Friday, February 15, 2013

Photo Friday: Cavalcade of Fashion Edition

Good morning!

Hope you all survived another lovely holiday! It's almost the weekend, and you know what that means-- more vintage photos for your examination. This flickr set includes several itinerant-photographer-taken photos of this user's mom on the go in the forties' and early fifties'. The kicker? She made all these ensembles herself!

I know people say, oh, yes, my mother/grandmother/great-grandmother sewed, but I'm gonna get real with you-- my grandmother, yes she sewed, and yes she could stitch, seam, hem beautifully-- but all of her clothes were simple dresses or A-line skirts or shift tops. THIS lady, on the other hand, looks like she could have come out of the pages of Vogue dressed like that. EACH. OUTFIT. has some crazy natty, perfect detail that I'm just-now-noticing as I go back and look again. Wanna see?

Item one: The forties' fashion editor on her lunch break outfit:
  • purposeful stride
  • high brimmed, almost turban-ish, two-tone hat
  • beautifully lapelled swing coat, worn arms-out, cape style, like some field general!
  • black sack purse
  • leather gloves
  • fitted black dress. Do you see the little pleating detail on the abdomen. Why yes, and why YES, people.

Item two: The cool housewife on her errands outfit
  • The sunglasses, the pearls, the earrings...just wow. You know she knew she was styling that day.
  • The detailed-with-a-little-notch-at-the-front pumps. And her slim ankles and small feet! I finally have the former but will never have the latter. Some lives are marked by missed opportunities!
  • The perfectly fitted, wide collared, pockets-at-the-hip dress. UM!
  • The possibly-gold-metal purse. In my heart of hearts, I'm hoping it's something like this, though it might just be the light reflecting on a leather grain. 

Item three: The All American Beauty on her way to do some serious shopping outfit
  • Playful, two tone composition of the dress with those BUTTONS, oh those buttons! What colors do you think this dress was?
  • Freaking adorable high heel sandals.
  • Another bag I wish I had right now, here with me, with my stuff in it.
  • Look on her face like "Yes, why yes, I do look like a million dollars, cash. How nice of you to notice!"

Item four: The most stylish secretary from the fifty-second floor typists' pool outfit:
  • The neat collar and sleeve cuffs, the mother of pearl buttons on her blouse
  • The pleats in the skirt with the button detail, plus the cinched-but-not-too-cinched belt at the waist
  • Those slingbacks are actual omg to die for.
  • That purse isn't showing a lot of itself, but looks practical and cute.
  • THE METAL NECKLACE TOPPER! Oh, the metal necklace at her throat is so GLAMOROUS. Look how even a "I'm going to work" outfit is all-the-way killing it!

Item Five: The movie star on her way to an opening downtown
  • I think this is her cutest hair out of the bunch.
  • She really knows how to accessorize! Note the bag, shoes, earrings and necklace are all turning up the volume on the coat and dress.
  • Is this the way swing coats are meant to be worn? I always avoid (truth time, I always buy and then hoard instead of wearing) forties' and fifties' coats without closures (snaps, buttons, etc) because I feel like they look a little like an unbelted bathrobe (NO). Wearing one Diana Vreeland style as a kind of long cape with good shoulder-pads is something that had not occurred to me, but be sure that I'm going to try it out ASAP with a little Cain Sloan number I've been saving.

Item Six: The Wild Card outfit!

  • Bet you didn't see this one coming! 
  • The loudest of the bunch, this is also one of my favorites. I was re-reading...I think it was either Jackie Style or Audrey Style by Pamela Clarke Keogh (both of which are indispensable for the aspiring fashion icon, btw) a couple of months ago and the author advised against polka dots wider than a pencil eraser...while I still adhere to this as a rule, I think this woman's half dollar sized dots go really well with the unusual draping across the hip and bodice of the dress. All that loudness without the variation in shape would have been a little too much, but as is, I think she looks darling.
  • Last thing: the belt matches, people! THE BELT MATCHES.

Which one of these woman-on-the-street clothing ensembles was your favorite? Don't you wish there were still men on the street to catch you in your Sunday best, on the fly, so you would have photos of you, in your prime, on your way to work to show your grand-kids? I sure do!

That's all for this week. Thanks for reading, and I'll see you back here on Monday! Til then.


  1. Ooooh! I love these street photos. I learned about them after my grandmother died...I went through her photos found one of my grandmother and my dad (as a toddler) on the streets of Ft. Worth, TX. It was the only thing I asked for from her estate; she wasn't one for keeping old things. She was a real dish, though...I will have to put it on my blog to share.

    1. I loved your grandma + dad post! That's a really cool photo, period, but very neat indeed to have a memento like that of your (ye gods STYLISH) grandma as a young woman.

  2. Oh my god, those garments are amazing! She was really really talented and so stylish! Thanks again for sharing such lovely pictures!

    1. Aren't they neat? I just kept getting surprised by the little flourishes in each outfit-- not a hairpin out of place and perfectly executed details!

  3. My favorites would be the fashion editor - or the movie star because both are very classic but dramatic, I think.

    1. Right! I love that none of these (except maybe the last one, even though I love it) scream "novelty", but each has outfit has a little extra "oomph" over what you'd buy yourself at a department store.

  4. dear sweet chocolate covered baby jesus...I do love a polka dot...wider than an eraser or not!

    1. Haha, me too, Kimmie! Especially this lady's take on it. I wonder what color the background to the dots was.

  5. I think the second-to-last outfit is my favorite. Love the necklace, dark dress, camel coat combo. My grandma told me that the happiest day of her life was when her sewing machine broke and she had an excuse to stop making her own clothes!

    Men do constantly photograph me on the street.


    1. I wish I knew how to use NECKLACES better. I have a blue million from over the years at estate sales and grab bags, but I hardly ever wear any except one or two favorites.

      Also, I cracked up about what your grandma said and the newspaper hounds chasing you around with a flashbulb in hand. Such is life! :)

    2. I keep the Wichita paparazzi employed. Just doing my bit.

      I know completely and totally what you mean about necklaces. I'm not that great with them, either. I have my Phi Beta Kappa key on a gold chain and I wear that mostly.

  6. Hot damn! That woman has more style than I will ever amass in my lifetime! Love it all! It's really hard to choose a favorite here. Thank you for sharing this with us. Still in awe she hand-made all of those outfits that look like they came right out of designer stores.

    1. I know! I'm amazed enough at people who can use a sewing machine, much less use one to make clothes LIKE THAT. Whoo WEE. I want all of 'em.

  7. These black and white photos are so beautiful!

    1. Aren't they? Thanks for reading! :)

  8. what an incredible collection! the clothes alone are amazing but throw in the shoes and accessories— yowza!

    1. I know! This woman knew how to style a dress as well as she evidently knew how to sew one! I am jealous and inspired at the same time.



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