Who Remembers Louise Brooks?

Louise Brooks was an American dancer, model, showgirl and silent film actress. She starred in 17 silent films. She started her career as a dancer in a dance company. In her second year with the company she danced in a starring role, but because of a conflict with one of the founders of the company, she was fired from the troupe. She quickly got a job as a chorus girl, and then was a featured dancer in the Ziegfeld Follies. In this position she was noticed by the producer of Paramount Pictures, and he signed her to a five year contract.

Louise Brooks

Over the next few years she had the leading role in many silent comedies and flapper films. It is felt that her best American film was Beggars of Life, a story of a young girl running away from home and riding the rails. She was now rubbing elbows with the rich and famous, and was often a guest at San Simeon, the Hearst estate. By then she was sick of the Hollywood scene, and miffed at not receiving a promised raise, she left Paramount and moved to Europe.

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While in Germany she starred in Pandora’s Box, a controversial film that frankly handled sexuality, including the portrayal of a lesbian, and Diary of a Lost Girl, equally shocking to most people. These films were very adult and were heavily censored.

Two years later when she returned to Hollywood, she was cast in two more modest roles. But they didn’t bring her recognition. When she left Paramount she was put on a sort of blacklist, and she received very few offers. Then her director for Beggars of Life offered her the female lead in his new film, The Public Enemy, starring James Cagney.

Louise Brooks

It could be the role to put her back on top, but she turned it down. Instead she went off to New York to be with her lover, and the role was given to Jean Harlow. She explained later that she hated making pictures because she hated Hollywood. Turning down this role was what really ended her film career, as she had few serious roles after that. For the rest of the time that she was in movies, she played bit parts and roles in B pictures.

Her last bit of glory was the last film she made before retiring. It was in a western with John Wayne. It was a romantic lead, and one of the most noticeable things about it was her dark, long flowing hair. She was hardly recognizable, because her trademark had been her closely fitting bob, which was sometimes called a black helmet. That was her last concession to Hollywood.

Louise Brooks Zeigfeld

When she retired from films she tried opening a dance studio that failed. She moved to New York and did some radio acting and worked as a gossip columnist, and then as a sales girl in Saks Fifth Avenue. It was a long fall from the heights of her film career.

Louise Brooks died of a heart attack in 1985.

History of Clara Bow

Clara Bow

Clara Bow

Clara Gordon Bow (July 29, 1905 – September 27, 1965), was known as the “it girl” in Hollywood during the 1920s for her stardom in silent movies. Her flamboyant nature and bohemian image cast her as the original flapper girl and it’s most recognizable sex symbol.

This glowing star rose from the shadows of poverty and the hardship of caring for her mother who suffered from seizures and psychotic episodes, and a father who struggled to support his family and often abandoned the family for long stretches. There are stories that her father was both mentally and physically abusive, which may have included rape, but Clara never abandoned her father and eventually brought him to Hollywood to keep him by her side. Her mother died just before Clara’s first lead role, and after attempting to cut Clara’s throat when she told her mother she was becoming an actor.

Impoverished life in the Brooklyn New York tenements at the beginning of the century was a hard and unforgiving life. There were no social programs or aid. People either survived any way they could or died. Clara told stories of her mother sometimes working as a prostitute and “entertaining” men while she hid in a closest.

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During her entire career and even for decades after her death Clara Bow's public reputation was soiled by outlandish stories of lurid behavior, most of which was later proved to be false.

The two contributing factors to this was the mindset of the Hollywood elite at the time and her openness about her horrendous childhood and flamboyance. Most of her fellow stars in Hollywood of the 1920s also came from similar backgrounds, but as they became established in their careers they took on the persona of aristocrats.

Clara Bow

They hid or denied their lowly beginnings. To talk openly to the press and public about family mental illness, abuse and poverty was abhorrent to these people and Hollywood society shunned her.

Tabloids began pumping out rumors and torrid stories about wild sexual orgies, lesbian relationships, bestiality, and in one instance attempted to blackmail her. The tabloid publisher was arrested by federal officers and sent to prison for eight years.

Long after her death Clara Bow was again maligned first in a book called Hollywood Babylon by avant-garde filmmaker Kenneth Anger. The book details the scandals of Hollywood personalities from the 1900s to the 1950s.

First published in the US in 1965, it suggests that Bow took on the entire USC Trojan football team in a wild orgy. In another book her morality was thoroughly questioned by Budd Schulberg, son of the powerful producer B.P. Schulberg who exploited her sexually and held control of her early film career.

In his book Moving Pictures: Memories of a Hollywood Prince (Stein and Day, 1981) Schulberg says “Clara Bow, no matter how great her popularity, was a low-life and a disgrace to the community”. The football team story has been proven false several times over the years and was put to rest by biographer David Stern.

Clara Bow appeared in 56 movies from 1922 to 1933. She won a photo beauty contest that launched her career in Hollywood and her last movie was Hoop-la in 1933. Bow and cowboy actor Rex Bell (real name George F. Beldam) who later became a Lieutenant Governor of Nevada, married in 1932 and had two sons, Tony Beldam (born 1934, changed name to Rex Anthony Bell, Jr.) and George Beldam, Jr. (born 1938).

Clara Bow

Bow spent her last years living modestly under the care of a live in nurse, from an estate worth about $500,000 at the time of her death. She died on September 27, 1965, age 60, of a heart attack while watching a Gary Cooper movie.

The autopsy revealed that Bow suffered from atherosclerosis, a heart disease established in early adolescence and had suffered from an undiagnosed heart attack years prior. She is buried at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.

Josephine Baker


Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker, born in San Francisco, was an exotic black woman who loved to dance and make people laugh. She wore what was called “barely there” dresses when she performed and her dancing was uninhibited. Because of racism in the United States during the 20’s, she had a hard time to get any kind of work, especially on stage. When caring for children of rich white people she was cautioned, “Be sure not to kiss the babies.” She was refused a part in a stage show because she was a skinny black woman.

Because of this racism, she moved to France and took the stage by storm. Patrons loved her sensual dance routines mixed with humor. She was inundated with expensive gifts and numerous proposals of marriage. She maintained her career for fifty years until she died in 1975. Sadly, it wasn’t until 1973 that she really caught on in the United States.

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In 1936 she Josephine Baker performed in the Ziegfeld Follies, and it was a humiliating experience. American audiences weren’t ready to accept a powerful sophisticated black woman. Newspapers often reviled her. It would be a long time before she would try American audiences again.

josephine Baker

In the 50’s and 60’s she returned to the United States determined to fight racism. When she was refused service at the Stork Club it fueled her drive for integration, taking on columnist Walter Winchell as an opponent.

Finally in 1973 during a trip to the United States, she agreed to appear in Carnegie Hall. Recalling her previous experience, she was reluctant to try again. But attitudes had changed and she received a standing ovation when she walked onto the stage. This acceptance touched her deeply.

About this time she started adopting children with different ethnic and religious backgrounds. She called them the Rainbow Tribe, all the colors of the rainbow. She wanted people to know that children of different backgrounds could be brothers – one family. They often traveled with her, and it was evident that they were a happy family.

She had just divorced from her fourth husband, and yearned for a relationship that was purely platonic. She met a man that was looking for the same thing. They walked into an empty church and exchanged vows. They were never legally married, but it was a bond that lasted for the rest of her life.


On April 8, 1975 she was 68 but going strong. She opened in Paris, with many celebrities in attendance. She did parts of routines that she had performed in her fifty- year career. The reviews were among the best she’d received, and it was a fitting end to an illustrious career. A few days later she went into a coma and died.

More than 20,000 people lined the streets to pay their respects. The French government ordered a 21-gun salute that made her the first American woman to be buried in France with military honors. Today her memory lives on.

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Who was Anita Loos?

Anita Loos

Anita Loos had a long career as an American screenwriter, playwright and author. She knew from the time that she was six years old that she wanted to write. Her father managed a theater company, and wrote several one act plays. Anita had graduated from high school, and her father encouraged her to write some herself. She wrote her first play entitled The Ink Well, which turned out to be successful and for which she received royalties.

She next tried a one reel screenplay called The New York Hat and received $25. The play starred Mary Pickford and Lionel Barrymore, and it really started her on her successful career. She wrote her plays from real life situations, getting ideas from all her experiences. Within three years she wrote 105 scripts, and only four were not made into a play.

She joined a film colony in Hollywood and was put on the payroll for $75 with a bonus for every script that was produced as a play. She later wrote five screenplays for Douglas Fairbanks that made him a star.

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Loos and John Emerson, a director, had become partners to produce plays. Loos became very attracted to Emerson. He was a self-proclaimed philanderer, but Loos was sure he would find her different than other women and they were married. But it proved to be an unfortunate union from the start.

They wrote two books, and their scripts had both their names, but Loos did most of the work. When one of their contracts was not renewed, Emerson blamed it on her scripts, even though he had taken the credit for them. Loos herself later declared that Emerson took all the money and credit, even though he just watched her work.

Loos was urged to write a book from a collection of short stories, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” Sensing that this would be an overwhelming success, Emerson tried to sabotage its publication because he was afraid of losing his control over Loos. But in the end he settled for a dedication in the book.

As years passed, Loos became more and more successful. After “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” came “But Gentlemen Marry Brunettes.” A musical version of “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” ran on Broadway for 90 weeks with then unknown Carol Channing.

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She and Emerson often lived apart, but he would show up at inopportune times to take advantage of her success. She was always faithful and at one time paid for an apartment of his own.

Loos and Helen Hayes had been good friends, but when their husbands died within a few weeks of each other, the two women formed an even greater bond. They collaborated to write a book entitled Twice Over Lightly: New York Then and Now, and Loos wrote several memoirs and biographies. She was a constant contributor to magazines like Harper’s Bazaar and The New Yorker.

After suffering for several weeks with a lung infection, she died in New York City at the age of 93.

For more flapper costume ideas, read about Isadora Duncan.

Flapper Costumes

Flapper Costumes

If you are looking for flapper costume ideas, then this is the place to be!

Before the 1920’s the established standard for properly dressed and feminine looking ladies was that of being totally covered from neck to feet. It was scandalous to show any bare skin. But all that changed with the emergence of the Flappers, young women who defied long-held rules of conduct. As a flapper girl, hemlines shot up to slightly below the knees, and heavy cotton stockings were replaced with transparent rayon material that showed off their legs. In 1920's fashion, burlesque costumes were in. For eveningwear, dresses were still long but backless with low necklines. Its the roaring twenties!

The paradox was that although they flaunted their bodies, the new fashion made them less feminine. With these sexy costumes, waistlines dropped to the hip, causing an effect of a dress straight up and down from shoulder to hemline, eliminating contours and de-emphasizing the bust and waist. To further the effect, Flappers wrapped their chests with cotton strips to flatten their breasts and keep them from jiggling when they danced. Otherwise, anything that restricted movement was shunned for greater freedom. Pantaloons and corsets were exchanged for step-in undergarments that allowed more freedom of movement. Are you looking for a daisy from the great gatsby costume?

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Flapper costumes accessories are easy to do! Anything colorful and outlandish was the vogue. Dresses were lavishly decorated with feathers, beads and fringes. They liked wearing colorful scarves, necklaces made of layers of beads, and other pieces of jewelry that were art deco pieces. Horn-rimmed glasses and a cloche hat for daytime wear were also popular as a fashion statement. High heel shoes that were two to three inches high became very popular.


As extreme as these fashions were, it was only a small part of the “new look.” Previous to this, the Gibson girl look, the model for the proper female, was long hair flowing loosely around their shoulders. One of the first things the Flapper did to show her independence was to get a “bob” – a very short boyish haircut. Other cuts followed, including a “shingle,” that were even shorter. When they got a shingle cut, they slicked it down and wore a curl on either side of their face that covered their ears. Some waved their hair, which was completely unheard of. If you want to know how to create a flapper costume, we have flapper 1920's fashion for women for sale, and great gatsby party attire for men.

One of the most daring things the ladies did was to start wearing makeup. It was thought that only prostitutes and very loose women wore makeup. And they weren’t demure about it either. The more garish the better. Excessive use of bright red lipstick created a “bee stung” look that became very popular. Heavily applied black eyeliner made a dark outline around their eyes. Rouge was applied liberally, although not to their knees as some people believed. And then powder finished their look. Dressing for halloween?

Even their skin was a part of their look. Pale skin had always been considered to be the most womanly look, but after Coco Chanel, a well-known fashion designer, sported a tan after spending time in the sun during a holiday, it became all the rage as a healthy look. It represented the ideal of a leisurely lifestyle where women didn’t need to work.

Flapper costumes, all-in-all, even though it was a short-lived period in American history, flapper fashions had a tremendous impact on American culture.

Why be a Flapper?

The flapper is one of the most popular Halloween and theme party costumes ever and it’s easy to tell why. Whether you’re attending a Roaring Twenties party, a cops and mobsters party, a guys-and-gals party, or countless other themes, a properly done flapper costume will put you in the limelight every single time.

The flapper was the quintessential sex symbol of the Roaring Twenties. Her bobbed hair, sharp wit, and less than appropriate language told the rest of the world that she was her own woman. And, if the look didn’t get the message across, you’d understand when she out-danced you on the dance floor, drank you under the table, or leveled you if you couldn’t take “no” for an answer.

Many women and men want to look their sexy best for Halloween. Think about it – how many times have you seen the sexy nurse or the sexy cat at a party? Let that run wild with a flapper costume at your next event. Why just dress the part when you can actually adopt an entirely different persona? Fashion in the 1920s? Use this site as a guide for your do it yourself flapper costume!


See, being a flapper meant more than just wearing the clothes. It was an attitude. The flapper could have nearly any man she wanted and she knew it. She’d drink if she wanted, smoke if she wanted, and say what she wanted. This was the girl that you probably didn’t bring home to mom but she’d show you the time of your life if you could keep up with her. Make your own flapper costume if you want to make a flapper costume easy. These are the best halloween costume ideas.

Listen doll, I know you’re looking for easy halloween costumes, but why stop at just a costume? Your next Halloween or theme party is your chance to break free of your day to day life and be someone else for a while. Times are busy and we could all use a break. Take the opportunity to be the bad girl you want to be and give being a flapper a try.

This site is a wealth of information for doing just that. See, it only starts with the costume and 1920s fashion. To fully embrace your role as a flapper we’re giving you insight into their entire world: the social and economic motivations that gave rise to their movement, their hair, their makeup, their dress, even down to the way they spoke. And, if that wasn’t enough, we’ve even touched on some of the key cultural aspects of the time like art, design, and architecture.

To truly be a flapper, you need to understand why they did what they did. You need to understand their world before they took control of it, what they wanted, and how they got it. Making a statement as a flapper was so much more than simply dressing in a way that society at the time frowned upon. It was an almost complete rejection of the restrictions of the time and a commitment to life life in your own way. Look around the site for great ideas on homemade halloween costumes, or just click the pics for quick easy flapper costume ideas.

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While they probably didn’t think of it so deeply at the time, imagine the feeling of being at the front of a complete cultural revolution! Today’s modern woman is what she is largely because of the changes that her flapper sisters brought about over 80 years ago.

This was no small load to bear. Some bore it well, others, not so much. But, in the end, the world was a drastically different place for the American woman. Have you ever asked yourself what do you need for a flapper costume? We’ll tell you how to create your own flapper costume. Or jus click any of the flapper pictures for great Halloween

Costume Ideas!

Take yourself back to that time with a flapper costume or even a speakeasy costume. Study the attitude and the language. Become a part of the glitz and glamour of the time. No matter if you do it for fun or to pay a little homage to the women who actually lived it, with these flappers costumes, you’ll be reminding those around you of an incredible time in American history. Looking for dresses from movies? Click the pics for a daisy great gatsby halloween costume.

Cleaning Vintage Clothing

Cleaning Vintage Clothing

How to clean vintage clothing varies by the age of the garment and the type of material. The main basic rule is not to put anything vintage through the washing machine or dryer. Hand wash or dry cleaning are the best ways to clean vintage, although I have used the washing machine as a basin when the garment is too large to fit comfortably in the kitchen sink, but make sure that you do not use the agitator when the garment is soaking. I usually fill the washer half full with warm water, a tablespoon of salt and mild detergent and let it soak. To move the garment around, I use a long wooden spoon to gently move the garment around, being careful not to tear the material.

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Cleaning Vintage Clothing Based on Type of Material of the Garment

Never hand wash velvet, silk, or rayon crepe. These materials should always be dry cleaned, if it is necessary to clean them, although older silk garments (particularly structured silk) can be easily shredded by the intense heat and harsh chemicals used by the dry cleaners. You need to make sure the silk item is strong enough for cleaning. Silk is likely to bleed or the fibers may separate when hand washed. Rayon crepe was so popular from the mid 30s through the 40s and is a durable material, unless you get it wet, then it will shrink several sizes. Velvet can be altered easily from washing, steaming and particularly from ironing. It will cause the fibers to lie flat and develop a shiny appearance, which is permanently damaged.

To hand wash most vintage garments, use Luke warm water, a tablespoon of table salt (to control fabric bleeding) and a mild detergent like Woolite, Dreft, or Ivory soap flakes. If the material is durable, I often use Tide. If the item has a bad smell, add baking soda or white vinegar to the mix, a few tablespoons of either item.

If the garment has only a small flaw, like a single spot, I recommend one of the following spot cleaners. One of my favorite methods is the cleaning solution found in a box of Dryel. It can be applied without having to rinse. It is great on fresh stains and good on old stains. Other spot cleaners that do not require washing are applying white vinegar, rubbing alcohol or like Dryel, the Tide to Go Pens can be applied on the spot and air dries. All of these spot cleaners should have a white cloth placed under the spot that you are cleaning so that it can catch the stain.

Spot cleaning methods that need to be rinsed out after applied are:

Oxyclean spray - I use this often and depending on the material will leave on the spot for 30 minutes to 2 days and then rinse and hand wash and rinse again. Then air dry in an area without direct sunlight.

Hydrogen Peroxide, Baking soda, and water mixed in equal parts into a paste. Apply the paste to the spot. Allow to sit on the spot for 30 minutes, then rinse, hand wash, rinse again and air dry in an area without direct sunlight.

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Aspirin, Cream of Tartar, and water in equal parts mixed into a paste. Apply the paste to the spot. Allow to sit on the spot for 30 minutes to a few hours, then rinse, hand wash, rinse again and air dry in an area without direct sunlight.

Lemon juice with a layer of salt applied to a spot and then placed in full sun for several hours. Rinse the solution, hand wash, rinse and air dry. This method is helpful with mold or rust, but is also helpful on other stains.

Clorox beach pen can be applied on a white spot, as long as it is not a synthetic material. On most synthetics, bleach will turn white yellow and is very hard to remove, particularly on polyester and nylon. The pen can be reapplied several times. Once you are happy with the results, you can rinse it off thoroughly. It does not necessarily need to be washed again after rinsing, that can be left to your own discretion.

Wink is a rust remover for porcelain, but can be used on durable white material. The best method for this is to but the stain area on top of an open bowl, dampen the stain with water and then squirt the wink on the spot. Let it sit for a few moments, if the stain is still present you can reapply. After applying, rinse thoroughly, then hand wash, rinse, and air dry. Whites can be dried in direct sunlight.

I know several people, who recommend applying hairspray to a stain and allow sitting for 30 minutes to a few hours, then hand wash, rinse, and air dry. I have not had success with this method, but I do know people who like this method.

If after hand washing and spot cleaning, the stain still remains, there are yet a few methods that may help. I have success with all four of these solutions and recommend all of them. They are:

A solution of white vinegar and water in 1 part vinegar to 3 part cool water soak. This is the safest method and you can soak the garment a few hours to 2 days. You need to hand wash after the soak to eliminate the vinegar smell. This method works really well on that pale orange spotting that appears on garments that were stored in an uncontrolled climate area, like an attic. Always hand wash the item before you soak in vinegar and water, then wash again. This will reduce the orange better than any other way that I have come across.

Oxyclean powder and water helps to eliminate a lot of different type stains, but you have to make sure the material is durable enough. I have used this method on fragile items and the garment almost completely disintegrated. You need to mix the powder with hot water, once it is mixed well, and then you can add cool water to soak the garment in a Luke warm bath. Depending on the garment, you can soak it from 20 minutes to a few hours. Rinse thoroughly and air dry in an area without direct sunlight.

For whites that have extensive yellowing, you can soak the garment in Iron Out. It is also used for iron spots. The garment should be white and durable, as this is a more harsh solution. You mix the powder in hot water in a plastic tub or bowl. After the mix has dissolved, then you can add cool water to soak in a Luke warm bath for 20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and hand wash, rinse and air dry. If the garment is white cotton, it can be dried in the sun, but other materials don't fare well in sunlight.

The most harsh solution, but old standby is a short soak in Clorox bleach and warm water. Make sure the item is cotton and that is durable. Watch the garment closely when soaking. After a 5 to 20 minute soak, rinse, hand wash, rinse and air dry.

Never use a dryer on vintage clothing. Hang and air dry a garment. Unless the item is white cotton, I do not recommend hanging to dry in or near direct sunlight. Some garments will fade and others will yellow in the sun. I ruined a silk blouse drying on the clothes line in the sun. It made light and dark blotches of color on a perfect garment and is now permanently damaged. I have a few plant hooks on my ceiling that I place the garment on a hanger and let air dry in a room with very little sun light.

Cleaning Vintage Clothing Based on the Age of the Garment

Antique garments and vintage items from earlier than 1935 should be carefully examined and considered before any type of cleaning, be it hand washing or dry cleaning. Silk and velvet tend to be the most fragile of materials and if they were made before 1935, probably should not be cleaned, unless you are going to dispose of the item unless it is cleaned. At that point I would recommend dry cleaning for velvet and hand wash for silk. Wool is the other material that would have been made before 1935. Some solid color wool pants can be hand washed, but if it is a sweater or knit material, I would recommend dry cleaning. When this type of wool gets wet it tends to make holes, especially if it is hung up to dry. It should be dried flat. Wool jackets should be taken to the cleaners. Wool is more durable than silk or velvet unless weakened by old stains or moth holes. Cotton garments from this era may be ok to hand wash in Woolite and then air dry, but again cleaning anything this old is risky.

Cleaning vintage clothing from the later 1930s to 1940s should be ok. Cotton and linen can be hand washed or dry cleaned, depending on the stain. Some hand washing spot cleaning methods may be better than the dry cleaners, depending on the fabric. Never hand wash rayon crepe. I have many 30s to 40s dresses made of rayon crepe. It is a thick somewhat spongy texture and if gotten wet, it will shrink several sizes and probably cannot be reversed. Jersey rayon can sometimes be hand washed, but you need to do a test on an inside seam to check. All of the color prints need to be washed with salt to prevent bleeding. Rayon from this era can usually be dry cleaned. Silk and velvet from this era are still risky to clean by hand or by dry cleaning and a judgment call will have to be made.

The garments of the 50s can be hand washed or dry cleaned, except for silk, which can still be problematic. Probably a jersey silk is ok to dry clean, but structured silk can be shredded by the dry cleaners, unless you are lucky enough to have cleaner who specializes in vintage clothing. Cotton, linen, and nylon can be hand washed. Rayon crepe still needs to be dry cleaned and rayon jersey possibly can be hand washed but be careful of color bleeds. Always use salt when hand washing a colorful print in any type of material.

Items from the 1960s can all be either dry cleaned or hand washed, depending on the material and the instructions on the garment. Silk, velvet, rayon crepe, wool and blends should probably go to the cleaners. Cotton, linen, nylon, polyester and some rayon jersey can be hand washed. Always add salt into the mix for hand washing colors to prevent bleeding. There were some unusual blends in the 60s that I would not recommend hand washing. Just be sure and check the content label and instructions, which should start showing up in the 1960s garments.

1970s garments are usually marked for laundry instructions and material content. Most of the fabrics can be dry cleaned and some can be hand washed. Cotton, linen, polyester and nylon can be hand washed. Rayon and acetate should be cleaned according to the instructions only.

By the 1980s, almost all garments are marked with cleaning instructions and material content, unless the label has been intentionally removed by the former owner. Most of the fabrics can be dry cleaned and some can be hand washed. Cotton, linen, polyester and nylon can be hand washed. Rayon and acetate should be cleaned according to the instructions only.

Ironing or Steaming a Vintage Garment to Remove the Wrinkles

Cotton and linen garments can be steamed or ironed, but it is my preference to iron cotton with a touch of starch. I use Faultless Premium Starch, which does not leave white flakes behind. To me, the steamer just does not make cotton look as good as an iron, but cotton and linen from the 1940s and later are durable enough to be steamed or ironed on the high setting. Garments from the 1930s and earlier can go through either process, but the iron should be on a low setting. You may want to place a damp clean white wash cloth in between the material and the iron, which is the safest way to iron any garment.

Some rayon can be steamed or ironed on a low synthetic setting, but others need to avoid the steamer. In particular, my steamer drips and on the later 80s rayon, the water drops from the steamer actually leave water marks. The only way to remove them is to dampen the whole garment and dry iron or iron with a damp white clean wash cloth in between the garment and the iron. Some of the rayon nightgowns from the 30s and 40s should also be ironed with a white damp cloth in between the iron and the garment. My assistant was steaming a 40s nightgown and where she had steamed one area too long, the material became damaged and weak leaving lines in the fabric. It was permanently damaged. Rayon crepe can be ironed with a dry iron. Since water makes it shrink, the steamer and ironing with a wash cloth are both bad ideas.

Never use an iron on velvet. It completely changes the appearance to flat and shiny. I do use the steamer on velvet, but only from the inside of the velvet, never allowing the steamer to touch the outside layer of the velvet. You have to move the steamer really fast across the inside to avoid damage. Velvet older then the 1950s should not be steamed. Most of the 1940s and earlier velvet has become thin and somewhat fragile, so I really do not recommend dry cleaning either for velvet earlier than the 50s. 1950s and later velvet should be dry cleaned for wrinkles or cleaning.

Silk does best with an iron on a low silk setting and a damp clean white wash cloth placed in between the iron and the garment. I do not recommend using the steamer on silk. The drycleaner is good on later silk garments but only from the 1960s and later. The dry cleaner here in York SC shredded 2 of my 50s structured silk dresses in the process of removing the wrinkles and then charged me for this service. Not a good customer service experience.

There were some odd combinations of synthetic and natural materials made in the 1960s used mainly for dresses and suits that you have to be careful of when steaming or ironing. I had a suit that was part linen, part rayon and part nylon that did not like the water drops from my steamer. It left water spots on a NOS suit. I had to dampen the whole suit and then iron with a damp white wash cloth in between the suit and the iron. It never really looked quite right though.

Acetate can be ironed or steamed, but some acetates, particularly the type used as a lining in 50s prom dresses will change colors if submerged in water. It usually can be steamed, but ironing is probably the better method. You can use a lightly damp white wash cloth in between the iron and the material, which helps to get the wrinkles out better, but you want to make sure not to get the cloth too damp.

Polyester is a wonderful material for maintenance - the only thing that bothers it is bleach, which will make it yellow. Polyester can be steamed or ironed, but on a low or synthetic setting.

Nylon can be steamed very nicely and can be ironed too, but on a low setting. The only problem with nylon is that stains do not come out well, so be careful when considering purchasing a nylon garment with a stain.

Most garments of the later 70s to present are marked with material content and clear cleaning instructions. I recommend following those instructions, it will extend the life of the garment.

Is your Vintage Clothing Insured ?

clothing insured

If your vintage clothing insured?

For most people collecting vintage clothing is a hobby, and a passionate one at that.

Once you get the bug and hooked into the vintage clothing scene, your collection will quickly grow and grow. You will become a connoisseur of antique collectible clothing.

However you should be careful and make sure your clothing collection is adequately insured. If you have alot of clothes and they are valuable, it might be that an ordinary household contents insurance policy will not cover them.

Imagine your anguish in the nightmare scenario of a fire, when you find out your precious clothes were not covered.

Anything that can be classed as a collection needs to specified under the policy as such. Contact your Insurer and give them a complete itemised list of stock, together with individual costs to replace. Remember that a new for old policy doesn't really work in this instance, as your clothing is not new and cannot be replaced as new.

A lot of your items will be one off's and whilst you would be sad to lose them, at least make sure that the Insurance Company concerned will be giving you adequate monetary compensation.

Vintage Clothing on holiday


Do You Wear your Vintage Clothing whilst on Holiday?

You will have the same issue with a travel insurance policy . The majority of travel insurers will make a deduction for age or wear and tear. Leaving your vintage stuff to be covered under a  travel insurance policy will mean that in the event of a claim, you won't be getting much money back, if any!!

If people realise that you are wearing an expensive piece of vintage clothing, there might also be the increased risk of theft.

We say enjoy wearing your vintage clothing, but make sure that you are covered in the event of an unforseen insurable event! If you require more information go to http://thatsinsurance.com

vintage clothing on holiday


More Women are shopping for fashion online

Online vintage clothes shopping

More Women are Shopping Online

Across the globe, women are switching from buying their clothes on the High Street to shopping online. Interestingly, not only young women are buying their clothes from the web. One of the biggest growth areas is sales to the over fifties, especially when it comes to designer clothes.
In some countries, the growth of online sales has been phenomenal. In New Zealand, people buy three times as much online as they did ten years ago. Today, they spend $4bn on the web and sales of women’s clothes online have grown particularly fast. Many of the big names now sell online and interestingly now target women in other countries. A great example of this business model is Andrea Moore.

People Want Something Different

Fashion designers are not only able to use the web to tap into their home market. There is a growing trend for people to order their clothes from abroad. They like having a better choice. It makes it far easier for people to find the clothes that they really like.
Being able to wear clothes that no one else in their circle is wearing also appeals. Buying from abroad decreases the risk of turning up to an important meeting wearing the same outfit as another woman at the table. Women know that if they buy direct from the fashion house’s website they will be buying the real thing rather than a copy. The only drawback of buying clothes from abroad is the time it takes the clothes to arrive, but modern shipping techniques mean that delivery lead times of 5 to 7 days are now typical.

This is also true of vintage fashion and clothing. Whilst it is great to search out these specialist shops and spend the day trying on the vintage 60's and 70's clothing, it is becoming much easier to purchase specialist vintage clothing online.

Beyondretro.com is a classic example of a brand of vintage clothing that has several retro shops, but has made the move to online.  A similar company is www.rokit.co.uk.

Both companies offer free returns and stock thousands of vintage clothing bargains.


What is Vintage Clothing?

What is vintage clothing?

vintage clothing

There can be some confusion between certain classes of clothing and so we have detailed below, the various terms used in relation to clothing so you can fully appreciate what you are purchasing.

Antique Clothing

There is a general consensus of opinion that clothes made prior to the 1920's are called antique clothing. Clothing made prior to the 1920's tends to be found in museums and can be very expensive because of their rarity value.

Modern or contemporary fashion

As the name suggests this is clothing made now. As stated before it is difficult to say whether an item made a year ago is now vintage clothing. I would venture to suggest that it is not yet vintage until a particular style changes over a period of several years.

Vintage Clothing1960 swimwear

Anything that has been manufactured after this date almost up to the present day can be classed as vintage clothing. There is no defined cut off point for what is modern and what is vintage. It is probably easier to say a style that had gone out of fashion. E.G. 1970's clothing would be considered vintage.

Retro or Vintage Style

What about clothing made recently but made to look like an older style? These are various terms fo this type of clothing Retro or vintage style at items of clothing that imitates as previous style or era. You can also get reproduction gear. These are newly made copies of older versions.

If you are looking for true vintage items of clothing, you will need to make sure that they are genuine and have been made during that time period. Of course the vast majority of vintage clothing will have been worn. It is very uncommon to find vintage clothing that is unworn and of course these pieces will be more expensive than those that have been worn.

Where can I find vintage clothing?

So you have decided that vintage clothing is what you are after and of course, there can be considerable savings made over modern equivalents. Then there is the fashion statement that you will be making. You will certainly stand out from the crowd!!
There are numerous places you can find vintage clothing. However your search will be that little bit harder because not only do you have to find the particular item of clothing, but you have to find the item that is in your size. It is not like you can pick up a clothing catalogue and order the size you want, you will have to do some research and detective work to find what you are looking for.

Charity Shops
These are a great place to find unusual items of vintage clothing. Not only that but because charity shops don't specialise in this area, you are more likely to bag a bargain. Places like the Sue Ryder charity shops Click here to find the nearest one to you http://www.sueryder.org/Shop-with-us/High-Street-shopping/Find-your-nearest-shop. Or oxfam http://www.oxfam.org.uk/shop
You will have to keep a close eye on local shops to make sure you don't miss anything, so there will be a bit of work involved.

Second hand clothing shops
As well as second hand shops, there are now shops specialising in vintage clothing. The downside is that they will know the true price of the goods. The upside is that they tend to have lots of stock to browse through all in one place.
Places like The Vintage basement in Cheshire Street in London and Rokit Vintage Clothing www.rokit.co.uk are great places to spend hours of happy browsing

Auction sites
Auction sites like ebay and gumtree are also great places to find items of vintage clothing. The upside is that you will find hundreds if not thousands of items for sale at the touch of a button. The downside is that you cannot try any items on for size and fit. With older style clothing it is important that you can see if they will fit as styles and sizes change over the years

Vintage fashion fairs
The best and probably the most popular vintage fashion fair in London is "Frock me" It is the original vintage fair and customers can spend hours browsing through thousands of items of clothing. In fact customers range from fashion students looking for cheap stylish bargains to models and celebrities.
Frock me hold eight fairs a year. You can find out details of the latest one by clicking here

1980s Vintage Clothing Has Some Very Interesting Trends

1980's Fashion

There have been many periods in history where fashion trends were very unique and the 1980s is one of the best examples of them. The trends in 1980s vintage clothing include some rather appealing and fun to wear fashions that are still noteworthy to this day and can really create a finer look for all to experience.

The Tropical Print Is Flashytropical print

Tropical prints are among the hottest 1980s vintage clothing options around. In a time when flashy was the big keyword, tropical prints certainly fit the bill. Today they can be found on all kinds of outfits including on dresses and tops alike. These can really hit the spot when finding ways to create a more fashionable or unique look.

The Peplum Style Is Appropriate

A peplum style is another feature that was popular in the 1980s. This can be equated to as a shirt with a bottom part that has a skirt-like opening with some frills. This style is good in any colour and will come with a very fashionable look provided that it is set up with care and made with a more refined style when all is said and done in getting the outside style to work its best.

80s peplum

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The Coogi Sweather Is Bright  coogi sweater

The Coogi sweater was a popular fashion item in the 1980s thanks to its bold wool texture and the various different striking prints that can be found on them. These are often referred to as Cosby sweaters because television star Bill Cosby wore them quite a bit during his time in the spotlight.

Check Out the Power Blazer

The power blazer is a top that can have a strikingly strong bold colour to it and may easily fit well with high shorts. It has a professional yet strong look to it that makes for a fine style. It has particularly been associated with having large shoulder pads although not every power blazer needs to have such bright shoulder pads to make it look strong.

Pastels Tend To Be Notable

Many pastel tops tended to be big hits in the world of fashion in the 1980s. These tops are very useful for creating a fine style and can also go well with neutral jackets. A pastel top will have a much lighter colour than anything else but will provide a more refined and special look to the outfit to create a tone that stands out and has that fine style that anyone would love to have in a spot.

power suit

Denim Is Also Big

Denim is another feature that may also be found in some clothing choices. Denim has long been used in many fashion circles for its fine and durable look. In particular, it may be used with a top and bottom alike to create a consistent look.

In addition, stone-washed denim is an eighties style that is attractive. This is where some of the blue colours of the fabric are washed off to create a mix of blue and white in the same body.

The spirit of the 1980s will continue to live on thanks to these fine fashion trends. The great types of fashions that were reflective of the era are alive and well thanks to so many different styles that really add to what one wants to highlight.

1970s Vintage Clothing Offers A Vast Array Of Choices

When the 1960s rolled out and the 1970s rolled in, fashion began to gradually become more fun and more carefree.

Many social changes came about in the 1970s, and these changes were reflected in clothing of the period. Some 70s fashions were quite bizarre, but they expressed a step away from the typical American family picture of working husband, housewife mom and a couple of kids. Women of the 70s were very often working women, and styles began to exhibit this fact.

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1970 mens suits

The advent of polyester made clothing care a lot easier. This easy care, no wrinkle fabric made it possible for men and women to wear all manner of brightly colored, easy-care costumes that needed only to be tossed into the washer and dryer for perfect appearance every time. With the popularity of polyester, a new product was created. Dryer sheets became an absolute necessity in all households to combat static cling.

Fun Fashion in the 1970's

Fashions were fun in the 70s and offered a lot of variety. Men wore polyester leisure suits and also jeans and boots and cowboy wear. Women wore midi skirts, long skirts, ethnic flavored apparel and accessories as well as polyester pantsuits. Culottes and split skirts also became popular as a dress alternative that allowed women more freedom of movement in the work setting.

Geometric designs were all the rage, and some very eye-boggling garments could be seen. All-in-all, the 70s carried forward the hippie look of the 60s and began building on a more modern business casual look for both men and women. Although, dazzling colors and polyester ushered the decade in, but by the end of the era muted tones, earth colors and more natural fabrics were favored. 1970's fashion

In the early 70s, low cut bell bottom pants and slacks were popular for men and women. In the mid-70s all this changed. High top pants and slacks came into vogue, and trouser legs became narrower. Although pants made a metamorphosis in terms of waistlines and leg width, a tailored fit across the hips was considered correct throughout the decade.

Mens Fashion in the 70's

Matched sets in all sorts of clothing were very popular. Men continued to wear leisure suits, while pantsuits became more popular with women. These were especially well received as office attire. Many women's pantsuits of the time looked very much like slightly feminized versions of men's suit. Women paired their pantsuits with cowled sweaters and lacy blouses, scarves and jewelry to offset this effect.
For casual dress both sexes donned coordinated track suits. Hooded robes were also quite popular for wearing around the house. Velour was a very popular fabric, and most men wore striped velour V-necked shirts in casual settings.

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For office wear and formal wear, men and women tended to wear platform shoes, boots and booties. For casual wear, athletic shoes (especially basketball high-tops) were very popular.


Accessories were very flamboyant during the 70s. Men were really given permission to break free and adorn themselves with some flare. Jewelry such as big watches and rings and medallions were common accessories for men. Men wore sideburns and big mustaches and used hair care products unashamedly.
It is easy to see that the 70s was a decade of great change in fashion and in people's roles in society. Those interested in wearing 70s vintage clothing today have a wide variety of styles, colors and fabrics to choose from. Some of the patterns of the 70s, such as women's pantsuits, are quite practical and fetching even today. For this reason, many people who are able to sew make the unique personal fashion choice of resurrecting a 70s pattern in a modern fabric.

1960’s Vintage Clothing

The 1960’s vintage clothing featured various trends. This was a decade where several fashion traditions were broken. During this period, culottes, go-go boots, PVC clothing such as the box shaped dresses were popular. In this decade, the bikini was also introduced. It was introduced in 1963.
the mini skirt

In the early 1960S, the mini-skirt was invented by Mary Quant. Around that time, Jackie Kennedy introduced the pillbox hat. Their developments paved way for the introduction of several other forms of clothing and fashion. People began dressing in mismatched patterns, highlighter colors and other unique prints such as the psychedelic prints.


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The fashion trend in the first half of 1960

In early 1960, high profile designers from Europe dictated the styles that were worn. However, young people later came to dictate the fashion as they began influencing the styles and designs. One popular group of people who impacted the fashion in the early 1960s was the rockers.

Before 1965, women wore very short skirts. The skirts were matched with tall and bright boots. Sleeveless tunics were also common during that time.

Fashion in the early years of the decade reflected the elegance of different famous individuals who lived during that time. Women suits that 1960 mod fashionhad short boxy jackets were common. The jackets have oversized buttons. The present day geometric dresses which are popularly known as shifts were also fashionable during that time. Basically, the dressing style was determined by the time of the day. In the evening, most women were dressed in evening gowns that had low décolletage and close-fitting waists. During the day, the Capri trousers were fashionable especially for casual occasions. It should also be remembered that stiletto heel shoes were popular among women.

Men were not left out either. Men normally appeared in suits that were pale. Unlike today’s suits that are bright and colorful, the existing men’s fashion during that time featured toned shades. The suits were blended with wide ties, trouser straps and leather boots. Casual dressing for men featured plaid button down shirts and pale trousers.

Late 1960s

After the introduction of mini skirt in 1964, the fashion during that decade changed forever. Short plastic raincoats, colorful swing coats were introduced in 1966. The Nehru jacket was also introduced in the fashion scene and it was normally worn by both men and women. During this period, men’s suits were very diverse in color and for the first time, the suits were fitted with the slimming. At the same time, the waistlines for women clothing was left unmarked while the hemlines began to be reduced. High heel stilettos were taken over by low heeled sandals. By 1968, the androgynous hippie look won the heart of many men and women. Bell bottomed jeans, tie-dyed shirts, headbands and workshirts began to enter the fashion industry and they were received overwhelmingly. The idea of multiculturalism was introduced as the style inspiration was mainly drawn from Nepal, India, Bali, Morocco and several other African countries.

The bottom line

The clothing style of the 1960s has a significant impact in the present day mode of dressing. A lot of aspects in the present day style have been borrowed from the decade.