Friday, June 05, 2009

Vintage Clothing as Inspiration

Years ago, when I was in fashion design school, I had an instructor for my "History of Costume" class who inspired me by bringing actual antique and vintage clothing to class so her students could study the fabrics, construction techniques, and styles. These garments were fascinating to me. It was at that point that I started to collect books about designers and clothing from the past and vintage fashion magazines.

When working on design projects for school, or when searching for inspiration for my own clothing that I sewed, I would look to the past. My favorite source of that inspiration was women's suits from the 1940's, which always featured unusual design details. One of the many delights of being a vintage clothing dealer is discovering these beautiful details that just aren't available in the clothing of today.

This morning, I was looking through a 1949 fashion magazine, and in three turns of the page, I was struck by three different suits, each with unusual details that delighted me. Here they are for your own inspiration.

1949 suit, ZuckermanThis suit by Zuckerman and Kraus has three rows of buttons down the front. The center row is the one that closes with buttonholes. The row on the right is on the opposite side of the jacket from the other two and lines up beautifully when the jacket is closed. Isn't that great?

1949 suit, Philip MangoneYou may have to click on the picture and look at the larger view to see the bands of self-fabric ruching that edge the jacket opening, collar, sleeve cuffs, and hem of this suit by Philip Mangone. As a sewer, I can tell you that ruching wool is not easy, but it adds the perfect sense of whimsy to this suit.

1949 suit, Paul ParnesPaul Parnes decided to close this suit with three buckled belts instead of boring old buttons. Another stroke of genius!

If you like your wardrobe to march to the beat of a different drummer, have you tried adding vintage clothing to your closet? I promise you, you'll be glad you did!