Tag Archive | vintage fashion

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Is that really an Authentic “Vintage” dress you’re buying?

Lately I’ve been noticing a disturbing trend.  We have been getting more and more emails from gals who have been searching for  vintage dresses online and discovered an authentic vintage dress of ours that is no longer available ,  then emailing us to ask when we are going to restock it.  Of course this is impossible, since authentic vintage dresses are not replaceable.   This used to be an isolated incident.  Now it is a daily occurrence.  At first I couldn’t figure out why so many people would keep asking us this, even though our product descriptions clearly state whether it’s a  true vintage or vintage STYLE or Inspired piece.  Basically when we call something a  1950s dress it is an honest to goodness, vintage dress from back in that era!  And our new clothing is also clearly described as vintage inspired, retro,  vintage style50s style dress1920s reproduction dress, etc, etc……You get the picture!  We’ve been selling this product mix for years and have never had the amount of inquires like this until recently.

So I started doing some research to try and figure out why.  And it didn’t take very long!

Just do a search on Google, Bing, Yahoo or search any of the social/fashion bookmarking sites for any of the above phrases  and you’ll see gazillions of results, many of which will never take you to authentic vintage clothing of any kind . You know, the one of a  kind,  unique pieces that were actually made back in the day. This is causing a serious amount of confusion for consumers, as more and more women are making purchases and don’t even  know what they are buying!  And, believe me, it is happening a lot. We actually have had customers buy authentic vintage dresses from us who thought they were new!   Then they email us afterwards about how much they like the dress , but wish they could exchange it for another size because it didn’t fit!

Why is this a problem? Because real vintage clothing is a often a collectible commodity that is scarce and potentially increases or at least retains its value over time.  That is not necessarily the case with new vintage looking clothing.   Just like furniture, you can buy a real antique piece or a new reproduction that looks like the old style.   The original is  usually quite different from the modern  in terms of  rarity, construction techniques, textiles used and value.

So you can see what I mean, here are a couple of examples I found on a recent Google search for  50s dress and vintage dresses .  The  first one is described as a 50s dress, but in no way looks anything like one and it is new from a very well known department store.  The second is described as a “vintage dress. ”  Though very cute, it is  obvious from the very short skirt that it is not authentic.  Hmmmmm.  

50s dress?

50s dress?

faux 50s dress

Vintage dress?

And here is one of the main reasons why this is happening.  Because the “vintage look” has become more popular, many companies vying for top search engine results want to optimize their websites for popular search terms to drive customers to their sites.  I mean, heck,  that’s what everyone with an ecommerce site needs to do and there is nothing inherently wrong with that.  But if you’re driving traffic to your site based on misleading search terms that don’t accurately describe your products,  then that just makes the online shopping experience for the consumer more confusing!

And let’s face it, the bigger companies, with bigger  budgets, usually rise to the top of the search results.  Consumers, of course, trust the brand name companies and assume their products are being described accurately. But that’s not necessarily the case.  And the search engines, themselves, certainly can’t distinguish between which terms are being accurately used to describe products.  So this creates a problem when you’re trying to find the right product, in this case,  genuine vintage clothing.  I know I have ended up wading through pages and pages of results, that lead to nothing that was even remotely close to the authentic vintage item I was searching for.  It can get pretty frustrating.

So here are some helpful tips for those ladies who are searching for the real deal!

•If  it available in multiple sizes, then it is NOT an authentic vintage garment.

•If  the description states Made in China, it is NOT authentic vintage, though some would argue China made clothing from the 1990s is now vintage.  But that’s a whole other issue that I won’t get into right now.

•If  the garment has an invisible zipper, it most likely is NOT an authentic vintage piece, especially if you found it through a search for 50s dresses, or 40s dresses. They did not use invisible zippers back then.

•If the skirt is very short, it most likely isn’t a  true vintage dress, unless you’re looking for an authentic 60s minidress!

If searching for flapper dresses, be aware, authentic ones are extremely rare and not form fitting. So most of what you see online listed as a flapper dress or 20s dress is most likely a new “modernized” version of dresses from that era.

•And finally, if you’re looking for real, one of a kind,  vintage clothing, try searching using more specific terms  like authentic, true, one of a kind,  or genuine in front of the item you’re searching for.  You’ll probably have better luck that way, since online search for vintage clothing  these days has become a minefield of misinformation.  It is definitely buyer beware!

Has anyone else had a similar experience when trying to shop online recently for vintage clothes?  Do you even care how companies describe their clothing, as long as you like it?




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Now and Then- Metallic Fashion Trends

Heavy metal is a huge presence for this fall / winter – and no we’re not talking about another KISS reunion. Glimmery golds, shiny silvers and bold bronzes were all over the 2013 runway.  From glamorous gowns to loungy pantsuits – you can’t help but be beautifully blinded by this season’s take on the trend.


Balmain F/W 2014 Ready-To-Wear, Valentin Yudashkin 2014 F/W Ready-To-Wear, Gucci 2014 Resort, Antonio Marras Collections F/W 2014

Balmain F/W 2014 Ready-To-Wear, Valentin Yudashkin 2014 F/W Ready-To-Wear, Gucci 2014 Resort, Antonio Marras Collections F/W 2014

But the metallic look has seen its fair share of popularity throughout fashion history.  Always a popular choice for that all-eyes-on-you evening gown.

Check out the photos below to see some of my favorite glittery garb from the past.

Frances Langford in a silver gown. c. 1930s

Frances Langford in a silver gown. c. 1930s

Lamé was used for many of the evening gowns in the 1930′s, creating a shimmering Old Hollywood Glamour style.

Myrna Loy in a green and gold pleated metallic evening gown in 1938.

Myrna Loy in a green and gold pleated metallic evening gown in 1938.

This coat would be right on trend this season – metallic leather trench coats were seen on the runway for Prada, Burberry and Vivienne Westwood – to name just a few.


Ida Lupino in a metallic leather jacker. c. 1940s

Ida Lupino in a metallic leather jacker. c. 1940s

Model wearing a Balmain silver and black leopard gown in the 1950s.

Model wearing a Balmain silver and black leopard gown in the 1950s.

This one shoulder cocktail dress on Anne Francis is totally killer- ruched in all the right places, it looks like it would be a very flattering show-stopper!


1950s actress Anne Francis in a bombshell one shoulder dress.

1950s actress Anne Francis in a bombshell one shoulder metallic dress.

Suzy Parker in a drapey gold gown. c. 1950s

Suzy Parker in a glittery gold gown. c. 1950s

Metallics were even incorporated in the fleeting “paper dress” trend of the mid- sixties.  Designer Gene Neil used paper from a party decoration store to create this stunning silver party dress below.

Silver paper dress in Life Magazine November 25, 1966.

Silver paper dress in Life Magazine November 25, 1966.


So it just goes to show,  metallic fashions are classic, glamorous and stand the test of time.  Any of the above metallic dresses could certainly be worn today.   As a matter of fact, I tend to like the ones from past eras better than the new.  How about you?

Have a Glamorous Day!



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Dashing Design Duo -Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman

"Just show me the Silverman's, please." Vogue Feb 1967

“Just show me the Silverman’s, please.” Vogue Feb 1967

When businessman/lawyer Jerry Silverman teamed up with Hollywood costume designer Shannon Rodgers they struck gold.  Between Silverman’s business savvy skills and  Rodgers talent for designing , they  created  a very successful ready- to -wear line that was popular throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

Emerald green silk printed dress by Shannon Rodgers for Jerry Silverman. Vogue Feb 1967

Emerald green silk printed dress by Shannon Rodgers for Jerry Silverman. Vogue Feb 1967


Rodgers had previously designed costumes for movies, including Vogues of 1938, Marie Antoinette and the 1934 version of Cleopatra starring Claudette Colbert.  And according to the Vintage Fashion Guild label resource,  Rodgers joined Silverman at Martini, Inc,  a company known for their adaptations of Paris designs.   After working together there for 10 years, they then decided  to launch their own line.  The result was the Shannon Rodgers for Jerry Silverman label, a classy,  chic,  yet fairly affordable line, whose slogan said it all- “Just show me the Jerry Silverman’s, please.”

Below is a streamlined mod dress with tassel trimmed wrap.   1968.


1968 advertisement for Silverman, Inc.

1968 advertisement for Silverman, Inc.

Many of their dresses had sleek, simple  lines with accents that made them pop, whether it be big buttons or polka dots.  Rodgers used a combination of hand and machine sewing to create fashions  geared “to the lifestyle of the woman who travels around a good deal and leads an active social life.”

The dress in the advertisement below is one of my favorites.   I love the trim framing the bust and on the pockets, not to mention the cute little bow! And how about those shortie gloves and turban? Fab finishing touches!

Shannon Rodgers for Jerrys Silverman Vogue Nov 1965

Shannon Rodgers for Jerry Silverman Vogue Nov 1965

And we just happen to have one lovely black organza cocktail dress with this label available at Blue Velvet Vintage.

1960s Shannon Rodgers for Jerry Silverman black organza party dress

1960s Shannon Rodgers for Jerry Silverman black organza party dress

Rodgers was not only known for the clothes he made, but also for the clothes he collected.  He had very impressive and extensive collection of historical costumes that are now on display at Kent State University.  Rodgers and Silverman donated much of their time and money to KSU, hosting fashion shows, organizing fundraisers and developing new ideas.   And their donations funded The Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising.  The school opened at KSU in 1983 and is now recognized as one of the top fashion schools in the country. The Kent State University Museum houses the Rodgers/Silverman collection.

Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman

Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman

These two men made some beautiful clothes in their time – but more importantly they helped to create a place where fashion education and history can continue on!

Have a glamorous day!



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Designer Spotlight: Pauline Trigère


Pauline Trigere

Pauline Trigère told friends she wanted to be cremated wearing her trademark red lipstick. When they questioned her – “Why does it matter – who will know?” She replied “I’ll know.”


“Fashion is what people tell you to wear,” said Pauline Trigère. “Style is what comes from your own inner thing.” That’s one of my favorite quotes and comes from a woman who definitely had her own style!


1972 runway show by Trigère. Photo for Women's Wear Daily.

1972 runway show by Trigère. Photo for Women’s Wear Daily.


The French born Pauline Trigère moved to New York City at 25 years old and opened her own fashion house only five years later in 1942.   Abandoned by her husband, she was a single mom raising two small children when she started her design business. Perfect tailoring and precise construction – combined with fantastically innovative ideas – made her one of the industry’s greatest talents.  She brought French couture sewing techniques to American ready to wear fashions.


Model Dorian Leah wearing Trigere coat. 1950

Dorian Leigh in a Trigère harlequin check pattern tweed coat. Photo by Gjon Mili  in Life Magazine 1950.

Instead of sketching out her ideas, Trigère would start right at the dress form – freehand cut and drape the fabric until she had her desired look. Her famous clients included Claudette Colbert, Bette Davis,  Grace Kelley and Lena Horne. She also designed Patricia Neal’s sophisticated looks in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s” which earned praise, despite her co-star’s immensely popular  looks.

Love this plaid check dress from the 1950s, worn with a stunning hat!


Plaid Trigère dress in Vogue May 1957

Plaid  Trigère dress in Vogue May 1957

She is also credited with introducing her popular shift coat,  jumpsuits, wool and cotton evening wear, the first rhinestone bra top and detachable collars , which is actually one of this year’s big trends!

Trigère received her first COTY award in 1949 and went on to win two more in 1951 and 1959. Her vivacious and out-spoken personality also earned her a special place in the fashion history. In 1961, she was the first US designer to hire a black model to represent her line on Seventh Avenue .

Beverly Valdes, model for Trigere

Beverly Valdes, model for Trigere

This vintage Pauline Trigère dress on Sarah Jessica Parker  is so feminine and flirty! Truly great designs span the decades – looked great then, looks great now!


 Sarah Jessica Parker wore vintage Trigère to the Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum Launch Party in 2011.

Sarah Jessica Parker wore vintage Trigère to the Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum Launch Party in 2011.


We have a couple of lovely vintage Pauline Trigere dresses in the Blue Velvet Vintage shop  right now. The one on the right is a 1960s silk floral sheath dress  left is a 60s chic black and metallic gold cocktail dress.

Both beauties personify Ms. Trigere’s command of understated classic elegance and sophisticated,streamlined silhouettes.


1960s Pauline Trigere dresses

1960s Pauline Trigere dresses for sale at Blue Velvet Vintage


Hats off to this fierce and fabulous designer!

Have a glamorous day :-)



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Summer Fashion Inspirations from 1956

In the summer of 1956 the Ladies Home Journal featured  some lovely  fashions that I wanted to share in hopes of inspiring women to add a little more classic glamour to their summer wardrobe..  I’m in love with all of these as they’re so classy and ladylike.  The  two most popular styles were the fittest bodice, full skirt dress,  a silhouette that was still in vogue since Dior created  the “New Look” in the late 1940s, and the  fitted sheath dress, often with a matching coat.  As usual for 1950s fashions, the look was very polished, since women still dressed up most of the time, even for what we would consider casual outings today.  Gloves, purses, hats, jewelry often matched or at least complemented each other.

The fabulous little black dress pictured below, with its matching cropped jacket, was made of silk with a linen like weave by Ben Barrack. The article by Ruth Mary Packard states “ If you own this versatile wonder of a dress … you seldom face a crisis over what to wear. The fashion must be simple, understated – the background for your most ingenious ideas, and so adaptable that it can be turned to many hours and occasions. ”  

Ben Barrack was a dress maker  from the 50′s and 60′s who once said  “Our objective is to produce clothes that will sell year in and year out, and that is what we are doing.” Looks like he was successful because I would certainly snap this beauty up today!   The John Frederics hat  looks smashing with it, and red print bag by Ben Ingher adds a perfect touch of color.

1950s Ben Barrack Black Silk Dress and jacket

Black Silk Ben Barrack Dress and Jacket

And no 50s summer wardrobe would be complete without at least one pretty Jerry Gilden frock.  This one in a silk print  that comes with its own petticoat. And in blue and white,  a clean, cool, classic color combination for warm weather.

Blue print silk Jerry Gilden dress 1956

Blue print silk Jerry Gilden dress 1956

And let’s not forget about gingham!  A classic summertime look, this one by Alfred Green.  If you like this look, then check out our latest 50s style dresses with gingham checks, both in black and red.


Pink and white gingham dress by Alfred Green

1956 Gingham Dress by Alfred Green

This sleek, chic blue linen sheath dress by Henry Rosenfeld has a matching full length coat. Henry Rosenfeld was a dress manufacturer whose company made what he referred to as “Class market dresses at mass market prices.”  Upscale looking clothing at budget prices.  As a side note,  it is also rumored that he used to date Marilyn Monroe!

  The pretty flower wreath hat by John Frederics reminds me of the floral headbands that so on trend this season, and the white gloves and pearls dress up this outfit nicely.


Cornflower blue linen dress and coat by Henry Rosenfeld

1956 Linen Dress and Coat by Henry Rosenfeld

Another classic for summer, polka dots!  This sheath dress by Jean Campbell, worn with a crisp white rayon/linen bolero. And how about that  adorable white beret?

polka dot dress 1956

Black and white polka dot dress by Jean Campbell, 1956

A fabulous sundress like this navy and white paisley border print  by Doris Fein  would work for a day of  shopping and lunch with the girls or dinner at a waterfront cafe.

sundress doris fein 1956

Paisley border print sundress by Doris Fein, 1956

Which one is a look that you’d be inspired to try?





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50s Style Wedding Dresses for the Alternative Bride

If you’re a non-traditional gal who is about to get married, may I suggest a fabulous alternative to the long, trained wedding gown?   How about a 50s  tea length wedding dress?  A growing trend is toward more creativity in planning that special day. And vintage themes are on the top of the list because they’re so fun!

Going by our own 50′s wedding dress sales, the 1950s is definitely one of the more popular eras for a wedding theme. Whether it’s rock and roll, rockabilly, Las Vegas or vintage Hollywood theme there is a perfect 50s wedding dress or 50s inspired dress that will complement your vintage dream wedding!  Because the fashions from that decade are so classy and timeless, this look also works well for second weddings, garden weddings, town hall ceremonies and destination weddings.

The 50s look is a great option for brides looking for something more informal, but still very elegant and glamorous.  The fit and flared silhouette is flattering on pretty much all figures.   Even though finding a one of a kind, authentic vintage 50′s wedding dress can be very exciting, they are pretty scarce. So you need to allow lots of extra time to find the perfect one, as many are in very tiny sizes or not in pristine condition. Luckily there are new reproductions that will give you that same fabulous 50s look!

Check out these photos of Liz Taylor and Audrey Hepburn for some vintage wedding fashion inspiration!

Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face

Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face

Elizabeth Taylor in 50s tea length halter dress.

Elizabeth Taylor in 50s tea length halter dress.

And here’s a little collage I put together featuring “The Sweetheart”, our  50s style wedding dress from our Classic Dame line,along with pretty blue purse, shoes and hair flower that I think would look lovely with it!

Classic Dame 50s style wedding dress

Classic Dame 50s style wedding dress


Thanks for visiting:)

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What They Wore- Spring Fashion Trends in ’59

Womens’  fashions of the late 1950s were still quite feminine and ladylike.   The fit and flared  “New Look” silhouette was still popular,  as were fitted sheath dresses and beautiful tailored suits. Hemlines were still below the knee. And hats and gloves remained part of a well dressed lady’s wardrobe.  But you can see from some of the photos, the sleeker, streamlined designs that were the precursor of   the  “Mod” style clothing to come in the latter 1960s.  So feast your eyes on what were the designer spring fashion trends from 1959.  Personally I like them a lot better than most of  the current spring styles.  But I guess that’s no surprise!

 The quintessential classic suit by Chanel in beige nubbed wool with navy trim and a navy pinstriped suit with belted jacket by Dior.

Note the model on left with the  flip! Soon to become one the most popular hairstyles of the 60s!

Chanel Dior Suits 1959

Suits by Chanel and Dior-Henry Clarke Photographer-March Vogue 1959

Turquoise silk organdy dress by Harvey Berin. Worn with green accessories, including the gorgeous five strand Nettie Rosenstein necklace.

The blue and green color combination that was popular for spring 1959, continued for many years into the 60s.


Harvey Berin turquoise silk organdy dress- 1959-Irving Penn Photographer

Harvey Berin turquoise silk organdy dress- 1959-Irving Penn Photographer

On left blue/green floral print suit from Hutzler’s department store. Nettie Rosenstein necklace. Sally Victor Hat.

On right turquoise Italian silk twill suit by Marquise.  Emme Hat.

Women's suits-March Vogue 1959- Irving Penn photographer

Women’s suits-March Vogue 1959- Irving Penn photographer

A delightful spring flower hat by Lilly Dache . Oh how I wish women still wore hats like this today!


lilly dache hat vogue march 1959

Lilly Dache spring hat-March Vogue 1959

And how fun is this matching polka dot hat and gloves by Emme?

Emme pollka dot hat gloves vogue 1959

Emme Polka dot hat and gloves- March Vogue 1959

Cardin’s sculptural dress with the wide foldover collar is a hint of the 1960s futuristic Mod  fashions to come, while Jacques Heims “New Look” dress is in keeping with the fitted and flared silhouette that shouts classic 1950s!

Pierre Cardin and Jacques Heim dresses-March Vogue 1959-Henry Clarke Photographer

Pierre Cardin and Jacques Heim dresses-March Vogue 1959-Henry Clarke Photographer


Black and white, always a classic. And a  big fashion trend this spring!

Sleek, chic evening dresses by Patou.  You can see how the evening fashions were starting to move to a more casual, informal look.

Patou evening dresses 1959

Evening dresses by Patou. March Vogue 1959, Henry Clarke Photographer


Though some designers were still making very feminine party dresses like this navy blue lace and white organdy  beauty by Rudolph.


rudolf lace organdy dress march vogue 1959 schatzberg photographer

Lace dress by Rudolph-March Vogue 1959-Schatzberg photographer

  Rose prints are so perfect for spring!  Velveteen rose print evening suit by Traina Norell. Jewelry, Van Cleef and Arpels

traina norell dinner suit march vogue 1959  horst photographer

Traina Norell rose print velveteen evening suit-March Vogue 1959- Horst Photographer

These looks are timeless IMHO. What do you think? Would you wear any of these styles now?

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1948 Coty Holiday Gift Ad Featuring Glamorous Traina Norell Evening Gown

Coty, famous worldwide cosmetics manufacturer, was founded in Paris in 1904 and is still in operation today. During the 1940s they established the Coty American Fashion Critics Award to help  promote and encourage American fashion designers. One of the first designers to receive this prestigious award was Norman Norell, the designing half of the Traina Norell clothing label.

I discovered this festive holiday Coty Cosmetics ad from 1948, featuring a most glamorous and elegant red evening gown design by the talented Mr Norell. The ad, titled So Very Christmas,  showcases Coty gift sets, which include perfume and makeup ensembles in the classic fragrances  of Paris, Emeraude, L’Origan and L’Aimant.   I love the vintage packaging, especially the little carillon bells housing three different bottles of perfume. Adorable!  And the gown, well heck, who wouldn’t love to have something like that to wear for a grand holiday party?


coty ad traina norell dress dec 1948

1948 Coty Christmas Ad featuring glamorous Traina Norell red evening gown

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Blue Velvet Vintage Debuts “Old Hollywood Glamour” Fashion Video

Everyone at Blue Velvet Vintage is soooo excited to finally see our first video!  I wanted to feature some of our favorite vintage style gowns in a manner that would inspire those looking for that classic “Old Hollywood Glamour” look.  Doug Monce of Atomic Age Pictures,  along with pinup model Miss  Amanda Lee ,  did a fabulous job of bringing my vision to life!   Titled “Let Blue Velvet Vintage Make You a Star”, it is shot like an old time movie.

Miss Amanda dreams she is invited to the big premiere, but has nothing to wear.  With help from Blue Velvet Vintage she ends up on opening night looking like a silver screen starlet in the vintage inspired evening gown of her dreams.   Please watch the video to see how it happens!

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Happy Customer is the “Cat’s Meow” in our 1920s Style Flapper Dress!

One of our recent customers emailed us praises for our beaded black fringed Jazz Baby flapper dress that she had purchased.  She was also  kind enough to send photos.  Apparently, Kaylene,  a stunning young classy dame, who hails from Australia,  is quite the singer and specializes in jazz standards.  How it warms my heart to know there are still young people out there who appreciate the  music and fashion of bygone eras!

Kaylene currently studies at the Western Academy of Performing Arts in Perth, where she majors in music and plans to become a music teacher.  And this talented lady also sings with various jazz ensembles.  Her favorite songs to sing are “Lush Life” and “Up Jumped Spring” and some of her favorite singers are Nat King Cole,  Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughn and Ella Fitzgerald.  This doll sure has some great taste in music!

Here’s a photo  of Kaylene looking like the “Cat’s Meow” in our 1920s reproduction Jazz Baby Flapper Dress!


Customer Kaylene wearing our 1920s reproduction flapper dress

And here she is performing with the Round Midnight jazz band.  Many thanks to Kaylene and her Mom,  Diane,  for the great pix and feedback!

Blue Velvet Vintage customer reviews1920s style beaded flapper dress

Kaylene singing with the Round Midnight jazz band



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