Thursday, July 29, 2010

Victorian attire for the well dressed gentleman...

Inspired by the stylish old chap above (a Victorian tin type photograph), and some recent pre-1920s finds, we decided to do a little research into the sartorial trends of the Victorian & Edwardian man, something we don't have too much experience in. In 2010, at well over a century old, these are definitely things you don't come across everyday, so it is especially exciting when we find them, and to share the discoveries with you!

Some Victorian & Edwardian pieces we currently have

Male fashion in the second half of the 19th century was dominated by the frock coat (see below), a mans coat with full skirt both front and back that reached just above the knee. It was commonly used for both day and evening wear through the 1890s, making it the most versatile coat of the Victorian wardrobe. The most significant difference between the trousers of then and now is the waistline. The Victorian man wore his pants higher, at or just below the navel. Trousers always had a button-up fly, as the zipper was only invented late in the century, and wasn't commonly used in clothes until the 1930s. Belts weren't used either, instead braces or suspenders in canvas or leather kept your pants up.

1800s/1900s black wool frock coat with matching vest, button fly trousers with suspenders

The Victorian gent wore a variety of vests in every combination of cut, color and cloth. Chinese silk became ubiquitous and relatively inexpensive during the mid 1800s, and silk vests were very common for day and evening wear, an expressive flash of color in an otherwise monochromatic get up. Many men would wear their coats buttoned only at the top, thereby allowing more of their vests to be flaunted. Towards the turn of the century, wool and cotton (see below) vests in conservative colors became more common for day wear.

1900s/1910s white 'Manhattan' back buttoned dress shirt with detachable wing tip collar & white cotton vest

Although similar to the shirts we wear today, due to limitations in machining and tailoring Victorian shirts were cut more fully. They also often buttoned up the back. Shirts were washed less frequently, and as a result men wore band collar shirts, adding detachable collars and cuffs to smarten their look for formal occasions. Some even had removable bib fronts which were reversible, allowing stains to be hidden and thus staying neat in appearance without laundering the entire shirt.

1800s/1900s Beaver top hat with box

Like vests, hats were always worn, and in a wide variety of styles. Top hats were de rigueur for formal events throughout the 19th and early 20th century, and also as day wear for the more established gentlemen. Bowlers or Derbies became more common as the 19th century progressed, and by the turn of the century outnumbered most other hat styles.

Circa 1915 'John B. Stetson' bowler hat

1800s/1900s Leather suitcase

Mustaches at the ready....rocking the Victorian look!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Vintage LOUIS VUITTON monogram bag!

One of the most frequent requests in our vintage shop has always been vintage designer items, especially bags. It seems everybody wants to own a vintage Chanel, Gucci or Louis Vuitton purse. It's no surprise, and buying designer vintage makes a lot of sense for those of us who's budgets can't stretch to new designer prices . It will almost always be a good investment, as you are are getting an authentic piece that was most likely very expensive new, and will retain it's value or even increase over the years if well looked after.

We are always on the hunt for these items, but they are scarce, and often too expensive for us to buy and re-sell.

Last week we had an opportunity to buy a few great designer pieces, including this vintage 'Louis Vuitton' speedy 30 hand bag! This is a timeless piece in the famous LV monogram canvas with brown leather and golden brass hardwear, a must for any Louis collector, and it'll be in the shop today!

Louis Vuitton Malletier, more commonly known as Louis Vuitton is a French fashion house that started way back in 1854. The LV monogram, introduced in the late 1800's is perhaps the most recognized luxury brand in the world.

Audrey Hepburn with her 'Louis Vuitton Speedy'

Louis Vuitton started his company as a maker of trunks. After working for French royalty, he developed an advanced knowledge of what was required to make a good traveling case, and so began to make his own luggage. He introduced his lightweight, airtight, flat bottom trunks, the first trunks that were stackable with ease for long voyages. Before his introduction, trunks were generally heavy and rounded on top to promote water run off, and thus couldn't be stacked. The Vuitton trunks practicality made them hugely successful and prestigious, and other luggage makers soon began to immitate the style and design. Vuitton set about re-designing the trunk exterior to protect against this duplication of his look, firstly with brown and beige stripes, later with a canvas pattern bearing the logo 'marque L. Vuitton Deposee' which roughly translates to 'L. Vuitton Trademark'. After his death in 1892, his son Georges vuitton began to build the company internationally, launching the signature monogram canvas, and made worldwide patents on it which proved successful in stopping counterfeiting.

Louis Vuitton trunk makers in Asnieres, France taken in the 1800s, where hard-sided special order trunks are still made to this day!

Stay tuned for more vintage designer pieces in the coming weeks!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Mad About Mod!

We recently picked up a fab collection of groovy mod mini dresses from the 1960s, and just couldn't resist a Twiggy inspired photo shoot using some of the pieces...

1960s psychedelic velvet mini dress

1960s orange mod coat, 1960s 'Joseph LaRose' orange leather lace up go-go boots

1960s white flower print mini dress, 1960s white patent cap

1960s black flower print mini dress, 1960s black & white patent flats

1960s white cotton mod mini dress

1960s 0range/pink/green mini dress, 1960s green & white patent flats

1960s multi color mini dress, 1960s yellow patent flats

1960s orange & pink flower print mini dress, 1960s orange velvet circle bag

1960s white & orange polka dot linen mini dress, 1960s white flats

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Boho Chic Part II

As promised, here's our second installment of the 'Bohemian' post, with some great boho blouses and tops perfect for the summer...

1970s brown embroidered top

'Made in Hungary', hand-embroidered black & white top

Early black & white gingham shirt with lace trim

1970s white embroidered top

The word 'Bohemien' dates back to early 19th Century France when artists and creators (who arrived via Bohemia) began to concentrate in lower rent, lower class Gypsy neighborhoods. Popularized and adapted to 'Bohemian' in the English language by the mid 19th Century, as defined in the Westminster Review, 1865;

'A 'Bohemian' is simply an artist or litterateur who consciously or unconsciously, secedes from conventionality in life and art'

Bohemianism spread across Europe and to America, and has drifted in and out of style through various movements and countercultures over the past 150 years, notably the 'Beats', and the 'Hippies', a movement informed by the Beat generation via writers such as Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William Burroughs. It was popular throughout this time period to wear vintage gypsy style blouses & skirts from Eastern Europe along with lacey embroidered Victorian blouses & dresses, vintage clothing and bohemian lifestyles have been closely liked ever since.

1970s Victorian style lace blouse
1970s Victorian style ruffled lace blouse

1970s 'Gunne Sax' Victorian style ruffled blouse

Victorian white cotton blouse with pin-tucking

Victorian embroidered lace cotton blouse