Bobbins: Leopard Print as a Neutral

Leopard print can often be thought of as a racy and tacky print. And there is a place for that! But it definitely has it's high fashion moments. It seems to be worn best when it is thought of as a neutral, or as just an accent. The Mid-Century wore leopard so very well! Here is some leopard print eye candy from the past!

1960's. Jackie. Full on print here and nothing classier.

1940's. Barbara Stanwyck. Sophistication.

1950's Christian Dior. Timeless.

1951. Sunny Harnett. Leopard with tweed. 

1950's. Ladies Home Journal. 

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Bobbins: Heel Appeal

This time of year means party dresses and high heels which is not to be complete with out stockings! What a wonderful time of year! 

 I've recently been looking at vintage stocking ads and am enamored by the selection of different types of heels associated with the ever glamorous back seamed fully fashioned stockings. Before they had machines that could knit in the round (tubular) seamed stockings were all you had. While FFS still exist, they are becoming harder to produce as many of the original factories and hosiery mills have closed. Most modern designs are stitched on over the tubular stocking. 

Of course there are the classic style heels: 

 Cuban: Reinforced heel design ending in a square top. 

Havana: Same as the Cuban but wider. 

French, Point, or Pyramid: Ending in a tapered point. 

 Manhattan: Similar to the Cuban but ending in a point with an outline.

See below for some classic heels as well as some party essential fashion choices that were available!

Bobbins: Tweed

When ever thoughts of  an ideal Autumn or Winter wardrobe come to mind, as they do this time of year, I gravitate toward tweeds. I love the texture, flecks of color, and sturdy warmth it provides. I also love the classic styling that always looks chic.

Dita Von Teese in vintage Dior. 

Classic Chanel. 1950's. 

Menswear inspired. Biba. 1960's/70's. 

Sears. 1950's. Yes! To each of those pencil skirts!

What fabric are you drawn to time and time again? What is your go to Autumn wardrobe staple?

All images found on Pinterest.


Bobbins: Rainwear

April showers are here! How did one stay stylish on a rainy day in the past? 

Let's have a look:

I really enjoy this shot of a 1920's puddle jumper! There's not much keeping these ladies dry and the men, well, they aren't so helpful!

In the 1940's tailored trenches and capes are a wardrobe staple. In some old movies, they are worn even when it's not raining. Natural fabrics like crepe de chine, oiled silk, cotton gabardine and tweed are the mainstays. Rubber is introduced for rainwear in the 30's so that pops up too. I will take the "Scott" cape-coat, please!

Stylish ladies in the 1950's. I love the green with the hood!

 And let's not forget accessories! I am not stylish with the umbrella. Honestly, I will use what ever I can get my hands on. Living in New York City, we lose them and gain them so fast. I never know where my umbrellas even come from. But these are nice...and safe in traffic!

I succumbed to the modern rain boot trend last year. It has been worth it, as my shoes I adore are preserved. However, these galoshes are the real way to go!

What do you wear in the rain?

Bobbins: Photographer John Rawlings

John Rawlings was one of the most prolific fashion photographers of the Mid-Century. In a career spanning from the 1930's through the 1960's he shot over 200 covers for Vogue and Glamour. He experimented with light, color, and shadow much like his contemporaries at the time (Horst P. Horst, Irving Penn, and Hoyningen-Heune) but unlike them, he brought a truly American sensibility to his photos. This became one of the smartest moves Conde-Nast would make helping define the American look in fashion over several decades. 

These are some of my favorites. It was really hard to choose! 

Bobbins: Sunglasses

Roman Emperors uses emeralds to watch gladiator fights. In 12th Century China smoky quartz was used to hide the eyes and facial expressions of judges in Chinese courts. But it wasn't until the early 1900's that fashionable sunglasses as we know them became more common place.

This was especially true amongst silent film stars that constantly had red eyes due to the powerful lighting needed for the extremely slow film stock used to make those films. If the stars do it so does the rest of the world so even when the harsh lighting used in films was improved with ultra-violet filters the sunglasses remained. And they've been cool ever since.

In 1929 mass produced sunglasses were produced and sold in America by Sam Foster. He sold the shades on the boardwalks of Atlantic City under the name Foster Grant from a Woolworth's. We now can't live without them at the beach!

Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly made wearing sunglasses in the 50's a classic accessory. Not just for sun protection but now a style necessity.

Bobbins: Espadrilles

Espadrilles are classic. These lightweight shoes made from linen or canvas with a rope or braided jute sole come from Spain and have been worn since before the 13th Century! Traditional espadrilles are handmade from Alpargateros, like the lady pictured above. The production of espadrilles quickly spread during that time and also became popular in France. They were worn by everyone from peasants, to military soldiers, to Priests!

In the 1950's and 60's espadrilles became more than just affordable and practical, they became fashionable. Yves St. Laurent special ordered espadrilles to be made with a heel, something that had never been done before. They were an instant hit and the fashion world hasn't given up on them yet! Now espadrilles can be found in the traditional handmade from Spain version ( I just bought a pair of red ones the other day!) or from a variety of shoe designers in all sorts of shapes and reinterpretations. I also have a pair of wedge heel cherry print ones with red ribbon ankle laces that I bought at Macy's a few years ago! Either way they make a stylish and comfortable summer shoe!

Picasso wore them! Love the stripes!

JFK wore them with ankle ties!

And the lovely Grace Kelly wore them!

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Bobbins: Label Love- Lilly Dache

Lilly Dache is a true fashion success story! Born in France in 1898, Lilly Dache moved to New York City at the age of 18. With some millinery skills under her belt she got a job as a milliner and started making turbans out of scraps of fabric. Her turbans were such a success, that by the age of 25 she opened up her own shop. She is pictured above trying on one of her eye-catching hats.

It didn't take long for Hollywood to notice her stylish and outrageous style. Her most famous clients were Marlene Dietrich, Audrey Hepburn, and Loretta Young. Soon Dache extended her business to include dresses, gloves, and loungewear. She even had two fragrances called Drifting and Dashing. By 1937 she had her own building called The Lilly Dache Building which had two fitting rooms; a silver room for brunettes and a gold room for blondes! Ms. Dache could be heard coming down the hall by the bells on her leopard slippers! Oh how I wished I knew her! When she retired in 1968, her biggest fan, Loretta Young, bought her remaining 30 hats.

Above is a photograph of a Lilly Dache hat and veil by Alfred Eisenstaedt.

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Bobbins: Label Love- Gossard

The gorgeous high quality lingerie from Gossard, we know today started in Chicago at the turn of the 20th century. Henry Williamson Gossard founded the HW Gossard Co. in 1901 with the desire to produce top quality bras and corsets. By the 1920's Gossard was exporting goods to the UK and producing revolutionary designs like corsets that laced up in the front instead of the back.

In the 1930's Gossard relocates to the UK and becomes a British company where it is still in business today.

In the 1950's Gossard introduces lightweight girdles, and perma-lift bras. In the 60's the Wonderbra is introduced. With one hand on innovation and the other on the pulse of what women want, Gossard has become one of the top lingerie brands in the world.

Here is an example of an early 20th century corset. For modern lingerie visit the Gossard site.

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Bobbins: Photographer Henry Clarke

In 1945, inspired by Cecil Beaton at a photo shoot for Vogue, Henry Clarke borrowed a Rolleiflex camera and began taking pictures.

In 1949 he moved to Paris. Within a year he became a renowned fashion photographer in his own right. He collaborated with French, English, and American Vogue for the next 25 years.

Henry Clarke loved to capture the elegance of women. He worked with the top models of his time like Suzy Parker, Bettina, and Ann Sainte Marie.

He bequeathed his historical collection of photographs to the Musée de la Mode et du Costume in Paris in 1996.

Bobbins: Mary Quant

Mary Quant was one of the most prolific designers of the 1960's MOD and Chelsea Girl look. She popularized and made mini skirts, go-go boots, fashion tights, plastic PVC raincoats, and hot pants available to the masses.

She was famous for bold graphics, unusual color combinations, and the Vidal Sassoon 5 point bob hairdo.

The famous floral motif.

Her shop on King's Road, named Bazaar, was a hot spot in Swinging London. It not only featured her easy to wear afordable clothing, tights, boots, and make-up, but also must see window displays.

Jean Shrimpton modeling a Mary Quant dress.

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Bobbins: Photographer Irving Penn

Bobbins: Veils

I've always been fascinated with vintage hats with veils and the glamorous mysterious effect they have. . Certainly there are many religious origins to the veil, think Catholic Nuns and Muslim Burqas. There is also the wedding ritual where brides wear veils ( like the gorgeous one above) to represent their virginity, a tradition that still carries on with meaning or not. There is also the somewhat old fashioned use of black veils at funerals worn by widows and those in high mourning. But where does that leave us in the fashion world where wearing a veil is a choice not a societal standard?

Let's have a look:

In Victorian and Edwardian times, large veiled hats were popular to keep sun off of the face and dust out of your eyes while riding in an automobile. Practical and pragmatic.

Bette Davis in the 1940's. Veils are worn by glamorous women. They define a lady's space and separate them from the common woman.

In the 1950's a lady never went out without a hat and her gloves.

Veils attached to fancy cocktail hats were an option for formal occasions.

Another image from the 1950's when wearing fashion veils peaked.

Sophisticated, mysterious, refined, and very lady like.

Modern times. Veils make a come back for a glamorous night out. Drew Barrymore is stunning in her birdcage veil at the Grey Gardens premiere.

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Bobbins: Designer Orry-Kelly

Marilyn Monroe

The gorgeous metallic sequin dress in Some Like it Hot

Mitzi Gaynor

Mitzi Gaynor in Les Girls

Three on a Match

1930's luncheon wear in Three on a Match



I recently watched the fantastic pre-code 1930's films, Three on a Match (starring Joan Blondell Ann Dvorak and a young and blonde Bette Davis) and Female (starring Ruth Chatterton) and discovered the wonderful costumes were designed by Orry-Kelly. Not as well known as Adrian or Edith Head I had never heard of him and decided to do a little research. As it turns out he should be more well known than he is. He has done the gowns and costumes for hundreds of films including the big Busby Berkeley musicals, Jezebel (1938),The Maltese Falcon (1941), Casablanca (1942), and Les Girls (1957). He won oscars for his designs in An American in Paris (1951), and one of my absolute favorites, Some Like it Hot (1959).

I was already a fan and didn't know it!