Sunday, December 29, 2013

Slightly off topic but here's why there are so few men's clothes on this site

From the seller:

Treasures from THE PHILADELPHIA / DELAWARE VALLEY COLLECTION at The Willing Mind. By exclusive arrangement with The Grand Review.

Print size 16 x 24, and consciously formatted to work with a 16 x 24 frame, or custom framed as you see fit.

This is a new large format print of a very early 20th century photograph in our collection. It cannot be before 1903, because he is wearing an early incarnation of a Stormy Kromer cap, and Stormy didn't go into real production until 1903.

What I love here is the total look. Real work boots that have seen real work (I was in the Laborer's Union as a night shift sand hog in the late 70s while going to college during the day, and I went through boots!) A work shirt that looks like half a dozen of the shirts in my dresser at home. A vest that I imagine is likely roughout suede, raw shearling side facing in. Topping it all off a beloved Stormy Kromer, which is my winter hat of choice though mine has a less pronounced crown.

A better description of the jeans I leave to the antique jeans experts that I hope see this posting, and I will post their comments here.

From Me:

Give the guy a shave, turn the vest safety cone orange, and I swear I see a dozen people like him every single day along I-95 (main interstate on the East Coast of the United States). This photo is 100+ years old yet does anyone see anything that signals that out other than the way this guy trims his facial hair? Sorry guys, but you lost your sense of fashion sometime in the mid Victorian age. It started to die in the Regency time period - when blue and brown became the go to colors and black was seen as perfect all the time for gentleman- but was completely killed off in the Victorian age.

This is why I don't have many guys' outfits up on this site. Mens' fashions haven't changed in over 100 years. Even the guy in the photo is wearing the basic shoes, jeans, and long sleeved "t-shirt". It's hard to get excited over something that hasn't become drastically different in a century. Even most outfits from 200 years ago aren't ridiculously different from today:

Angle that vest, yank off that cravat and put a tie in it's place, and take off those shoes - you have pretty much modern formal wear while wearing a trench coat. Well, he'd need shoes, but other than that...

The point is that I don't post much gentlemen's clothing because it hasn't changed. Ladies clothing changed dramatically over the decades up until, really, 1966. Women's fashion only just died - guys fashion died a long time ago.

Why so many Bustle Skirts are lost...

From the seller:

Impressive silk ball gown with basque bodice jacket, the jacket styling looks like from an earlier time then the gown, the gown looks Edwardian and the basque bodice looks Victorian, found in the same trunk, the silk fabric is exactly the same. The gown's bodice is gathered and layered in pastel silk chiffon and is piped with chiffon rose trim, high waisted with open skirt to reveal flounce pale pink chiffon, interested knotted flying panel at the back. Bodice is beautifully made in the French style with finished seams in the cotton stayed interior, lace decollete, with satin covered buttons and a ruched panel in blue satin both front and back, box pleated cuffs with satin bows. The gown with a fragile chiffon bodice with small breaks both exterior underms and interior is also tender especially at the back hook and eye closure, the brocade is excellent, the bodice is excellent.


chest 34"

waist 24"

length in front 56"

Bodice bust 32"

waist 22".

train length 88"

From Me:

You see that pretty dress your Mom wore 30 or 40 years ago and realize she won't wear that old thing ever again. Although the bodice isn't much on fabric, the voluminous skirt is - and you can easily yank it apart to create something in the latest style. At least, that is what I'm guessing happened in this case. That bodice couldn't be more 1870's if it tried and that dress is so very Titanic era (1909-1913). Having an extant bustle gown, I can tell you first hand, the amount of material in one of those skirts is ridiculous - and not everyone was budget conscious. Sometimes, the entire skirt is made of silk.

Early 1860's American Civil War Era Paisley Dress

From the seller:

A magical 1860’s Civil War era brown and white print dress. The fabric has a small white and black pattern with exquisite boarders of white paisley pattern that are used on the edge of the pagoda sleeve and hemline. The armscyes and waist are piped. The bodice is lined with cotton and has a front hook and eye closure. The skirt is attached to the waist with cartridge pleating. The front of the skirt has two faux pockets that are decorated with two copper silk buttons. The skirt is unlined. The dress is in very good and sturdy condition. There is some mild underarm discoloration on the inside lining that is barely visible on the outside fabric. Bust 32 Waist 22 Skirt length 40 Width at hemline 148. A beautiful display dress.

From Me:

I think this is another "redone" dress from the 1850's - although the late 1850's. The puffs at the top of the sleeves were popular from the late 1850's throughout the American Civil War. However, the cuff of the sleeves with the puff at the top went from very wide in the late 1850's to very tight by 1865. It would make perfect sense just to hack off the point of the dress - maybe even take an old wrapper and make it into a nice dress- but leave the sleeves since, well, any seamstress will tell you not to mess with the sleeves unless absolutely necessary. Cutting the waistline is easy!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Peachy 1920's Greecian Style Dress

From the seller:

This exquisite vintage cream fringe filet lace pink silk rosette chemise slip flapper dress dates from the 1920s. It is made of a pale pink silk chiffon slip lining underneath, with an off white cream color sheer fine unique fringed filet lace floral pattern fabric overlay. This lovely lace dress is loose fitting, with a chemise straight shift style, sleeveless, with a pink silk gold lamé rosette flower trim on front neckline shoulder, pink silk chiffon shoulder straps and is fully lined. The dress measures 41 inches long, with 34 inch hips, a 32 inch waist and 34 inch bust. It is in good condition, with only a small grease smudge mark the bottom skirt (see close-up). This is truly a wonderful piece of wearable lace art!

From Me:

The style is probably from the earlier part of the decade.

1920's Party Dress

From the seller:

20s black silk velvet and mesh Party dress with pansy appliques. Dress has a 34"bust,31"waist,40"hips,43"long. Waist side seam snaps. SOLD AS IS-damage on the mesh-see close ups. Velvet is solid/strong with no issues.

From Me:

So cute!

1920's Robins Egg Blue Dress

From the seller:

Vintage 20s Art Noveau Romantic Dress
Pastel Robins Egg Blue Silk Chiffon
Drop Waistline with Silk Ribbons
Skirting Topped with Two Tiers of Lace
and Two Tiers of Ruffled Silk Chiffon
Pink Rose Accents

Snap Closure
Inside Waistline Stay
Fully Lined with Silk

The body of the dress is in wearable condition ~ Silk ribbons have wear/discoloration

There are some small spots on the silk
The lace on the shoulders is damaged beyond repair and missing
Lace on other parts of the dress are in nice shape
There is no fade
Label ~ None

Shoulder to Hem Length 43.5" ~ Chest 35" ~ Waist 26" ~ Hips Full
Approx Size Small to Medium ~ Please Refer to Measurements for Proper Fit

From Me:

Sorry! Only one picture this time. The measurements seem *off* to me so I'd take them with a grain of salt.

Early Romantic Era Hat

From the seller:

Victorian ca 1850-60's Civil War Era Bonnet / Calash

This mid 1800's Victorian bonnet is made from a brown and tan striped silk, it has wood cane ribs around the brim, and plaid silk bow and ties. It's lined in a tan glazed cotton. The ties are shattered and it has some very minor shattering in a few spots on the outside of the bonnet, but overall in very good condition.

From Me:

This bonnet is a good 20 years older (at least!) than the seller believes. See the funny bun pocket at the back of the head that sticks up above the head? Very common in the 1820's/1830's. That pocket disappears in the 1840's because the hairstyles become more subdued. Ie, you weren't trying to stick your hair in unnatural positions anymore. Seriously, go check out some of the 1830's hairstyles - they are ridiculous!

Early 1920's Mint Green Dress

From the seller:
Vintage Art Deco 1920's Flapper Mint Green Dress Lace Collar & Beaded

Beaded Side Button Detail, Lace Collar & Pleated Bottom

In Good Condition
with no tars of stains we could find


Drop Waist 34"

Armpit to Armpit 37"

Total Length 44"

From Me:

I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas and will have a happy New Year! The length of this dress and overall style suggests that it's from the earlier part of the decade.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Edwardian Summer Dress

From the seller:


Romantic and sweet fine white linen summer tea gown dating to the late 19thc early 20thc. Nicely styled with high collar, slight curved empire waist, replete with lace, embroidery and pleats of varying sizes. Back button and loop closure with hook and eye, lovely long sleeves, chiffon streamer at back waist. In excellent uncleaned as found condition with age/storage related oxidation yellowing should clean and press up beautifully.

I have been away! but now back with loads of treasures to go on in the next many weeks!


shoulders - approx. 17" across

sleeves - approx. 25"

chest - approx. 16" across

waist - approx. 12" across

length - approx. 65"

From Me:

All those pintucks - yikes! Probably about 1908/1909.

Post American Civil War Dress

From the seller:

Here we have a gorgeous silk ensemble dating to just after the Civil War, mid to late 1860’s. I want to begin by saying that our photos do not come close to capturing the richness of the color of the silk. This two piece set is constructed from a rich dark brown silk taffeta and fully lined in both pieces with brown polished cottons. The bodice is piped at the armscye, neck and hem and sleeve cuff. Sleeves are a two piece coat style. Closure is down the center front using 11 self-fabric covered buttons, all present and in good condition. Bodice is a mix of hand and machine sewing. Features a hidden watch pocket in the left front panel. The majority of the skirt is sewn by hand. Waist band closes on the left side with hooks and eyes and there is a pocket in the right front seam. The front panel is flat (not gathered), sides are pleated and back panel is tightly cartridge pleated. The hem is bound with worsted wool tape. The workmanship in this garment is beautiful, obviously done by a skilled seamstress, and, while it is not a “flashy” outfit it, is elegant in its simplicity. The icing on the cake is that this set is in very good/excellent condition. Both the silk and the lining are in clean solid condition and show only minimal wear. There is a small amount of damage to the silk in the left elbow area, looks like maybe is was rubbed or caught on something. There is some very mild underarm staining and a few tiny insect holes in the skirt. Some of the buttons are coming loose but are all still attached and intact. Garments in this condition are not easy to find, makes a lovely display. Please Note: We do not sell garments of this age as wearable and strongly discourage any attempt to do so. Therefore, the measurements provided are for reference purposes only. BODICE: Bust 34, Waist 27, Front Length 19, Back Length 24. SKIRT: Waist 27, Front Length 42, Back Length 44, Hem Circumference 120. Please feel free to ask questions before bidding.

From Me:

Remember when reading this measurements that the waist is a bit raised - this would probably be right around the lower ribs. Yes, it is displayed funny - but in a way, that helps to tell that this really is late 1860's.