What They Wore- Spring & Summer Fashion Trends of 1957

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Here’s a look at spring and summer fashions from Vogue Magazine in 1957.   The most popular trends for that season were  classic  shirtwaist style dresses, many of which were made in chiffon or organdy fabrics for a  dressier look, checks and polka dots, ribbons and bows accenting clothing and accessories, and also worn in the hair,  cropped jackets worn over dresses, cute casual cotton separates,  floral print hats, and of course pearls, pearls and more pearls!

For more formal occasions, there is also a photo of a magnificent French lace dress with rose accents that I could very easily picture on a bride, a polka dot mermaid gown by Estevez and a rose print full skirt gown by Galanos.

So take a peek into the fashion wonderland  of ’57!

I love all of these looks and would not hesitate to wear any one of them today because the styles are classy and timeless.

How about you? Do you have a favorite?


Have a glamorous day!

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Vintage Mother Daughter Dress Alike Fashion Photos

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Back in the day children were often dressed like miniature versions of their parents. And  mother and daughter matching outfits were a strong trend in the late 40s,  50 and early 60s.  The fad went by the wayside with the advent of the youth centric fashion revolution of the late 1960s. By that time young people were rebelling against the establishment, which included their folks. So dressing like them was definitely not an option if you wanted to be considered cool by your friends. The more different you were than your parents, the better.

But since Mother’s Day is coming up, I thought I’d post some photos of mother and daughter fashions back when girls were thrilled to be their mom’s Mini-Me’s!


 

Did your mom ever dress you in an outfit that matched hers?

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50’s Inspired Hawaiian Dresses Perfect for Summer Parties

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I’ve always been a huge fan of vintage Aloha wear and pretty much anything Hawaiian or tiki related. I even had a Hawaiian themed wedding at my home and my Dad built me a very cool tiki bar for the event. It goes great with my 50s rattan furniture!

I also have my own collection of Hawaiian dresses from the 50s that I absolutely love and wear every chance I get! Hawaiian fashion actually started to become popular in the 1930s when tourists returned from vacations with  brightly printed “Aloha shirts”  that were made in Hawaii.  And after WW2  the trend became more widespread as many GI’s brought home “Aloha attire” from when they were stationed in the Pacific.

Hollywood also had a hand in fueling the tropical trend with movies such as Waikiki Wedding,  South Pacific and From Here to Eternity.  Though men enjoyed wearing  Hawaiian print shirts, dresses for ladies were a big hit as well. And anyone who loves and collects vintage Hawaiian dresses knows the best labels from the 40s and 50s, like Shaheen, Surfriders, Kahala and Kamehameha are very scarce and the prices reflect their rarity.

Because the authentic versions  are not easy to come by we offer 50s inspired Hawaiian print dresses from our Classic Dame line so you can still get the look.  Below are three of our newest prints.

You can click on the images for more information. They run Size Small-XL and are priced at$155.00. The prints are limited. The cotton fabric is beautiful. The bodice is lined and has boning for support. The full circle skirt has side seam pockets. And, as with all our dresses, has a metal zipper in back,  just like the true vintage ones! And they are made right here in Florida.

Ivory Hawaiian print halter dress

Ivory Hawaiian print halter dress

Blue Hawaiian print halter dress

Blue Hawaiian print halter dress

Black Hawaiian print Coquette halter dress

Black Hawaiian print Coquette halter dress

So if you’ve been searching for a standout look for a beach wedding, poolside party, luau or just something fab to wear out to dinner this summer then consider one of these 50s style tropical floral frocks.  And if you’re a dancer, these hold up very well and are cool and comfortable to dance in.  As an avid swing dancer I know first hand!

Have a glamorous day!

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Why a Good Seamstress is your Wardrobe’s Secret Weapon

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seamstress

Ask any couturier about the importance of a proper fit and they will all agree that it is absolutely essential. No matter how expensive the fabric or beautiful the design, without proper fit neither the garment, nor your figure,  will ever be presented in their best light .

On the other hand it doesn’t take a couture garment to make a woman look her best. Even off the rack clothing can be transformed with a bit of strategic alteration. The importance of flattering fit is absolute for the red carpet crowd and high society, right down to their jeans. After all, the paparazzi is ever present and it only takes one unflattering photo to get tongues wagging!

There was a time when the benefit of proper fit was understood by all walks of society.  But in our era of stretch fabrics and cheap throw away clothing it has become less important for the average person. Vintage clothing, on the other hand, was usually made of woven fabric, made to last and designed to enhance the figure, something that many of today’s fabrics do NOT do for most of us. And women back in the day were very aware of how much more flattering an outfit could be if it was tailored properly.

As a former dressmaker and current vintage dealer it frustrates me when I see a woman pass on a vintage garment she loves over fitting issues that could be easily resolved with a bit of expert alteration. A sagging shoulder line or an unaligned bust point can make a dress look frumpy. Yet a skilled seamstress can adjust these seams to create a more alluring line. She will also have an eye for the best hem length to suit your proportions or your best sleeve length. The majority of figures have different “size zones”…  shoulder width, bust, waist, hip.

In  many cases there is no need to give up on a garment you love just because one area is not fitting when the rest does. A decent dressmaker will be able to tell you what can and cannot be done. Many vintage garments often have enough seam allowance to let out bust, waist or hips and nipping in is almost always possible. Sometimes the fix is so easy you won’t believe it. Magic can happen just by moving buttons or tucking a strap. A customer I once had was utterly smitten with a vintage gown but when she came out of the fitting room she was nearly in tears. The color looked gorgeous on her, the waist and hips fit perfectly, even the length was right,  but the bodice drooped awkwardly. Since the gown had spaghetti straps all I had to do was pull them up a couple of inches and the bodice moved right into place. The alteration was simple but it made all the difference.

Below is a before and after of a dress that was originally a couple of sizes too large for the customer, and was altered smaller to fit her. You can see how a garment can be totally transformed in the hands of a good alteration specialist.

dress altered

So,  if you love authentic vintage, or even retro fashions,  and you want to wear it well,  I highly recommend you take the time to find a good dressmaker or seamstress. Recommendation by word of mouth is usually best.  But you can also call the alterations department at a better department store or bridal salon and ask there.

Here are three helpful tips for when you are having alterations done

1. There should be no guesswork involved. Your seamstress should have you in front of a mirror with the dress on as she pins you on BOTH sides. A proper pinning will give you a good idea of the results. If the garment needs to be let out she should measure how much. If the alteration is complicated a good seamstress knows to baste first which will require more than one fitting.

2. Dress hems should always be measured and marked all around not just in one spot. This will assure an even hemline. If your seamstress does not do this I would go elsewhere.

3. If you are having a garment let out, ask your seamstress if the old seam lines will be inconspicuous. You can’t always prevent all traces but you can usually minimize them enough so they are not obvious. Different fabrics are more forgiving than others and there are tricks of the trade to help. She should have some idea what to expect.

Of course, alterations add to the cost of the garment. But if you find a talented seamstress she can transform your clothes so they look more expensive and enhance your figure in ways you never dreamed possible.  Excellent reasons that certainly make it a worthy investment!

 

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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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