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Vintage Bathing Suits – Art Deco Summer Fashion 1930

I’m supposing that we all know the history of bathing suits. Evolving from the extreme cover ups of the last century to the extreme non cover ups of our present time. I’ve come across this interesting bound album of period colored photos. Created around 1930 or so these were probably used as promotional tools for bathing suit salesmen or as a preview of  beach fashions for the coming season.

Check out these sporty art deco beauties…………………

Click on picture to view enlargement.

Here are some interesting sites that feature vintage and vintage inspired bathing suits:

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Fashion’s Folly – Vanity Thy Name is Fashion

Fashion Folly

I came across this fantastic little book the other day while shopping at my favorite antiques mall. In this book, entitled – “Fashion’s Folly”,  the authors intent was to mock and poke fun at fashion, fashion magazines and fashion photography of the time. The time was 1954 and I’ll let the authors explain their motivations –

Vanity, vanity, thy name is fashion. And fashion’s favorite vanity fare is the fashion magazine – that exotic catchall for the contorted pose, the bored expression, the Victorian objet d’art, the plazas, palaces and pomp of the old world, the geometric shapes of the new, the Jaquars, the tiaras, and the diamonds, and all other fancies of a very, very never never land. How high fashion has flown!

The authors of this book have devoted themselves modestly to the gentle pricking of the pearl – encrusted balloon of high fashion – this in the hope of bringing it somewhat closer to earth. It is also their hope that the ground observer – and even the balloon passengers – will find it fun.

Well, this book is great fun. The authors have selected specific magazine fashion shots and paired them with hilarious and irreverent captions.

Here are a few examples [click on image to enlarge] –

I’m still laughing and I’ve read this book 10 times already.

So fashionistas, let’s not take ourselves too seriously or we might end up in a book like this one day.

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Men’s Hats – Revived Fashion Statement

Straw Hat

Men’s hats have been around since pre history although it wasn’t until the 19th century that most modern hat forms originated. The top hat and bowler tended to represent the authority of the aristocracy while the softer informal felt and straw hats  were usually associated with artists, intellectuals and country folk. Most of these hats exist to his day. During our recent modern history the hat seems to have been retired as a fashion accessory but more recently they seem to be coming back. More and more gentlemen are discovering the value of this wonderful accessory and the sense of style it can convey.

I’ll be listing two hats tomorrow on my Etsy site. The first is a collapsible top hat, probably originally worn for a formal event. The second is a straw boater or skimmer, some 75 to 80 years old, just perfect for a summer outing.

Click on image to enlarge.

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Future Fashion of the Past

Future Fashion

Check out this newsreel from the 1930’s depicting imagined fashions for the year 2000. Aside from being a campy trip into the future, it seems to me that, most of the predictions are off the mark with only a few alluding to things actually going on today. Many of the fashions depicted are obviously rooted in the 1930’s aesthetic with only some minor tweaks here and there. I did like the futuristic man and his personal telephone [later to be known as a cell phone], but he basically looks like he stepped off the set of a 30’s Buck Rogers movie and forgot to take the salad bowl off his head.

I remember going to the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. The most exciting exhibit was the GM Futurama ride. The exhibit transported fair visitors through dioramas of space, under water scapes, tree killing machines in the Amazon and highways that spanned the globe. Everything looked as though it came out of the Star Trek series. This was to be the future. Massive cities, snaking highways and no mention whatsoever of ecology. Most of the predictions were also rooted in that time period and precious few actually came to be. Looking back they seem like quaint visions with of a not very realistic future.

I guess it’s not easy for designers to divorce themselves from contemporary designs and styles and truly imagine a revolutionary new clothing design or a new future world. When a designer does come up with a new revolutionary idea …… then that’s true genius.

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Elizabeth’s Vintage Shop. Vintage Clothing, Vintage Holiday and so much more.

Elizabeth's Shop

Let me tell you about the best kept secret in New Jersey.

Have you ever been to Elizabeth’s Vintage Shop at the flea market on rt. 29 about a mile south of Lambertville? If not then you’ve missed a delightful treasure trove of pure vintage. Go up the small hill at the top of the market and enter a shop like no other. You’ll find racks bursting with vintage clothing from the Victorian era to the 1980’s. Each garment is presented in pristine condition – washed and neatly pressed.

Her selection includes vintage gloves, purses, lace trims, appliques, millinery details and her specialty – vintage hats. It’s spring now and the shop is filled to the brim with floral hats in bright summer colors. White Victorian blouses, floral summer dresses, neat linen frocks, cool silk and rayon lingerie, light spring sweaters, really so much to take in and so many wonderful choices.

Elizabeth also carries a large collection of vintage perfume related items along side showcases packed with vintage holiday memorabilia. If you’re looking for that special 1950’s stuffed rabbit for your Easter celebration you’re sure to find it here. Are you still searching for that Santa Claus ornament you remember since childhood? Elizabeth probably has it tucked away in a corner shelf.

There aren’t many shops like Elizabeth’s left and entering it is really like taking a trip back in time.

Shop is open Wed/ Sat and Sunday.

Here are some very recent pictures of the shop. Hope you enjoy.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Easter Parade – The Girl on the Magazine Cover

Easter is just around the corner and I’m reminded of this great montage scene from the 1948 MGM picture “Easter Parade“. Music by Irving Berlin starring Fred Astaire, Judy Garland and Ann Miller. This film represents the height of the Hollywood musical and one of the best of its time. This short segment depicts the height of fashion looking back from 1948. The song,  “The Girl On The Magazine Cover”,  features an ingenious stage act, in which women appear against backdrops that look like the covers of  magazines.

High fashion, Hollywood  glamour, wonderful music  – take a look.

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Ethnic Jewelry as Fashion

Ethnic Jewelry

Not a new trend, by any means, the wearing of ethnic jewelry has always added a unique perspective to all aspects of fashion. The appreciation of artistry from different cultures, in my humble opinion, shows a high level of sophistication and an understanding of the value that fine traditional crafts have for many around the globe. By adorning yourself with ethnic jewelry you are embracing the culture and traditions of the various regions of the world. You are also recognizing the artists that created it as well as defining you own unique personal style.

I have a few exceptional examples of antique and vintage ethnic jewelry that I would like to share with you.

The first two pieces pictured are Turkoman pendants. These necklaces were crafted by the nomadic peoples of central Asia and date from the 19th century. Notice the elegant and intricate designs made with gilded silver and adorned with Carnelian cabochons.

[Click on image to enlarge]

The next picture presents a vintage or antique necklace from Yemen. This necklace displays gorgeous and richly detailed silver work adorned with carnelian stones and small glass beads on the prayer box. An interesting note about silver jewelry from Yemen is that much of it was made by Jewish artisans from a community that was established there at the time of King Solomon.

The following item is truly amazing and refined. This bracelet is done in fine silver on wool and every small puzzle piece in the bracelet is held by the wool. Most definitely of middle eastern origin.

The last item is a cuff bracelet from Yemen which features an inlaid silver design with set carnelian stones.

We’ve only scratched the surface of ethnic and tribal jewelry but maybe you’ve been a little inspired to collect a piece or two along the way.

Let me know what you think.

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Organic Artisan Jewelry at The Philadelphia International Flower Show

Flower Show

Nowadays it seems to be the fashion to go “green”. What could be more in keeping with this trend than making sure your jewelry is organic and all natural. If this concept piques your interest you would have been delighted to view the exhibition at The Philadelphia International Flower Show this past weekend.

The jewelry design competition is featured each year at the show. Floral and jewelry designers create fantastic necklaces, bracelets, brooches and tiaras, with international themes. All are made using natural flora and plant materials. I look forward to viewing the designs each year and this year, through this blog thingy, I can share them with you.

Please enjoy the picture gallery where I’ve listed the jewelry pieces with their component elements below.

I hope you enjoy the pictures and please feel free to leave your comments.

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Vintage Purses – Quality and Quantity

Aligator Purses

Last weekend I took a trip over to Renninger’s Mid Winter Classic Antiques show in Valley Forge, Pa. It’s always a nice show with an interesting mix of dealers showing everything from country furniture to diamonds and glitz. One of my favorite dealers was exhibiting – Ann Bonafede.

Ann always puts together a fantastic collection of high end purses and designer costume jewelry. We had a chance to chat and she was kind enough to let me photograph some of her items so I could share them with my readers.

There were rows of mint condition vintage skin bags, in all color ranges, dating from the 1940’s on up amidst a mind boggling collection of designer bags from Judith Leiber, Fendi, Cartier, Roberta Di Camerino, Chloe, Coach and so many more. Spring colors were plentiful, pinks, white, reds, plums, tan as well as zebra and combinations of all sorts.

The booth was always busy, so it seems bags were the thing at this show.
Ann was telling me that the selling was very brisk and I can see why. It’s all about quality and selection.

Check out some of her displays and if you’d like to contact Ann her email is – Or if you’d like to see the bags in person she’ll be exhibiting this weekend at the Chantilly Virginia Antiques show.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Ed Wiener

Here’s a preview of one item I’ll be listing tomorrow on Slapmefabulous, Etsy.

Executed in the early 1950’s, this pendant/necklace, hand crafted by one of the icons of the modernist jewelry movement, Ed Wiener, is truly a statement piece. Although deceptively simple in design this well crafted and solid form perfectly captures the prevailing artistic elements of the American mid century. Highly influenced by the drawings and mobiles of Alexander Calder, Wiener successfully translated those inspirations into a new aesthetic for jewelry and ornament.

The pendant is composed of brass, copper and silver and measures 2 1/2″ round. It comes with a brass chain but I imagine it originally with a suede or leather cord.


Check out the listing at Slapmefabulous on if you get a chance.