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Cloche Encounters – Radical Fashion Statement of the 1920’s


It’s the roaring 20’s, the Jazz Age. The world is going through a momentous change. WW1 has just ended, the middle class is on the rise and women are beginning to assert a new found independence. Fashion gets swept along with all this change and starts going through a revolution of its own. The old Victorian and Edwardian fashions just do not work in this new world. Looser and freer styles which present new choices come into being.

Straight dropped waist dresses featuring rising hemlines, bold colors, and rich fabrics are enthusiastically embraced by the new woman and not only did 1920s fashions look totally different the young women wearing them felt and acted differently.

Amidst all this change a new type of hat was created which would become the iconic head covering for the entire decade. This particular hat was called the Cloche. Cloche means bell in French and indeed the basic shape of the cloche is that of a bell. Eventually, the term “Cloche” came to designate all of the streamlined, tight-fitting hats that were created in the 1920s.

Worn low and straight on the forehead, nearly obscuring the eyebrows, the cloche accentuated the streamlined silhouette of the flapper era.

While the cloche hat never really went totally out of style it had a strong resurgence in the 1960’s. Many hats from that time were blatant copies of their earlier cousins from the 1920’s, albeit using newer fabrics and updated construction techniques. If one is seriously interested in purchasing an authentic 1920’s cloche some home work on fabric and construction techniques are in order since many sellers use the term “cloche” or “flapper style” to describe a whole host of bell hats from many different periods.

Here are some examples of authentic 1920’s cloche hats ——

Straw Cloche - 1920's

From the Slapmefabulous collection

1920's Felt Cloche

Available at svintage

1920's Straw Cloche

Can be found at marvita13

There aren’t many nice 20’s cloches to be found online but fell free to comment about these few classics I’ve managed to find.

As an added treat check out this video.

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Vintage Swim Wear Again


I just found a great Jantzen wool bathing suit from the 1930’s and for some reason, maybe because of the warmer weather, I can’t get swim wear out of my mind. Even though I did a brief tour of swim wear in my last post I thought it might be fun to surf around Etsy and other sites for more vintage men’s and women’s  bathing suits for sale right now.

Make sure to visit this link on beefcake swimwear for a great history of men’s beach fashion.

Oh, and check out the 2010  ad campaign for Jantzen.  The video has a fun retro style.  Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Here is a small selection of the most interesting suits out there starting with my latest Jantzen find.

Vintage Jantzen Swim Suit
Vintage Jantzen Swim Suit

60's Neon Pink Psychedelic Bikini Halter Top Sexy Beach Hippie Swimsuit1960’s Neon Pink Psychedelic Bikini Halter Top  from lightyearsvintage

Vintage 1950s DeWeese Pin-Up Vintage 1950s DeWeese Pin-Up from PINKYAGOGO

Catalina Polka Dot Bathing Suit 14Catalina Polka Dot Bathing Suit 14 from AphroditeEternal

MONOKINI vintage SwimsuitMONOKINI vintage Swimsuit from TractorDog

1960’s Yellow Hollywood Wiggle Swimsuit from FASHIONRERUN

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Mod Girl Vintage

Mod Girl

Last weekend I took a trip down to Philadelphia to visit some friends and stop by the Antiques Center at 615 south 6th street. It’s always fun shopping there. Vintage clothing, vintage jewelry and a wide variety of collectibles abound.

I especially enjoy shopping at MOD GIRL. It’s the first booth you see as you enter the building. There’s Jill, seated behind her jewelry counters chock full of bakelite bracelets, rhinestones necklaces, marcasite brooches, sterling, copper, glitz and so much more. A staple in this center, as Jill says, she’s been there forever. And she has been there for a long time indeed filling her customer’s needs for fine vintage clothing and jewelry.

People come from New York, California and even a few Philadelphians stop by. Many New Yorkers now have second homes in Philadelphia finding it very cosmopolitan and much more affordable than the big apple.

This past summer Jack Nicholson was in town shooting scenes for a film by James L. Brooks and the director himself stopped by and bought two bakelite bracelets.

Searching through the clothing racks I spotted dresses of many different styles and periods. There were a lot of nice wearable dresses from the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s. I also found a good variety of  classic formal numbers, along with a lot of fun kicky pieces. Coats, sweaters, scarfs, bags, shoes…….…it’s all there. I even noted some designer items as well. Pauline Trigere, Pucci, Adele Simpson, YSL, Schiaparelli, Valentino and many others. It’s definitely worth the trip. I know I’ll be back again soon.