Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hollywood Vintage Pattern: No. 895

This is one of the very first vintage patterns I got and the first Hollywood pattern I bought. I didn't find a copyright date on it but I'd say this pattern came out between 1933 and 1936. I really love the armscye angle and the sportiness of this look. I've always thought that if you're going to include a jaunty hat in a pattern picture then you ought to include the pattern for it. Sadly, this is never the case. I want the short version of this coat with the hat shown with it.

Many of the actresses that appear on the Hollywood patterns weren't huge (though I do have Betty Grable and Carole Lombard Hollywood patterns). I know that most of the ones I have aren't especially well known actresses because the really famous ones are usually more difficult and more expensive to get my hands on. I particularly remember the cutest dress ever that featured Claudette Colbert and it was way out of my reach at $80.

Although winter is my favorite season for most things I think fall is the most exciting season in fashion. In spite of the horrifying number of ugly furs that inevitably surface, fall fashion means tights, sweaters, hats, pants, scarves, shoes that aren't strappy, and jackets and coats.

Today is the first day of fall and I'm so excited it's here! I have a hunger to wear charcoal and pumpkin orange.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Vintage Simplicity 3688

I would make the one on the right with the cute little jerkin. (I hate the word jerkin.) I would endeavor to carry a green book too. I post this one in the spirit of the new school year. This looks like something I would have worn when I was in my early twenties when I felt especially collegiate or secretarial.

(The copyright is 1941 which is within my favorite vintage range.)

Surely if I had worn this ensemble someone would have written a song about the winsome girl with the green book and the blue ribbons tied in her hair looking like a... secretary. I guess secretaries aren't particularly romantic figures. I'll bet any balladeer would write about a NAKED secretary though. I'd bet my retirement fund on it!*

Secretary chic does makes it into fashion every now and then when people remember when Lana Turner or Jean Harlow rocked it. Anyone seen "Wife vs Secretary"? I absolutely have to find a copy to buy on DVD. With Myrna Loy and Clark Gable it's a festival of gorgeous people. It's also one of the better roles that Harlow got, in my opinion.

*You should know that I have no retirement fund before engaging in this bet with me.

Friday, September 3, 2010

My (almost) original eyebrows

This photograph was taken when I was 18 years old. I made that green dress without the benefit of interfacing or stays, which it obviously needed. Still, I was a first year design student at FIDM and was only just beginning to develop good drafting skills. In this photograph I'm visiting my mother in Stockton California*, the armpit of the universe. It's not surprising that when I first got into design school at 17 years old and my mom decided suddenly to move to an armpit of a city and gave me the choice to move with her or stay in design school and make my way in the world with no support...

I chose design school and squatting at my best friend's house until we finally got a studio apartment together in San Francisco. Her mother, who is an incredible woman, never blinked about letting me live with them. Or if she did (and why wouldn't she hesitate to take in a chainsmoking mental teenager whose mother suddenly moved to Stockton) she never let me know it. Nothing but kindness and also she taught me to make lasagna.

Those eyebrows are unplucked, unshaved, and unwaxed. They are, however, slightly enhanced with brow liner. I used to have such large brows and now they are so much less substantial. I kind of miss those big brows. Now when I don't darken slightly with pencil they seem to only be half brows. Which don't make me look good.

I really can't say what's up with the pink shirt with pearls. It's like I was doing "Nancy Reagan visits the Renaissance Faire" look. (No one knew that was a look until now.)

I remember that I took the Greyhound bus up to visit my mom and brother. I had my hard shell forties suitcase with me which has since burned up in our attic fire and which I still sorely miss. It was so sturdy (and I was 115 pounds lighter) that I could use it as a seat while waiting to be picked up at the station.

Very cinematic of me.

Smoking cigarette after cigarette sitting on my old suitcase with my parasol protecting my pale skin from the punishing sun of the central valley.

Probably reading something serious like Thackeray.

I must have been a sight.

*It is very funny that nicknames for Stockton include both "all American city" and "most dangerous city in California". Yes, that sums up the US amazingly. As a whole that is our spirit. As Israelis say: we are all really fucking scary violent people with guns, us Americans.