Meet the Model: Hedy Hatstand

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There’s a new face in town! Meet professional model Hedy Hatstand. She comes to  the land of Ms. Jeannie from a traveling trunk show that toured the country for years and years. Now anxious to be rooted for awhile, Hedy’s happy to be in long-term employ in the bookshop of Ms. Jeannie Ology as the official face of all things vintage head and neck-wear.

Named after Old Hollywood siren turned brilliant inventor Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000),  who is still considered to be one of the most beautiful women to EVER hit the big screen…

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Hedy Lamarr was the stage name of Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler who was born in Vienna in 1914.

our Hedy Hatstand comes with her own dramatic beauty face. From afar she sports a milk-tone complexion…

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but up close she’s cleverly tattooed in music and lyrics…

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from her favorite 1920’s jazz song Nobody’s Sweetheart.

Like Hedy Lamarr’s tumultuous six marriage love life, and like the you-don’t-fit-in-anywhere song lyrics of Nobody’s Sweetheart, Hedy Hatstand’s had her own tragedies in the romance department.

You’d never believe how much frolicking goes on behind the scenes in the hat industry. Between the fedora salesmen and the stocking cap sewers it’s a veritable web of heart strings passing from one head to another. Hedy doesn’t like to talk about it too much but, as is true with any tattoo, the story is all there permanently written on her face…

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…wedding bells and vices, dreams and changes, kisses and catastrophes…

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Luckily all of that amorous experience, all that life of long-living and layered love has built up quite a beautiful face that makes our dear Hedy just perfect for expressive, one of a kind style. She can model both men’s….

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and women’s hats…

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with equal aplomb and can even manage a striking bowtie…

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The song lyrics for Nobody’s sweetheart include passages like this:

You’re nobody, nobody’s sweetheart now,
There’s no place for you somehow,
With all of your fancy clothes, silken gowns,
You’ll be out of place in the middle of your own hometown,
When you walk down the avenue,
All the folks just can’t believe that it’s you.

With all those painted lips and painted eyes,
Wearing a bird of paradise,
It all seems wrong somehow,
It seems so funny,
You’re nobody’s sweetheart now!

Hedy’s daring neck tattoo may read Nobody’s Sweetheart, but she definitely has one champion in her corner – Ms. Jeannie and she definitely has a place forever to stay if she likes in the bookshop. Of course, life is always  changing and there’s no telling how long Hedy will stick around (she could very well follow in the footsteps of Christmas Pig)  but for the time being, for this Fall anyway, she’s holding down the hat fort in the shop of books. Because she’s definitely somebody’s sweetheart now.

Look for more images of Hedy and her vintage hats coming to the bookshop this Fall and Winter. In the meantime, you can find her in the bow-tie aisle here right now.

Cheers to sweet(hat)hearts:)

 

The New “Old”…

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Ms. Jeannie is hard at work on a new art related blog post that will be coming out shortly. In the meantime, she wanted to share the new batch of old items that have just arrived in her shop. In this mix you’ll find:

The fun thing about this mix is that they are all hand-touched. From the choice of colors on the magnificent horse head bust to the choice of beads in the gracefully delicate sweater, each piece has been crafted with an artist’s eye and close attention has been paid to detail.

They also make for unique decorating and festive conversations! The decanter set is ready for a little outdoor entertaining, the antique basket is ready for a little garden gathering and nothing says rest and relaxation like a pot of tea and a good book. A new season is here and new stories are now unfolding!

If you like being kept abreast of new shop items in this fashion, please let Ms. Jeannie know in the comments section.  Some new changes are coming to the blog over the next month and Ms. Jeannie wants to be sure to include all your favorite topics.

Cheers to a wonderful weekend ahead and Happy April!

Sweater Weather: The Hair of the Dog and The Style They Started!

Photo via pinterest.

Fresh off of NYC’s Fall Fashion week and with a cool nip in the September air, this week’s post is all about sweater weather and a certain style that has gone to the dogs (literally!). This week’s spotlight is on the Samoyed…

photo via pinterest

photo via pinterest

one of the world’s oldest breed of dogs, originating from the snowy lands of Siberia.

Long prized for their happy faces, jovial personalities, strong fortitude and loyal devotion, the Samoyed is often depicted throughout history as members of working sled dog teams and instrumental aides of snow-peaked mountain search and rescue organizations. But they are also famous for one additional factor…

Their mountains of dog hair! Photo via pinterest.

Photo via pinterest.

…their mountains and mountains of dog hair! Named after the Samoyed tribe of the Artic region of Northern Russia and Siberia…

Photograph courtesy of icecrownsamoyans.com

Photograph courtesy of icecrownsamoyans.com

the hair of Samoyed dogs is as fluffy as a snow bank and as a dense as a thicket. With the ability to insulate in the winter but also keep dogs cool in the summer, and aided by the massive amount that can be procured from regular brushing, Samoyed hair has been a useful, if somewhat selective component in fiber arts for hundreds of years. One of the most common uses for this type of angora-like hair is sweaters, as seen on this handsome chap from Ireland…

photo via pinterest

Man, man’s best friend and a sweater made from this pup’s hair. Photo via pinterest

which can of course be knitted in a variety of different patterns and styles like these two examples found on a unique fiber knitting forum

This sweater was made with 50% samoyed fur and 50% merino wool.

This sweater was made with 50% samoyed hair and 50% merino wool.

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A host of dog hair knitting projects can also extend past sweaters into a slew of other wonders. In 1942, The Samoyed Club of America presented a large display of articles made from their dog’s hair at the Women’s International Exhibit in New York City. Among the many diverse pieces were socks, blankets, gloves, scarves and sweaters.

Of course, using dog hair is not a far stretch from the more traditional fibers like cashmere taken from goats…

photo via pinterest

photo via pinterest

or merino wool from sheep…

photo via pinterest

photo via pinterest

but dogs somehow seem a little to close to home somehow for Ms. Jeannie. What do you think dear readers? Is it creepy or cuddly, this dog sweater style? Is the face of your next fall fashion piece?

photo via pinterest

photo via pinterest

This blog post was inspired by the 1954 book, Dogs and People by George and Helen Papashvily, which is coming soon to Ms. Jeannie’s shop. For other vintage dog-themed books available now, including a marvelously beautiful antique book about a sled-dog named Hector, please stop by and browse a bit here.

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It’s All In the Initials: Sewing Advances at the Fair

One hundred and twenty years ago, in the summer of 1893, newspapers across the country were reporting on a grand spectacle of an event taking place in a big city. That big city was Chicago and the event was the Columbian Exposition also known as the World’s Fair.

Silk Handkerchief Souvenir from the World's Fair Chicago 1893

Silk Handkerchief Souvenir from the World’s Fair Chicago 1893

For six months, from May – October, the reception gates welcomed visitors to the downtown Chicago lakefront staging area that was a marvel in size, scale and execution.

Aerial view of the Chicago World's Fair. Photo via pinterest.

Aerial view of the Chicago World’s Fair. Photo via pinterest.

A staggering 25% of Americans attended the Fair in those six months, and Ms. Jeannie is excited to report that one such visitor was her great great grandmother, Martha.

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Martha traveled from Iowa to Illinois, armed with a summer’s worth of knowledge about the Fair thanks to the frequent reporting of her local newspaper, the Vinton Eagle who kept it’s readers up to date on all aspects of the Exposition from logistics to exhibits, history to happenings.

In illustrated glory, all the details of the World's Fair as reported by The Vinton Eagle in a July 1893  edition

In illustrated glory, all the details of the World’s Fair as reported by The Vinton Eagle in a July 1893 paper

That year, the Fair commemorated the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ discovery of America and celebrated the latest advances in industry and technology occuring throughout the world.  It was an exciting place to be, not only as an eyewitness to progress, but also for all the hope and possibility that hung in the air as our nation quickly approached the dawning of a new century.

Opening day of the Chicago World's Fair. Photo via pinterest.

Opening day of the Chicago World’s Fair, May 1893. Photo via pinterest.

No doubt, Martha was caught up in the fever and wonder of such marvelous new sights like the first Ferris wheel, the first automatic dishwasher, the introduction of food novelties like gum and ready made pancake mix and the debut of the zipper.

Also in the sewing category came a new piece of machinery, which drew delight to many attendees, especially among the ladies, Martha included. Debuting at the fair was the first on-site embroidery machine that could embroider names and initials on fabric while you waited.

The Palace of Mechanical Arts was where most of the textile exhibits were located. Photo via pinterest

The Palace of Mechanical Arts was where most of the textile exhibits were located. Photo via pinterest

Martha was so enamored with this “instant gratification” concept that she purchased a colorful souvenir handkerchief…

A silk handkerchief momento

A silk handkerchief momento depicting the layout of the entire Exhibition.

And had her name embroidered in the corner…

M. J. Edwards

M. J. Edwards

If you look closely, you’ll notice there is no “s” on the end of Edwards – whether that was accidental or limited due to a specific amount of allowable letters, Ms. Jeannie will never actually know. But she loves that this handkerchief carries a personal touch of her great great grandmother at an event that was so creative and inspiring.

The handkerchief itself is in wonderful condition.  The silk fabric so delicate yet bright with its vivid colors and detailed drawing of the fairgrounds.  The embroidery looks like it was sewn yesterday, instead of over a century ago.  Ms. Jeannie wonders if Martha ever wore it or used it in any way or if it remained stored away as a special reminder of a special trip.

Martha was a sewer herself, so maybe she just appreciated the fact that a machine could now produce something as equally lovely and delicate as initials without having to do it by hand.

At the time of the Fair, Martha was 47 years old, she had been married for 29 years, and had birthed 11 babies. Waiting for her back at home in Iowa, in addition to her own kids  (the youngest which was aged six)  were 10 grandchildren all under the age of 7.

Ms. Jeannie bets that Martha saw her fair share of mending projects involved with that large brood! It’s no wonder that she amazed by this speedy embroidery machine. Imagine how fast all those sewing projects would go if she had one of these machines of her very own!

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So maybe this handkerchief represents a time-saving industrial novelty, or maybe it represents a fun travel adventure or perhaps just a stunning flight of fancy from one sewer to another… either way, Ms. Jeannie is thrilled that it has stayed in her family and survived intact for 120 years.  That’s a true marvel in keeping with the theme of the World’s Fair itself!

Compassion Collects in the Closet: How One Helps Many

This time, Ms. Jeannie’s interview series takes us to the very big city of Chicago, to a very big closet, powered by a lovely lady with a very BIG  heart. Meet Nicole of  Dotto, vintage fashionista and volunteer extraordinaire.

Hello Nicole!

Nicole runs the sunny vintage clothing shop Dotto, on Etsy. It’s so full of personality, Ms. Jeannie can’t help but think that Nicole is bringing a much needed breath of fresh air to dusty cellars and attics all over the city. She’s the shop model, the copy writer, the clothing scout, the photographer and the coordinator behind her brand. And as if running a successful Etsy shop isn’t accomplishment enough, she also donates proceeds from her shop sales to not one but  seven local charities that she’s affiliated with.  How does she do it, you ask? Let’s find out…

Nicole of Dotto vintage modeling a 1940 Peter Pan collar dress. Click for more info.

Nicole modeling a 1940 Peter Pan collar dress. Click for more info.

Ms. Jeannie: Oh Nicole – you sound like such a fun person and incredibly nice to be donating shop proceeds to charity. Please explain a bit about how you came to make charities a theme for your shop.

Nicole: AW. I’ve been a pretty serious volunteer for years that probably started with the peace corps, but no wait. I volunteered a little in college too. When I moved to Chicago I spent the first few months going to as many volunteer orientations as I could and was blown away by how many really good- like really good- organizations there were here and at one point had to start cutting back because I was volunteering more than I was working. Anyway, I went to a small business expo about a year ago and was asked what makes my business different and I remember thinking ‘oh my god NOTHING. it’s just clothes’. I decided to show in my shop what I am able to do by making my own hours and working for myself. Whew!

Vintage 1970 Scout Leader Vest. Click for more info.

Vintage 1970 Scout Leader Vest. Click for more info.

MJ: Tell us a little about each of the charities you are involved with and why you chose them.

http://www.pawschicago.org/

pawschicago.org

Nicole: PAWS Chicago is a no kill animal shelter. I volunteer on the dog side and lately have been fostering cats!

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sitstayread.org

Sit Stay Read is a literacy program that enlists dogs as volunteers TOO. kids get super jazzed about reading to the dogs during classroom visits, it is pretty adorable and their reading scores show a vast improvement.

826chi.org

826chi.org

826 Chicago is a creative writing and tutoring center. They offer field trips to elementary school kids during the day and tutoring to older kids afternoons and evenings. Right now I am working online with four AP history students to help them pass the exam at the end of the year.

Side Note: 826 Chicago was recently part of a TED talk. For a quick, interesting little video about how the 826 concept started click here.

keenusa.org

keenusa.org

KEEN is an exercise program for kids and teens with disabilities- IT IS AWESOME.

littlebrotherschicago.org

littlebrotherschicago.org

Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly reaches out to isolated seniors all over the city by getting them to senior parties and/or visiting them at home.

juddgoldmansailing.org

juddgoldmansailing.org

Adaptive Sailing helps people with disabilities learn how to sail. It is even more interesting than it sounds.

Side Note: If you are interested in learning more about this program, you can watch this 7 minute video. It is inspiring to see how challenges are turned into rewarding opportunities for both participants and program coordinators. And spending time on the water?! Who couldn’t benefit from that!

workingbikes.org workingbikes.org[/caption]

Working Bikes fixes donated bicycles and ships them to countries in need or sells them to the community at a low cost.

MJ: What is your process of determining how much donation goes to which charity?
Nicole: If I’ve missed volunteering with an organization that I usually volunteer with, I’ll donate to them first when extra money comes in. but I try to volunteer with each group at least a few times a month, some of them weekly. When a ‘disaster relief’ item sells, that money goes toward something that is currently going on in the world through www.globalgiving.org

Vintage Christmas Angel Nativity Dress. This is one of more than a dozen pieces in Nicole's shop that contribute to disaster relief funds. Click here to see what catches your eye.

Vintage Christmas Angel Nativity Dress. This is one of more than a dozen pieces in Nicole’s shop that contribute to disaster relief funds. Click here to see what catches your eye.

MJ: Your photographs are full of personality – do you work with a photographer or do you arrange all the sets yourself?

Vintage 1960's sheer black slip.

Nicole’s clever spin on a vintage 1960’s sheer black slip.

Nicole: I use a timed camera in all of the photos with a white background. The professional outdoor photography is done by my verrrry talented friend Rodion Galperin.

It's gard to figure out what's prettier - Rodion's photograph or the dress! Mid-century lace wedding dress. Click for more info.

It’s hard to figure out what’s prettier – Rodion’s photograph or the dress! Mid-century lace wedding dress. Click for more info.

For one year, Rodion traveled across the US with a red paper heart. Watch the beauty of this amazing project unfold here…

MJ: What’s your most favorite decade of vintage clothing?
Nicole: ooooh. It changes all the time. Currently the 1940s. I love the fitted waists and powerful shoulders that evolved with women entering the workplace.

1940 Wool Fitted Suit

1940 Wool Fitted Suit

MJ: What’s your most favorite item in your shop right now?
Nicole: The white sequin dress with pink flowers. People always ask if I wear things that are in my shop and I feel kind of weird that I don’t (except wouldn’t it be kind of weird if I did?) but it’s true. I do, however, put things in my shop that I’ve worn before… this dress is the ultimate. I wore it to a dive bar for New Years a few years ago (true story) and for my birthday one year. I am going to cry a river once it sells but I always feel a little bit like I am getting married when I wear it, so. . .

1950 White Sequin Dress.

1950 White Sequin Dress.

MJ: Every once in awhile we see a cat or a dog or another person pop-up in your listing photographs. Tell us about your fellow models.
Nicole: Oh the muffin butts? They make the best models. the dogs are from my hometown in California, they’re in the backyard photos… right now I am fostering a tabby cat from an animal shelter- he only enters the picture if treats are involved. A few months ago I fostered brother cats who looooved posing. Or sleeping along the wall by my feet while I took photos for hours, the lovers.

With kitty and the pink Mid-Century pajamas.

With kitty and the pink Mid-Century pajamas.

MJ: What is the strangest thing you have come across in your vintage adventures?
Nicole: A friend found a guy on craigslist in upstate New York who ‘had a lot of inventory’ that turned out to be a huge barn FILLED with vintage clothing. I tell you what. We thought we’d walked into heaven when we entered that barn. A dark musty old clothing filled heaven.  

Side note: This story reminded Ms. Jeannie of Julie’s interview from Fishs Eddy – she discovered a treasure trove of vintage china in an old barn in upstate New York too. Maybe these two barns knew each other:)

MJ: Ms. Jeannie loves Chicago! She has many ancestors from there and her father grew up in Oak Park. Are you from there? What are some of your favorite things about living there?
Nicole: I am with you, girl! I love this city, I moved here on a whim two and a half years ago. The architecture and snow and the Colombian Exposition of 1893 are what initially drew me here. But the FOOD! What a pleasant surprise, I had no idea it was such a dream food city before I moved here.

Chicago Photography by Rebecca Plotnick. Click for more info.

Chicago Photography by Rebecca Plotnick. Click for more info.

MJ: When you are not Etsy-ing or volunteering, what else do you like to do with your time?
Nicole: I love to ride around on my bicycle, which I initially got into to impress a guy. Ugh, good thing bikes are so awesome. Every once in a while I design and sew clothing- it’s actually why I originally signed up on Etsy. And then vintage clothing ended up taking over.

MJ:  It looks like, from your previous shop move, that you have been affiliated with Etsy since almost the beginning, back in 2007. How did you discover Etsy? How has it evolved since 2007 and why did you decide for a change from gimmeNicole to Dotto?
Nicole: I get asked about Etsy a lot and it’s kind of fuzzy. I think I heard about it through someone on Ebay. Weird, right? Remember when listing an item on Etsy used to take several pages? And you had to add photos one at a time? I remember the day they rolled out the one page listing template and everything was like MAGIC.

MJ:  What is your favorite type of vintage clothing to scout?
Nicole: I don’t have too much of a filter, I will go for anything. I physically cannot stop myself from grabbing anything neon or glittery, sheer or with matching belt. I used to get anxious when I shopped, like if I didn’t do it fast enough people would find things that I was meant to find but that has changed completely over the years. I’ll totally give someone something from my cart if they are eyeing it (okay. within REASON)

MJ: Do you wear a lot of vintage clothing yourself?
Nicole: Ugh, I don’t. And I have kept some really beautiful things since I started my shop! I’ll wear vintage for special occasions or anything where I have to think about what to wear beforehand, definitely. I love over dressing for an event. But daily, I almost always wear a t shirt and jeans or skirt.

Vintage his/hers reversible soccer shirt.

Vintage his/hers reversible soccer shirt.

MJ: It seems that your shop clothes are full of American nostalgia from camp t-shirts all the way down the line to prom dresses and ballet costumes. Do you look for items that are reminiscent of a traditional American past or does it just happen to work out like that?
Nicole: Oh it just happens to work out like that.

Vintage Ballerina Costume.

Vintage Ballerina Costume

Mermaid Green Party Dress. Possible former prom dress?!

Possible former prom dress?!  Vintage 1980’s Mermaid Green Party Dress.

Vintage Figure Skating Dress

Vintage Figure Skating Dress

MJ:  Do you sell most of your items to customers in the US or overseas?
Nicole: I think it’s split pretty evenly. I sell a lot to England and Australia, I always wonder if those places are especially void of vintage clothing or if they’re just more inclined to shop online. Stateside, more orders than I ever would have bet on are from Texas. but really, it’s just so spread out. 

Side note: Ms. Jeannie also sells a lot of vintage to Australia. She recently spoke with a customer who shed some light on the subject. It seems there is just not a lot of vintage or antique items in Australia. And what they do have is really really expensive, so for collectors it is much more cost effective to purchase vintage from the States. Even with our high shipping prices to their neck of the woods, it still works out in their favor.

MJ: Buying from your shop is almost like receiving two gifts! You give something back to the community and you receive a fabulous vintage item at the same time, do you think people respond to that and do you think that affects their purchasing decisions?
Nicole: AW. I feel like that’s split too. but always if someone didn’t notice that their purchase helps organizations around the city, they’re pretty jazzed when they find out afterward.

MJ:  Have you seen the impact that your charitable contributions have made? Is there a Nicole Cat Hospital somewhere in Chicago or a statue of your loveliness downtown?! Did the mayor give you a key to the city?!
Nicole: whaaaaaaaaaat an enormous key to the city? Who wouldn’t want that. It would have to be enormous, otherwise the deal would be off.

MJ: If we were to come spend a day with you in Chicago, and you were to act as tour guide, where would you take us?
Nicole: WELL. every old theater we could get into, most of them in Uptown. I am just slightly obsessed with atriums and glass ceilings- Harold Washington Library, the Cultural Center, the Rookery. You would have too ooh and ahh at architecture along the river with me, naturally.

Harold Washington Library Photograph by Carolyn Jane Photo. Click for more info.

Harold Washington Library Photograph by Carolyn Jane Photo. Click for more info.

Chicago Cultural Center Tiffany Dome Photograph by unfinishedphoto via etsy. Click for more info.

Chicago Cultural Center Tiffany Dome Photograph by unfinishedphoto . Click for more info.

Rookery Building photograph by photoasylum. Click for more info.

Rookery Building photograph by photoasylum. Click for more info.

MJ: And last but not least…the universal questions: What book(s) are you currently reading? And what music are you listening to?
Nicole: I’ve been listening to a lot of Lissie and old Ratatat lately and reading a book that my sister recommended called The Secret History. It’s by Donna Tartt and is pretty excellent.

Mustard Corduroy Vest.

Mustard Corduroy Vest.

With over 190 items in her shop you most certainly might find a new treasure for your wardrobe. Ms. Jeannie encourages you to help the helper, by visiting Nicole’s shop on Etsy or by passing along this post to someone else who would enjoy it. Best case scenario, you might aid in helping a shelter dog find a new home or a withdrawn senior find a smile.  Worst case scenario, you keep Nicole afloat so that she can continue to be a working wonder in the windy city.

Happy adventuring, dear readers!

Storytime (and a Challenge!) with Ms. Jeannie: How Old Photographs Can Spark The Imagination!

When Ms. Jeannie first started doing her genealogy research, the holy grail of success for her was finding the faces of her ancestors. She worked close to a year before she uncovered any. Ironically, that first photo that opened up the pictorial floodgates, was right under her nose… in an album Ms. Jeannie’s mom had forgotten about in the back of a closet!

The day Ms. Jeannie looked at the face of her great great grandmother Martha, for the first time, she was so overcome with emotion, she cried!

The first picture of great great grandmother Martha

The first picture of great great grandmother Martha (on right)

Silly but true. Ms. Jeannie is not really the weepy kind, after all. Anyway, she just got caught up in the moment.  All those months of researching Martha’s  life  – her 11 kids, her journey in covered wagon from Indiana to Ohio to Iowa, her husband’s military service in the Civil War, her farm life in Iowa… all those details rolling around Ms. Jeannie’s head for all that time. And then suddenly – there was Martha!  There was the shape of her face, the evidence of glasses, the style of her hair.

Since then, through help from online forums like ancestry.com and genealogy.com and the kindness of sharers, Ms, Jeannie has found handfuls of family photos. Her family.  Spread out over many trees, many lines and many countries. These are some of the more recent finds…

Great Grand Aunt Anna's house in Iowa

Great Grand Aunt Anna’s house in Iowa

Great Great Grandfather Albert

Great Great Grandfather Albert

Fourth Great Grandparents Maria & Garret

Fourth Great Grandparents Maria & Garret

Great Grand Uncle J. William

Great Grand Uncle J. William

Grand Aunt Leona

Grand Aunt Leona

Great Grandmother Juna and her sister Hannah

Great Grandmother Juna and her sister Hannah

Had she never done the research, Ms. Jeannie would never have known what any of these people looked like. With the exception of great grandmother Juna, these were all brand-new faces of family.

Ms. Jeannie likes to look at these pictures and think about the context in which they were taken. What was great Aunt Leona thinking about? Why were Juna and Hannah wearing paper dresses? What was the pin on the lapel of J. William? Noticing small details like this paints a vivid picture for the imagination!

In the same vain, whenever Ms. Jeannie comes across old photographs for sale, she can’t help but do the  same exact thing – she thinks about the back story surrounding each image.  She has several examples of this in her Etsy shop… let’s take a look…(click on any of the pictures for more information about each photograph)

On first glance, you might just see a picture of a girl on a bench…

Ms. Jeannie named her Nina!

Ms. Jeannie named her Nina!

nina2

But crawl inside Ms. Jeannie’s head and she’ll tell you this story…

“Nina waited patiently for Spring. Well, technically, she was waiting for summer – but you had to get through spring in order to get to summer, so she had to dream in order. This summer, she’d be done. Done with high school. Done with wearing plaid skirt uniforms and done, done, done with all that homework, thank goodness. Sure, she was going onto college in the Fall, but that would be different. There would be boys, and classes she wanted to take and parents that she only had to see on breaks. At college, her preferences for life would bloom and Nina couldn’t wait for that. She’d study literature and she’d become a writer and her very first piece would be about the suffocation of long skirts and loafers.”

Here, you see two bathing beauties…

1940s Swim Photographs

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And Ms. Jeannie sees Rose and Evelyn…

“Rose and Evelyn stayed in their swimsuits the whole entire vacation. And who could blame them? With that ocean stretching out behind them and the infinity pool disappearing in front – it was all they needed. This was the vacation where Evelyn perfected her dive, and where Rose realized that she was now technically old enough to flirt with boys without looking ridiculous. It was an ego-booster for both of them, this vacation.”

This one is a school scene from the 1920’s…

microscope

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Sometimes, Ms. Jeannie sees many stories in one scene. Such is the case, with this one! Here is all she imagined…

“There’s the obvious one, of course, about how smiling Dorothy is in love with Gilbert and absolutely thrilled that her crush of the past two years is now sharing elbow space with her. 

There’s the story about lively Pauline (in the forefront) and how she talked her way into getting the traveling photographer to stop by her Biology 101 class. “You’ll want to document the budding scientific genius occurring in room 9, sir. I guarantee you that.” 

There’s the story of Mr. Whipple, first year science teacher, who doggedly fought the school board for months over the right to buy 37 microscopes so that each student in his class (not just the boys) would have use of their own scientific study instruments. 

Then there is the story of three friends, who spent all summer in the science lab researching why the bullfrogs in Tillman Pond were genetically bigger then the bullfrogs in every other pond in town. 

And let’s not forget about humble Pauline who was the first girl, in the state of Texas, to win first place in the national science fair, which yielded not only a cash prize for her, but new textbooks and supplies for her school. 

Oh, Ms. Jeannie could practically write a novel with all the situations going on here! Now it’s your turn to look close and see what stories you see…”

This one is a miniature portrait…

marion

marion2

Ms. Jeannie called her Marion and wrote about her neighbor, Arnie (short for Arnold)…

“Marion’s got a suitor in her neighbor, Arnie, across the street. Well, technically he’s not really her suitor yet – but one of these days she’s going to fall head over heels for him. He just knows it. In the meantime, he does his best, on a daily basis, to try to impress her – nothing’s really gone gangbusters so far. Most of the time she stands there, with her arms crossed and that same as ever are you kidding me expression. But Arnie’s of a hopeful mindset…one day, she’ll see it.”

Ms. Jeannie got a little help from the inscription on this photo postcard…

bobbie

cheer2

This is what she thought was going on inside Bobbie’s world…

“Oh that Bobbie – she’s quite a clever kidder, calling her beau a schnook like that. She hopes this subtle Merry Christmas postcard tactic is all that she will need to make handsome Dean realize that she is quite over the moon for him. It’s only taken her the whole semester to get her nerve up – but what the heck does she have to lose now? It’s Christmastime and she’s feeling hopeful. She’ll just slide it under Dean’s dorm room door before she heads home for the holiday. Let him stew on that during winter break!”

Of course, all these photographs are open to interpretation,. You may see something totally different in the bathing beauties or in Bobbie’s cheering stance,  but that is sort of the fun of these old photographs. Don’t you think?

Following this train of thought, Ms. Jeannie came up with a fun little challenge for all of you dear readers!

Here it is..

What is this scene all about?

What is this scene all about?

Now it is your turn to come up with the back story about this picture above!  Write your own quick little story snippet about this photograph and email it to msjeannieology[at]yahoo.com

It doesn’t have to be long… just a few sentences is great.  The most creative entry, as determined by Mr. Jeannie Ology (for fairness, of course) will win the picture! The challenge will be open for one week so be sure to get your entries in by midnight on Tuesday, February 26th. Winner will be announced via blog post, and also email, on Wednesday, February 27th.

Lucky for you – there’s a little extra help with this challenge! On the back of the photo, written in pencil, it says…

“Grace & Me. I have on Grace’s hat and she has mine on.” 

Here’s a few more close-up views of the photograph. In case you want to know the size – it measures 2.5″ inches x 3.5″ inches.

hat2

hat3

hat4

hat5

Good luck and happy imagining!!!

What Ms. Jeannie Did on Her Christmas Vacation

Remember when you were in grade school and you had to write a paper or a theme, as it as called in catholic school, about what did over your holiday break? Well for some reason, this sort of reminiscence has always stuck with Ms. Jeannie, and she finds herself mentally recapping after every holiday and every vacation. So to continue the tradition…

What did Ms. Jeannie do during her Christmas vacation?

She learned how to sew!

Ms. Jeannie's first-ever sewing project: an apron!

Ms. Jeannie’s first-ever sewing project: an apron!

Thanks to her wonderful friend, Wendy, Ms. Jeannie got a crash course on Christmas Day that included all the sewing basics, while Mr. Jeannie Ology and Mr. Wendy cooked a  magnificent turkey dinner. Yes, dear readers, the ladies sewed and the men cooked and then they all came together to feast! It was a splendid holiday, indeed.

Wendy taught Ms. Jeannie a pattern that she picked up in a British sewing book. With a few slight modifications, Wendy taught Ms. Jeannie all the sewing basics at once.

They started with converting centimeters to inches and then cutting the cloth with those fun little triangle edged scissors. Next it was off to the sewing machine to learn how to thread the sewer and work the pedal. Boy those first stitches were thrilling! The tricky part was trying to keep the fabric straight.

Stitches for gathers. Combining two fabrics into one!

Stitches for gathers. Combining two fabrics into one!

As you know from previous posts, Ms. Jeannie comes from a long line of sewers, and she thinks inherently, that she will one day make a great one herself.  Two hours in, she was already starting to feel like a pro! When she attached the pockets she felt like she had built the Taj Mahal of aprons…

Ladies and gentlemen - we now have pockets!

Ladies and gentlemen – we now have pockets!

And then something scary happened. Wendy left the room. But wait, there was still more to do. The pockets had to be  re-enforced and the apron ties had to be made,  both of which Wendy had described in detail how to do but we had yet to practice.

“It’s sink or swim time,” she said as she left.

With nervous notions, Ms. Jeannie tried to remember all that she had learned. Keep it straight, keep it steady, don’t bunch and go slow.  She tapped the pedal, she fed the fabric, and wouldn’t you know that sewer did exactly what ms. Jeannie intended. Her first triangle stitch was created in an instant!

A triangle stitch is born!

A triangle stitch is born!

Ms. Jeannie just about cried with joy. A feeling of pure excitement and accomplishment on just about the same level as when she first learned how to write her name, read a book, ride a bicycle and drive a car.  A little wobbly to start, but  Ms. Jeannie felt like she just opened the door to a whole new world of possibilities.

The ties came next – a piece of cake!

The ties that tied it all together!

And there you have it! A five hour craft project involving fabric and thread, a machine and an iron, all to yield a useful household item. Ms. Jeannie is in love with her new found skills!

So much so that she is noticing and admiring all sorts of sewing handiwork about the house now… the duvet cover, the the lines of her new dress, the pleats in the couch pillows. Endlessly fascinating, they all are.

And of course Ms. Jeannie is eyeing all sorts of apron styles – now that she’s got this one under her belt, or tie, if you prefer.  Here are some of her favorites on Etsy… (click on each photo for more information)

Penelope Apron by boltsandyardsfabric

Penelope Apron by boltsandyardsfabric

Wilderness Apron by InnerWild

Wilderness Apron by InnerWild

Kitchen Apron by studiopatro

Kitchen Apron by studiopatro

The Urban Wrap Sewing Pattern by Modern Vintage Designs

The Urban Wrap Sewing Pattern by Modern Vintage Designs

And with Mr. Jeannie Ology in mind…

Leather Work Apron by CyclonaDesigns

Leather Work Apron by CyclonaDesigns

Mens Full Apron by SSatHome

Mens Full Apron by SSatHome

Yes indeed – this is a whole new world and Ms. Jeannie has big plans! Summer skirts, throws, pillows, bed blankets, dresses and definitely more aprons!

On a side note:

January marks the one year  anniversary of Ms. Jeannie’s Etsy shop and in celebration she is having a 24% off sale! Why 24%, you ask? Well it all started back on January 24th, 2012. Clearly that 24 is a good number! Use coupon code HAPPY2013 to receive your discount upon checkout.

As we get closer to the big day, Ms. Jeannie will be doing a little past year re-cap so stay tuned. In the meantime, stop by and have a peak at some of her new listings…

Celebration Sale!

Celebration Sale!

Classic Style – A Glamorous Conversation with The Vintage Hat Shop

Funny enough, this is Ms. Jeannie’s second post dedicated to hats and her fifth mention of them in previous fashion related posts. You see, dear readers, Ms. Jeannie has a great love affair with hats, which she is just now realizing.

She only owns three herself: a bright green celery colored garden hat, a wide brim, floppy, shoulder to shoulder straw beach hat and a fancy derby hat which she recycles every year through the magic of ebay – hardly the dynamic collection of a hat lover!

But what Ms. Jeannie has come to realize is that the thing she might just love most about a hat is the ability to subtly express oneself through a color, an adornment, a slight placement of angle. Whether you want to hide from the sun under your big brim or show off your flamboyant style in an eye-catching fascinator  – a hat can speak volumes about its wearer without her having to say anything at all. Magical!   So when Ms. Jeannie came upon this quote by Martha Sliter – she could completely relate:

“A hat is a flag, a shield, a bit of armor, and the badge of femininity. A hat is the difference between wearing clothing and wearing a costume; it’s the difference between being dressed and being dressed up; it’s the difference between looking adequate and looking your best. A hat is to be stylish in, to glow under, to flirt beneath, to make all others seem jealous over, and to make all men feel masculine about. A piece of magic is a hat.”

Well said Martha! A piece of magic is a hat! This got Ms. Jeannie to thinking about the past – back to nostalgic times when women (and men!) wore hats everyday and millinery shops lined the streets of every city. Now those physical brick and morter shops are few and far between but thanks to Etsy, we can still enjoy vintage hat shopping in our new and modern way – online!

Vintage Hat Forms – photo courtesy of Greg Lang via pinterest

Lucky for us – one of Ms. Jeannie’s readers is Cindy – the dynamo behind The Vintage Hat Shop on Etsy. With over 100 hats currently for sale and over 700 hats sold in just over two years, who better to sit down with to discuss the state of the hat union than her?!  Enjoy this stroll through fashion history as Cindy gives us all a glimpse behind the curtain of a true vintage hat shop….

Vintage 1940s Tilt Hat in Gray with Bows from theVintageHatShop

Ms. Jeannie:  How did your Etsy shop come about?

Cindy from The Vintage Hat Shop: I get asked that question a lot. I knew that when I opened a shop on Etsy I wanted to concentrate on just one item. Hats just seemed to work for me—they are unique, ship easily, and I like the types of folks that buy hats. I love hunting for unusual and stylish hats.

1930’s Halo Hat Clamshell Turban from theVintageHatShop

MJ:  Explain a little bit about sourcing your hats – do you have to do a lot of mending and cleaning to do or do you look for hats that are only in pristine condition?

TVHS: I have my own certain criteria for hats—I won’t buy a hat that has a foul smell, is soiled or needs a lot of repair. I do replace elastic back bands, remove veils, do a bit of minor mending. I iron a lot of ribbons. And I go through many lint rollers.

MJ: Your shop spans many decades – do you have a most favorite time period? 

TVHS: I like the ’40s hats myself. I just think it was such an interesting era and the hats are a reflection of the times. The styles were rather “gutsy” and dramatic. So many supplies were in short supply during the war and innovation was the key. I admire and respect that. Such a variety of fashion styles are available from that time period.

1940’s Tilt Slouch Hat in Lavender with Ostrich Feathers from theVintageHatShop

MJ:  Are you just as interested in hat related paraphernalia, like hat pins, hat boxes, etc as you are hats?

TVHS: I am interested in hat related items but I seldom buy them. I have too many interests and I make myself concentrate on just hats. The hat pins that I have were passed on to me by family members.

Miniature Dobbs Hatbox – from theVintageHatShop

MJ:  Kate Middleton seems to have brought some new attention to the hat industry, are most of your clients from the U.S. or overseas?

Some of Kate Middleton’s hat collection. Photos (clockwise) courtesy of: marieclaire.co.uk, graziadaily.co.uk, allhatnocattle.net, zimbio.com, hatsca.com

TVHS: I have clients all over the world. I have sold hats to folks in 27 countries—(yes, I keep a list!) About a third of my sales are international. I have hat dealers in 3 countries that buy from me for their shops. Australia is the country to which I ship the most hats.

MJ: If you could put one of your hats on any famous head, living or dead, who would you choose?

TVHS: Some of my hats would look great on Lady Diana. Can you imagine!

Actually Cindy – Ms. Jeannie can imagine this! She thinks Diana looks splendid in your 1960’s sequined pillbox hat!

MJ:  What is your most popular selling style of hat? And most popular decade?

TVHS: That’s a good question, but I haven’t quite figured out the answer yet! There doesn’t seem to be one decade that is consistently popular. Right now I am selling 1960’s cloches that look like they came from the 1920’s. For awhile 1940’s tilts were very popular. The tilt/slouch look from the 1930’s consistently sells well.

Vintage cloche hat with 1920’s style (one of Ms. Jeannie’s favortes!) fromtheVintageHatShop

1940’s Vintage Saks Fifth Ave Forward Tilt Hat from theVintageHatShop

1930’s Tilt Slouch Hat from theVintageHatShop

MJ: At the moment, there seems to be just a few men’s hats in your shop – is it harder to find men’s hats then women’s, do they sell more quickly or do you just have a natural affinity for a more feminine style?

Men’s Newsboy Cap from theVintageHatShop

TVHS: I like men’s hats but I don’t seek them out. Men want their dress hats to fit exactly and it is very hard to size them. Most of the fedoras that I find are a small size. So I rarely list them anymore. I do sell newsboy caps which can be worn by either men or women.

MJ:  In your shop bio, it reads that one of your buyers was Polo Ralph Lauren – how exciting! Have you seen your hats in any of their campaigns?

TVHS: No, but I haven’t been looking . Guess I should check that out.

MJ: What is your most favorite hat currently available in your shop?

I like the 1930s maroon tilt slouch hat. I like the quiet simplicity with a touch of classy style. But my favorite changes often.

1930’s Maroon Slouch Tilt Hat from TheVintageHatShop

MJ: Tell us a fun hat buying story in regards to one of your customers…

TVHS: Last week I sold two hats to Loretta Young’s daughter-in-law. Loretta Young loved Lilly Dache’ hats and one of the hats purchased was a black velvet Dachette turban. The hats will be used at a Loretta Young 100th anniversary exhibit at the Hollywood Museum in LA that runs from December through April. She even encouraged me to attend!

Loretta Young (1913-2000) was an American, award winning film and television actress. Photo courtesy of fanpop.com

Cindy’s hats are la-la bound! See them on display at the Hollywood Museum. How very glamorous! Photo courtesy of thehollywoodmuseum.com. Click the photo for more info.

Two of my 40s hats were purchased to be worn by extras in the movie “42”, the Jackie Robinson story starring Harrison Ford now being filmed in Macon, GA. You can bet I will be going to see that movie!

Movie Poster for 42

Many of my hats have been purchased for vintage weddings, theatrical productions, professional photo shoots and to women that like to dress in a vintage style. Today I sent a hat to a woman that is going to a Gatsby themed wedding and wanted a vintage cloche. You just never know! That’s what makes it so fun.

MJ:  Do you have a favorite “hat” movie? “Hat” actress? “Hat” actor?

TVHS: I like the 40s movies and actresses—Bette Davis, Katherine Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman. I can’t pick out a favorite hat movie! What guy wears a hat better than Frank Sinatra?

Clockwise from left: Bette, Katharine, Frank and Ingrid (okay Bogie – you too!)

MJ: Why do you think women’s hats fell out of fashion as a regular, everyday accessory?

TVHS: A lot of people attribute the demise of hat wearing to hairspray! When women get their hair all “dolled up” and put on hairspray so it stays in place. They don’t want to ruin their “do” with a hat. I know on the days when I go hat shopping by the end of the day I have “hat hair”. It isn’t pretty.

MJ:  What do you look for in a vintage hat?

TVHS: I look for a hat with class and style. Sometimes I buy hats I don’t like because I know there is a market for them. But usually if I just don’t like a hat at first sight, I don’t buy it. And I love most any hat that tilts.

MJ: Do you wear hats yourself?

TVHS: Now you would think so, wouldn’t you? But in reality I seldom wear hats. They just aren’t in fashion in this area. (Which makes them available for hat buyers!!). But I do come home and try on every one that I buy. Shhhh. Don’t tell the family, they already think I am hat possessed.

MJ:   Can you tell us something a little “extra” about these 5 hats from your shop (Ms. Jeannie’s favorites!)… 

Favorite #1: Vintage 1960’s velvet cloche with 1920’s style from theVintageHatShop

This hat has a great memory. I purchased it on a trip to see my family. We had such a terrific time that day. Now it is off to London.

Favorite #2: 1960’s Bucket Tilt with Coralie Faux Fur from theVintageHatShop

 I purchased this hat because the color was unusual. And the feather looked like a bird!

Favorite #3: Vintage Cloche Hat with 1920’s Style from theVintageHatShop

There is an antique shop that I stop at often, they don’t know my name, they just call me “The Hat Lady”. I found this hat there. Could anyone pass up a 1920s cloche in this condition?!!

Favorite #4: Vintage 1950’s Turban Style Hat from theVintageHatShop

Turbans are very popular right now and this is such a great color. It has more of a structured shape than other turbans that I sell.

Vintage 1960’s Tilt Slouch, Beret Style with Rhinestone Pin from TheVintageHatShop

What a classy way to do a winter hat! That beading adds just the right touch of interest.

MJ:  What was your most exciting hat acquisition story?

TVHS: Last summer I went to a local estate sale. A widow had died 15 years ago at age 90 and her nephew was just cleaning out her home. She was meticulous about her belongings. Her hats were exquisite! I got some from each decade 1910s-1950s. One of her hats was made by a local milliner, that will go to our county museum. I have two of her hats that I just can’t quite bring myself to list. I am a sentimentalist at heart. I had such a great time that day! And I was so honored to pass her hats on to collectors that would also treasure them.

MJ: You have lovely models in your shop! Tell us a little about them.

Meet the Vintage Hat Shop models…Jo & Jo!

TVHS: I had searched for months for a new mannequin. I had been to antique shows, and every shop in our area but just couldn’t find a mannequin that suited my style. I had decided to order a new one on line and just make it work. My husband and I decided to go out to a small town for a Friday night dinner and parked next to a tiny gift/antique shop. The mannequin gal with the dark brown hair was in the window! The shop was closed for the night and the next day was the last day for the season. You can bet that I took another trip back to that store early the next morn and purchased her. I went to the same shop again this spring and bought the redhead. Oh, and of course many hats, too!
It makes me happy each time I use them. I have named them both Jo—after a classy aunt.( yes, she wore hats and loved them!)

MJ:  What style advice would you give to the first time vintage hat buyer?

TVHS: Buy hats you love of course. But the real secret is to give your hat a good tilt. For the “oo-la-la” factor.

Other interesting tid-bits from Cindy’s world:

Currently on her bookshelf: 

Recommended Books from Cindy: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, Until Tuesday by Luis Carlos Montalvan, and The Measure of A Man by Sidney Poitier

Currently listening to:  Country music on the radio. 

If she could luncheon with anyone famous living or dead, she’d choose: Eleanor Roosevelt 

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) – First Lady of the United States from 1933-1945, civil rights activist, author and public speaker.

Of course Eleanor would be the one in the hat!

This interview is part of an ongoing interview series that Ms. Jeannie is orchestrating about artists, writers and musicians and their inspirations. To read other interviews in this series, simply click here.

 

Retro Swimmers: The Beauty of Water Ballet

Dear readers, Ms. Jeannie has found a new love!

While catching up on her magazine reading this week, Ms. Jeannie was flipping through the pages of the April 2012 issue of Vogue Magazine and came upon an article about the Aqualillies

In Sync – April 2012 Vogue Issue pg. 218 – Beauty Fitness

If you are unfamiliar with them – they are an L.A. based synchronized swim team that performs at parties and private events. They have held special “performances” at fashion shows, celebrity parties, hotel openings and they also made an appearence  on the tv show, Glee.

Aqualillies impressive water ballet. Photo courtesy of Erin Hearts Court

The all-girl team carry the retro theme of their sport through classic swim costumes, 1940s makeup and nostalgic song choices but also combine modern acrobatics and dance movements to their routine, which makes it seem both timeless and contemporary all at the same time.

Here’s a quick clip of the ‘Lillies performing…

Doesn’t this look completely fun? Ms. Jeannie could definitively see this being the next big Vegas act!

In addition to performing the girls also teach classes at the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica.  Ms. Jeannie is going to be in L.A. for a friend’s wedding next April so she’s going to take a class while she’s there! She’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

The origins of synchronized swimming are traced back to Berlin, Germany in the the late 1800’s but it wasn’t until the Chicago World’s Fair in the 1930’s that the sport gleamed international attention.


Chicago World Fair Poster – 1933

There Kathryn Curtis organized her show, The Modern Mermaids, which she referred to as rhythmetic swimming. In the 1940’s Esther Williams, a trained swimmer,  brought water ballet to the big screen starring in such films as Bathing Beauty, Million Dollar Mermaids and On An Island with You.

Here’s the trailer for Bathing Beauty, which came out in 1944.  You can see where the Aqualillies got their inspiration!

Synchronized swimming  became an Olympic sport in 1984 and is only open to female qualifiers – no men allowed in this arena (or pool, as the case may be!) yet. With the Olympics scheduled to start in London in just a few days, Ms. Jeannie is excited to see how the US will fare in this category. Here’s a picture of the 2012 team.

2012 US Snychro National Team 1

One of the things Ms. Jeannie loves most about the Aqualillies is their style. They scour old magazine ads, newspapers and movie footage for fun swimsuit ideas and makeup trends. Retro bathing suits are very popular this year too – so if you need to spruce up your beach attire, click on each of the photos below to learn more…

The Natalie – One Piece Bathing Suit from Anthropologie

1940s/1950s Pinup Bathing Suite from MetricMod

Luxe Tortoise Keyhole Tank from JCrew

Vintage 1940s/1950s Swim Suit from SHESABETTIEBoutique

1930s Swimsuit from brerrabbitvintage

Swim caps became popular in the 1920’s as a way for women to protect their hair from the chlorinated water and to keep stray hairs from clogging pool filters. Aviator styles like this one below dominated the 1920’s:

Vintage 1920s Swim Cap from lactoseintolerart

The 1950’s and 60’s brought about more colorful, stylized swim caps adorned with flowers and frillies like these…

Vintage Swim Cap with Flowers from MommaBeeCollections

Vintage 1960s Swim Cap from plattermatter

Vintage 1960s Feathered Swim Cap

Pair any of these with some red lipstick and a classic hair style and you have one spectacular bathing beauty!

Happy swimming:)

Movie Poster for the 1944 film Bathing Beauty starring Esther Williams

Family Portraits: What Clothing Can Tell You

Ms. Jeannie’s great grandmother, Mable,  arrived by post yesterday. It had been quite a few years since Ms. Jeannie had spent any time with her, so as you can imagine, it was very exciting to see her lovely face again.  It’s not often (in Ms. Jeannie’s case anyway!) that she gets a visit from an ancestor;)  She couldn’t wait to get her all situated.

Tin portrait of Ms. Jeannie’s great grandmother, Mable Jeanette Edwards

Mable is one of the most photographed women of Ms. Jeannie’s family. She’s actually the only family member born before 1900 that has been photographed at all stages of her life from childhood to senior citizen. It’s nice to see the transition…

Mabel Jeanette Edwards circa 1890’s.

She was born in Benton County, Iowa in 1887 , the daughter of an Ohio civil war soldier, who suffered eye damage in the war.  Her parents traveled by covered wagon from Indiana, the day after they were married, (some honeymoon!) to Iowa where they rented a farm and started a family.   Mable had 10 brothers and sisters, but only eight of them lived to see their adult years. Mable carved out her own little place in the family’s heart.  As the very last baby, she was the most spoiled, the most doted on, the most played with.  Imagine all the attention from all those brothers and sisters!

Ms. Jeannie guesses that  Mable is about 5 or 6 in this picture. She was such the Victorian poster child here, portraying all that was trendy and stylish just as the century as drawing to a close. As you can see,  her hair is quite long and fringed, as was popular with any young miss at that time, and she is wearing quite a bit of jewelry ( two rings and a necklace pendant) which tells you that her family was doing well enough to be able to afford pretty non-necessities for their littlest member. She’s also wearing a detachable crocheted collar, possibly made my Mable’s mom or sisters. Everybody crocheted in the the late 1800’s. Doilies, tableclothes, blankets, collars – if it could be sewn it could be crocheted!  Crocheted collars, in particular, were favorite accessories of both the Victorian and Edwardian eras because they could be mixed and matched with a bevy of different outfits. They also lent a bit of bright to the preferred somber colors of the time.

Here she is at the age of 15…

Mable Jeanette Edwards circa 1900

At the time of this picture she would have been almost finished with her schooling. By this age, her clothes have changed from the dark,  heavy Victorian colors to the lighter, brighter colors and fabrics of the Edwardian era. Very Downton Abbey! Also as she is maturing her style is more feminine and delicate. This white eyelet blouse with its high color was also a very popular style in the early 1900’s. It seems Mable was quite trendy when it came  to clothes! And you’ll note, that her hair was pinned up in place at the nape of her neck. This is the transition period between having hair hang down her back as a child, and having it pinned on top of her head as an adult. It s fascinating what you can learn  just by a picture!

Mable Jeanette Edwards c. 1904

This next picture was taken just a couple of years later, after Mable finished school. She became a teacher and taught in a rural one room schoolhouse in Benton County, Iowa.  Her pocket watch was most likely a staple of her school mistress attire.

Now that Mable is an adult – her hair is pinned on top of her head.  Also we can see she is wearing a winter outfit as noted by the dark colors. Her skirt and hat were most likely in the shades of dark brown – considered a very attractive winter color.  And looks what’s on her head…a feather! This brings the Plume Trader blog post full circle!  Ms. Jeannie suspects this might be a rooster tail feather in Mable’s hat.

Her blouse would have been either a moss green color or a lavender grey color to match her hat plume. These color combinations were very popular for the winter wardrobe of the stylish Edwardian lady.

Mable on her wedding day. November 18th, 1909.

In November 1909, Mable married Illinois born William Earle Race at home in Vinton, Iowa. She was 21 years old, Earle 23.  Her wedding dress was made out of brushed silk with detailed hand-embroidered lace.  The collar style of Mable’s dress is called a  high dog collar, which was popular for brides of the era.

William Earle Race, circa 1915

Mable and Earle had one little boy, Phillip Ardath…

Phillip Ardath Race with his neighbor circa 1915

Here, he’s entertaining their neighbor. So cute – both of them. Ms. Jeannie loves Phillip’s romper and the neighbor lady’s dress is gorgeous.  Another Downton Abbey style! The look they are having so much fun!

Mable Edwards Race with her mom, Martha Jane Brewer Edwards

This is Mable and her mom, Martha around the 1930’s. Ms. Jeannie loves the difference in clothing between these two genereations. Martha still favoring the long skirts and long sleeves of the Victorian era. Most likely, Martha was of the thrifty mind-set and wore her clothes until they wore out. Mable on the other hand as we have learned was always keeping up with the trends. Here Mable is showing much more skin then her mom yet is still conservatively dressed.

Mable & Earle Race – circa 1940’s

Here Mable and Earle are pictured on their farm in Washington State.  Taken in the late 1940’s, Ms. Jeannie loves this candid shot. Mable smiling, her hand on her hip, Earle with his thumbs in his pockets.  They look so comfortable around each other. As you can see, Earle was a whole head taller then Mable, almost an entire foot! By this point they have been married over 30 years.

Phillip always said that Mable and Earle were great loves. They traveled the ups and downs of life  with the same  level of fortitude, making the best they could of everything. Through the Depression, through countless jobs, through countless moves, from Iowa to Washington State and back again twice.  Together they were.  Mable was a grower, a writer and a bird lover. Earle a salesman, a logger, and a baker. To their grand-kids they were “Memo” and “Bumpy”.

Earle died in February 1975 and Mable followed six months after. Family lore said she died of a broken heart.

Ms. Jeannie understands. She has a great love too. Ms. Jeannie also has a feeling that if her and Mable were alive together at the same time – they just might have been good friends. Imagine that. Imagine if you could be friends with your ancestors. Who would you pick?

Thanks to the wonderful world of Etsy, you can now recreate Mabel’s fashionable looks from the late 1800’s to the 1950’s. Etsy’s vintage shop sellers have all the garments you will need! Take a look:

For young Mable as a Victorian girl:

Rare Antique Victorian Girl’s Dress from SouthernVintageGa

Civil War Pineapple Crocheted Collar by MadeByHandThings

Mable’s Edwardian teenager look…

Ivory Pintucked Dress from FoxyBritVintage

Vintage 1909 Cotton Dress from WildHoneyPieVintage

Mable in school teacher attire…

Victorian Black Taffeta Blouse – from BlacklistVintageMPLS

Victorian Bodice Skirt Dress from JenniesJunque

Antique Victorian Millinery Supplies Feather from Antiquesofromance

Antique 1907 Pocket Watch from goldandgemsllc

Mable on her wedding day…

1900s Silk Wedding Trousseau from daisyandstella

Mable in the 1950’s…

1940s Betty Barclay Striped Dress from LipStickWhiskey

1940’s Striped Day Dress from MaeVintageInc

Would you like to see more? Click on any above picture to visit that Etsy sellers shop!