Thursday, December 18, 2014

Relax! It's the Holidays.

"Impossible!" you say?
Well, I decided to take it easy and do a short one, because just like everyone else, I have too much do. 

First, whatever you celebrate, a Happy and safe Holiday to all of you!

I was watching White Christmas recently.
That gown on Rosemary Clooney during the minstrel scene was jaw-dropping.  It would be to any of us who slobber over real vintage.
Oooohhh...and this one...


Interesting to see spike heels were around as early as 1954, too.
Her skirt and two tops outfit was ahead of its time:  Black pencil skirt, gold 3/4 sleeve blouse, with a black top under it, letting the black sleeves show out at the elbows!

There are so many more...

Also I continue to be amazed at Vera Ellen’s talent for dancing and how well she fit into the “Movie Musical” genre.  She got the job done, according to the day. 

These days, it would be thought of as “cheesy”. However talent is talent:
LOVIN' the muff outfit!
Did you know she was anorexic before the word was invented?  Just look at the scene she does with Danny Kaye, where she’s wearing a black tight top with white turtleneck and full skirt.  That belt is WAY too tight.  It shows how obsessed she was with her waist.  This also shows in some of the scenes where she wears a belt.  I wonder what wardrobe thought of all that…

Her star never rose and her life was unhappy and short.  She left us at the age of 60 in 1981. 
HOWEVER! 
She remains a legend, thanks to the popularity of the movie “White Christmas”, where her amazing talent is well-showcased.

In 1947, the movie “Miracle on 34th Street” came out.  Did you see the cat eye glasses?  They were around long before the 50s.
..and I want that coat and hat!


….and OH, Barbara Stanwyck, in “Christmas in Connecticut”! 
*Drool* *drool* *drool*
Those outfits!

Besides the fact that it's fun viewing these amazing outfits, always remember that watching old movies is a STELLAR way to learn about vintage.
Uh-uh.
Must run.
Cookies are done!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Reliability of RN Numbers

You will see an RN number on most of the clothing out there. It’s a good way to date things. 

But IS it?
 Kristen Wiig Funny Faces

There are a lot of reasons to be careful using them.

If it has in Roman numerals chiseled into the item, it should be in a museum.
...just kidding…

First, the math:  I’ve always hated math and I’ve gone my entire life without once using algebra, so WHY DID I HAVE TO BE TORTURED WITH THAT IN HIGH SCHOOL??

…but I digress…

There is special math to use with an RN number.

The first RN number was issued in 1959.  That number was 13670.
So you would take the RN number on your garment and subtract 13670.  There is an average of 2365 RN’s issued per year, so you then divide your number by 2365.  The number you come out with is added to 1959 and that is supposed to be the year your garment was made.
…but a lot of times, it is NOT! 
Check out this dress:
Look at the details: 

~~rayon that is slightly distressed-looking  
~~tea length 
~~HUGE shoulder pads, shaped like half a pie (or a capital D) 
~~REALLY loose in the bodice and the skirt is tight 
 
How totally and completely 1980s is this dress?

The RN # is 42435.  So let’s do the math:
42435 – 13670 =  28765.  28765 divided by 2365 = 12.163 (so let’s say 13)
1959 + 13 = 1971 !!!!
There is no way this dress is early 70s.  So then you would have to check out different ways to date it.  The company (Incite) is nowhere to be found.  It was never trademarked or registered for trademark.
So we have to go by the fabric, the styling, and those tell-tale shoulder pads.
Plus it helps if you were around in the 80's to see this fashion phenomenon and properly identify it.

I have a basic, classic button down shirt from the catalog company known as “Tweeds”.  The first time their label was ever used was 1987.  The RN number on my shirt is 72830.
72830 – 13670 = 59160, divided by 2365 = 25.014.  1959 + 25 = 1984.
I got the shirt around 1993/1994.  Do you see how you have to be careful?

So what is an RN# supposed to be?  To make it really simple, let’s just say that was when the pattern for the garment was created. 
  
Once I had a corset that was styled SO 1950’s.  Even the fabric was 50's corset fabric.  The RN number put it right around 1959/1960.  However here was a smooth Tyvek tag on the inside and remember what I said about smooth Tyvek?  (maybe you should go back to my “When labels are a good thing” –post? https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=8676381335238508238#editor/target=post;postID=6784840758516237596;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=6;src=postname)  
These were from the late 80's to the present!  So this was created using the vintage pattern and even the vintage fabrics, but it was made much more recently.

There are CA#’s too, but you cannot devise a formula for dating from them.  Those are on clothing from Canada.  I’ll get to WPL#’s someday, but right now I need another nap…
What’s new in my shop is showing up there on the right of the screen>>>>>>>>

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

GET WHAT YOU WANT

If you are somewhat resourceful, you can get what you want.  Just don’t be afraid of a little work.

All right…..sometimes more than a little.


It’s worth it to get what you really want.

Maybe you don’t care if your underwear matches.  Maybe you do.  If you do, “underwear” becomes “Funderwear”.   Once I wanted funderwear in aqua.  Good grief, forget finding a week’s worth in that color!  So I bought everything in white and dyed it aqua.
Problem solved. (I got what I wanted)

I have been a lover of berets for a long time.  Once I wanted one with a leopard print (once again, Hey I’m from New Jersey)  I looked everywhere but eventually found a newsboy cap in leopard.  (In a thrift shop of course), so I got it and cut the newsboy peak off of it and VOILA:


I seem to have inordinately long arms.  As a kid, I remember my Mom trying coats on me and my wrists never seemed to be covered.

I’m thinking I may be a bit behind in the evolutionary chain….

So to this day, my wrists are always hanging out and when the weather gets cold, my uncovered wrists make me even colder.
So I bought a pair of those ugly fuzzy socks in a thrift shop and cut the toes off, winding up with this:


I slip my hands through the toe end and cover them with my long sleeves (that are never long enough) and let the sock cuff hang out at the wrist.
Toasty....but I'm looking for more in different colors....

One “trendy” (yes I said that) thing that I do like is skinny pants.  I found a white pair (guess where?).  They were super skinny and great-looking BUT, even though I have been done with “The Monthly Curse” for years, I just know that if I wear white pants, it will come back to haunt me!!!!! 
So I dyed them black and wound up with a unique pair in a mottled grayish color that goes with everything.

I am super picky about shoes.  Just looking at the high heels they make nowadays makes me break a hip.  I’m even fussier about sandals.  I am one of very few who can’t stand thongs.  (!!!!)  I found a pair of what was perfect for me in black:
… and after wearing them, I found them so comfortable, I went back to see if they had them in any other colors. 
They didn’t.
So I got another black pair, applied some bleach and glued on a little decoration, getting this result:

A lot of people ask where I got them....

Stain on a favorite piece of clothing?  Sew some lace or an appliqué over it.  I clean with bleach a lot, so I am always getting bleach spots on my clothes and even though they are “knock-around” clothes, I still like to fix them.
 
Love that vintage jacket or sweater but it has moth holes?  Lace and appliqués are a great way to cover them.  Then you wind up with a one-of-a-kind piece:

OK…I went a little crazy on that one--I grommet-set rhinestones on it too.  The appliques came from of a piece of damaged vintage lingerie-- BUT it was a fabulous late 40s/early 50s jacket and it needed saving!  

Check the thrift shops for vintage lace and appliqués.  Check for them online too.  They can make a modern-day piece look vintage just by sewing it on.  These vintage laces, and ribbons and even feathers (if you can find them) come in handy for making plain recent-day hats look vintage too.  Don’t forget vintage brooches.  Even when they are missing stones they can be fun as hat trim:


   
Once I looked for a really unusual belt.  I didn’t limit myself to women’s accessories.  I found this in the little boys dept.  (..and now  it’s for sale in my shop):

....a little shameless self-promotion there....

Remember my last post “Buy It Big”?  Don’t limit yourself to plus sizes.  Check the men’s stuff!

So the bottom line here, is that if you dress “outside-the-box” and want exactly what you want, there’s always a way to get it.  It just takes some resourcefulness.
OK…and some extra work too…
   
(here comes a bit more shameless self-promotion)
Here's what's new in my shop this week:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/209109754/womens-snow-boots-vintage-1960s-70s?ref=shop_home_active_21


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Buy It Big

This post is more about individual style, however if you love the drape and flow of ladies pants worn in the 20s, 30s and 40s, this could be about faking vintage

…oh yes I do that…

 (The women who buy plus size clothing are going to be very mad at me right now).

Just sayin’….

I’m always raiding the plus size racks when I shop for myself  --myself is a size 6--always in thrift shops.  I seldom shop retail.   It’s all about the fabric.  This only works if the fabric is soft and drapey,  nice and flowy.  (I think I just made up two new words).

A pair of nice drapey pants in a good drapey fabric, in a big size, can sit so well on the body when you tunnel-in some elastic, so they fit at the waist.  The end result is wide leg, palazzo type pants that are comfy and yet still look pretty good….OK, VERY good (but only if it’s your style).

How to tunnel-in elastic:
You would need some elastic in the right width.  Then you look at the inside of the waistband on the pants and cut a slot big enough to put the elastic through.  Find the biggest safety pin you can and attach the pin to the elastic and poke it into the slot you made and then you push it through, inch by inch until it comes out the other end.  Then you sew it together and sew up the slot  (or, if you are lazy like me, you can knot it).  Just make sure that the “waistband tunnel” goes all the way around, so you don’t bump into a seam before you get to the other side!


Pictured below is a pair of flannel pajama pants (in leopard----hey, I’m from New Jersey) that were given this treatment:

See what I mean? 
I have tons of summer floral pants in the right fabrics that got this treatment too.  They look good with tight tops and with loose flowing tops.  (especially on women of a certain age….).
Speaking of loose tops, this is also a style to consider.  Drape-y knits in 2x or 3x sit so well on the body and hang low, so you can wear them with skinny pants as shown here:
This also comes in handy if you like to cover your butt.
I have spoken to so many women that say they prefer tops that cover the derriere and this is a good solution.

THEN there’s the huge sweater effect.  Below is one of my favorite sweaters.  It’s from the 80s, a cotton/ramie knit.   It’s full of holes and imperfections but I wear it all the time and I just love the rattiness of it. 
It’s HUGE!
…and comfy
…and drapey

Of course, I wouldn’t wear it out to dinner.

Here  it’s shown with skinny pants:
Lastly, we have the effect of both the flowing pants WITH the long full top.

Which is also a good look for women of a certain age…..

Remember what I talked about in my post about fedoras?
THIS is a good time to take out and wear one!:

A word of caution:
Be careful of this look if you are 5’ 3” and under .  However if you are vertically challenged, it would work better if the top is open, like a flowing jacket or cardigan with a tighter top like a tank underneath. 
OK?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Vintage Fashion Trademarks

This is about trademarks on labels in vintage fashion.
 
Anyone who loves vintage and wants ONLY true vintage should be familiar with trademarks on labels.

I am amazed at what sellers of vintage sell AS vintage but they are so WRONG about their dating.  (I could go on and on about the 80’s and how so many eras were reproduced back then and someday I will).

It should be a “given” that sellers know all about what they are selling, but too many of them don’t .  Here’s how you can be smarter than the seller.

Be a Vintage Fashion Detective.

The best site for trademarks is called trademarkia.com (link below).
The only thing is, you have to know how to use it.

First does the item listing SHOW the label?  It’s not enough to mention them.  They must be shown!  Many companies use several different logos during their history of production.  Some use only one and then go out of business.   So you need to see the label to know if and when it was registered.

If it has an “R” or a “TM” next to the logo, you know it has been officially trademarked or registered for a trademark.

So go to

Then put in the name exactly as it appears on the label.  It’s picky, so if it doesn’t come up the first time, you may have to enter it in different ways (like adding all the dots and dashes if they exist on the logo, but it’s not case-sensitive)

NOTE:  if there is no TM or R by the name, the label could be from before it was trademarked or registered, or was never TM’d or registered at all.  Sometimes you will be sent straight to a page where it tells you how to get a trademark for whatever item you are searching.

That means it's time to give it up and find another way to date your item…..
Sometimes, certain names are used over and over so there may be 40 pages or more of that name, but in different logos and fonts.  Be patient, look through all of them until you find a matching logo.  Sometimes they don’t have photos of some logos , but it will tell you what the company sells. 

Like, if you looking for women’s clothing, you can skip the sellers of baked goods or automobile parts….

When you find it, click on the logo (or lack of one) then scroll down.  It will tell you when this logo was first used, but not official yet.  A lot of companies use logos that are not officially trademarked until they apply for it.

This is very important because the date it was first used (no officially registered trademark) doesn’t mean the item is that old!  As a fellow member of the Vintage Fashion Guild once stated, “Beware of the common mistake of confusing “oldest it can be” with actual age.”

So then scroll back up and check the filing date and most important, the registration date.  On top of the page you will see if it was renewed or cancelled.  If it was cancelled, you would know that the item can be no newer than the cancellation date.

OK.  This was informative but not as entertaining as I would like it to be.  So for once "school is in".

All this can be time-consuming but many find this research is big fun.  It pays to be knowledgeable about what you are buying.  Imagine going to a yard sale or an estate sale and when the seller tries to tell you that the dress is from the 1940s, you can throw it back at them and tell them you know better because:
There are lots of other ways to tell the age!

What are the shoulder pads like?
Are they triangles?  40s to 50s
Are they shaped like a half of a pie and really thick?  80s
Are they flat triangles with a rounded edge?  70s.
Shoulder pads were not in style through the 60s.

Zipper:
Metal zipper on the side?  30s 40s to early 50s
Metal zipper in the back?  Mid 50s to mid 60s
Acrylic or nylon zippers?  Mid 60s to present
“Invisible” zippers?  70s to present

So there you go.  You are on your way to being a Vintage Fashion Detective of the highest order!


Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Multi-Strand Necklace

You’ve seen these before.  Any lover of vintage knows them well.  Made mostly in the 1950s and 1960s, they sometimes have matching clip-on earrings.  They come in every color there is and I have quite the collection myself.  I find them to be popular these days.  I have lots of them in my shop.  Here's a few:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/LunaJunctionVintage/search?search_query=multistrand&order=date_desc&view_type=list&ref=shop_search




These were made back then for “Ladies Who Lunch”.  They were worn with dresses and skirt suits and were the height of vintage fashion.  They were seen in offices and at luncheons and special occasions as well as in church!
To wear them that way these days is………(you guessed it)
……BORRRR-RING.
Of course your own personal style is your own and however you want to wear yours is up to you. 
But if you like being less predictable here are some suggestions:
1).   They can add a lot of style to a plain white T-shirt, worn casually:


2.)  Again, casually, with a buttoned-to-the-neck button down shirt (model is wearing an orange one and a brown one together) :


3).  My personal favorite is wearing two or three at a time, in different colors, layering the beads and keeping them close to the neck  (model is wearing a red one, a blue one and a black one) :


4).  ….or not close to the neck.

5.)  If they have a fancy clasp, wear one backwards.
....and for goodness sake, they do not have to match what you are wearing! "Matchy-matchy" is no longer a good thing.... 

These all work for all seasons.  You can even do black and orange for Halloween, red and green…
….....oh you know what I mean, right?
Hey, just think about it…


Friday, September 19, 2014

When Labels are a Good Thing

When it comes to labels on vintage, sometimes I say “Don’t get me started”. That's a sort of warning, because I LIKE to get started on this subject (and probably keep going for a few days).
Labels are one of many ways that help you identify vintage. 
I have already given you the link to the label resource on the Vintage Fashion Guild, but don’t limit yourself to that.  There are ways to look at labels

First, labels are becoming a thing of the past.  More and more modern-day clothing is “tagless”, especially lingerie.  The manufacturer is now being printed on the inside of the garment, instead of putting labels in (a lot of us more sensitive types tear them out anyway, because they can be irritating).  SO, if you have a garment in your hand that is being touted as vintage and if it has screened-on logo, beware!  Not vintage.  These tagless pieces started in the early 2000’s.
So I went into a retail store and took photos of really modern-day labels.
This is what they look like:





Some have satin labels with fabric information and you will see that the font is very clear.  It is also printed onto the satin in a different method than vintage labels.

Talking Tyvek
Tyvek is a type of paper that is composition and it cannot be torn.  Older Tyvek labels were put in garment with fabric I.D. information, size and RN numbers as well as other information.  Tyvek in garments started it the late 60’s/early 70’s.  The older Tyvek is rough, with somewhat faded printing like this:


From sometime in the 80’s to recent day, Tyvek is whiter, thinner and very smooth, and the printing is very clear, like what's under the Liz Claiborne label above.

Earlier labels looked more like these:
a 1940's label:

A 1950's label:

A mid-to-late 1960's label:

A 1980s label (confirmed by the Chaus company):


So now you have a start.  Whether you buy vintage or sell it, these are important things to remember. 
But really?
File this under:
“BUYER BEWARE!” 
There are too many “vintage clothing”-sellers out there that do not know vintage.  Your first “head’s up” should be a lack of a decade in the listing.  Worse is when they say “50's or 60's, I’m not sure”.  Don’t buy it.  There are ways of pin-pointing a decade and if a seller isn’t sure, the item should not be listed.  Never take a seller’s word for anything.  Make sure you have all necessary information and if it’s not there ASK FOR IT!

This is exhausting….


I’ll be back.....

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A SIMPLE VINTAGE GOWN AND A FEDORA

The new thing at Luna Junction today is a very simple gown.  Many would just say it’s boring.  Of course it had to be styled 2 ways.  Once for the traditionalists:


And then there’s MY way:

This is much more interesting, don’t you think?  
A fedora is not the type of hat you would think of putting with a gown like this.  If I had a nice sparkly infinity scarf, I would have added that too.   The effect makes one take a second look at the gown, no?

Speaking of fedoras, the one on the model is vintage, a stingy brim, but I have several in my shop, some with their original hatboxes.
 https://www.etsy.com/listing/183361075/vintage-fedora-mens-70s-wool-fedora-size?

This brings up that whole thing about when a woman should wear a fedora, because heaven knows everyone is wearing them right now, from teenagers to….well….women of a certain age, and it can get redundant and predictable.
*GASP*  
I hate that word....
......"predictable"................THAT word.

I wear the one in the photos above, but these things are just getting around too much, so I am really picky about what I pair it with.
One’s first (BORRRR-rring) thought is to pair it with something frilly. 

I don’t do “frilly”.

How about wearing one with something Asian?  Not a cheongsam dress, but maybe a kimono jacket with a tube top or tank top under it??  
...and pants, don't forget pants! 
Or shorts. 
Or capris.

Maybe an Asian jacket with a Mandarin collar?? 
They look swell with a sleeveless Asian blouse, too (or one with sleeves).
Wearing it with the right military look is a bit unexpected. 
Then there’s the old "long-Boho-top" over flowy wide leg pants.
A Mandarin collar brocade vest and skinny jeans?
PEOPLE, IT'S BORING OUT THERE!  Lobby against "predictable".
(who said that?!!!) 
OK, I'll calm down.    
Hey, young people can get away with so much more, but so many young girls let the hat wear them.   Making it look like you were born with that hat on not easy....
Live "outside the box".  Make it your new address....



Sunday, September 14, 2014

Be a Stickler

One of my fellow vintage-clothing-sellers on Etsy, Liz, from PassionateFlea, put a note about me in her (equally amusing) blog:
http://thepassionateflea.blogspot.com/
She called me a “stickler” for getting dates right on what’s in my shop.

I love that word.

I want everyone to be a stickler, so I try my best to teach vintage clothing-buyers/wearers/lovers how not to get stiffed.

I am a member of the Vintage Fashion Guild.   (I think it took me 4 tries over a year)  In the interim, I just kept learning and learning until I got this stuff right.  This kind of validation was always important to me and I thought I had it down pat, but I learned that I didn’t.  (Actually we never do, there’s always something to learn out there….)
So nowadays I do not list anything until I know exactly how old it is, and I’m able to substantiate that if I’m ever challenged.

There is so much info on the Internet to help with this, but some of it is not reliable.  You want reliable?  Go to the Vintage Fashion Guild site:
You can check labels there:
Learn about fabrics:
…and a lot more.
There are so many ways to validate vintage.  I’ll eventually get to all of them.  This is just a start.

HALLOWEEN THOUGHTS
Want something unique that no one else has?  Vintage clothing can be a great inspiration, a great start-up for your imagination.  There are several items to inspire at LunaJunction.  I have a lot more coming in the next few weeks.


Oh look!  Here comes one now:

Halloween Idea - Vintage Satin Gown - 1940s Green Satin Costume - As Is - Small Size

I meant for that to be a little creepy....