Thursday, August 16, 2012

Van Raalte Stockings (1950)

Good morning!

I was flipping through Life the other day and came across an ad that would have knocked my socks off, if I was indeed wearing socks. I should have been wearing, according to this advertisement, flex-toe Van Raalte Dark Accent stockings. Just see! How glamorous! A heel can look!
"Add spice to your short-skirted life!" says the byline. YES! A THOUSAND TIMES, YES!

Heartstruck by the combination of leopard print scarf, red skirt, rhinestone bracelet, OH MY GOODNESS WILL YOU LOOK AT THE HEELS WITH THE STOCKINGS. See the little velvet ties? The black and white fish scale pattern of the heels? I could actually die at how adorable this is. Van Raalte made ladies' gloves, stockings, and underthings in the 1950's. While seamed stockings can look a little Andrews Sisters at times (not that that's a bad thing, just a very V-for-Victory costume-y thing), every example of their products I saw in further issues of Life was fresh as paint sixty years later and screaming for a comeback. Ladies! Take heed!

"Footnotes make the headlines!" YOU HAD ME AT HELLO!

Here, you can see the same Dark Accent stockings in Navy and Brown. Or "Seaspray" and "Sunset" as the colors are reported for ordering purposes. I still like the black best, but it's good to have options. Imagine these in today's times in green or red or pink. I'm telling you, we need to get on the ball with this.

One hallmark of these 1950 Van Raalte ads, aside from the pining feeling I have for each and every item advertised, is the soft pastel color palette. The one above takes advantage of the blues in a map of the world to offset the coral of the model's top, lipstick, and nailpolish. When your key product is essentially flesh colored, it's not a bad idea to make the ads as colorful as possible.

See what I mean about the colors? Besides how unbelievably slim these fifties' girls are (did they proto-Photoshop the one on the right? Or is she the girl for whom they made all those 20'' waist, vintage silk party dresses on Etsy I would have to have my skeleton removed to fit into?), I love the presence of the Siamese kitten (with the poodle, definitely the style pet of the decade), and the shoes on each of the girls, especially the ones at center. Backless, pastel, AND possessed of a frou-frou flower decoration at peep-toe? Again, Van Raalte, I'm so glad we're of a similar mind here.

Here's a come-hither gal if ever I saw one! I never know how to work with brown in an outfit (see: the incredible dearth of brown vintage things I own outside of purses and stoles) so it's neat to see the oatmeal-and-mica colored hat goes well with both an indigo dress and pink gloves/flower combo. What color do you think her shoes are? I've been buying a lot of gloves lately-- and it's funny because I have the weirdest hands! My fingers look long, but are actually pretty's my wide palm, and the range between thumb and pinky, that make most of the length. Taking this into account, even though I have pretty "big" hands (I'm six feet tall! You should see my feet!), if the gloves are nylon or a forgiving cloth, and I can squeeze my palms in, I can fit my normal-size fingers into the daddurn things. Trouble is, where do you wear gloves? When not wanting to give the aforementioned impression of having just been to a costume party? Maybe this weekend I'll throw sartorial caution to the wind and do BOTH gloves and hat. It's the world that's wrong, not me! :)

Last but not least, a quadtych of a slip-wearing blonde. Again, so willowy. Do they make these in normal sizes? Still, I love her ash colored hair and upturned profile. Which slip do you like best?

Just can't stand how badly you want a Van Raalte underthing? Here are some VR lingerie items up for bid on ebay. You can take one home of your very own!

What are your thoughts on the "am I too vintage today" struggle of retro-wearin' mamas? Would you/do you do a hat and glove combo, and just let your Jackie Kennedy flag fly? Are you on the heels-and-exposed-back-stockings bandwagon with me, or do you need more convincing in the barelegged world we live in to show a nylon-ed toe through a pair of heels? Let's talk!

That's all for today. See ya tomorrow for Photo Friday!


  1. Those are some sexy stockings. And that black slip! Heaven. Can you believe how fantastically sheer the stocking are? I always had to wear nude pantyhose with my choir uniform and they were always so...ugh--thick and too brown and awful. Plus, the buckles on my character shoes would always start a run. Gross. Stockings are so much better than pantyhose.

  2. This is all TOO glorious! I have to admit that though I love the look of gloves, I think I'd go bonkers wearing them. I could wear that black slip with those gladiator sandals for the rest of my days and be happy.

  3. so glamourous! i love that last image the best.



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