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The Nostalgic Appeal of Vintage Gift Sets

During the holiday season you’re bound to see mountains of  gift sets displayed at every department store.   Delicious combinations of fragrances, bath products and beauty creams make for the perfect present of pampering.   Though the  packaging tends to be colorful, feminine and glitzy,  most of them don’t entice me to buy.  But that’s because I much prefer the look of packaging from the past!  I just can’t resist any beauty product that’s boxed up to look like something out of an old apothecary or even a Woolworth’s store in the 1950s.

Check out these vintage holiday gift set ads to see what I mean. They’re adorable!

cheramy gift sets ad

1947 Vintage advertisement-Cheramy Perfumer Gift Sets

Coty Holiday Gift Ad

Coty Holiday Gift Ad-1947

shulton holiday gift ad

1950 Vintage Ad-Shulton Holiday Gift Sets

coty gift set ad

2 page 1950 Vintage Ad-Coty Holiday Gift Sets

See what I mean?  But good luck trying to find any of these original sets,especially  intact and in great condition! So I did a little research to see if I could find any modern gift sets that evoke that same warm and fuzzy nostalgic feeling. And here’s what I came up with.   Beautifully packaged in all their vintage girly girl glory!

vintage inspired gift sets

Vintage inspired gift sets

1. Penhalgion Bath and Body  gift sets at Lucky Scents-$60.00

2. Perfect Lil Pinup Pamper Yourself gift set from HH Essentials-$69.00

3. MOR  Cosmetics Pretty in Pink Gift Set at Ron Robinson-$44.00

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Creepy Vintage Halloween Costumes

Since this is the week leading up to my favorite holiday, I decided to root  around on the internet and dig up something to show you with a vintage Halloween theme.  And the more horrific and disturbing, the better!

So today I’d like to share some vintage  photos I found on Trendhunter that feature home made  Halloween costumes from the past. Back in the day they really knew how to put together some creeptastically fabulous looking getups.    Bad dreams are made of these.  See for yourself.

Not sure who they’re trying to represent, but I’ll be happy to throw out some of the first things that come to my mind. Feel free to offer your own suggestions. The sillier, the better.

old halloween costume

1.Username HunkoBurninLove on his Match.com profile

vintage halloween costumes

2.Next seasons contestants on the Bachelor

3.Gangsta clown and his two Indian homeboys

creepy vintage halloween costumes

4.Dressed as their favorite Jerry Springer Show," Little Cousins, Big Problems and a Tranny"

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Charm Magazine April 1947-Continued

In my previous post about Charm,  I mentioned it was a magazine that catered to working girls and it was the first of its kind.   Three very talented women, Estelle Rubenstein, as promotion director, Helen Valentine, editor,  and Cipe Pinelles, art director, launched Charm Magazine because they realized there was no other publication at that time that spoke to the increasing numbers of women entering the workforce.

According to this article covering  Estelle Rubenstein’s career in publishing, she was quite the marketing genius.  Her worked has actually been archived by the Smithsonian Institute’s Center for Advertising History.

Below are more ads from the April 47 issue of Charm for merchandise in a style and price range that would appeal to this growing demographic.

This ad for “Pirate Earrings” by Coro states they are “lovely loot for your ears.” They’re all priced from 2.00-3.00 a pair.

"Pirate Earrings" by Coro

"Pirate Earrings" by Coro

Here’s an ad for some rhinestone studded gun jewelry. Perfect accessory for the pistol packing “Girl Friday”.

The chatelaine was $5.00. Matching earrings $2.00.

"Gun Play" costume jewelry by Dor-Ard

"Gun Play" costume jewelry by Dor-Ard

After a long, stressful week at the office fending off advances from the boss, while being paid about half of what a man earned,  a working girl could relax on the weekend in one of these adorable playsuits with matching overskirt for only $12.00.

Striped playsuit with front button skirt by Lampl

Striped playsuit with front button skirt by Lampl

And last, but not least, the shoes.

These fabulous spectators were available in white suede with either brown, red, green or blue calfskin.  I would have to have a pair in every color!

"Frenchies" spectator pumps.

"Frenchies" spectator pumps.

This ad for “American Girl” shoes states of their customer, “she has a job, a home and community life”

"American Girl" shoes-1947

"American Girl" shoes-1947

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Charm Magazine-April 1947-Novelty Prints

In the 40s and 50s Charm was a fashion and beauty magazine geared to the career girl.   It was eventually bought out by Glamour in 1959.

And since it’s April and I just discovered I have an issue from April 1947, I thought I’d share some of the content so you can see the styles that were popular that year.

Novelty print dresses were very big back then and there is nothing I’ve seen today that can compare to vintage novelty prints of the 40′s, or 50′s for that matter! The ad below describes the fabric of this Patullo pink and black chariot print dress as “soft as a mood set to music”. And check out the killer matching gauntlet style gloves.

Patullo pink and black chariot print dress

Patullo pink and black chariot print dress

Up next is a fab voodoo mask print dress. Note the padded shoulders and the bustle back , popular design elements of late 40′s dresses.    By Sally Forth designs. Don’t you just love that name?

Voodoo mask print dress with bustle back by Sally Forth

Voodoo mask print dress with bustle back by Sally Forth

New Orleans Mardi Gras inspired prints by Twentieth Century Frocks, another cool name!  The outfit at the top of the page is a suit with a New Orleans street scene print. Below that is an adorable set consisting of pirate’s knickers and midriff top in a carnival  print.

New Orleans inspired outfits from Twentieth Century Frocks

New Orleans inspired outfits from Twentieth Century Frocks

Stay tuned for my next post which will feature playwear, costume jewelry and shoes, all from the April 47 issue of Charm.

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Very Vintage Christmas Contest Winner

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Candice DeVille’s   “Very Vintage Christmas Contest” over at the Super Kawaii Mama blog.  One of the prizes was a $100.00 gift certificate to my site.   There were tons of creative entries from many talented readers. But the winner, by popular vote, is an absolutely adorable video by Violet LeBeaux.    Contratulations Violet!  Hope you find yourself a very lovely vintage Christmas outfit for celebrating with your friends and family this holiday season.

Violet’s Perfect Vintage Christmas from Violet LeBeaux on Vimeo.

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Another Disturbing Doll to Haunt my Dreams

Recently I posted a photo of a down and out distressed wreck of a doll for sale at an antique store I happened into on my travels.  BTW, are you as creeped out by dolls as I am?  Because  according to this article on phobias, it’s somewhat common. So apparently I’m not as crazy as  I thought!

Anyway, I was just starting to get over the nightmares caused by that last one, when I went and checked the latest Way Out  Wednesday post on  The Girl Can’t Help it Blog.   It appears that Kim is featuring one of the most disturbing  dolls I’ve ever seen. So disturbing, in fact,  I imagine it may have been directly responsible for the demise of the  one I had the misfortune of discovering a few days ago.

So  feast your eyes on Little Miss No Name,  whose eyes are particulary unnerving.  IMO she looks like an alien  from the  Planet of the Brain Sucking  Zomboids, disguised as a sad  starving street urchin.

I imagine the pathetic little getup is just a ruse to inspire sympathy from unsuspecting victims who will  then  invite her into their homes for a much needed home cooked meal.   Of course,  she’ll devour their brain instead, or if she’s feeling especially generous  she’ll just plant a mind control chip  in their head, leaving them helpless except to do her evil bidding!

But, seriously, what kind of child back in the 60s was supposed to like playing with a weird looking doll like this?  It was probably inspired by those depressing Keane paintings with the big eyed, sad little kids in them.

Little Miss No Name, the doll that nightmares are made of

Little Miss No Name, the doll that nightmares are made of

Hope Kim doesn’t mind me posting her photo.   I was just so freaked out by this badly dressed, freakish little hobo horror that I had to share.    BTW,  I highly recommend a visit to her vintage blog for a riotous ride down memory lane.   Her posts are hilarious, and to paraphrase, she’s easily amused, easily annoyed, doesn’t mean to offend, but probably will.

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Road Trip

It’s that time of year again! I’m on the road, working my way up the east coast, heading for New England in search of groovy and glamorous vintage clothing for my business. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it! Really, how can you not love a job that involves shopping for a living? Plus, the two great girls I have working for me are taking care of business while I’m off tracking down new stuff. So no worries about getting orders out while I’m away. Sweet!

Of course, all the driving I’m doing can be quite exhausting. So it’s imperative I take a break occasionally to poke around in the little out of the way antique shops I find along the way. I don’t always find vintage clothes, but I always find something, even if it’s just the entertainment I get from just looking at all the old, weird and wonderful things I come across.

Take today for instance. I totally struck out in the vintage clothing department. Found a whole booth full of vintage dresses, but unfortuately none were in the kind of condition I prefer to offer on my website. Boo Hoo! It always makes me so sad to see beautiful vintage clothing all distressed, especially when it has high price tags on it!

But I was able to buy myself about ten vintage fashion magazines from the 40s, 50s and 60s for between 3.00 and 6.00 a piece. That kind of cheered me up a bit.

Anyway I took some pictures of some things that caught my eye while I was poking around.

The excrutiatingly adorable vintage wall clock with cherries on it and cute cannister set would be in my car right now if I didn’t already have a perfectly nice vintage clock and kitchen cannister set already. It did make me think about getting rid of the others just to have these. If I could only afford a second home!

Cheery cherry clock

Cheery cherry clock

Vintage kitchen cannister set

Vintage kitchen cannister set

Here are a pair of 1960′s Andrew Geller black patent leather stilletos I had the misfortune of discovering. Misfortune, because no matter how hard I tried I could not squash my feet into them. Note to self. When you get home talk to podiatrist about severing a few toes to accomodate fabulous, but narrow, vintage high heels. (just kidding) But aren’t these amazing with the red dots on them?

60s Andrew Geller black patent leather stilleto heels

60s Andrew Geller black patent leather stilleto heels

This next display brought back some lovely childhood memories. Back in the 60s my mom always kept a bowl of plastic fruit on the table. It was popular back then for people to display plastic fruit for some strange reason.

I remember them so clearly, even though I was very young, because my Mom used them as a disciplinary tool. That’ s right. I was a victim of child fruit abuse. My mom used to wing them at me and my sisters when we pissed her off. Instead of spanking us, she would throw the plastic fruit at us. She missed most of the time, since we always ran away. It’s tough to hit a moving target you know. And we always laughed at her when she was doing it. So apparently this method of behavior modification failed miserably.

But seeing this bowl of fruit today brought back those memories of flying plastic pineapples, plums and peaches and actually made me smile! I sure miss my Mom and I’d give anything to have her here chucking fruit at me again!

Plastic fruit display in vintage bowl

Plastic fruit display in vintage bowl

Of course it was only a matter of time before I came across some creepy and weird things to kill my happy nostalgia buzz. First of all, I don’t like dolls , clowns or trolls. There are too many movies about dolls that come alive and wreak havoc and kill people and stuff, like that one in the Trilogy of Terror series in 1975, never mind the Chucky movies. They’re always just sitting there staring blankly into space. But they don’t fool me. Same with the clowns. They’re up to no good, I tell ya. And trolls are just plain ugly.

These are things nightmares are made of. I’m going to have trouble sleeping tonight because I can’t get these images out of my mind. I mean look at her. And is that the freakish child she spawned that’s sitting next to her? The condition she’s in, she’s bound to have revenge in mind.

This doll has nothing to lose.

This doll has nothing to lose.

Let me guess, a clown mated with a wishnik and now we have this hideous hybrid of the doll world.

A troll/clown hybrid. It can't get worse than this.

A troll/clown hybrid. It can't get worse than this.

And last but not least. I did a double take when I spotted this. Ok, I know it’s a shoemaker. But at first glance, you have to ask yourself, what the heck has he got going on there? Like, “hey, maybe that extra dose of Viagra wasn’t such a good idea after all!” Ok, maybe it’s me.

Old man getting ready to wack away!

Old man getting ready to wack away!

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Upcoming Bonhams Entertainment Memorabilia Auction

On June 14th Bonhams and Butterfields is holding an Entertainment Memorabilia Auction at 7601 W. Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles.   Their online catalog is  fascinating, full of  autographed photos of Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne, Marlon Brando, Clark Gable and many other famous Hollywood stars, costumes from several movies and various other celebrity collectibles, like the handbag carried by Estelle Getty in the Golden Girls television series.

Their rock and roll memorabilia includes an impressive collection of  concert posters, including  Grateful Dead posters by Rick Griffin,  one of Chris Isaack’s guitars and the costumes worn in the Sargeant Pepper movie.

Below is just a small sampling of some of  the entertainment collectibles that will be up for bid.

Gown worn by Ethel Merman in "There's No Business Like Show Business"

1950s Gown worn by Ethel Merman in "There's No Business Like Show Business"

Autographed picture of Rita Hayworth

Autographed picture of Rita Hayworth

40s vintage dress worn by Veronica Lake in publicity stills

40s vintage dress worn by Veronica Lake in publicity stills

1950s vintage gown worn by Christine Aguilera

1950s vintage gown worn by Christine Aguilera

70s artwork for the Tramps "Disco Inferno" album cover

70s artwork for the Tramps "Disco Inferno" album cover

Costumes worn by members of the Jackson Five

1970s Costumes worn by members of the Jackson Five

For those not present day of the auction, there is phone and internet bidding available.   And even if you have no intention of trying to win anything, you should definitely check out their catalog. It’s a highly entertaining little trip down memory lane!

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Housewives that are living la vida retro

Ran across this interesting article about three ladies in England who have chosen to completely immerse themselves in the  lifestyle of their favorite eras.

I love the name the author gives them, “Time Warp Wives”. Reminds me of the title of a B science fiction movie.

Here’s an excerpt.

“The credit crunch, a knife crime epidemic – no wonder so many of us are sick of the 21st century. Most of us just grumble, but some women have taken radical action to escape what they see as the soulless grind of modern life. Meet the ‘Time Warp Wives’, who believe that life, especially marriage, was far more straightforward in the Thirties, Forties and Fifties.”

You can read the rest here.

Joanne loves being a 1950s housewife. Love her kitchen!

Joanne feels like she's living in a 50s tv show. Love that kitchen!!

I admire how these women have decorated their homes and  the fact that they always wear vintage clothing.  They never go out without being fully made up and properly accessorized.  It’s  strange that people sometimes laugh at them when they’re out and about.  Obviously I’m biased, but I’d much rather see someone impeccably attired in period fashion, then in the type of  hideously unflattering, trashy or slovenly clothing I observe people wearing on a daily basis.  At least it takes creativity and imagination for these ladies to put their outfits together.  Something that is severely lacking in the wardrobes of the general public today.

Debbie loves the 40s and tries to make her home perfect for her husband.

Debbie loves the 40s and tries to make her home perfect for her husband.

These not so desperate housewives enjoy living in complete domestic bliss, creating a lovely home environment for their breadwinner husbands.  Now the whole retro decor thing and dressing in period fashion is right up my alley.    But as a woman who grew up in the liberating 60s, I’ve never even once entertained the thought of being a traditional housewife.   All around me women were fighting for equal rights, burning their bras and starting careers.  I grew up believing women had to go out into the workplace and prove themselves, that the skills required of a housewife, and mother would never garner the respect that you’d get from some corporate position.   Of course, many years and careers later, myself and many of my female friends now realize you can be unappreciated, unfulfilled and disrespected in just about any job and that managing a household and children, and doing it well, is an amazing accomplishment.  It is nice to know, though, that women now have more options than they did back then.

But  if these ladies have chosen to live the role of a traditional housewife of the past as a way to cope with the present, then who am I to judge?  At least their form of escapism doesn’t involve drugs, alcohol or other destructive behaviors that many people engage in to deal with the stresses of modern day life.

Diane's love affair with the 30's started with the big band music she listened to as a teenager.

Diane's love affair with the 30's started with the big band music she listened to as a teenager.

What do you think? If given the opportunity, would you like to live like these retro housewives? And, if so, what would be your favorite era to relive?

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Woman’s Day Magazine-1961

Just got through reading a May 1961 issue of Woman's Day.  I really enjoy collecting vintage magazines. Love all the fashion and food spreads, advertising and entertaining stories.

Here are some of the highlights. 

*Article entitled  "What Men Wish Women Wouldn't Do."  The list-    "Stop asking for emotional reassurance, don't ask too many questions, don't try and make them over and don't be a phoney-feminine."  In case you're wondering, a phoney-feminine back in 1961 was a woman "who has all the faults usually attributed to women. A man can't wait to get away from the woman who worries about small points of prestige, who recites the mean little advantages she has won, who promises what she will not give, who welshes on an honest bargain, who tears other women to shreds behind their backs and reports to one man her conquests over other men." 

These are traits usually attributed just to women? HMMMM.

* Permissive parenting was rampant and was creating a whole generation of children with shaky morals. There was a decline in simple good manners, a tolerance for smoking and drinking at much younger ages, classroom cheating,  a rise in juvenile crime, venereal disease and poor performance in the Armed services.  Yikes.  Sound familiar?

*Men snore more and louder than women, sometimes reaching 69 decibels, the equivalent of a hungry lion's roar at close quarters."  And according to a Dr. A.H. Douthwaite, "if your husband snores, it shows he's really fond of you. The nocturnal noises, whistling, wheezing and snorts are actually deep rooted signs he loves you and want to protect you."  Remember that, girls, next time you threaten to banish your man to the sofa!

Of course, there were all kinds of recipes for the busy moms involving casseroles, jello and Campbell's soup. Not combined in the same dish, though a recipe like that wouldn't surprise me.  They did mix together some very strange food combinations back then.

Here's the cover. Notice the bride.  A little bit Jackie, a little bit Audrey. Both huge fashion influences at that time.

Woman's day 61 cover

Simplicity patterns for whipping up some cute summer outfits.

Woman's day 61

How to whip up hair styles to go with the summer outfits.

Woman's day 61 hair

Get yourself the latest in hi-tech gadgets, the  princess style phone.

Woman's day 1961 2

Budget decorating in mid-century style.

Woman's day 61 room

A car for the little woman.

Woman's day 61 corvair

I wish I could have this stove and a turquoise kitchen.  Also love the green cocktail dress on the woman floating in the background. I envision myself wearing it out to a swanky cocktail party, accompanied by a guy who looks like Don Draper from Mad Men. I can dream can't I?

Woman's day 61 stove

And here's what I would make in my turqoise kitchen on my Tappan "Fabulous 400"

Woman's day 61 food

Let's not forget the workhorse of the 1960's kitchen, the electric fry pan. My mother had one and wasn't afraid to use it!

Woman's day 61 frypan

Well, that's all for now. I'm off to make a tuna casserole and a lime jello marshmellow cottage cheese surprise.

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