People worry about vintage clothes not fitting them, yet
there are so many items that are beautiful, just admiring world
of vintage clothing does not mean you have to wear it! Even with
vintage dresses you can just admire items
for their sheer artistry.
If you want to collect garments to wear yourself you need to
decide on an era or eras. If the 1890s, 1900s, or
vintage 1950s is the era you see yourself in because
you have an hour glass figure, a neat waist and a well proportioned bust,
start collecting the era now. If you are tall and leggy you will
be better off collecting the sixties and if you are straight all the way
down then think about collecting the 1920s. If you are dainty
and flat stomached go for the flirtatious and stylish bias cut clothes
of the 1930s. The main thing
is to figure out your era and wear what suits you best.
Collections can be made from any area of textiles or
one person who has antique and vintage textile related goods to suit all
tastes, is Candy Shiveley of Contentment Farm Antiques, New England.
Museum quality clothing and accessories sit happily amid the once
everyday, but now more rare vintage textile or textile related items.
At various times her stock includes hats of many
descriptions from Regency, Victorian to C20th. In addition
she sells male and female vintage dress, footwear, lace collars, blouses, reticules, parasols and stoles.
For some considerable time I've enjoyed browsing her web pages at Ruby
Lane. I love looking at the early Romantic and Victorian dresses
and gorgeous Edwardian gowns and 1920s flapper dresses that drip with lace, beading,
embroidery or fur. I'm equally thrilled by the
lovely shawls and antique
quilts she also carries. Here are some typical examples of items she has had on
her site recently and all pictures enlarge.
The first 2 photos show typical detailed decoration of the hem on a
C19th Romantic dress which would have been worn over an
The very late Victorian Battenburg trained lace dress below
may well have been a wedding dress. The 1920s vintage flapper dress
below has panels of hand smocking and laid satin work organic forms
amid beading decoration. The 1920's vintage coat is decorated with coiled
Soutache braid and is quintessentially twenties in style and has
incredible garment panache.
If you plan to wear your vintage buys on rare
occasions, and not everyone
buys to wear their garments, do consider buying a garment that is too
big for you by a size or two. Usually a good seamstress can re
tailor aspects of a garment to your body shape.
In the early 20th century skirt waistlines were much
smaller than those of today with their more generous measurement for a
thicker waist. You might for example need to buy a suit going for
the larger skirt if you are thicker waisted and hip heavy compared to
your top half. Then you would need to have the bust altered on the
jacket or bodice. Look carefully at the garment and see how
feasible it would be for someone experienced to alter it. But
remember, if a major alteration is required you may well spoil the
intrinsic qualities of the original garment. Vintage garments are
less stable than new garments and those with fragile lace and nets
should all be treated with respect.
Contentmentfarm sells a very wide eclectic range of original
vintage and I have come to much admire Candy's styling and choice of goods. One aspect I particularly like about the
contentmentfarm site, is that if you are interested for example in the
1920s, you would be able to find not only a 1920's dress listed, but probably
some shoes and a hat that might coordinate to make a full outfit.
The items above would mix wonderfully in a 1920's
ensemble. The end picture shows the detail of Trapunto Quilting on a 1920's Appliqué
hat which is also shown in this page header. Smaller units like
these are also often very affordable compared to gowns and can be
mixed with modern items or reproduction clothing too.
Whatever you decide to do, do remember that antique and
vintage items cannot be worn quite as often as you might wear a modern
dress or suit made of new modern materials. Even mint garments that are older
and therefore more fragile. Occasional wear is suitable for many
garments, but some should really just be collected to be displayed,
loved and looked at. I'm sure you'd find many examples at this
particular vintage site to satisfy your taste and your eyes. On
the next page you can see some
typical vintage shawls and
Fashion-Era.com looks at women's costume and fashion history and analyses the mood of an era. Changes in technology, leisure, work, cultural and moral values. Homelife and politics also
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