1920s Lawn Party and All that Jazz-Crane Estate, Ipswich Mass

This past Sunday I made my way up to the Crane Estate on Castle Hill in Ispwich, Mass to attend a 1920s Lawn Party put on by Boston Swing Central.  First let me say, this was, without a doubt, one of the most fun events I’ve ever attended. And I attend a lot of vintage themed events!

The venue was spectacular, being as it was held on the grounds of this historic seaside estate.  It was last owned by Richard Crane, Jr.,  whose father pretty much came up with the idea of indoor bathrooms with plumbing. And we all know how well that idea has gone over! So it’s no wonder they could afford such a grand piece of property for a summer home.  It was donated by the Crane family to the Trustees of Reservations, who maintains it till this day.

Crane Estate, Ipswich Mass.

Crane Estate at Castle Hill, Ipswich Mass.

Looking with your back to the building you see a rolling green promenade lined by statues. It ends at the ocean.

Crane Estate Grand Allee, promenade

Crane Estate Grand Allee.

So imagine this, the  fabulous Baby Soda jazz band playing, an outside dance floor, free Charleston lessons, some of the best vintage clothing vendors in New England, antique cars, picnicing, gorgeous, sunny weather, breathtaking views and lots of people in 1920s finery.   What’s not to like?

These lovely ladies were kind enough to pose for me in their 20s inspired attire.
Photo taken in what was once the “bachelors” quarters. A building separate from the main estate
that housed the single male guests. I guess back then, they thought keeping the  boys and girls separated
would prevent scandalous activity. Right, I’m sure that worked out for them!

Lovely ladies at the 20s lawn party

Lovely ladies at the 20s lawn party

These two couples looked so elegant in their 20s style summer fashions. They really did a great job of capturing
the Gatsby Era look.

Elegant couples in their 20s style fashions

Elegant couples in their 20s style fashions

And these two dapper gentlemen really had the whole Roaring Twenties Lawn Party thing going on in a big way!
They’ve got the martini glasses set out, vintage tablecloths and wooden folding lawn  chairs.
Seriously inspired me to have a picnic like this one of these days!

1920s dapper dudes

1920s dapper dudes

I wanted some of that pie!

1920s lawn party goodies

1920s lawn party goodies

And here are photos my DH took of me in my 1920s inspired outfit.
A Nataya dress worn with flower festooned straw cloche hat, pearl strands and bracelet, long gold chain and pearl necklace, and vintage gold metallic ankle strap shoes.

My 1920s lawn party outfit

My 1920s lawn party outfit

I am definitely planning on a trip back just to tour the inside of this spectacular estate and walk the grounds. They apparently have miles of trails you can hike. And I’m so hoping they repeat this party next summer. I’m already planning my outfit :-)

Have you ever been to a 1920s themed event?




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On Her Birthday-Remembering the Classy Style of Natalie Wood

Natalie Wood was born July 20,  1938 and starred in over 50 films before her mysterious and untimely death by drowning at the age of 43.  She had her first major movie role at 7 years old opposite Orson Welles in Tomorrow is Forever. Just a year later she played Maureen O’Hara’s curious daughter in the Christmas film classic Miracle on 34th Street. I remember watching that movie as a young girl and thinking how lucky her character was to meet the real Santa!

Natalie Wood in the 1947 classic Miracle on 34th Street.

Natalie Wood in the 1947 classic Miracle on 34th Street.

She went on to star in many other film classics including Rebel Without a Cause, Splendor in the Grass, West Side Story and Sex and the Single Girl. She was nominated for three Academy Awards between 1956 – 1964.

Famous Hollywood costume designer, Edith Head, created the fashions  for several of her movies. Natalie’s style was classic and chic.  She was extremely sexy, but it wasn’t that “in your face” kind of sexy you see so often today. Many of our current celebrities  could  certainly benefit from a wardrobe makeover inspired by her look!

Below are some photos that showcase her alluring, classy style.

And , let me just say, this lady could really rock a pencil dress!

Natalie Wood in 1955.

Natalie Wood  1955.

Natalie Wood, dress, Sex and the Single Girl

Natalie Wood in dress from  Sex the Single Girl

natalie wood

I really love this 60s cocktail dress with the one shoulder chiffon overlay and beaded hem. A stunning
Grecian goddess look.!

Natalie Wood, publicity shot for Penelope

Natalie Wood, publicity shot for Penelope

This is a fun video with Edith Head featuring the chic  60s fashions Natalie wore in Penelope.

Do you have a favorite Natalie Wood movie?

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Happy Birthday to Barbara Stanwyck and Ginger Rogers!

Today I’d like to feature the fabulous style of two of Hollywood’s most famous , and glamorous, actresses.  Both born on this day, July 16th,  Barbara Stanwyck   in 1907 and Ginger Rogers four years later in 1911.

Barbara starred in over 80 films throughout her career – in addition to her television roles on The Big Valley and The Colbys.  In 1944 she was the highest paid woman in the United States.  She was an amazingly versatile actress. But when I think of Barbara Stanwyck, I can’t help think femme fatale,  as she excelled in film noir roles, one of my favorites being Double Indemnity.

Femme Fatale Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity

Femme Fatale Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity (1944)

And I highly recommend watching Lady of Burlesque, especially for the sensational costumes.

Barbara Stanwyck Lady of Burlesque 1943

Barbara Styanwyck in Lady of Burlesque (1943)

Not only was she known  for her outstanding skills on screen, but also her kind manner offscreen. After working with her  in the 1952 film Clash by Night, Marilyn Monroe said she was the only one in Hollywood’s older generation who had been nice to her.

 Barbara Stanwyck, in a dark green suit by Edith Head for the 1940 film 'Remember the Night'.

Barbara Stanwyck, in a dark green suit by Edith Head for the 1940 film Remember the Night.

She often worked with designer Edith Head in her professional and personal life, who understood and designed for her long waisted figure using waist embellishments and focusing on the bustline.

Another Edith Head creation for Stanwyck in 'The Great Man's Lady 1942.

Another Edith Head creation for Stanwyck in The Great Man’s Lady (1942).

She took home an Emmy for her work in television but is often called ‘ the best actress who never won an Oscar’.

Our other birthday girl , Ginger Rogers ,  was asked by a reporter who should win an Academy Award in 1942 – and she named Barbara as her frontrunner. Ginger Rogers,  herself,  was no stranger to the Academy Awards.  She took home an Oscar in 1941 for her role in Kitty Foyle.

Ginger Rogers and her Academy Award for Best Actress in 1941.for Kitty Foyle

Ginger Rogers and her Academy Award for Best Actress in 1941. Photo: © Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences/Cliff Wesselman

Her character in the film also created a big fashion trend in the 1940s  , the Kitty Foyle dress. The dress was a shirtwaist style with short or elbow-length sleeves ,  made in dark fabric with a contrasting light collar, typically black or navy with white.

The original Kitty Foyle dress.

The original Kitty Foyle dress.worn by Ginger Rogers

And when it comes to spectacular evening gowns how can you not think of Ginger Rogers? In the 1930s Ginger Rogers wore some of the most beautiful evening dresses in her dance scenes with Fred Astaire. Bernard Newman designed many costumes for Rogers, including her infamous ostrich-feather dress in Top Hat.   She collaborated with Newman on the gown and Fred Astaire hated it because the feathers shed all over the place when dancing their “Cheek to Cheek” number . But after she walked out on the set, they finally allowed her to wear it, but only after a seamstress did a better job of anchoring the feathers to the gown.  It now resides in the Smithsonian.

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dancing to Cheek to Cheek in Top Hat

Fred Astaire dances with Ginger Rogers in her ostrich feather gown in Top Hat (1935)

Below is one of my favorites – a white art deco inspired gown designed by Newman for the 1936 film Swing Time.

Ginger Rogers in Swing Time . (1936)

Ginger Rogers in Swing Time . (1936)

Check out this gown from our Blue Velvet Vintage store  that reminds me a lot of Ginger’s look in Swing Time .

Click on image for more info.

30s style ivory sating deco evening gown

1930s Style ivory satin Swingtime gown

Happy Birthday to two of Hollywood’s most talented and fashionable style icons!

Do you have a favorite Ginger Rogers or Barbara Stanwyck film?


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The Special Figure Flattering Ingredient in Vintage Swimwear

The days of wearing a bikini are long gone for me.  So if I’m going to wear a one piece swimsuit I opt for an authentic one from the 40s or 50s.  Even though   there are some really cute vintage style bathing suits out there now, I still prefer an authentic vintage suit if I can find one in my size that’s still in great condition. And the reason for this is LASTEX! No modern  stretch fabric enhances the figure and holds you in like Lastex. Originally invented by Dunlop chemists (yes, the same people that made tires).  They developed an ingenious way to take thin strands of rubber and spiral wrap them with threads, which could then be used to create foundation garments, swimwear and  a host of other products.   This revolutionized the undergarment and swimwear industry, as women no longer had to depend on lots of uncomfortable boning and lacing to contour their figure. If you’ve never tried a vintage swimsuit made with Lastex, I suggest you give one a go.  Your new shapely body will thank you for it!

Lastex swimwear ad from 1947 shows Catalina and Jantzen suits on the women and Ganter trunks on the man. And Lastex was used in many other products as well.
“Lastex…The miracle yarn that makes things fit.”
Swimsuits and trunks, for women, men and children, woven, knitted, shirred, play clothes, active and spectator sports dresses, riding togs, lingerie
slips, foundations, hosiery, shoes, gloves, hats and bags.”

Lastex Swimwear ad 1947

Lastex Swimwear ad 1947


And this Lastex swimwear  ad is from 1951.  The styles are so cute!

Lastex swimwear 1952

Lastex swimwear 1951

And here is an authentic vintage swimsuit  that we had that went to a good home! Beautiful raspberry red Lastex blend with glittery rhinestones.

Masterpiece by Catalina 50s swimsuit with lastex

Masterpiece by Catalina 50s swimsuit with Lastex

Have you ever worn a vintage Lastex swimsuit?  What did you think?

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Capture the Allure of Polynesia in Vintage Style Hawaiian Print Dresses


dorothy lamour

Dorothy Lamour “The Sarong Girl”

Summer is the time for outdoor events, and if you’ve got a cocktail party, dance, luau or informal wedding to attend, one of these alluring vintage style Hawaiian print dresses below  is sure to make you stand out from the crowd!  I just adore anything vintage Hawaiian and I love to watch classic films based in tropical locations, like  Blue Hawaii, Song of the Islands and South Pacific.  There’s something especially romantic about tropical islands. And  when I  see a pretty Hawaiian dress,  it conjures images for me of  exotic island locales with crystal blue water, palm trees swaying in the balmy breezes and steel drums playing in the background as I while away the hours sipping fruity rum spiked cocktails!

That is why I was so excited to get these fabulous new dress styles in my store.  By  Trashy Diva, who are  known for their fabulous prints,  these three vintage style dresses are done in one of the loveliest vintage inspired Hawaiian prints I’ve seen.  And the fabric is sumptuous silky rayon , much like the authentic from back in the 40s and 50s.  Any of these stunners would be the perfect summer party dress if you want to  impress!  Just add  hair flowers,  high heeled platform sandals and a cute vintage straw purse.

Click on images for more information.

50s style Trixie halter dress

50s style Trixie halter dress

50s style vintage tropical print sarong dress

50s style vintage tropical print sarong dress

1950s style hawaiian print swing dres

1950s style hawaiian print swing dress


Do you have a favorite classic movie that is filmed  in a beautiful tropical location?


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Fourth of July Retro Party Inspiration


Mae West in "Belle of the Nineties" in 1934

Mae West in “Belle of the Nineties” in 1934

Independence Day is just around the corner so we have some inspiration for your Fourth of July BBQ or picnic!

Table Setting c. 1950s

July 4th Party Table Setting c. 1950s

Look at all those yummy choices! From mystery casseroles,  salads  and classic corn on the cob served on fab mid century platters and bowls. And of course, no retro picnic or BBQ would be complete without  a jello mold!
All looking quite mouth watering  presented so nicely on the classic red and white checkered tablecloth.

And ladies, don’t forget your white gloves and matching bags!

And remember to bring a dip!  This next one would surely be a hit at any bbq. . .cream cheese, A 1 and minced clams.

Ummmm, maybe not. But I love the hat!

A1 Recipe 1958

A1 Recipe 1958

Now that you’ve got some ideas for your menu – on to your attire:

When dressing for  your 4th of July barbeque or picnic, you should certainly go all out.

But  maybe not this “all out!”

Pin-up Model Jeanne Carmen c.1950s

Here’s Pin-up Model Jeanne Carmen grillin’ with “the girls”  c.1950s

I mean all out cute and classy!   Here are some options to  look your pretty, patriotic best  at your Independence Day celebration!

From left to right:


1. 1940s shirtdress  2. Vintage patriotic pin 3. Gingham halter dress3. Romper  4. Nautical bag   5. Navy heels

And you certainly can’t go wrong with classic navy and white polka dots with red accents!

1950s inspired dress, Classic Dame brand at Blue Velvet Vintage

50s style navy blue and white polka dot halter dress-Classic Dame brand at Blue Velvet Vintage

50s style navy blue and white polka dot halter dress-Classic Dame brand at Blue Velvet Vintage

Got any good party ideas for 4th of July?  Feel free to share!





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Fabulous Find-Unique 1950s White Shaheen Sarong Dress

Collectors of vintage Hawaiiana and/or 1950s  clothing  are familiar with the master screenprinter and designer, Alfred Shaheen.  His earlier tropical fashions are coveted worldwide for their beautiful prints, distinctive design details and stylish silhouettes.  Recently I was fortunate to acquire this unique 50s white sarong dress by Shaheen  with a very cool contrasting border print.   From the fabulous bodice with his signature diagonal flap, halter strap and sexy wrap skirt with polynesian print hem,  I can certainly envision this dress worn for a casual beach wedding or even for a Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly wedding.   Just add fresh gardenias or white orchids to complete  the “tropical temptress” bridal look!


1950s Alfred Shaheen sarong dress

1950s Alfred Shaheen sarong dress

Shaheen polynesian print hem

Shaheen polynesian border print hem

Alfred shaheen dress bodice

Alfred shaheen dress bodice

White border print 1950s Alfred Shaheen dress

Alfred Shaheen dress-back view

If some lucky lady gets married in this beauty, I hope she sends me photos!

Have a glamorous day ;-)






Theresa Campbell

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Elizabeth Taylor’s First Wedding Dress up for Auction!

Now’s your chance to get your hands on one of history’s most famous wedding dresses, providing you’ve got plenty of moola, of course!  On June 26th  Elizabeth Taylor’s first wedding dress will be up for bid at Christie’s Pop Culture Auction.  Ms Taylor was  just 18 years old in 1950  when she wore the oyster silk satin wedding gown to marry her first husband,  Conrad Hilton . The beaded gown has a 15 yard satin train and supposedly took 15 people working full-time for three months to complete. It was designed by famous MGM costume designer Helen Rose – who was also also responsible for Grace Kelly’s iconic wedding gown.  Liz’s dress  is estimated to bring at least  $75,000+ at the auction!


The fine silk beaded gown will go up for auction on June 26.

Elizabeth Taylor’s first wedding gown up for auction at Christies, June 26th.

Elizabeth Taylor at her wedding to Conrad Hilton in 1950.

Elizabeth Taylor at her wedding to Conrad Hilton in 1950.

And if the Taylor gown is a bit out of your reach, you can always try for the….

Dolce and Gabbana shoes worn by Madonna for a Herb Ritt photo shoot for her Girl Tour in 1993 are estimated to fetch from 4600-7800 usd.

Madonna's shoes up for auction at Christies

Madonna’s shoes up for auction at Christies

Or Audrey Hepburn’s Hermes Bag, circa 1964. Estimated to fetch a mere $3,128 – $4,692!

Audrey Hepburn's Hermes bag, 1964

Audrey Hepburn’s Hermes bag, 1964

This Pop Culture, Rock and Roll and Film auction also includes lots of memorabilia from the Rolling Stones, Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Andy Warhol,  Led Zepplin, Elvis Presley,  Walt Disney, James Bond movies and much, much more. Definitely will be an exciting auction to watch!

Christie’s also has an online auction up ending today,  June 24,  for Couture Handbags and accessories – including some beautiful vintage pieces. Here’s a couple of my favorites that are on the block:

1. Chanel Spy Glass Necklace, c. 1970s 2. Chanel Black Satin and Leather Round Tassel Bag, c. 1986 3. Hermés Sable Lizard Kelly Bad, c. 1960s

1. Chanel Spy Glass Necklace, c. 1970s 2. Chanel Black Satin and Leather Round Tassel Bag, c. 1986 3. Hermés Sable Lizard Kelly Bad, c. 1960s


Which one would you bid on if you could?





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Happy Birthday to to Jane Russell and Judy Holliday!

Jane Russell (June 21, 1921 - February 28 2011)

Jane Russell (June 21, 1921 – February 28, 2011)

One of the leading sex symbols of the 1950s, Jane Russell, was born on this day, June 21 in 1921.  The voluptuous vixen was handpicked by Howard Hughes to star in the film The Outlaw.  It  took several years for the film to release nationwide because movie censors were determined to prevent the public from seeing her in a controversial cleavage revealing scene.  Howard Hughes actually designed a special ‘bra’ (made with steel rods – ouch!)for Russell to wear in the film because he felt the camera didn’t do her curves justice. Russell said the contraption was too uncomfortable and she actually wore her own bras stuffed with tissues in the film – never telling Hughes.

Russell and Monroe in Travilla gowns for 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes'.

Russell and Monroe in Travilla gowns for ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’.

‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ came out in 1953 starring Marilyn Monroe alongside Russell. William Travilla, one of Marilyn’s favorite designers, who also designed Marilyn’s  famous pleated white cocktail dress from the subway grate shot,  worked on the costumes for the film also emphasizing Russell’s ‘best assets’. There are even twin peaks in Alaska that are named after her famous bustline!

Jane Russell in a plunging black evening gown.

Jane Russell in a plunging black hostess gown.

Today is also funny lady Judy Holliday’s birthday! Born the same year as Jane Russell, Holliday starred in many Broadway musicals and plays before breaking into the movies. Her role in the film version of ‘Born Yesterday‘ won her an Oscar in 1950. “You have to be smart to play a dumb blonde over and over again and keep the audience’s attention without extraordinary physical equipment, “ she said, on often being cast as the ‘ditzy blonde’ character. Woody Allen has called her, along with Diane Keaton, the best female comedians of all time.

Judy Holliday

Judy Holliday

Judy Holliday (June 21, 1921 - June 7, 1965)

Judy Holliday in Born Yesterday-1950

Judy Holliday in The Solid Gold Cadillac

Judy Holliday in The Solid Gold Cadillac-1956

The famous Hollywood costume designer, Jean Louis, who was once married to Loretta Young, designed Judy’s wardrobe for both of these  movies. He won an Academy Award in 1956 for best costume design in a black and white film, for The Solid Gold Cadillac.


Happy Birthday to two of Hollywood’s finest!




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Style Tips-1920s Art Deco Wedding Fashions

Boardwalk Empire, Downton Abbey, The Artist and the Great Gatsby have exposed  a whole new generation to the sophistication and glamour of the 1920s. So  it’s no surprise more and more brides are jumping on the bandwagon and planning high style art deco weddings.  Because  Roaring Twenties fashions have such a romantic, feminine flair, with their floaty handkerchief hems,  dropped waistlines, long strands of pearls, beaded details,  and statement making hair accessories and hats,  they are perfect to plan a wedding around! The look is so chic, and a great alternative for the bride who prefers not to go the big, pouffy, princess gown route.   Below are some photos and style tips  to inspire brides who are considering a vintage themed wedding based on the era of the flapper girl, the charleston and jazz music!

1920s wedding photo

1920s wedding photo

20s bride and groom

20s bride and groom

20s bride and groom

1920s bride, groom and beautiful bouquet

Note the use of wide brimmed floppy hats. Cloches were also popular.  And if a women wore a veil, the headpiece was often like a cap that covered the head and was embellished with flowers or beading.

Like this lovely one below available from Etsy seller, The Yellow Peony.

20s style bridal headpiece

1920s style bridal headpiece from the Yellow Peony

 For the proper bridal shoes to go with your 20s style wedding dress, Mary Janes or T Straps.

On left  ivory leather and suede Mary Janes by Rachel Simpson UK. Right  shimmery silver sequined T straps sold at Blue Velvet Vintage.

1920s style bridal shoes

1920s style bridal shoes

And if you want a 1920s look inspired by Carey Mulligan’s Daisy Buchanan character in the Great Gatsby,  we sell  lovely lace  handkerchief  hem dresses perfect for the deco  loving bride!

Lace Gatsby dresses

Lace Gatsby dresses

Have a glamorous day!










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