Monday, June 30, 2008

A Vintage Quiz

Here's a little quiz to see how discerning your eye is. What's wrong with this 1950's dress? No, I'm not talking about the missing button. There is something about this dress that is very obviously wrong. Take a good long look at the photo and see if you can find it.

I was thinking about titling this post "DON'T DO THIS", but I wasn't sure how many people would respond positively to that. I could have titled it "What Not to Do", but that was too close to one of my favorite TV shows.

Did you figure it out yet? Hint - the dress has been altered, probably in the 80's.

Here's a cute picture of my dog:

No, Zippy didn't alter the dress! I just needed to fill in some space on this post, so the answer to the quiz didn't pop out before you had a chance to figure it out. He is cute though, no?

Answer: The dress has been shortened about 8" from its original length. What's worse, its been cut off and shortened. DON'T DO THIS!!!! There, I said it. Please, I'm begging you, if you must shorten a vintage dress, leave the original length in the portion that you fold up. That way, the next owner can let the hem back down if she wants. I spend alot of time restoring original hem lengths to 1950's dresses that were shortened in the 60's. Hey, fashions change. Hem lengths go up and down. That's OK. But step away from the scissors.....please!

See this dress and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Shop Early for Best Selection

I've always disliked that phrase, no matter how true it may be. But the fact remains that you can't find a decent bathing suit at the mall when the temperatures finally decide to soar in June. And you can't find a stylish winter coat when you need one in February.

I'd like to tell you that it is different with vintage clothing, but we sold out of bathing suits in March. We started photographing and listing winter coats in May, and many of our best for this year are already sold. Style takes planning!

For those of you who are thinking about your winter coat while sitting on the beach, may we offer these for your consideration?

1940's Emerald Princess Coat:

1980's Pauline Trigere Coat:

1960's Tapestry Coat with Fox Collar:

1950's Black Velvet Swing Coat:

See these coats and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Sheer Wonder of it All

We just listed a fabulous collection of vintage peignoir sets, including this 1950's Shadowline set in girly pink. Girly - that's exactly what these are. Fluffy, poufy, and sweet as candy. Wearing something like this just makes a gal feel pretty.

So I'm taking pictures of these peignoir sets, and BAM! I put this long white gown on the mannequin and I can see right through it! This thing leaves nothing to the imagination! "Wait a minute", says I. "I know this thing is 50's, but I never wore anything this racy, much less anyone from my mother's generation!"

Then, this black one went on the mannequin. If anything, it's even sheerer than the white one. Wow!

This begins to unnerve me. My imagination starts working overtime as I picture moms all over 1950's middle America, the same moms who baked apple pies, hung laundry outside to dry, and spent the afternoon ironing dad's shirts. I picture those moms running around at night nearly naked in sheer nightgowns after the kids have gone to bed, doing unimaginable things that don't involve washing dishes. It can't be! An email to my mom is definitely in order to dispel these nightmarish visions.

To my relief, mom confirms that no, she never owned anything like that. And though she longed to wear one of those girly pink sets like the one up at the top of this post, with a young family, she couldn't afford it. In fact, when my brain calmed down, I remembered mom wearing something more like these 1950's Barbizon pajamas.

Whew! So who was wearing those sheerest of sheer nightgowns? Maybe this image from a 1956 Frederick's of Hollywood catalog will help clear up the mystery.

The Frederick's catalog! The catalog that fed the fantasy life of moms all across Middle America! The catalog that made us wonder if we too would be magically transformed into that exotic creature when our order arrived in the mail. But I'll never tell. And I know my mom won't either!

See all these lingerie items and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Cloche Hat - Through the Years

From Fairchild's Dictionary of Fashion:

Cloche (klohsh) Deep-crowned hat with very narrow brim or brimless, fitting head closely, almost concealing all of the hair. Worn pulled down almost to eyebrows.

The cloche hat first became popular in the 1920's. Although cloches are most often linked with flappers, they actually started appearing in high fashion as early as 1917. Coco Chanel started her career as a milliner and is said to have invented the cloche style in the teens, although that distinction has also been given to milliners Reboux and Lucie Hamar. Cloches complimented the bobbed hairstyles of the 20's.

During the 1950's, cloches again made a brief appearance as cocktail hats. Most often made of satin with sparkling decorations, they also fit closely to the head and were soft in construction.

Cloches made another appearance in the late 1960's and early 70's, although they now most often had a small brim.

How do you tell if the cloche you're looking at is from the 20's or 60's? Almost all cloches from the 20's will be fully lined in lightweight silk.

Later hats will have no lining and an inner hatband of grosgrain ribbon.

If you see a cloche hat advertised as 1920's or flapper and it isn't lined or has an inner grosgrain hatband, be careful! You could be buying a 60's hat!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Hats Still Hot for Fall

From Paris to Milan to New York, hats were still showing strong on the runways for Fall 2008. Shown above are looks from Christian Dior, Dolce & Gabanna, and Marc Jacobs. Hats are a great way to update your look without spending a lot of cash. And choosing vintage hats will give you lots of options. We've just added a great selection of vintage hats to our store - there's sure to be something right for you!

1970's Frank Olive cloche

1950's Lampshade Hat a la Audrey Hepburn

1960's Jockey Style Hat

1980's Riding Style Hat

See these hats and many more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

Saturday, June 07, 2008


We're headed in to our first heat wave of 2008 - 4 days of temps over 90 and high humidity. Ugh. But it won't be long before the winter winds are back, and with that in mind, we're working on our collection of vintage coats for this year.

While best known for their ladies suits, Davidow also made wonderful coats in classic, timeless styles. This one is from the late 1960's, and we're in love with this vibrant pink and purple boucle plaid wool.

Davidow was best known for the details in their designs. Here, the pockets have been cut on the bias. Those flaps are faux. The actual pocket opening is a slit on the side, which is much easier to get into. Also note how beautifully the plaid is matched, especially on those raglan sleeves.

See this coat and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .