Monday, February 28, 2011

Cashin' In

One of the things I love about being in the "vintage" or "antiques" business is the fact that you are always researching items and learning about new (old) things and adding knowledge to your internal vintage library of information.  A couple of months ago, I posted about a wonderful jacket I had found, and the fact that I had in turn learned about the designer Bonnie Cashin while researching it.  "Oh puh-lease!" you might say "What vintage seller worth her salt would not know who Bonnie Cashin is?"  Well, I did not then, but, I do now.  (You gotta start somewhere!)  And just to prove it, I pulled this jacket off the rack at a local consignment shop today and knew immediately that it was a Bonnie Cashin! 

If the mixture of materials - heavy canvas, fuzzy faux-fur interior, leather detailing - did not clue me in, or perhaps the color - an amazing deep yellow ochre - did not clinch it, those toggle closures, made so famous by Bonnie with her work with Coach and still a Coach staple in handbags, are a dead giveaway!

From 1953 through 1977 Bonnie designed clothing for Sills.  This tag likely dates to the late 1960's.  (Information courtesy of The Vintage Fashion Guild Label Resource.)

Although I kept the first jacket I found for myself, I do plan to offer this one in my shop in the next couple of weeks.  It is the perfect "transitional season" coat - not too heavy but warm enough to fend off the March and April chills.  It is marked by the retailer as an "extra large" but I have a feeling it is more of a medium to large size.  Coat and all details to be listed soon.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hippie Dippy!

I was just lamenting not having anything ready to blog about when I remembered that I'd grabbed these additional images from the back of that 1975 Seventeen I posted about on Valentine's Weekend.  All these images are black and white, from the "cheap" advertising section in the back.  The reason I chose these, however, is that they are all so "in" again today!  Floaty ethnic shirts, moccasins, 70's rock t-shirts and beaded jewelry are all as popular now as they were 36 years ago.  And if I had the original "cheap" stuff; I'd make a killing on Etsy!

Friday, February 18, 2011

I Brake for Antiques

At Carmen and Ginger, we offer all sorts of stuff; jewelry, accessories, ephemera, craft supplies, clothing, you name it!  Although we love to offer the really old stuff, it is hard to do it consistently. That is why we are excited to have one of our semi-annual "antiques" weeks.  We have been amassing all sorts of the oldest stuff - china, linens, hats, fur and dress clips, paper goods, etc. -  for months, and it's getting ready for a debut!  Most of these items date to the earliest part of the last century and qualify as "antiques."  Not that there is anything wrong with "vintage" mind you, it's just that we'll be a little snobbish for a week or so.  We are still finishing up with our photos, but will begin listing these items this week.  If we have it together, photos will be made "live" links as we list the items...

Monday, February 14, 2011

It's A Keeper!

I already posted this photo on Facebook with the query as to whether or not this recent find was a "keeper" and the unanimous response from all friends was "Yes!"  I am not really a handbag person.  I need my hands to be free!  I tend to wear shoulder bags every day and I switch to back-pack style bags when I hit events like flea markets and such where I need to bend and dig and cannot be bothered with something hanging off my arm, or, worried about shoplifters.  A handbag, then, for me, is not so practical.  This one is SUCH a beauty though, big enough to hold lots of things but nice enough to take along on a special event.  This bag has presence.  Found for $4.99 I could make a tidy profit in a heartbeat on Etsy, but, I think this one will have to stay with me for now.  It's a keeper.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Happy 1975 Valentine's Day to You!

A year or so ago I came across a large box of these vintage Seventeen Magazines and I promised to post images on my blog.  I have shown some things here and there but not with the rapid attention I'd planned!  I am therefore sending this 1975 Valentine out to any readers who may have been waiting to see some of these things.

The issue I am sharing dates to February, 1975, and, in addition to some Valentine gift suggestions, featured a cover story on the wildly popular Olga Korbut!

In this day of carrying around phones that play music and take photos and talk to our cars and the internet, this Chanel image featuring "high tech" portable gadgets of the time is even that much more hilarious!

In 1975 the now-iconic fashion designer Betsey Johnson was just starting to go mainstream. 

Earth Shoes and Famolares - current darlings of internet vintage clothing and accessories sales -were new, unusual and hip.

In 1975 I was still a little young to be reading Seventeen Magazine, and was instead reading my copy of Betty Miles new book, The Real Me.  Some issues covered were the same in both, however, like girls doing things traditionally only enjoyed by boys.

I doubt articles in today's Seventeen Magazine suggest that girls might consider much other than some sort of college after high school.  Back in 1975, however, high school graduates did not automatically head to college as most do today.  Also, women heading into a career after high school was still a relatively new concept.  For these reasons, the article above was not uncommon at the time, although it would be unheard of today.

While the 1975 magazine seems "behind the times" in some ways, it seems like "Whoah!" when you see the layouts above!  The February issue had an entire wedding section and included many wedding related advertisements for rings, dresses and other items.  The one that floored me, however, is the mattress ad above with a mildly suggestive copy line and an image of a man and woman in bed together!  Today's Seventeen readers are most often NOT 17 year olds.  They are likely 14 and 15 year olds.  I seriously doubt today's magazine would be advertising mattresses to this demographic!  In 1975, the readers were more true to the title, being young women about to graduate high school and many were about to get married and start a home.  This advertisement seemed acceptable for this crowd in that time of free love.

If you love Espadrilles, 1975 is the place to go!

Before 1975, denim had already jumped from work-gear to mainstream, but, had not made the jump from casual to structured day-wear.  These fashions reflect some of the earliest versions of this trend that waxes and wanes in popularity from year to year, but that certainly is a fashion staple of today.

I do not think today's Seventeen possibly suggests decorating tips to their readers!  Back in 1975, however, living on your own or as a married woman was right around the corner, so decorating tips were as common as they are are in the next "tier" of magazines for young women today (Glamour, Mademoiselle, etc.).   These images look just like the kitchens I recall from my childhood!  Lots of brown and beige with antiques worked into the decor.  Heck, I still decorate this way!  (with less linoleum and particle board.)

I hope you enjoyed this little 1975 Valentine for you!  All text and images are still copyright of Seventeen Magazine.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hair Today Gone Tomorrow

I do not know where I found, or, why I own half the things I have stashed around here. Today I was looking for an old soap label - yes, an old soap label - which I did not find, but instead, I found this old Epilator wax block and instructions from the 1940's.

Personally, I have never even tried anything like this; whether from a box at the drug store or professionally applied at the spa.  I cannot imagine, however, the risks that must have been associated with trying this at home 70 years ago!

Yikes!  Your arms too?  This looks like a long, painful and involved process.  Especially for someone with even a quarter Mediterranean blood in them like me!

At first I thought she was tackling quite the 'stache in these images!  Then I realized that's an illustration of the wax on her upper lip.

In some odd way I find this embossed block of wax quite beautiful.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

It's Passementerie My Dear

Yesterday, in my travels back towards Rhode Island from Massachusetts, I decided to stop at a couple of area antique shops that I enjoy visiting.  Of course, I at first stopped by Salvage Chic in Pembroke to visit with Christine and Claudia who always have not only wonderful items for sale, but, a great attitude and fun stories to keep me laughing!   I next decided to stop by The Antique Odyssey in West Bridgewater as I had not had a chance to stop by in a while.  I found a number of awesome items, as always, but I especially wanted to show off this fab 1940's Rayon Crepe dress I found in the back room.

I bought this one for me, not to resell and it does fit great!  I just was not in the mood to model this morning.  The dress is the most fabulous cherry red color!  (Digital cameras cannot capture reds, which is why it looks different in each photo.  I think the very top and very bottom photo show the color most true.)

It zips up the front with slash pockets and a matching sash!  The skirt falls all the way to the ankles with 3/4 length sleeves with turned back cuffs and that amazing Passementerie work at the collar!

There are two small - about 1/4" - holes in the rayon.  I was debating if I should stitch them closed, patch from the back with fusible tape, (using matching fabric from the interfacing), or, patch from the back and stitch around?  Any ideas on what would look best to minimize the hole and not call more attention to the area?

 I believe Saybury did robes and loungewear as well as dresses, and that this dress was intended to be worn around the house, not out and about.  Again, any thoughts on this 1940's piece and the intended use?

Personally, I cannot wait to head out and about in this beauty!  I think it will also make a terrific holiday dress come next Christmas season, do you agree?

I have provided links to the brick and mortar shops mentioned above, but, all three proprietors also have fab Etsy shops you should check out!  The links are below:

So if you are not in the Massachusetts area, stop by the virtual shops and take a look around!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Snow Day

We've had more than our share of snow days this winter in New England and today is no exception!  With my office closed and my evening class canceled, I figured I would share a little snow story from my childhood.  I recall one storm, around 1971 or 1972, where it had snowed fluffy snow followed by sleet.  This caused a hard icy crust to form atop a couple of inches of snow.  At the time, my dad drove a Volkswagen Bug, and I was outside in my snowsuit, at about age 5 or 6, playing in the snow as he cleared off his car.  Given the odd nature of the snow, my dad - ever looking for a "system" - realized that he could break the icy layer into sections then simply lift giant slabs of ice and snow from his car in "bricks."  My recollection is that I saw a use for these, but, perhaps it was suggested by him?  In either case, I would take each curved "brick" as he removed it from his car, and started to build myself an igloo.  By the time he removed all the icy snow sections from his car, I had successfully built myself a nice little igloo, just large enough for me to crawl inside, with a nice arc to it courtesy the curved design of the VW Bug.   

At this age, I was allowed a snack each afternoon and I recall asking my mother if I could have a "chocolate covered" as my snack.  A chocolate covered was what we called the vanilla ice cream on a stick that was covered in chocolate.  I have no idea why we called it this except that in those frugal times we likely bought the store brand which had no "cute" name and just said the facts on the box.  On that cold day, my mother was surprised that I wanted a frozen dessert, but, we had one in the freezer and she allowed me to have it.  I immediately took it downstairs and outside to my igloo.  I carefully placed it on  a "shelf" inside the igloo formed by an ice brick that jutted into the igloo.  I then went off to play, certain that my frozen dessert would indeed stay frozen.  After some time - what seemed like an hour to my small self but was likely only about 15 minutes - I returned to check on my snack.  I was delighted to find it perfectly preserved as if it had just come from the freezer.  To my young mind, this was an amazing trick, and, I felt pretty proud of myself for knowing that this would be the case.

I wish I could end this story by saying that my continued interest in science led to a an established career in the field, with my name associated with many breakthroughs in thermal technology.  Unfortunately, however, my curiosity was - and is - continued but shallow!  I was just as curious about whether that would stay frozen as I was a few years later when I discovered that salamanders were often found under rocks near the water.  I was also interested in animal poop and the things it told us, how to develop photographic prints, what creatures would surface from a seining net and how to find stone that would contain fossils.  I am still interested in all sorts of things, still shallow but broad, and, I have learned to accept that.  If I could retain one thing from childhood, on this snowy day, I would wish to retain my love of a snowstorm!  In these days of adulthood and obligations and car clearing and places to be, it is no longer fun.   I am glad to say, following the last storm a week or so ago, my husband and I did some snowshoeing at a local cemetery.  I found myself carefully looking at all the animal tracks left in the snow, following them and identifying them.  Suddenly, I was a kid again, not worrying about what the snow meant to my house or my car or my drive but just enjoying it.  A cherished moment in this record-breaking New England winter.




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