Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ask & Tell: Responses

In response to the questions and comments posted earlier, I bring you the following.....
Where do you find your 30s dresses?

Anywhere and everywhere I can!!!  Online via Etsy and eBay; in person, via several vintage dealers I have befriended here in Ontario; antique malls; vintage stores; flea markets.

1) I would love to hear more about how you were initially drawn to this time period (how did it all start?) 

2) Also, I would love to see a post on lounging outfits from the time period (I'm so in love with those!) Also, I am particularly taken with 1930's accessories (hats, gloves, purses, jewelry, sunglasses, etc through the decade). 

3) I love your blog! :-)

1) May I refer you to the little write-up I did for Queens of Vintage for an explanation of how it all began? The short answer relates to my deep connection to my grandparents and the stories they told me about life during the "Hungry 30s," combined with a personal preference for the short chic hairstyles and long lines of 30s garments, as well as the feminine yet sporty aesthetic of this time period, which reflects my own tastes and interests to a tee!

2) Great ideas: I will DEFINITELY do future posts on these subjects. Thanks for suggesting them!

 3) Awww, thank you so much!!

Grandma Adeline and Grandpa Pete

What the blooming heck does 'Deadstock' mean? The word makes me think of the Wild Wild West, but I don't think that's quiiite right...! How do you tell if a vintage item you've bought from another vintage enthusiast is deadstock or not? Why are there so many deadstock items floating around?
I believe the term comes from the business world to describe unsold store stock.  Deadstock is usually identifiable by its pristine condition; the clothing looks and feels like new, never worn before; sometimes, price tags are still intact, packaging is still on.  Where does deadstock come from?  Warehouses, some of them abandoned with time capsule-like stock still inside; storage (whether from people’s personal collections, which sometimes include unworn items, or stores).   

Its so funny you would do this post just now, I was about to leave you a question asking how you learned to identify certain "pieces" in there correct time eras? Are there certain websites or books you learned or studied from?

I just came across a lovely little hat by "Don Anderson", and realized I haven't got much of a clue as to when it was made etc...Which is what spawned these thoughts! You can see it here.

Anyways - I would love to see a post on your "know how" when it comes to identifying vintage treasures! (Or maybe you already have a post on this that you could direct me too)

Great questions.  My knowledge (which is always being refined) has come from 1) my grandmother, who taught me basic fabric types and names; 2) lots of university courses centred around the major historical and aesthetical movements (i.e. knowledge about Art Deco architecture and art has helped me identify Art Deco fabric patterns and silhouettes); 3) exposure to lots and lots and lots of vintage clothes.  4) lots of reading, both websites and books.  There are so many different books I could recommend, depending on the time period in fashion history you are interested in.  A great starter book is called Vintage Fashion;  A website I have enjoyed for a long time is Fashion Era. The Vintage Fashion Guild's website has also been a REALLY useful resource. I also return again and again to the Fashionable Clothing from the Sears Catalogs series. I have the three 1930s and 1940s ones, with hopes of eventually getting the whole set, which covers all the vintage clothing decades I normally sell. Nothing better than looking at primary sources from the various eras to get a clear sense of what the fashions looked like and changes within as well as between the decades.  

As for your lovely hat, I don't deal much with hats and am certainly not an expert when it comes to hat styles.  However, I would recommend doing a little web search into the label “Don Anderson.”  Sometimes a history of the company will come up that can help.  The Vintage Fashion Guild's Label resource guide would be my next point of consultation.  I would look closely at the the font style in the label. Sometimes this can help ballpark its age.  Look for union labels that may also help give us a time period (once again, see the Vintage Fashion Guild's label resource guide for how to use the union labels to help you).   Some other tips from the VFG on things to look for when trying to figure out the age of a hat:

  • Pre-1930's hats will normally have a hand sewn lining.
  • Hats with interior grosgrain ribbons started in the 1930's.
  • 1930's-40's hats will often have a hat size tag.
  • A circular wire loop on the back of the hat to hold it to the head dates it to the late 1930s - early 1940's; while two 'V' shape wire clamps on the sides date it to the early - mid 1950's.
  • The last element of a pre 1930 hat to be completed is the lining. If there are threads sewn through the lining to anchor decorations, then those decorations are not original to the hat. 

The way the hat is styled in your images, I think it looks like something an Edwardian adventuress might wear (I picture Adela Quested from E.M. Forster's Passage to India loving something like this).  However, what I think you have there is a hat from a much later decade done in an earlier style.  Let me know if you can find any other details and we'll see whether we can get more precise about its age.

Could you give us tips on how to identify vintage items- there could be a huge rail of clothes in front of my and some of them i could date, but a few more tips would be helpful!
I constantly go to the Vintage Fashion Guild's page of quick tips for dating vintage clothing.  I also thought Twila Jean at The Mysterious Life of the Metropolitan Housewife did a really solid post on vintage identification a little while ago, so, rather than re-inventing the wheel, I refer you to her post! If you want a guide for how to identify whether something is 1930s, I am happy to go on at length about how I've honed my skills in this area ;)

I adore your fashion sense.

I've just bought on the Etsy brown shoes and a bag (reddish brown, chocolate brown)
Here are the links to the pictures:

What colors do you think would look good with these shoes and bag? Also, skirt/ pants?
I am grateful to you in advance :)

Oh my goodness, I am so flattered!  These are both lovely items.  The shoes have a very polished, preppy/American classic menswear look to them. I envision them being worn with a chic blouse and tailored trousers, sort of after the manner of Katherine Hepburn or even Amelia Earhart.  

In terms of colors, I think that sort of brown would go with lighter colors in the same general family, like cream, maybe a khaki, in the summer…in the fall, tweed or plaid or houndstooth trousers with lovely tawny and/or browny color palettes always look great!  

For a more modern spin, Jennifer at Sally Jane Vintage did a great look with jeans. Note how the hat, the jacket, the purse all work well with the color of the shoes. Even her hair color "matches," actually!

You could also perhaps pair the shoes with skirts or dresses, like the gals from Chictopia below (note how they've chosen clothes which complement the warm brown of the shoes).


Pixie Drive-In said...

This is amazing! Thanks so much for the tips on IDing vintage clothing. I'm always trying to improve on that.

Bella said...

Excellent post! I loved reading all your answers to the questions. Very informative. :)

Lauren said...

Thank you SO much for answering my questions! I really appreciate it and can't wait to go check out the resources you mentioned... Thank you!


Debi said...

Love this post! Thanks!

BaronessVonVintage said...

my pleasure. Thank YOU for the wonderful comments, questions, suggestions!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much. Not only you have a great fasion sense and obviously are an educated person, but also most kind and generous. Thank you so much for your fashion advise.