Friday, January 29, 2010

Film Fashion Friday: The Dark Corner (1946)

Hello Readers!! Welcome to week three of actress month. This week's Lucy selection come from 1946, The Dark Corner. This has to be my favorite non-Dana Andrews film noir. Lucy and Mark Stevens are great together!! Mark plays a PI who gets framed for a murder. Lucy is his eager to help secretary -- in one of her best nonmusical roles (in my opinion). This is a wonderful Fox noir that features a great supporting cast, including Clifton Webb.

Kay Nelson designed the costumes -- putting Lucy in a slue of post war suits complete with great coats and bags. Other great Nelson pictures include Leave Her to Heaven, Boomerang, Gentleman's Agreement, and Miracle on 34th Street.

While Lucy's costumes are more "everyday" clothes, I think this film does a great job of accurately representing the normal middle class; something I think many Classical Hollywood films struggle with. Plus, I just love Lucy's role as Mark Stevens' "Girl Friday!"

Every time I watch The Dark Corner, I can't get over how much Mark Stevens looks like a combination of Dana Andrews and Robert Walker. I have a mad crush on Andrews!! I think like Dana Andrews, Mark Stevens is a very underrated actor. He is pretty good in this film, especially for a studio produced B film and some of his other films are exceptionally wonderful pictures.
This week's honorable mention has Lucy playing a money hungry chorus girl -- a more typical role for Ball -- in Dance, Girl, Dance (1940). For that reason, I have put this selection in the honorable mention section rather than the main film. This film is included in a box set of Lucy films and often gets brought up when thinking about Lucy's early career before I Love Lucy.

My goal with this series is the feature lesser known films and roles for big stars. I don't think The Dark Corner doesn't get talked about enough and my hope is that many of you will check out the film. Both of these films are available on DVD and Netflix.

Check back next Friday for the final Lucy week. If you would like to see another actress month, leave a comment with the actress of your choice. There will be an Audrey Hepburn week, as I have had a few request for her.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A New Discovery

This semester, one of my professors got me hooked on this amazing website. is a site that has public domain films and other media available to view and download. Today, I was looking at some of the movies they have and I must say there are a lot of rare classic films available; many with lesser know stars and directors. Just from my short search, there looks to be a lot of films from the late 30's and '40s. Definitely a great source for vintage fashion inspiration.

I just wanted to share my new discovery with my blogging friends!!


Monday, January 25, 2010

Q & A : Answers

Why/how did your love for vintage clothing evolve?

I've always been fascinated with history and the past. When I was little, I used to read the American Girl books and immediately formed an attachment with the '40s. Molly was the first American Girl doll I received and I always found her books the most interesting. When I got a little older I started to watch classic films. By the age of 10 or 12, I had made my way through most of Hitchcock's major classics and fell in love with the director and the era of which the films were being made in. I think it was sort of a gradual procession. I've always loved old things -- one thing has just lead into another. I definitely think my fashion sense was influenced early on by those Hitchcock films, considering Edith Head was the fashion director/designer on so many of his films.

What was your first vintage purchase ever?

The first vintage purchase I can remember is a beautiful 50's black taffeta dress I bought right after I got my driver's license. I am sure I bought vintage things before this, as my mom and I would take trips to the craft and antique mall. But, this is always the first thing that comes to mind. I still have the dress and hopefully will wear it this summer!

Name a few of your collections and how long you have been collecting each of them?

My most two favorite things to collect are vintage shoes and vintage magazines. I just recently got hooked on collecting vintage shoes after I bought a pair a year or two ago and wore them for the first time. I must say, compared to shoes today, the heels of the '40s and '50s are much more comfortable and I now understand how women could wear them all day. I have always had a liking for vintage paper products. It first started with collecting vintage Community Silver ads when I was in middle school. I loved that they were mostly brides and WWII gals in the ads. This lead into just buying the whole magazines. I then discovered vintage movie magazines and now I am addicted!! I also collect vintage linens (mainly tableclothes and tea towels), patterns, and dishes.

Do you only wear vintage clothing?

No. I have to admit, I have a mini obsession with Ugg boots. I know a lot of people hate these things and I can understand why. When they first came out, I too thought they were the ugliest things ever. But then I heard how comfy and warm they were and had to try a pair out. Now, seven pairs later, I am addicted. I also have an affinity for high end bags, which I think are fun to pair with different vintage clothing items. I don't dress vintage every day, but I always have some element of vintage in my outfit; whether it is my purse, shoes, a pin; there is always at least one part of me that is vintage. Some days I want to dress very period accurate and other days I feel like mixing and matching to get an eclectic effect.

Do you buy clothes at the mall?

Sometimes I do. I'll buy jeans there or button up sweaters that I can pair with my vintage dresses. I am more of a fan of Target than the mall.

Why do you wear vintage clothing?

I most wear vintage because I just love the era and wish I was living then. I really believe I was born in the wrong era. Maybe I was a WWII bride in a past life or something! :) Something about the '40s and '50s just really appeals to me. I also dress vintage because I like being girlie. I have always been a girlie girl playing house with my dolls. I really like wearing dresses and some vintage clothing can really a lot for a gal's figure. I also like that with vintage you can get killer deals and don't have to spend a lot to look like you did.

What is the craziest/most interesting experience you've had while out thrifting/vintage shopping?

I haven't witnessed anything super wild, but I did get a good laugh at this one guy at one of the last estate sales I went to. This happened at the farm house estate that I have mentioned a few times, where I got all the great farm dresses. I was standing in line with a vintage store owner who I see a lot at estate sales(he is super cute by the way!) and we were chatting it up when all of a sudden this guy makes his way to the front of the line with a fold up chase lounge, a pad for the lounge, and a nasty old blanket. He was #2 in line (we had a list going since the estate sale company was NOT accepting street numbers...we decided to keep some sort of order to avoid chaos). He proceeds to unfold the lounge and set it all up in front of the entire line. He then lays down and went to sleep. Me and the vintage shop guy could barley keep our laughter under control. He took pictures and sent it to all his friends. It was quite the experience now that I think about it. Neither him, nor I, had ever seen such an act in all of our estate sale going experiences.

Who goes shopping with you? What kind of reaction do you get from friends/relatives about you passion for vintage?

I mostly go thrifting alone. My brother will often drive me places so I don't have to, but I normally do the hunting of objects down by myself. Occasionally, he will come in, but it's mostly just me. When it comes to estate sales, my mom will go to the bigger sales with me to help me grab stuff and beat the competition. My family has slowly come around the the idea of me purchases the great majority of my items second hand. I think my dad has kind of always been into it since he is into vintage cars. I have gotten my mom into the vintage stuff and she now share a passion for vintage dishes and linens with me. My brother still doesn't quite get it, but he is such a good sport for going with me and being my buddy. My friends don't really seem to have an opinion either way. Most of them think it's "cute" that I'm into old stuff and some have even wanted to attend flea markets with me to see what it's all about. The thing I hear from them most is how dressed up I am.

You've shared many pics of your lovely vintage outfits here on your blog... so, which is your favorite and why? ;)

Hmmm... this is a hard one. I can't seem to narrow it down to just one, so I'll do two; a summer and a winter. For summer it would be my mend and make do dress. I really just adore this dress. I fell in love with the fabric and the style of the dress when I found it at an estate sale and while it was in shreds, I knew I had to at least attempt to put it back together. I have yet to see a dress quite like it. Last summer it became my go to dress and will probably continue to be this summer as well. For winter, my favorite thing to do is wear vintage tops with sweaters paired with cute jeans and shoes. It can get pretty cold here in Michigan and some days I just don't feel like wearing a dress. This outfit is a good example of what many of my winter outfits look like on the colder days. I love this shirt. My mom found it at the farm house estate sale and it is in fact a 1940's pajama top. I really like pairing things together that aren't suppose to go together. I have been known to wear a taffeta slip as a dress!!

How many vintage hats do you have in your collection?

I have between 15 and 20. I can still remember when I bought my first hat; I was a sophomore in high school. I was at a thrift store and came across this Union Made black hat with sequins on it. I paid $5 for it and then began my fascination with vintage hats.

And just how many coats do you actually have?

I think the number is between 20 and 25 (I know I have at least 20, I've kind of stopped counting there). I guess this could be considered a collection, an addiction, or even a problem. My only excuse is that I like having options and I like having my coats match/coordinate with my outfits.

What color would you paint your kitchen, bathroom, living room?

I use to think I would always want a yellow kitchen, since it is my favorite color. But, now I think I might like a red or a jade green kitchen. I think it depends on the house and the kitchen..and what color most of my stuff is. The same would go for my living room and bathroom, all depends on the house. There is also some really great repro wall papers out there that I might consider using. Check out Pam's website for more on retro home ideas. I do know that I want to use mostly all vintage furniture and really have a good mix of vintage and modern. I can't wait until I can buy my first home!! I really adore the above picture..isn't is a great kitchen??!

Thanks so much to everyone that posted a question!! There were a few I didn't get to, but will instead do a dedicated post to -- a few of the questions sparked some post ideas in my head!


Friday, January 22, 2010

Film Fashion Friday: Best Foot Forward (1943)

Welcome to week two of actress month! This week's Lucy film is a musical from 1943, Best Foot Forward. This is such a cute film!! It focuses around this military school boy who writes to Lucille Ball to be his date to prom. Since Lucy's career is becoming a flop, her agent suggests that she accepts the invitation in order to get some positive publicity. After she gets to the school, a crazy chain of events happen making for much laughter. Desi said that he thought this was Lucy's best film and I can see why. Lucy's "cameo" role is really humorous in her own dry comedic way. This film is a definite must see for the Lucy fan!

What really makes this film great is the super stylish costumes put together by Irene. Irene began her career in the early thirties and continued to work into the early sixties. She worked a lot with Judy Garland and had a hand in some of the great musicals from the '30s. What caught my eye most about this film is the great attention to detail. Every outfit had coordinating shoes and bags, not to mention the spectacular hats! This keen eye for a complete look is something Irene is known for and can be seen in many of her films. What little may know (and I just found this out myself) is Irene was among some of the Hollywood costume designers that made custom clothing for wealthy clients. I am really interested to see if any of her civilian clothing has survived!

A year before Best Foot Forward came out, Lucy was appearing in theaters in The Big Street (1942). While this film is a little hard to watch at times, with all the "your highness" stuff, there are a few standout costumes. Lucy plays a full-of-herself showgirl that becomes paralyzed in a freak accident. Henry Fonda is Lucy's semi-obsessed fan who comes to her aid, for which Lucy is not grateful at all. Setting aside the difficulty factor, I really enjoyed the costumes. Renie did the gowns for the cast and Freddy Wittop created Lucy's showgirl gown, both showing their talents. This film is worth checking out for the beach pajamas Lucy dons and the golden snood Marion Martian wears in the conclusion.

Stop by next week for more stylish Lucy films!

And don't forget to post a question in Q & A post. I've already gotten some really fun questions! Answers will be posted Monday.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Quick Fix for Slightly Big Vintage Shoes

Have you ever bought a pair of vintage shoes online and when you received them they were a bit too big? This had happened to me a few times and I was so bummed but couldn't part with the shoes! I tried stuffing the toes with tissue paper, without successful results. It hurt and didn't keep my feet from slipping out of the shoes when I walked. Then, I remembered that I had saved my toe guards from when I did pointe ballet in high school. I pulled out the guards and slipped them into my shoes. My heels were about 1/2 inch too big and these have worked sooooo well. They keep your foot in place, are clear so they are not noticeable, and best of all I get to wear the shoes with comfort.

The guards are made of a jelly-like material -- think of the material used to make those jelly handbags a few years ago. This makes it easy for you to trim off any excess and make a custom fit to your shoe. They are also washable. They are a bit pricey, since you need to buy them at a dance supply store or website. I have occassionaly seen them at Walmart with the other shoe inserets, although I don't remeber how much they ran. Discount Dance Supply offers them for a really good price -- under $20. This is the same brand I got years and years ago. They have held up very well, but do discolor to a slight yellow color.

I hope this little tip helps and gives you an excuse to keep those cute shoes! :)


**Sorry for the crappy picture. I don't have access to my normal computer as I am currently serving jury duty. Also don't forget to post a question on my last post!! :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Q & A

I've seen several other bloggers do a questions and answers post (which I think are so fun!) and was inspired to do my own. So here's your chance to ask away! Next week I'll post the answers.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Winter, Circa 1937

This photo comes out of the vintage black photo album, mentioned HERE. My grandma is in the front along with one of her sisters and in the back are two of their friends. The original is really small, like a 2X3, so it's hard for me to make out exactly who is who. I am pretty sure my grandma is the one with the lighter fur collar and spectacular over-boots. How stylish these gals were!!

This was taken at my great-grandma's home in Detroit, Michigan. My grandma was 17 at the time and I am thinking this was taken before church or some other semi-important outing, due to the dressy fur collared coats. Oh how I wish I could go back in time and steal their coats and boots!!! ;)

I always question my grandma as to why she didn't save more...especially her shoes. She had the most stylish shoes and this often comes to mind every time I look at these old photos. We wear the same size and sometimes I offer to let her try on my vintage shoes when I bring them home -- it must bring back fond memories for her. The things I do have from my grandma, I truly treasure. The clothing she has passed down to me are all skillfully handmade, my favorites being a 50's black velvet suit in a Chanel style and a 60's beige lace cocktail dress complete with a little lace jacket, which is very Jackie-O. I use to play dress up in the cocktail dress!! Now it hangs in my closet waiting to be worn to the right occasion.

I know my grandma is proud of passing down such treasures to me. She always says how proud her mother would be to see me wearing her coat each year on Christmas. She tells me how my great-grandma saved for that coat and how much it meant to her. I like to believe great-grandma is up in heaven, smiling every time her treasure takes another spin around the block.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Film Fashion Friday: Lured (1947)

Welcome to Film Fashion Friday, Actress Month!! As you can see, Lucille Ball won the poll and will be featured for the next three weeks. Just as a side note, I will be doing some of the other actresses as the year goes on, so if you have a favorite, leave a comment.

The main film this week is Lured (1947). This is one of my favorite Lucy is soooooo good!! Lucy plays a temporary undercover for the police to try and catch a serial killer that's on the loose. George Sanders plays her love interest; I just love him!! This film is super enjoyable to watch, especially if you love mysteries.

The costumes were designed by Eloise Jensson. Jensson worked with Lucy a lot and contributed to several of the I Love Lucy episodes. She also made the gowns for Forever Darling (1956) -- which you should also check out, as it will not be included in the featured films for the coming weeks, but is a really great Lucy and Desi collaboration.

The honorable mention this week features Lucy in a small, but notable role in Without Love (1945). When I first saw this film, I immediately fell in love with the clutch bag Lucy carries throughout the film. I am still on a quest to find one like it!

This film is apart of THIS Katharine Hepburn: 100th Anniversary collection; which is so worth buying considering it has Sylvia Scarlett (1935) on it, another must see film!! Lured is on DVD and Netflix. You can also get just Without Love from Netflix.

Hope you enjoy and stay tuned for next week's selections!!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Calling All Cary Grant Fans!!!

If you are a Cary Grant fan like me, then you will be thrilled with what I discovered the other day while searching the web. I came across this website devoted to Cary Grant and it is probably the best fan website I have seen in a while. Last summer I found a website selling reproductions of a Cary Grant paper doll, but put off spending the ten plus dollars. To my surprise, this fan website has the paper doll for you to download and it's FREE!!!!!! I guess there was a good reason why I hadn't gotten around to purchasing that other one. :) I hope you all enjoy!!


Monday, January 11, 2010

Planes and Air Mail

Lately, it seems that all I have been watching is WWII movies -- classic ones of course! I guess it's getting to me, because I pulled out my sailor dress this past weekend. My friend and I were going out to the Redford to catch Some Like It Hot. I just love that movie; definitely one of funniest films post WWII. If you haven't seen it, you need to go to you're local video rental and get it. I guarantee you'll enjoy it and be laughing the night away! I'm so excited with the film choices for this season at the Redford. They are showing some really great ones, such as Singin' in the Rain and Flying Down to Rio!!!

Don't forget to vote for your favorite film starlet for Film Fashion Friday!!


Dress: Lost and Found Vintage
Shoes: eBay
Sweater: Target
Belt: JC Penny

Friday, January 8, 2010

Film Fashion Friday: Actress Month Selections

The votes are in and actress month beat out all the other categories. So, I have compiled six different starlets for you, my readers, to vote on who you'd like to see for a whole month. I tried to pick ladies that had a long career that spanned over a few decades, as so I could hit on more than one. I really enjoy each of these actresses, but if you'd really love to see someone else, let me know and I will do a post after the series with a few fashionable films on that actress. I know someone has already requested Audrey Hepburn -- so look for a post on her sometime in late February - early March.

Some of the ladies are known for being very fashionable in films; such as Joan Crawford and Lauren Bacall. I also wanted to throw a few lesser known film stars in there and ended up with Linda Darnell -- such an underrated actress. I am also kinda grouping Lucille Ball in there, since some of her early film career is lesser known than her TV show and the films she did with Desi.
I really adore Myrna Loy and Judy Garland, so they made the cut. Loy has so many spectacular films to choose from...if she wins it'll be fun to pick out some of her best. Like Joan, I know that Judy is often either loved or hated. I really made my choices on how these women dress in films and less on how they were in their personal lives.

Please do vote!! I really enjoy reader's suggestions!! Next Friday I will be back with regular Film Fashion Friday posts beginning with the winner of this poll.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Bins Update

Here is my much delayed update on my trip to the bins (The Goodwill Outlet). Class started this last semester of college!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!! Well, my last undergrad semester; I plan on starting my grad degree next fall...if all goes well! Anyways, here are my finds. The glass items above were purchased in the antiques part of the James Dean Museum mentioned in my last post. The rest of the items in this post are from the bins.

Let me say that these outlet stores are quite the experience. If you have one near you, I would definitely check it out. The basic premise of the outlets is buying vintage treasures in bulk. They put all the items in blue bins and you have to sift through them. For the most part, the items are not really separated. But, if you have the time and patience, you can really find some nice deals. The above mirror is my favorite find of the day...a whole fifty cents!! I think it matches well with my dresser set.
For the location I visited, the books produced the most variety of vintage items. And, the books are so cheap too -- can't beat fifty cents a book! I am in love with the zoo book from 1939. I plan on scanning in some of the images soon; they are some of the cutest vintage graphics!! The dressmaking book is from 1943 and has some really great tips for vintage sewing...I think I might be sensing another series coming!! The two books in the center are for a craft project I hope to get to soon.

I was a little disappointed with the selection of clothing. I have a feeling that most of the vintage stuff went to the stores so they could charge more for it. However, I did find a few things when some of the workers put out more stuff into the bins. I don't know how it is at every location, but the one I was at kept refilling the bins when they were getting low. Anyways, I love the blue shirt, mostly because it buttons in the back. And how sweet is that quilted bed jacket?! :)
This little dress set was still in a dry-cleaners bag. I am not sure if it was worn and if it was, it couldn't have been more than once or twice. I love this shade of pink and knit dresses. Anything knit is an instant favorite with me. Check out those details too. The stitching appears on the dress too.

Overall, my little trip to the bins was fun and I got some great stuff. Plus, I didn't even spend $20!! How great is that?! :)


Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Little Winter Vacation; James Dean Style

I mentioned a few posts back that I was taking a little day trip to a bordering state to check out a Goodwill Outlet Store. Last Wednesday, my dad and I made the trip to Indiana so I could experience "the bins." And what an experience that was!! I'll post more about this later and include my finds (they are drying as I type).

On the way home from shopping, we stopped in Fairmont, Indiana to check out the James Dean Museum. It was a cute little museum that had a tiny antique shop in the back. Most of the items were movie memorabilia. The best attraction, pictured above, was the fence from Rebel without a Cause.
After the museum, we drove around the small town to check out the different landmarks. The people of Fairmont have put together a great little tour guide map of the town which included all of the important locations. The picture above is of the farm Dean grew up on. It is still in the family -- his cousins live there currently.
We also visited the school, where Dean began his acting and was also a member of the basketball team. The school is no longer in use and is in pretty bad shape. It was still pretty neat to see it, even if it is a sore sight.
One of the last places to visit was the motorcycle shop where Dean bought his fist bike. Like the high school, this shop is no longer in business, but the town has opted to keep it looking like it did when Dean lived there.

Like most teenagers, I was a huge fan of James Dean; which isn't to say that I am not today, only that I have broaden my tastes. I really enjoy his three films he made, East of Eden being my favorite. It was nice to stop and drive through the town. I never realized how close it was to where I live. I am a bit of a museum freak and love to stop at all sorts of museums. I was always the kid in school that was super excited when our field trip was to a museum; I guess it's the old soul in me!

If you ever get a chance to visit Fairmont, Indiana I would. It's such a cute old town that looks as though you are stepping back in time. Plus, there is a plethora of antique shops. I should also mention that the town hosts a James Dean Weekender and more information on this can be found here.


Now something off topic! I have added a poll to the side bar to take your votes on what you would like to see this year in the Film Fashion Friday posts. I have simply named categories, such as an actress themed month, a designer themed month, etc. I will announce the winner on Friday and then post a new poll for the different candidates for the selected category. Until then, please feel free to submit your suggestions on different people or themes you would like to see in this series. I really enjoy reader input!! :)


Friday, January 1, 2010

'30s Futuristic Fashion

Since this is New Years Day and we are embarking on a new decade, I think this old news reel is very fitting. I found it last semester while searching YouTube for old fashion news reels for a film project I was working on. A little history on the news reel can be found here.

Please do take a look, it's really interesting to see what older generations thought we would be wearing!! :)