Friday, July 31, 2009

How to tie 40s scarf

I didn't even think to include a "how to" on my last post about 40s style scarves, but Eyeliah from Style Symmetry nicely asked me to elaborate so here is  my "tutorial." I'm no vintage hair genius like some people; in fact, I just kind of made this up so I have no idea if this is how they really did it. But it works for me so I might as well share! If you try this out, you might have to play with different scarf sizes and ways to tuck it in but eventually you'll get it and add your own flare too!

Step one: Fold scarf into triangle.

Step two: Put triangle over your messy overgrown backwoods bush of a head, pointy part towards forehead.  I have a small scarf so I am staying behind my ears, but you can also go over your ears which is more authentic.

Step three: Bring other two corners around to front.

Step four: Tie loose ends over triangle point. At this stage, you might need to adjust, maybe pull middle part forward more, or for bigger scarves tuck in the extra fabric on top. You can also pin flaps down.

Step five: Tie ends in a bow or tuck them in along sides. Adjust bangs to your taste, stuff offending loose hairs beneath scarf. With bigger scarves, if the middle part is going too far over your forehead, you can fold it back and hold it in place with a broach or pin.

Step six: Await the emergence of your inner smokin 1940's vixen. Feel fabulous. Do house chores or put rivets in a metal sheet. 

Taa daa!


Thursday, July 23, 2009

40s Factory Inspiration

Let's talk about my hair woes. Although I love the pixie cut, the truth of the matter is that it lacks variety. I miss the days when I could choose different hair styles to suit my mood-- braids, curls, half ponytails, headbands, barretts, hair accessories in general... The nice thing about this haircut is that it looks good messy, a must for lazy people like me, but sometimes I don't feel like being messy. Sometimes I want to look put together and yet still the busy lady I am. 

Which is why I have been borrowing looks from the busy working ladies of the wartime 40s! What better way to hide your hair on off-days while still looking sharp and expressing yourself? It's amazing how wrapping a piece of cloth around your head can slice right through the monotony of seeing your reflection with the same old haircut every day. I'm sure people who know me from flickr have already noticed my newfound devotion to the 40s/50s headscarf turban seeing as I rarely leave the house without one these days. At least I know my friends and coworkers have noticed, as I have been receiving lots of "I Love Lucy" references.


I absolutely love the headscarfs and turbans popularized during and after World War II. Not just for the I Love Lucy washer woman, you can see how chic they could really be in these high fashion photographs. The last picture came from Vogue in 1953, but like so many trends, the headscarf really came into play for practical reasons. 

At the beginning of WWII, women were encouraged to come work in the factories to help fill the labor gap left by enlisted men, and the scarfs were worn simply as a method of keeping hair clean and out of machinery.  I'm sure everyone is familiar with the Rosie the Riveter image, which captured my imagination growing up (particularly the Norman Rockwell painting), and indeed headscarfs like hers became the symbol of the Woman Ordinance Worker (W.O.W) and a source of pride. Check out these other propaganda posters of the time period that inspired contemporary women of the 1940s as well as myself!

But probably most inspiring of all are the real live Rosies that actually populated the factories! These propaganda posters and the amazing color photographs below are from the Library of Congress, which I highly recommend for perusal if you're an old picture lover like me. What would it have been like to go from a shut-away house wife to an empowered figure of strength with a real patriotic duty to fulfill? It must have been exciting. I'm sure the real issue came in trying to send these ladies back to the kitchens once the war was over. How could you ever find pastry baking interesting after building fighter planes?

Not that I have anything on these tough cookies, but I like to think I can channel at least some of their energy and attitude by wearing my fun versions of their serious headgear. To spice it up, I've been adding vintage pins and even made some poor attempts at pincurls, although I don't know how they achieved those amazing fluffy bangs peeking out. 

If you're having a bad hair day, try a turban on for size! I highly recommend some 40's factory Inspiration.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Carolina Mountain Treasure Hunting

I spent a very relaxing weekend with a few friends at my parent's mountain house in North Carolina. Podunk small town thrift stores are often rich in their bounty, full of vintage goodies, and at the very least amusing kitsch. I was with some fellow treasure hunters and we enjoyed two of the best stops in the North Carolina mountains. Be sure to visit these places if you're ever in the area! 


My all time favorite stop is in a little town called Sylva, at Dodie's
Dodie is an eccentric older woman in Peggy Guggenheim glasses who runs weekly auctions of her antique wares. 

During the week, the shop is open for browsing but it is set up more like your favorite grandmother's overflowing attic; racks stuffed with clothes, some funny not-so-vintage pieces but with the random old gem thrown in here and there! There are piles of boxes you are free to rummage through and shelves covered in shoes, hats, bags, you name it. 

Dodie will chat you up with interesting anecdotes about her past, her knowledge about vintage clothing, and occasionally some political babble if you accidentally steer her in that direction. (In addition to auctions, Dodie's is also home to the Republican Headquarters and Dodie drives a "Victory Van" complete with a graphic of her face on it).  

When you're done piling up your loot, she usually just eyeballs it and gives you a price that's better than thrift store prices. If you don't go to Sylva to experience Dodie's antique wonderland, at least pop in to the store to experience Dodie herself!


Uncle Bill's is another excellent stop but a world apart from Dodie's. Dodie is all about old glamour and class and general fabulosity, whereas Uncle Bill's is more about, um, southern mountain people heritage to put it delicately. 

Here you will find a long strip of flea market tchotchke as far as the eye can see. My parents hate this place because they think it's junk (which it kind of is) but junk can be so much fun! My friends and I all found some great stuff! 

There are plenty of throwing knives, confederate flags, religious inspired t-shirts, fried food, and even a small little tattoo booth! But thrown in the mix are also plenty of antiques. I went a little crazy for the costume jewelry.

Beyond shopping, it was so wonderful just to get out of the city for the weekend and to explore the area around the cabin. I took some pictures in an extremely old cemetery up the road. Many of the graves are worn beyond legibility but the dates on some place them as early as the Civil War. Some confederate soldiers are buried there as well as at least one ex-slave. His epitaph (which was obviously written by a white man) sang his praises by stating "A Negro with the Soul of a White Man." Ha! I wonder what he would have thought of that. 

Here are a few of the treasures I successfully hunted:

Vintage silk pajama shrug from Dodie's. Costume Jewelry etc from Uncle Bill's.

1930s/40s dropwaist sheer peach dress with lace. This was my favorite score from Dodie's.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Fashion Undead or Off With Its Head??

I had so much fun reading everyone's reactions to the 1996 shirt from my last Fashion Undead or Off With Its Head post that I couldn't wait to do another one! Since that stupid free online poll I made didn't work at all, this time I decided to load the pictures onto Chictopia with their poll tool. I would love it if you'd head over there and vote, and if you aren't a Chictopia user, why don't you go ahead and sign up? It is fuuunnn!


Without further ado, I present to you the 
Silky Lavender Sexy Granny 1970s Jump Suit

It has a beaded embellishment up the right shoulder, a plunging v-neck, and ties together at the nape of the neck with a string leaving the back slightly open. It's also got an elastic waist that ties at the left hip and sweet deep pockets to boot! I found it at Bargain City Thrift store. One look at those long flowy pants connected to long flowy sleeves in that outrageously powdery purple color and I knew this thing was coming home with me. It was just too crazy of a garment not to be mine!

The applique reminds me of Laverne from the show Laverne and Shirley. I bet she would have worn this jumpsuit on a night out!

As much as I love it for the novelty and the fun factor of skipping around the apartment in it, the garment is a bit big on me and I know that liquid lavender is not my color. I do love a good one-piece outfit, but I've never worn this one out. Maybe it's a little matronly and grandmotherly, maybe a bit awkward and dorky. What do you think? To help you help me decide, here it is worn a few different ways:

Plain and simple as-is:

Scrunched sleeve and harem pant bottom. (PS. the way to acheive that harem pant MC Hammer Pants look with a baggy cuff is to pinch it tight around your ankle then fold it up a few turns so it sticks in place)

Sleeves and slacks rolled up to be more like a romper.

Now I turn to you dear reader. Does this old jumpsuit have the potential to live again as some classy lady's cocktail attire? Or is this the kind of 70's polyester evil that should be banished to the grave for eternity? Give your two cents. Be brutal. Go to Chictopia and vote in the poll. 

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