalloch gown, for the movie “Fog” in 1933
Image source

30s dresses like the one above inspired my latest offering of gowns. Capturing the romantic elegance and styling of this decade,  they’d make a lovely  choice for a spring or summer wedding for a vintage loving bride or  her wedding guests. Click on images for more information.

30s inspired champagne lace gown

30s inspired champagne lace gown

Ivory lace over palest champagne jersey. Shimmery beaded appliques decorate this 30’s inspired gown and matching capelet.  Available in Sizes Med-XXL  $279.00

Silver tulle and lace illusion bodice gown

Silver tulle and lace illusion bodice gown

Gold illusion bodice tulle and lace gown

Gold illusion bodice tulle and lace gown

Embroidered lace gown with tulle godets for a beautiful flared hem. Illusion bodice with sheer back. Waist enhancing bow belt.  Available in small-XL. $199.00  Comes in robins egg blue as well.

Have a glamorous day!

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What They Wore-1926 Spring Fashion

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Here’s a look at what the fashion trends were for spring 1926 as featured in Woman’s Home Companion. There were no glossy multi page fashion spreads with models back then. But the illustrations were beautiful!

The dropped waist silhouette was still popular, as were handkerchief hems, cloche hats, bobbed hair, capes and chiffon prints.

The 1920s was the first decade where young people started to really influence fashion.  From an article called “Where Do Styles Start?” in the editorial section, here is a quote referring to this new phenomenon.

“With  a bow in the direction of our fashion editors, at home and in Paris, we must concede much truth to a recent comment in the commercial news about style. It is that no designer can create a style trend. The only thing to do is to watch the young people.”

Chiffon print dresses 1926

Chiffon print dresses 1926

Above is an illustration by John La Gatta that features flower print chiffon dresses. The one on left has a skirt with fluttery pleated fans and jabots. The one on the right actually has a circular skirt.

Katherine Sturgis design

Katherine Sturgis design

A frock and fabric design called “Camillias” by Katharine Sturgis.

Dress with capes-1926

Dress with capes-1926

Dresses with matching capes sold at Neiman Marcus.
The one on left in black dragon satin. On right printed red, yellow, black and white crepe de chine.

 

1926 cape coats

1926 cape coats

Another trend was a coat with attached cape. From the article.
“It’s a silhouette for youth and swagger, for vivid novelty fabrics of the
tweed school.”

The one on the left is very interesting with it’s striped top and checkered bottom.

 

Chiffon dresses with handkerchief hems

Chiffon dresses with handkerchief hems

I love the band and tied collar attached above the V neckline on dress at left and the shoulder bow
with long sash on right.

Dresses from the Bella Hess Catalog 1926

Dresses from the Bella Hess Catalog

I am completely smitten with these dresses from the Spring/Summer Bellas Hess Catalog!
It was  one of the first of the big mail order companies and was based out of Greenwich Village
in New York.

Molyneux red and black crepe dress

Molyneux red and black crepe dress

An actual photograph of model wearing a red and black crepe dress by famous designer Edward Molyneux, who opened his own couture house in 1919. Known for his elegant, streamlined creations and exquisite fabrics, he was a favorite of  film stars and the high society set, including the Duchess of Windsor. Photograph by Paul O’Doye, Paris.

Hats in felt and taffeta

Hats in felt and taffeta

Felt cloche hats and  an adorable taffeta hat with upturned front brim  by Rollé.

These Jazz Era looks were chic, feminine and timeless.  Which ones would you consider wearing today?

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Lesser Know Label- Roger Van S for Fine Quality 50s 60s Purses

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roger Van S purse

Roger Van S purse

Did I ever mention I love vintage purses?  I’m embarrassed to admit to how many I have stored in my closet! And one of my new favorite vintage purse labels is Roger Van S. Anyone who loves to collect and wear authentic vintage purses needs to know about Roger Van S bags, if you haven’t discovered them already!  I truly have no idea how I had never heard of this company before, up until I recently found this chic little black handbag at a flea market.  I was attracted to it for it’s beautiful pebble textured soft leather, interesting shape and lovely red lining inside. And it was obvious from the construction that it was a high quality piece.

So once I saw the label inside, I had to find out more about the company behind Roger Van S. I love to find out the history behind a label, which often adds to my appreciation of the piece.  And this case is no exception!

 

Doris Bryn in leotards

Doris Bryn in leggings

Doris Bryn, a model, who appeared in many magazines in the 1940s and 50s, met and married Roger Van Shoyck when they were both attending the University of Cincinatti.  While she was still a cover girl she and her husband started an accessory line with the labels Roger Van S. and Mr.R. And, though their products bore her husband’s name,  Doris was the actually the chief designer.

The photo above shows two models wearing what we now call “Leggings”. Doris is on right wearing hers beneath a dress. Yes,  these were popular even back in 1943! She also appeared in Vogue, Ladies Home Journal,  Cosmopolitan and Look magazine, was a Palmolive Girl and appeared in ads for Camay Soap before she took up her career in accessory design.

Anyway, according to this article from Duke University, which houses a whole collection of historical manuscripts called the “Doris Bryn Papers”,  not only did Doris design beautiful, fine quality purses, she also designed, belts, shoes, jewelry and dresses.  And originally the business ran as a craft cooperative to employ disabled veterans.

Their cutting edge designs were elegant and sophisticated, selling at Lord and Taylor, Neiman Marcus, B. Altman and other high end department stores. And in 1966 Doris won a design award from the Leather Industries of America.

Roger Van S umbrella purse

Roger Van S umbrella purse

Here is a photo of one of their unique handbag designs from 1949

Buyer at Thalheimers' department store & Roger Van S.

Buyer at Thalheimers’ department store & Roger Van S.

Above two photos are courtesy of Bag Lady Emporium.

After my find, I immediately started looking for more Roger Van S. bags. And I discovered there is a limited selection on line. Here are a few that have caught my eye. Click on images to take you to product page.

Black Roger Van S bag with brass filigree trim

Black Roger Van S handbag with brass filigree trim

 Available on Poshmark for &74.00

The ones below are all on Etsy.

Roger Van S. Wicker and leather purse

Roger Van S. Wicker and leather purse

For the jetsetter! Vintage Roger Van S wicker purse with  leather patches embossed with famous travel destinations!  $40.00

Roger Van S envelope clutch

Roger Van S envelope clutch

60s Roger Van S. tapestry envelope clutch. $48.00

Roger Van S black leather belt

Roger Van S black leather belt

 I even found this black leather Roger Van S. belt with fabulously unique buckle! Only $39.99

Do you own any Roger Van S. bags or other accessories? If not, be sure make a note to keep an eye out for this lesser known  label when out shopping antique malls, flea markets, etc.  The quality is definitely superior to  new handbags in the same price range.

Have a glamorous day!

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Our Flapper Dresses at Pinups for Vets Roaring 20s Fundraiser

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Gina and Julia-Pinups for Vets

Gina and Julia-Pinups for Vets

Everyone here at Blue Velvet Vintage was very excited to be able to help out Pinups For Vets by providing Gina and Julia our white Marcelle beaded flapper dress and black fringed Brooksie dress to wear at their recent Roaring 20s Themed Burlesque Show and Fundraiser in Los Angeles. And as you can see from the above photo, they both look fabulous!

In case you’re not familiar with this amazing award winning organization, Pinups for Vets was started originally by Gina Elise back in 2006, when she decided she need to do something to help our troops.

Her grandfather had served during WWII and she came up with a great way  to honor his name. Loving the fashion and pin up art from the 40s, and how it boosted the morale of many soldiers, Gina set out to create a modern 40s inspired pinup calendar to sell and raise money, the proceeds of which go to VA and Military Hospitals across the US to help expand their healthcare programs.

Since then she has also traveled the country, personally delivering gifts to hospitalized veterans and working with other nonprofts groups to get care packages sent to Iraq and Afghanistan. The events Gina and her other caring pinups participate in also help raise funds to help our wounded warriors.

Pinups for Vets Roaring 20s fundraiser

Pinups for Vets Roaring 20s fundraiser

This video from ABC News explains it all and features highlights of the show!

We were honored to be able to participate in this, even if in a small way. These gals are involved in a very worthy cause.  So checkout their website, maybe even make a donation or buy a calendar!  It’s a great way to show support for our troops.

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