Thursday, December 27, 2007

Spring Roses - 1950's Style!

It's not January yet and I'm already tired of winter. Here in Boston, we've been inundated with tons of early snow, with lots more to come. Yesterday, I went in search of something to make me smile and found this vintage 1950's beauty just waiting for it's time. That time is now, as I listed it at auction last night.

I just love this print of pink and red roses. It brings to mind a rose garden in June. This authentic vintage dress is all cotton, so you'll stay cool and fresh in the heat of summer. Come on, now. Aren't you tired of winter, too?

See this dress and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Orange is My New Favorite Color

I've got orange on my mind. The other night, hubby and I sat down to watch Iron Chef America. Lo and behold, it was Battle Carrot! OK, yeah, I like carrots just fine. But the things these chefs did with the lowly carrot were just incredible! And the gorgeous shades of orange looked beautiful on the plate, especially when combined with shades of green and yellow.

We've started to add hats for Spring to our site, and look what I found! Not one, but two stunning vintage 1960's hats in brilliant orange. I think it's time orange made a comeback in my wardrobe. How about yours?

See these hats and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion

Saturday, November 17, 2007

They Just Don't Make Them Like They Used To

I don't think there is anything more sexy than a vintage 1940's suit. Fitted through the waist, with flared hips and shoulder pads to balance the hip width, nothing is more flattering to the feminine figure. As an added bonus, these suits always feature unusual design details that make them totally unique and unlike anything you can buy today. Take this mustard yellow beauty, for example. It's wool gabardine. And look at those curves!

The opening edge has a sinuous curve that draws your eye and accents the tiny waist. The bound buttonholes follow the line of the opening. Notice how that curve is mimicked in the shape of the lapels. The attention to detail is astounding and unique. It's one of the reasons I love 1940's suits.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Things I Love About This Dress

I'm not a poet. If I were, I'd write a sonnet about this dress. Instead, I'll just give you a list of the things I love about it:
It's from the 1930's.
It's pink.
It's velvet.

The embroidery is hand worked.
The embroidery goes all the way around to the back.

The sexy neckline dips to a deep V in back.
It has a train.
It's one of a kind.

Oh, and did I mention, it's PINK?

See this dress and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I Screamed When Saw It!

It doesn't happen very often, but every once in awhile a vintage dress takes your breath away. I recently purchased a load of vintage dresses from a gal who was getting out of the vintage business after 30 years. She had things in piles in a bedroom of her home, was getting ready to move, and just wanted it gone. We filled about 6 large trash bags with things and I brought them home. I really didn't take the time to look at everything while I was loading the bags. I knew the quality was top notch and didn't have the time.

The other day, I took out one of the bags to inventory the clothing and get it photographed. My hand touched the black velvet, and I knew the dress was a good one because it had that substantial feel of high quality vintage. I held the dress up, and those 3 dimensional wings on the sides of the skirt made me gasp. And then.....

and then.....

I found the Ceil Chapman label. That's when I screamed out loud! Those of you who love vintage will understand. My husband thinks I'm crazy when stuff like this happens. I mean, it's just a dress.

But What A Dress!!!!

See this dress and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

Monday, October 08, 2007

Gina Fratini Butterfly Dress

Gina Fratini is one of the influential designers of the British Boutique Movement. She started her business in 1964 and was known for her velvet pinafores and dresses in the late 60's. She designed the dress worn by Princess Anne for her 21st birthday portrait. By the 70's, her designs had evolved into more romantic and fairytale style evening gowns. Fratini closed her business in the 80's, but continued to design for Norman Hartnell as well as private client Princess Dianna. A Fratini dress worn by Princess Dianna brought $85,000 at a Christie's auction in 1997.

If you take a closer look at the print in the skirt of this 1960's Fratini dress, you'll see giant Monarch butterfly wings. A co-ordinating geometric print forms a wide border at the hem.

See this dress and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Mr. Blackwell Does Fashion

Richard Selzer, AKA Mr. Blackwell, is known for more than his annual Worst Dressed List. He was a fashion designer who had his own line of women's clothing from 1958 to the 80's. His designs tended toward the dramatic and theatrical. This dress certainly attests to that! Fashioned from black wool jersey, it has the most incredible rhinestone choker neckline!

Strands of rhinestones connect the choker to the front neckline of the dress. And if that's not sexy enough, take a look at the back!

See this dress and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The 1980's

I wasn't big into fashion in the 1980's. Being a young mother with two children under 6, I wasn't big into fashion, period! But I do remember falling in love with the full skirted dresses that were based on 1950's styles.

I would have looked longingly at this dress back then, but since I didn't have anywhere to wear it, it would have stayed on the rack at my favorite department store. Now I can offer it to you as vintage fashion!

A strange thing has happened lately. "80's dress" is the number one search term on my website for the last 2 or 3 months. So, for those of you looking for a bit of 80's style, we've heard you loud and clear!

See these dresses and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

1930's Original Fashion Illustrations

Recently at auction, we came upon a portfolio of original 1930's fashion illustrations by Dot Levin. Ms. Levin also signed her work Iris, Irissa, and Iris Levin. We were told by the auctioneer that Dot Levin was an artist and illustrator whose work was featured in many magazines and newspapers in the 1930's and 40's.

We have 10 separate lots of these illustrations going up for auction tonight on EBay. Most are worked in pen & ink with a few watercolors and pencil sketches among the lots.

These are great for framing for all you vintage fashion enthusiasts! I've kept a couple for myself and they'll be gracing the wall of my office soon.

See these illustrations and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

Friday, August 24, 2007

Versatile Little 1950's Jackets

The Land of Lost's that place where vintage suits get separated. The dresses go one way, the skirts another, and, sadly, the jackets get separated from their mates. Alas, your chances of finding an exact match are almost nil.

We don't know how it happens. Perhaps the skirt was worn more often than the jacket and wore out before it's mate and so was sent to skirt heaven. But the jacket was in great shape, so it stayed in the back of the closet.

Maybe a favorite dress came with a jacket that just didn't work, so it was given away or hung separately from it's mate, while the dress became the life of the party.

Whatever the reason, these lost jackets have a new life to lead! They look great paired with your favorite jeans or trousers. Co-ordinate them with a plaid or tweed skirt from your closet. Throw them on over a sleeveless sheath dress to keep you warm on those cool autumn mornings. Finish your outfit in style!

See these jackets and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

Monday, August 20, 2007

Looking for Plus Size Vintage?

Finding great vintage clothing in plus sizes without looking dowdy is not easy. At a recent auction I attended, there were 3 racks of plus size vintage clothing from the 1940's and 50's, most still with the original tags attached! Believe me, I fought long and hard to win those racks of dresses for you, and I've listed a few today in my EBay store. Many of them are summer styles, so I'll wait to list those in the spring, but here are a few of the fall and cocktail dresses listed now:

All of the dresses were clipped to the mannequin to approximate actual fit. They all have bust measurements between 49" and 51".

See these dresses and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

My Favorite Decade

I love the fashions of the 1930's. The silhouette was long and lean with lots of intricate details and elaborate seaming we just don't see anymore. Take this dress, for example. This is a simple black rayon crepe dress, but look how dramatic it becomes when the upper bodice and shoulders are accented with sheer black chiffon. 1" wide bands of the crepe are appliqued a scant 1/4" away from the edge of the seam where the chiffon and crepe meet. Those bands are perfectly straight with no ripples or uneven seams, as they would be if I tried to sew them!

As if that is not enough, the lower sleeves also have angled insets of the sheer chiffon with the decorative bands at the upper edge. Maybe one of the reasons I like this dress so much is because, as a seamstress, I can appreciate the hard work that went into the details. They just don't make 'em like they used to!

See this dress and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Ah-Choo! Artist Signed Hankies

Before the onslaught of Kleenex, proper ladies always had a hankie or two at hand. Whether slipped into a purse or pocket, one always needed a hankie to deal with such indelicacies as sneezes, lipstick smudges, or Junior's sticky hands. But the hankie had another purpose. In a world of proper, ladylike solids and prints on her clothing, a woman could express a bit of her personal style with a printed handkerchief in an unusual and artistic design.

Several textile artists became known for their signed prints on ladies hankies in the 1950's. Tammis Keefe is perhaps the most prized, as her designs were prolific and unusual. The example above is one of her famous antique furniture prints.

This hankie by Jeanne Miller has a lovely Fall design of squashes and gourds with cattails and sheafs of wheat.

And this one by Betty Anderson has a sweet design of roses worked in an unusual bright vibrant orange.

Who needs a calendar on the wall when you can carry one on your hankie? While this one is not signed, I just love the uniqueness of the design. This one is from 1960, by the way.

See these hankies and more vintage accessories at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Big Gamble - How to Protect Yourself When Buying Vintage Clothing on EBay

Have you every been disappointed with an item of vintage clothing you purchased on EBay? I'll bet the answer is, "Yes!".

I sell exclusively on EBay and have one of the largest vintage clothing stores on the EBay site. I consider it my job to be aware of what is happening in the vintage clothing categories on EBay, so I set out to discover why customers of vintage clothing are so disenchanted with buying on EBay.

For the last 6 months, I have been conducting an experiment. I have purchased over 100 vintage clothing items on EBay for my personal use. I used a different EBay account to purchase these items, so the sellers I purchased from did not know who they were selling to. I only purchased items described as being in excellent condition. I purchased from experienced, well-known sellers as well as new and inexperienced sellers.

I was appalled at the results of my experiment! More than 50% of the items I purchased were damaged in some way! These pieces could not be considered to be in excellent condition by any stretch of the imagination. I received a dress covered in mold and mildew, a dress that overwhelmed me with the smell of moth balls, and a dress that had been washed and shrunk so the lining hung 2 inches below the hem of the dress itself! I received items with actual measurements up to 2" off from what was stated in the listing. I received items with moth damage, iron shine, stains, fading, popped seams, broken zippers, splits in the fabric, underarm odors, tears and holes, alterations, and cut off and shortened hems. NONE of these issues had been disclosed in the listings so I could make an informed buying decision.

It's no wonder buyers of vintage clothing no longer trust EBay sellers! But, take heart! There are many professional vintage clothing sellers on EBay who offer wonderful merchandise and can be trusted. The trick is to find them. An easy way to be assured you'll be happy with your purchase is to shop with Vintage Fashion Guild members. Sellers who are members of the Vintage Fashion Guild have gone through a rigorous review process and meet the standards set forth by the Guild. Couture Allure has been a member of the VFG for over 4 years. We highly recommend all sellers who are members of the VFG.

In light of my dreadful experiences buying vintage clothing on EBay, we're announcing a major policy change at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion. We are so confident you'll be happy with your purchase from us, we now accept returns on most of the items we sell. You can find the details on our Policies Page on EBay.

There are many other ways you can you protect yourself when considering making a purchase of vintage clothing on EBay. I've just written an EBay Guide with several tips which you might find interesting.

Shop for vintage clothing on EBay with confidence at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Playing with Princess Seams

In the mid 1960's, when the simple shift dress became popular, designers began experimenting with seams to add some visual interest to what could be a pretty basic style. This 1960's coat is by a company named Irvama-Carmel. I don't know who the designer was, but I love the ingenious use of the S curve in the front Princess seams.

The seam starts at the neckline under the collar, and curves out over the bust, back in above the waist, and then out to the side seam. That seam incorporates the bust shaping and also provides placement for the faux pocket flaps. Why use a straight dart when you can do something so much more pleasing to the eye?

See this coat and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Vintage Coats II

As promised, here are more vintage coats from our 2007 collection, now available in our store.

1960's Mohair Boucle Coat with Mink Trim

1950's Karakul Coat with Mink Trim

1950's Navy Cashmere Swing Jacket

See these coats and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

When's the Best Time to Buy a Vintage Coat?

NOW! We're listing our 2007 collection of vintage coats this week, and we've got some beauties for you! Shop early for the best selection. We're usually sold out early!

1970's Rust Wool Coat with Mink Collar

1960's Mohair Plaid Clutch Coat

1940's Purple Velvet Beaded Evening Coat

1950's Baby Blue Clutch Coat

More tomorrow!

See these coats and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

Friday, June 15, 2007

Purple Shoes!

Where were these shoes when I was in 8th grade? In 1967, these chunky heeled shoes were all the rage. We wore them with our neon colored mini dresses and bright tights. I would have died and gone to heaven if I could have had purple shoes!

I had the perfect hot pink dress that just cried out for these shoes. I would have worn them with matching pink tights, or maybe yellow ones..... Leave it to me to find the perfect shoes 40 years too late! Of course, I no longer wear a size 5 1/2 shoe, nor do I wear mini skirts, but purple is still my favorite color. I know you understand.

See these shoes and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

1940's Chenille Robe

Cozy, comfy, snug, and secure - that's how I feel when I wear a vintage chenille robe. Made from soft cotton, chenille was first popular for bedspreads. And a robe like this gets better each time you wash it.

But how can you be sure its vintage? Well, this one comes with the original cotton filled shoulder pads. You can't get more Joan Crawford than that! And, it's new, old stock, with the original tags still attached!

See this robe and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .