Category — Fashion History

The History of Shapewear


Ever wonder why some vintage dresses are so so hard to wear? It seems amazing how teeny women’s waists were in the past. Have we changed all that much. NO! The secret to getting that Joan Holloway hourglass figure, even back in the 1960s? Shapewear!

Check out this wonderful infographic on the history of shapewear and you’ll see that wearing vintage doesn’t take the perfect body. It takes a bit of magical underwear!

History of Shapewear - Infographic
Find your best fitting shapewear at Herroom.


April 17, 2013   No Comments

Lovely Monday-1940s Fitness

Well it’s been a while since I have posted. My life has experienced many changes. Some the worst, some for the best. One change is my motivation towards exercising. I know I know, such a cliche for the new year. But I actually made no resolutions for 2012, other than to do things and participate in activities that make me happy. And research shows that exercise is a natural mood booster. A more vain reason for my new healthy lifestyle is that I need to get bikini ready for a fab trip with my friend Dawn an island off Belize in March!

We are going to be glamorous jetsetters and enjoy a luxury vacay  – another mood booster!

Today’s Lovely Monday image made me smile. Who EVER looks that cute while standing on the scale. I’m curious what recipes were published in this book. Think they were Atkins like?


Enjoy your Monday!


image source: The Painted Woman


January 30, 2012   4 Comments

Vintage Books | Want To Learn About Vintage? Read These Books!


Forbes online (who knew they had a style section?) recently interviewed two of the biggest names in vintage fashion – Kerry Taylor of Kerry Taylor Auctions and Doris Raymond of The Way We Wore. The vintage mavens give us an insider’s view on the best books to read if you want to learn about wearing, selling, or collecting vintage fashion.

I don’t want to copy and paste, so I’ll just give you links and list the ones I own and agree with, as well as give you my personal favorite books that are in my resource library right now!

Happy reading!

Kerry Taylor’s vintage books picks

Doris Raymond’s vintage books picks

My picks:
I agree with Kerry Taylor on The Couture Accessory, by Caroline Rennolds Milbank. It’s a beautifully photographed book all about the little accouterments that make us look at a runway show beyond the garments.

Doris Raymond and I have similar taste in vintage fashion books. I agree with Fashion: A History from the 18th to the 20th Century Kyoto Costume Institute. I was lucky enough to find it on sale at Barnes and Noble. But do yourself a favor – invest in this two book set. it gives a breadth of information on important looks in the last three centuries.

New York Fashion: The Evolution of American Style by Caroline Rennolds Milbank – this book does an excellent job of covering some of the most important American designers. You can find it used at a great price.

And here are some more to consider:

Costume Jewelry for Haute Couture by Florence Müller – a stunning collection of haute couture jewelry with a brief history on the makers of the exquisite pieces for Chanel, YSL and Pierre Cardin.

The Seductive Shoe and Forties Fashion: From Siren Suits To The New Look by Jonathan Walford – Jonathan knows his stuff. Jonathan, a fashion historian, curator, and private collector, was the founding curator of the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto. Both these books go beyond pretty pictures and really give you a historian’s perspective on these impressive collections.

20th Century Fashion: The Complete Sourcebook and The Complete Fashion Sourcebook 1920s-1980s by John Peacock – while most fashion history books have gorgeous color or black and white photography, Peacock’s books are all illustrated with typical garments of the decade, broken down by purpose of wear (day, evening, bridal, underwear, accessories, etc.) and further categorized in 2-3 year spans. If you ever wanted to know if a dress was from 1940 versus 1943, these books would help you determine that! I really love that these books also feature menswear and clothing that normal people wore during the period. Not everyone wore haute couture and the chances of you stumbling across such a rare piece are slim, unless of course you are Kerry or Doris.

photo: The Princess Blog via

October 28, 2010   2 Comments

Vintage Inspiring | Glamour & Travel

vintage model traveling

I have this fantasy travel wardrobe that usually consists of light gabardine and wool blends from the 1940s, an exquisite pair of slacks, and a perfectly square leather train case. It’s probably not unlike your fantasy travel wardrobe. Travel used to be yet another occasion to dress, like dinner, or drinks. This picture really inspired me because this woman looks so casual and comfortable, but still put together. Beats a raggedy track suit any day!

photo: by gone fashion

June 10, 2010   2 Comments

Vintage TV | American Woman at the Met

If you live any where near NYC, you have to check out the American Woman exhibit.

American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity is the first Costume Institute exhibition drawn from the newly established Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at the Met. It explores developing perceptions of the modern American woman from 1890 to 1940 and how they have affected the way American women are seen today. Focusing on archetypes of American femininity through dress, the exhibition reveals how the American woman initiated style revolutions that mirrored her social, political, and sexual emancipation. “Gibson Girls,” “Bohemians,” and “Screen Sirens,” among others, helped lay the foundation for today’s American woman.

I am not a museum studies expert by any stretch of the imagination, but after attending the Betsey Bloomingdale exhibit at FIDM last year, I grew a tremendous appreciation for the art of textile and costume display. The “wigs” of this exhibit are stunning!

If anyone has attended the exhibit or plans to attend, and you are interested in writing a review for it here, I’d love to hear about it! Email me!

May 27, 2010   3 Comments

Vintage Links | The Week in Vintage

photo: pulpwoman

Go vintage clothing shopping with designer Philip Lim [Tales of Endearment]

Work clothes brand, Dickies, creates a 1930s inspired capsule collection (my husband will love this!) [WWD]

The best flea markets in France [Guardian] features a vintage Pierre Cardin necklace from Garland Collects to celebrate the release of Cardin’s autobiography Pierre
Cardin, 60 Years of Innovation

Halston documentary Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston premiering at Tribeca Film Festival. You can see a clip at T Magazine. []

April 30, 2010   No Comments

Vintage TV | Vintage Fashion Auctioneer Karen Augusta On Elizabeth Hawes

If you’ve ever read the Washington D.C. based fashion blog, Fashion Is Spinach, you’ve probably wondered where on Earth the unique name came from. Elizabeth Hawes was a little known fashion designer that was well ahead of her time. Vintage expert Karen Augusta shares her Elizabeth Hawes treasures and her personal connection to the designer. Enjoy!

P.S. If anyone owns a copy of Hawes’ book, Fashion Is Spinach, I’d love to hear your opinion on it! I love vintage style guides.

April 20, 2010   3 Comments

Vintage Fashion Photo | 1920s Feathered Flappers

April 6, 2010   2 Comments

Vintage Inspiration | Vintage Photo Contest at The Sartorialist

Ena Frias.jpg

I love looking at old pictures of glamorous, everyday people. It’s all about the pose, the bag, the scarf, or the hat. Little elements that made seemingly ordinary people look glamorous or dapper. Back when people use to dress.

The Sartorialist is running a vintage photo contest. You can submit a picture of a stylish person – family, friend, or just a random old picture – and win a Celine inspiration book.

Go to The Sartorialist’s blog for rules and details about the contest. 

photo via The Sartorialist

March 30, 2010   3 Comments

110 Years of Fashion Panel at California Market Center Discusses Vintage Influence

CMC WGSN 110 Years of Fashion

Sue Wong, Doris Raymond, Sally Lohan

In my world, vintage fashion and fashion history don’t really live in a vacuum. As much as I love vintage clothing and accessories, I don’t consider myself a scholar like my friend Heather Vaughan. My real passion lies in that intersection between vintage and its influence on modern clothing.

This topic is precisely what fashion designer Sue Wong, Katherine Brandes, Creative Director of BB Dakota, fashion author and Apparel News journalist, Allison Nieder, vintage expert Doris Raymond, and WGSN’s West Coast Content Director Sally Lohan discussed at the 110 Years of Fashion History: How Vintage Inspires 21st Century Trends discussion panel which took place at the California Market Center. My heart skipped a beat when i received the invitation!

What is vintage?

Each panelist answered the age old question “What is vintage?” Doris had the most precise definition. She felt that anything older than the late 1980s is vintage in her book. You can watch what she says about the 1990s coming into the vintage marketplace in the video interview I did with her. Sally Lohan added that her definition of vintage also includes quality and craftsmanship. Sue Wong feels that vintage has to have a “lot of soul”.

When asked about some of their favorite eras Sue Wong shared her fascination with the elements of the 1920s and ’30s. Katherine preferred the cinched waists of the 1940s and ’50s. Doris Raymond prefers the 1930s like Wong, but was able to narrow it down to 1929-1932. She loves the bias cuts of Vionnet. Sally loves Paul Poiret and Fortuny.

CMC WGSN 110 Years of Fashion
Doris Raymond and me in vintage

Vintage As Inspiration

The panelists agreed that fashion pre-1960s was the easiest to interpret in contemporary fashion. Sue Wong prefers to look at individual details and silhouettes when looking for inspiration for her designs.

Leave it to me to ask the question that made Sue Wong and Doris Raymond engage in an intelligent debate. I wasn’t fishing for a debate, but was genuinely curious what designers vs. vintage professionals thought on the subject – when does inspiration cease being

inspiration and becomes a copy?

The example I had in mind was that beaded antique bag I knew had been sold by a vintage dealer I know to Anna Sui and ended up on the runway in the exact same colors and exact same pattern.

The discussion really surprised me. Sally Lohan quickly jumped on the question and her reaction was complete disapproval. Sue Wong agreed. Doris actually had a different opinion. She felt that giving a a vintage garment life again, even if it is in its original design is ok. Otherwise it would never have been appreciated again. The conversation got pretty lively as far as panels go.

Vintage Trends

Some of the vintage influenced trends identified for upcoming seasons are romantic floral prints, boudoir and lingerie, classic seasonless items. Sue Wong predicts vintage looks from the teens to 1920s for a more avant garde look. Doris believes people will shop for investments versus trendy items.


There seems to be two types of consumers when it comes to true vintage. The general public and designers. The general public is buying contemporary vintage inspired as well as vintage. Tips were offered on how to look for quality vintage – turn the garment inside out, check seams, feel the fabric. Sue Wong warned about fraudulent sellers trying to tap into the vintage market by selling new items, taking the tags out and claiming they are vintage dresses. She found one of her own beaded, flapper inspired dresses on Ebay being sold as a 1920s dress!

CMC WGSN 110 Years of FashionCynthia Dipierro, WGSN, Sally Lohan, Doris Raymond, Liz Moore, Los Angeles Confidential magazine

The panel discussion was followed by a lovely reception in a very Schiaparelli pink carpeted room. it was great to be in a room full of people who embrace vintage and contemporary fashion with both arms. And now with the collaboration between WGSN and Doris Raymond to create a specialized vintage directory, it seems what’s old is new again and it will continue to make it’s way to the runway.

March 26, 2010   No Comments