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: 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?

Winter Fashion By Decade- 1960's

This is my last installment of the Winter Fashion By Decade series. I am going to end it with the 1960's! I hope you have enjoyed the series. If you haven't been following along, click on the following decades to see the changes over time! 1920's1930's1940's, and 1950's.

Winter sports are still increasing in popularity. It is now really important to be fashionable on the slopes! How great is this pink ski suit? 

Large houndstooth- look closely- this is knitted! 

Pierre Cardin! Fur trim is now getting smaller than we have seen in previous decades but it's still important. Plus the mod influence is really strong here.

Why save your fur for the outerwear. Fur trimmed suits are popular.

As well as fur accessories! Again, not as extravagant as the 1920's but this is from a 1960's Sear's catalog. Meaning- it's affordable and accessible to many more people.

I love those fur shawl collar cardigans

Which decade is your favorite? Only a few weeks of winter left...look fab!

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Winter Fashion By Decade- 1950's

This is the fourth installment of the Winter Fashion by Decade series. The fabulous 1950's! In case you are just joining us now, click the links to see the 1920's1930's, and the 1940's. Next week will be the final decade- the 1960's!

Wool suits are popular, especially incorporating classic textiles like tweed. Fur is still important, especially for accessories. 

I love this! A great illustration of the various hats and the popular youthful look of the '50's. 

Winter sports are popular. I love that they skiied in regular clothes! Yet, they are still very stylish!

Mink, mink, mink! You had to have a mink! Especially given to you by your husband! 

 Early 1950's coats. I love all of the different silhouette options! 

One of each, please! 

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Winter Fashion By Decade- 1940's

We're still getting bombarded with snow and freezing temps here in the Northeast and most of the US. Let's have a look at some fabulous winter fashion from the Forties to keep us inspired! If you have been following this Fashionable History series, you've already seen some amazing winter fashion from the 1920's and 1930's.

These smart ladies have fur lined coats and berets. I really love this classic look.

Sometimes though, we need to up the glamour factor. Fur chubbies became popular, especially those wide shoulders and sleeves.

I want to look like this when I go ice skating.

I love this look. Knitted items like this were very popular, especially with complete matching sets including hats, muffs, and purses. 

Can we discuss these boots? This lady has it all- large fur muff, caplet with a hood, and a wool suit dress suit. Bring on the snow! 

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Winter Fashion By Decade- 1930's

How did Ladies stay fashionable and warm in the Winter in the 1930's? Let's have a look at part 2 of my series; Winter Fashion By Decade. See the 1920's here.

Fashionable History Winter Fashion By Decade 1930's

These gals look chilly! Long coats were popular baring nude legs. No thick socks or boots! 

Fur is still popular, but not as lush as in the '20's. I love those hats!

Just like in the decade before, skiing is popular. Fashionable sweaters are now really becoming a fashion outside of sports. 

I love these boots and over shoes. I actually remember my Grandmother wearing these in the 70's. I always thought I would get to when I was older. Where can I find these? 

Of course, if you were as glamorous as Marlene Dietrich, this is how you would stay warm.

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Winter Fashion By Decade- 1920's

Brrrr! It's freezing this winter! When it's cold like this, I live in sweaters, hats and scarves and static un-styled hair. An injection of vintage in my daily life hardly appears. Unlike the Summer when retro dresses are a plenty! That got me thinking more and more about what was fashionable, in the past, in the Winter. Perhaps, I need some inspiration. So for the next few weeks, we are going to explore Winter Fashion By Decade. 

Women in the 1920's hardly seem bothered by the cold. Silk and knit underwear was popular as well as layers of wool and velvet. 

Wool velour and fur trim! These coats do look warm and glamorous! No goose down and polartec, though like we have today.

The Collegiate sportswear look was becoming popular outside of sports for the first time, as well as on the slopes. Women could be casual in sweaters, tweeds, and argyles during the day.

But of course, glamour girls have got to be glamorous. The bigger the fur trim the better! Many furs popular in the 1920's have become extinct or protected.

Louise Brooks, giving us the ultimate in 1920's winter glamour. I need that coat!

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Bombshells: Tennis, Anyone?

I don't play, but I've always loved vintage tennis wear.  Tis the season for the US Open, so let's have a look at some highlights of the women's tennis costume from the last century. 

Fashionable History Tennis, Anyone Bobbins And Bombshells

Not sure how these ladies maneuvered the court but they look lovely! Turn of the century. 

Fashionable History Tennis, Anyone Bobbins And Bombshells

A tennis date in 1910. Takes courting to a new level. (haha?)

Fashionable History Tennis, Anyone Bobbins And Bombshells

These flappers have all the right accessories. 1920's. 

Fashionable History Tennis, Anyone Bobbins And Bombshells

I love this knit! I would wear it to work. Really. 1930's. 

Fashionable History Tennis, Anyone Bobbins And Bombshells

Jean Harlow glowing. 1930's. 

Fashionable History Tennis, Anyone Bobbins And Bombshells

Ginger Rogers. Adorable. You may notice that skirts lengths are getting shorter. 1940's.

Fashionable History Tennis, Anyone Bobbins And Bombshells

Rita Hayworth in what we would now call a sundress. 1940's. 

Fashionable History Tennis, Anyone Bobbins And Bombshells

Mid-Century model. Prints! A variation from the typical white. 

Fashionable History Tennis, Anyone Bobbins And Bombshells

Short and mod! Very Courréges or Pierre Cardin. 1960's. 

Fashionable History Tennis, Anyone Bobbins And Bombshells

Too cute to sweat in. Fred Perry. 1960's. 

What look is your favorite? Can you imagine playing in any of these looks?

Images via pinterest.

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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! 

Bombshells: Baby Face 1933

Once again the costumes designed by Orry-Kelly have made me gasp with delight while watching a film!

The Pre-Code Hollywood film Baby Face (1933) is a little gem of a film that raised a lot of eyebrows in the 30's. Barbara Stanwyck stars as down and out Lily Powers who soon discovers that she can use her sexuality to sleep her way to the top of the banking industry. A rags to riches story with a dark side...quintessential pre-code!

What I really loved about this film is the costumes. They play such an important role in guiding the viewer to the stages of her upwardly climb. They also provide us with a fantastic piece of history reflecting poverty, working class, and glitz in the heart of the Depression Era!

Lily Powers in a common day dress with her abusive father.

Lily as a mid-level employee at the bank.

Jealous and judgmental co-workers. I love the look on the blonde's face!

She's hit the big time!

She brought her friend Chico along for the ride and treats her well!

Watch the film for this dress alone! It is amazing!

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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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Bombshells: Hitchcock Blondes

There is a certain type of blonde that repeatedly appear in Alfred Hitchcock's films. They are not the "dumb blonde" or the "California blonde", they are the icy, fair skinned, smart, expertly coiffed, classy, brave, steely platinum blondes that have become known as the Hitchcock Blonde. In his movies, Hitchcock defined this look so well it has become a reference for fashion designers and a style inspiration for women across the globe. Hitchcock himself explains his preference as only he can; "You know why I favor sophisticated blondes in my films? We're after the drawing-room type, the real ladies, who become whores once they're in the bedroom....Because sex should not be advertised....Because without the element of surprise the scenes become meaningless. There's no possibility to discover sex." That is precisely the point that makes his movies and his leading ladies so memorable and inspiring.

While there were many blonde actresses in his films, here's a look at the top four most quintessential Hitchcock blondes.

Kim Novak : Vertigo (1958)

Of all the leading ladies, she is the iciest and most mysterious.

Eva Marie Saint: North By Northwest (1959).

She can look fabulous dodging bullets while running across Mt. Rushmore.

Tippi Hedren: The Birds (1963).

Marnie (1964). Her role in The Birds (as well as her relationship with Hitchcock) was perhaps the most difficult.

And finally, Hitchcock's favorite, Grace Kelly.

Rear Window (1954)Dial M for Murder (1954), and To Catch a Thief (1955).

She represents the classic Hitchcock signature of beauty, brains, and high class.

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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Bombshells: Alfred Eisenstaedt's Rockefeller Gals

German American photojournalist, Alfred Eisenstaedt, is probably most well known for the V-Day in Times Square photo above. An iconic image we all know and love. Awhile back I came across this photo series from Eisenstaedt featuring everyday ladies in Rockefeller Center in 1944 for LIFE magazine. I love their flirty dresses!

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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Bombshells: Fly the Friendly Skies