November 01, 2014

1946 Vintage Movado Watch Catalog


March 1946 Movado watch catalog.  Scroll on
for a terrific array of 1940s vintage Movado watches.

Movado Automatic

Solidomatic - Acvatic

Calendograf - Acvatic

Premier Des Premiers Prix- Mouvement Ultra Plat

Mouvement De Forme Ultra Plat - Ultraplan

Ascensions Stratospheriques 1931-1932-1934
Controle Les Observations
Des Professeurs Piccard Et Cosyns

Movado Est Classe En Tete De Liste
Observatoire De Kew 1928-1930
Mouvement Economique Plat

Movado Ermeto - Pullman 8 Jours

Mouvement Economique Plat - Movado Solidograf

Tempograf - Cronacvatic

Dispositif Chronographique Brevete

Pocket Watches

Grand Prix - Avec Felicitations Du Jury - Bruxelles 1910

Movado Remporte Tous Les Premiers Prix
Concours Annuel De Reglage
Observatoire De Neuchatel 1936

Observatoire De Neuchatel 1912

Grand Prix - Barcelone 1929

September 14, 2014

From Skyline to Hemline: Parachute Silk Wedding Dresses

I recently got a phone call from a lovely lady who was finding new homes for some beautiful old clothes & jewelry.  She mentioned a wedding gown of parachute silk - which made my heart skip a beat - but in the same breath, she let me know the local military museum had gratefully received it as a donation.

That got me started thinking about parachute silk in general, and whether or not wedding gowns were truly made from the Air Force-issued parachutes of the betrothed.

Sure enough... from about 1944, here's starlet Elyse Knox draping herself in the silk from the parachute of fiancĂ© Lieutenant Tommy Harmon of the Army Air Forces.  Once a parachute, soon to be a silk wedding dress, this kind of repurposing was one of the ultimate wartime symbols of "make do and mend".  

Lieutenant Harmon survived two air crashes, and used the same parachute when he was shot down over China.  And now it's onto another life, and like my recent phone call, it's hopefully in another museum somewhere today.  

What a story in these wedding gowns!

Source: Life: World War II by Philip B Kunhardt Jr

September 11, 2014

Make Do And Mend, Hollywood Style

Rita Hayworth can scrimp and save like the best of us!  During World War II, the boys at Camp Callan in California named the bombshell actress their "away-from-home mother".  Here she sews a stitch in time on the 1940s suit of one lucky soldier.

Note his unlined suit jacket (due to fabric rationing) and her perfectly smooth legs that seem to have the glowing lustre of fine hosiery.  It looks like Rita may have had a stash of nylon stockings tucked away during the war, while new nylons were practically impossible to get, as their raw material was needed for military parachutes.

Source: Life: World War II by Philip B Kunhardt Jr

May 27, 2014

The Pleat According To Dior

Monsieur Dior says -
 For years pleats have been, and will continue to be, a high point of fashion.  I love them because they are feminine, energetic and moving.  They always give a look of simplicity that I like very much.  They are very young.

With pleats you may put the greatest fullness in a dress without making it look bunchy.  They are very slimming and becoming to almost every woman.

They are very versatile, too - you can have box, accordion, unpressed, inverted, and sun-ray pleats - and they all have their uses.

Photo: Vogue, March 1, 1955.
Source: The Little Dictionary Of Fashion by Christian Dior

May 07, 2014

Top 5 Vintage Clothes To Wear Now: May 2014

Photo Of Pale Blue and White Seashells NecklaceBold Necklaces: As the temperature climbs and necklines open, a big necklace is the perfect vintage accessory.  Go bohemian or Hollywood, Polynesian or preppie... with vintage necklaces you'll find every style.  One size fits all, so they're beautiful gifts too.

1930s Inspired Sunwashed Cotton Top by Sweet Baby Jane Size 0 1Classic Cottons: There's a good reason everyone loves cotton... it keeps you cool and crisp, and our collectible selection of vintage summer clothes includes lots of this classic fabric.  There's everything from denim and canvas to one-of-a-kind cotton prints.


Confection Pastel Tiered Vintage NightieVintage Nighties: There's only so many months in a year when flannel stays in the pajama drawer, so break out the beautiful lingerie while the weather's warm.  Vintage nightgowns like ours are ultra-feminine and ever-gorgeous, and most are wash & wear nylon that dries wrinkle-free.

Reversible Vintage Swim Suit Turquoise Hibiscus Floral Size 9 10Retro Swimwear: Made plans for the summer yet?  We bet they involve a cabana and a mai tai.  Dress the part in classic style with a vintage swimsuit for one-of-a-kind poolside appeal.

Terrific 1960s Velvet Strawberries Basket PurseNovelty Handbags: Bring a conversation piece along for the day!  Vintage summer handbags can look good enough to eat, like the fruit salad bag at left.  Others are preppie chic in canvas totes, or glamorous in vivid flowers and fabrics.  From straw and wicker to jute and sisal, summertime vintage purses are a special splendor all their own.

April 20, 2014

17 Ways To Wear a Vintage Dress Clip

Even a seasoned jewelry collector may ignore the vintage dress clip.  They seem like an anomaly.  How do you wear a dress clip, anyway?  Seems like only my grandmother would know.  After all, we don't see dress clips in modern design, so there's a mental block when it comes to using them.

1950s seashells dress clip and matching earrings.

But a dress clip is versatile, kind of like an earring that clips to a garment.  Usually women wore them (and still wear them!) at the V point of a neckline, or in the corners of a square neckline.  And here's a bigger variety of ways to use the "old-fashioned" dress clip:
  • Added to a chain as a pendant for a necklace
  • Worn on a hat
  • Closing a scarf
  • Tipping the point lapels of a collar
  • Clipped onto a pocket
  • Edging the hem of a pair of gloves
  • Made into a sweater clip by joining a chain between them
  • Instead of cufflinks for French cuffs
  • Holding a rolled-up sleeve in a loose cuff
  • Dressing up shoes instead of shoe clips
  • Clipped onto the flap of an envelope purse
  • Slipped onto a simple ring for a cocktail ring look
  • Altered into earrings by a jeweler
  • Converted into a pin by adding a safety pin inside a garment, with the pin's bar exposed to hold the clip
  • Flanking either side of a belt buckle
Antique style dress clips - only $10!

There's always a unique array of vintage dress clips on our website.  Now that you have a unique list of ways to wear them, include a dress clip in your next vintage-inspired outfit!

Opal lustre dress clip and matching earrings.

April 16, 2014

Google Glass Is Futurist Fashion

Fashion's latest technological embrace is Google Glass, the optical computer that looks like a fallen-forward headband and functions like a mobile device. It transmits the computer's "screen" into the vision of one eye and vibrates audio into the inner ear, so no need for speakers.

While Google Glass is more technology than fashion, its product design is as sleek and futurist as you'd expect a $1500 wearable mini-computer to be.  It's potentially practical as it's hands-free, but it's also potentially a big distraction to your normal field of vision.  I feel like Google Glass would be difficult to imagine utilizing, but I may be old-fashioned.  Considering my line of work (as a vintage clothing dealer), I probably am.

Yet I look back at vintage fashion with a chuckle when I research comparable fads that've come and gone...  Spy cameras embedded in 1930s walking sticks, telephones built into 1950s handbags, transparent plastic space helmets as de rigueur 1960s headgear.  Maybe some of these ideas were heralded as techie wonders in their day, as exciting as the Google Glass debut... and maybe as expensive too.  Here's one from the year 1999 looking into the 21st century:

When designers make good decisions and predictions about wearable technology, iconic fashion can be a result.  Such iconic images designate that our collective future has arrived, and imagery that Google Glass offers looks tantalizingly futuristic... and available today in laser-sharp focus through a state-of-the-art lens.  That's irresistible to many.

But only fifteen years ago, the prospects for future fashion were much hazier, and in many cases, totally off the mark.  The 1999 image above depicts a skin-baring one-piece dress with sun protection and temperature regulation, so you can bare your boobs during a blizzard.  I'm afraid we're nowhere near this kind of technology... or comfort with nudism.

Interestingly, it also displays a "global link" built into this vixen's headset, along with a voice activated phone, watch, memo and binoculars.  That aspect's a pretty good Glass-like vision by Barry Kieselstein-Cord, a lesser known designer compared to the following Randolph Duke creation.


Here Randolph Duke has illustrated the ubiquitous futurist jumpsuit with a built-in calculator on the chest, along with a hands-free headset.  Okay, the headset has some use, but who's keying in anything on that calculator?  And I have to wonder if it's somehow embedded, programming her into a Stepford Wife while simultaneously determining the tip due at the Soylent Green Cafe.

And one more year 2000 prediction... I saved the best for last.  Betsey Johnson chronicled no new fashions for the 2000, but instead a flashback to 60s, 70s and 80s clothes, all with a personal twist.  Sounds good to me.  And it sounds spot-on, too, at least compared to chest calculators and buxom sport dresses with "no use for coat".

Betsey did mention that in the 1960s, her vision of the year 2000 involved computerized space suits that would melt onto the body at the push of a button.  We'll watch for Google to debut that one next.

Millennium Mode: Fashion Forecasts From 40 Top Designers by Roberta Wolf and Trudy Schlachter.

April 12, 2014

What's Old In Ottawa: Annual Vintage Clothing Show

The Ottawa Vintage Clothing Show is a one-day event held Sunday, April 13, 2014 and we Vixens are there in spirit... the photos on their site are splendid, and the variety looks oh-so-tempting.  And they're in a bigger venue this year (the Ottawa Convention Centre), which is sure to please customers and vendors alike.

On-site dressing rooms are available, but you don't necessarily need to waste time getting into one.  Our usual get-dressed-in-public ensemble is:

  • thin opaque camisole
  • opaque tights
  • simple elastic-waist skirt
  • open front jacket
 You can peel off the jacket and skirt for impromptu try-ons at the booth.  And with 50 vendors gathered in one spot, you'll be doing a lot of fabulous fittings!

Canadian Vixens, we want to see photos of you in your favorite finds, so please post 'em.  :)

March 30, 2014

State Of The Vixen

It's 3 PM in the afternoon on a Friday.  I am sniffling and sneezing - yet again - due to a sinus infection brought on by a whiff of mold five days ago.  And I'm sure I don't know what to do about it.

I do know mold is my kryptonite.  Over the last couple years, I've unfortunately had to learn more about mycotoxins and aspergillus that I care to recall.  But I've bustled through the week without a complaint until yesterday, when I crashed and cancelled Friday's agenda and stewed a bit about my situation.

It's not a big deal that I have developed a hypersensitivity to mold.  But it is a big deal when you consider my job.  I deal in old clothes, ones that have sat in mildew and mold and who-knows-what for decades. 

And it's been my job since I was seventeen.

I built myself back then, in 1996, and launched it alone as one of the first vintage clothing sites in the world.  Since then we've done a huge business, developed the best relationships with stellar customers the world over, and been in lots of films and magazines.  I've had one long-suffering husband rallying me the whole way, and two magical children toted along for the ride.  It's been loads of fun.

It's also been in-the-trenches work, sweating and pawing over literally millions of garments in search of the good ones.  And occasionally the great ones.  And sometimes a hit of aspergillus along the way.

I've loved it.  And I still do.  But in 2012, fifteen years into the life of Vintage Vixen, something changed. 

Of all the things in the world that could've happened, I had a tick bite. 

Most people don't get Lyme disease from ticks.  A few do.  Most who do get Lyme can resolve it with a month of antibiotics.  Some don't, including me.  I was one who had to deal with Lyme the hard way, for most of a year.

I am lucky.  Some people with Lyme disease never get better, and for those souls, unfortunately the top cause of death for chronic Lyme is suicide.  When I realized that, I realized I'd better begin to care for myself better.

I am lucky.  I got well.  It took a year and a lot of effort.  But in unraveling all that illness, I discovered how incredibly serious mold is for me. 

In 2012, my Lyme doctor handed me a lab result and told me to stop working with vintage clothing.  I told him no.  He said to wear a mask.  So I donned my 3M Tekk Protection Mold and Lead Particle Respirator every time I went to work.

After I got better, I got complacent.  Don't we all!  And issues started right back up.  I couldn't always attribute it to something I'd handled in cleaning inventory, and I didn't want to sound alarmist, so I ignored it sometimes.  But if I walked into an estate sale I knew instantly if there was a mold problem in the house.  My eyes watered and my throat felt closed up.  And I didn't have an easy way to explain wearing a respirator to every wide-eyed person in the sale.

Other times, like today, I couldn't ignore the pounding headache or fluctuating fever.  And I can wear the mask only so long, before I feel I'm getting a nose job executed by pressure and sans anesthesia.  I'm not a victim type, but dang!  Poor me.

So what's a girl to do?  I'm able to hand off a good bit of our work to my right-hand gal, Cassie Rebok.  She's been a Vintage Vixen for a couple years now, and she's among the best I've seen in our many employees over the years.  That way I can avoid the mold to a degree, and she can handle most of daily operations.

I can transfer the inventory to another venue (Ebay and Etsy thus far), which we have been doing since January, with the goal now of clearing of most of our stock and readying it for a total makeover.  Separating the stock from the site is fairly important as I own and plan to continue developing it, but can hand the vintage inventory to someone else if need be.

I could keep the inventory and outsource cleaning all these clothes to a professional laundry, but they just don't know all my tricks.  Nobody does.  There's a lot in the vintage clothing world that's proprietary (i.e. top secret!) and it's difficult to walk away from such an idiosyncratic business when you're totally engaged in this way.

I can re-invent Vintage Vixen in some way.  My brainstorming list includes everything from a social media hub to a sellers' venue to vintage-inspired clothes.  I'd love your ideas.  I know one thing - I'll still maintain an excellent site for vintage clothing enthusiasts at  We're too much of a destination to change that.

Lastly, I can re-invent myself.  I'm an adept programmer, a marvelous seamstress, and pretty darn good at online sales.  I can step away from the dust and mold and old clothes.  I don't want to do it, but I know I can.

I'll be figuring this out, Vixens.  Just wanted to keep you updated.

March 16, 2014

Just Another Day At The Office

The blog's been silent for awhile, so we thought we'd start up again with a glimpse of an average Friday at work:

Lots of vintage Izod Lacoste dresses coming up in spring colors...

 Heads are out, feet are out... that means accessories are getting shot!

 Today's "bumper crop" of new-old vintage stock, beautiful hats and unworn shoes.

Cassie and Shane busy shifting inventory.  No, we don't know what's wrong with Shane.

Vintage Sasson jeans, a 50s full skirt and a 40s house dress, all awaiting their new owners in the "out box".

 Last box out for the day... now it's time to clean up!