Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sponsor in August

Interested in promoting your shop, blog, or business on Livin' Vintage?  I would love it if you did!

Over the past month, Livin' Vintage has gained many more followers via both blog readers and social media.  Now is a great time to grab an ad for steal of a deal.  Ads now start at just $5 a month!

Ads come in three sizes and run for 30 days, rotating with each page load to allow for equal exposure for each sponsor.  If you need help designing an ad, I would be more than happy to help!

About Livin' Vintage
*781+ Followers via Bloglovin and Feedly
*719+ Combined Followers via Facebook, Instagram, and other social media
*Over 5,600 page views last month

What You Get

-Featured: Own blog post and promotion on facebook, pinterest, instagram.  Also featured on monthly sponsor round-up.
-Large: Own blog post and featured in monthly sponsor round-up
-Medium: Featured in monthly sponsor sound-up

I am always open to sponsored giveaways, sponsored outfit posts, (as long as they adhere to the theme of my blog) and swapping ad spaces.


This is the last month I am using passionfruit ads.  Starting in September, they are going to start charging a membership fee, so if anyone knows of a different ad hosting website that does not charge a membership, please let me know!

Monday, July 29, 2013


vintage display lucite display vintage purse display lucite store display

Vintage lucite purse display, purchased at my local weekly flea market.  Can't wait to use it at the Ferndale DIY this year!

bakelite carved bakelite red bakelite
Some of my carved bakelite.  I only have a few pieces.  The X carved piece I bought on my birthday last year and you can't really tell here, but it's transparent.

puppy garden vintage garden victory garden
Pumpkin guarding the tomatoes out of my garden.  Had to keep a close eye on her -- she LOVES tomatoes!

mr dino 60s mod purse mr dino purse mcm fish purse
This was an interesting find -- a Mr. Dino purse!  Have you ever seen one?  It might make it's way to the shop, but then again, it might end up in my closet.  :)

Follow me on instagram @livinvintage

Are you on instagram?  I'd love to follow you!  Leave a comment with your handle and I'll look you up.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Follow Up on the Swirl Dress | How to Spot a Swirl & How to Date a Swirl

I had a few questions about yesterday's post and thought a follow up was in order.

The Swirl dress is both a label and a style.  Like any idea that catches on, copies are made and it was no different with Swirl.

The basic defining factor that separates this type of wrap dress from another is how it wraps -- around the back instead of the front.  See how the woman in the ad slips her arms into the front, buttons the back, and then brings the ties through to the front?  That's what makes a Swirl (or a knock in this style) a Swirl.

I have many dresses in my collection that are made by a different label, but are essentially Swirl dresses; they have the same cut and style, just a different label.  I have some that were even homemade, likely with some of the patterns I posted yesterday.

So what distinguishes a Swirl from a knock off?

Other than the label, which you can see all of them HERE on the Vintage Fashion Guild's label guide, Swirl dresses have a trademark button, seen above.  This is an easy way to spot a Swirl brand dress.  Now, not all of my Swirl brand dresses have this button (some might have been lost/replaced and I don't think the button was introduced until the 50s), but most of them do.

Some other defining factors for spotting a Swirl (or knock off):
-big patch pockets
-bodices that have the sleeves attached (dolman style sleeves)
-rick rack, appliques, and novelty fabrics
-cross over or wrap back 
-skirt that gathers above the pockets (see below)

 | image from Susan's Diary |

Dating a Swirl Dress
The best way to date your Swirl is with the label guide posted above.  The Swirl label changed over the years and is a great way to help date your dress.  Keep in mind that there are some known dresses from the 60s that have the 40s Neat 'n Tidy label in them.  It is thought that an old box a labels were found and used rather than thrown out.

Since most Swirl dresses you find have this label (above), here are some other ways to help date you dress:

The Length
Later Swirls, those from the late 50s and all throughout the 60s have a shorter hem line.  The earlier dresses will fall below your knee, while the later ones will fall just above your knee or at your knee. (earlier on left, later on right).

The Pockets
Earlier Swirls (40s) will have side seam pockets, 50s Swirls will have two big patch pockets, and 60s Swirls normally have just one pocket, or smaller pockets.

The Ties
All pre 60s Swirls will have a sash tie made out of the fabric of the dress about an inch or two wide.  Many Swirls dating to the 60s have cord ties, often out of a solid color fabric. See dress below.

The Fabric
Yellow and Pink colors seem to be popular for all eras of Swirls, but here's a few tips on what fabrics were used when.  50s Swirls have feminine color schemes, while 60s Swirls have deeper/darker color tones.  The 60s Swirls also have the two toned look, with a solid color top and patterned skirt (see above). 

Hope this helps answer your questions!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Making a Swirl Wrap Dress and a Brief History

As many long time readers will know, I love Swirl wrap dresses.  I started collecting them about three or four years ago and have amassed an embarrassing amount since.  I wear them year round -- even in the snow -- and they really are my favorite type of vintage dress.

The Swirl dress, originally called Neat 'n Tidy, was created in the early 40s by the L. Nachman and Sons Company.  First conceived and marked as an apron, by the 1950s, the Swirl was being sold as  a quick and easy dress for the busy homemaker to slip into.  Ethel on I Love Lucy was famous for wearing several different incarnations of the Swirl dress and undoubtedly inspired many other homemakers to do the same.  Into the 60s and 70s, the Swirl label added different styles to their line (like zip front dresses) and by the late 90s was on the decline, finally closing up some in 1999.

As with all popular trends, knock offs were made and even home sewing patterns were created for the skilled housewife to stitch up her own.  Last summer, I unearthed a severely tattered Swirl in the basement of a Detroit home and couldn't leave it behind.  At first, I was going to try and rework the hem to make it wearable, but it became clear that wasn't a viable fix.

Instead, I decided to take the dress apart, making my own pattern, and recreate it.  The dress fit perfect and would allow me to make several others.  It went together extremely easy -- the hardest part was figuring out the neckline since I didn't have a Swirl in my collection with a similar neckline to look at how they put it together.

I decided to sew in the label from the roached dress (since this is for me and I have no intentions of selling it or trying to pass it off as a factory produced Swirl).  I used a pocket pattern from a vintage apron and ric rac to jazz up the neckline and pockets.  I -LOVE- the final outcome and plan on making many more!

Fabric: Joann's Clearance, $3.50/yard
Pattern: Original Swirl Dress Design
Hours to Complete: 12-14 
Total Cost: $13

I've already bought some more fabric for another dress and am working on drafting a different style top!


Like the Swirl, but can't sew?  Here's a few on etsy, including one from my personal collection!

 1  | 2  |  3

And here's some patterns for all you seamstresses!
 1  | 2  |  3

Monday, July 22, 2013


| finally finding a 60s suitcase |

| fresh basil from the garden |

| beginning of the heatwave in the Mitten last week |

| eating lunch at a sweet 50s style diner |

| mcm sofa spotted at the thrift |

| finding matching vintage items |

That's just some of the stuff I have been up to lately.  To see more, follow me on instagram: @livinvintage

Friday, July 19, 2013

Mad Men Week: Season 6 Fashion File and Giveaway Winner

Season 6 of Mad Men found the characters in swinging 1968, making us knee deep into the mod fashions that we have come to associate with the decade.  After every episode, AMC does its own 'fashion file' delving into the fashions of the episode.  I thought it would be fun to break down the whole season with my personal favorites.


Megan has so many fabulous look this season, it was hard to narrow them down.  These are just a few of my personal favorites.  This look above was, by far, my most favorite outfit Megan wore this season.  I am a sucker for matching sets and I just adore the pattern on this jacket.  Definitely what I would wear to the movies too!

This was probably the sexiest Megan got this season, except perhaps when she dons a bikini in the opening episode.  I love the extremely short skirt and the reasons behind why she wears it.  Everyone noticed Megan that night, not just Don.

When Megan married Don, she become the center of fashion on the show and I love how this scene really emphasizes that.  Megan is younger than Betty, who still seems to be clinging to her late 50s early 60s looks.  Megan, on the other hand, is fashion forward with her mini skirt and psychedelic print dress.

One of the things I love about the Megan character is she isn't afraid to wear pants, even on NYE.  I love these sets, I'm hoping that MM will bring these back into vogue.


When the season opens, Betty is still working on getting back to her thinner state.  By the time we his midseason, Betty is back to her thin glamorous figure.  As you might have figured out from my last post, I really loved this outfit and I think the earrings really do make the dress.

I think what I really love about the Betty character is how she is able to reincorporate items from past outfits into the present (like the earrings above).  This outfit really reminds me of season 2/3 Betty, wearing cigarette pants, looking like the perfect 60s mom.  Plus, how adorable is her hair here?  I just love that Betty knows her look and is comfortable in just going with it, rather than whats super trendy at the moment.


For me, Peggy didn't really have a lot of standout outfits this season.  She kinda just stuck to regular safe Peggy.  However, the final shot we get of Peggy is in this -fabulous- pant suit.  I love that it is much more trendy than anything else Peggy wears, connotates her seemly new position of power in the office (and as a working, independent women), and foreshadows what's ahead in the fashion department for season 7.  For more thoughts on this look, see Entertainment Weekly's article.

The other outfit in which Peggy steps outside of her normal comfort zone is what I am calling the "Chanel No 5 Dress."  The sheer sleeves and super short hemline helps to place Peggy alongside the other sexy girls on the show -- think Megan season 5 with Zou Bisou Bisou.  Plus she is wearing Chanel No 5, sexy indeed.  



Like Peggy, Joan takes much longer to integrate into 60s fashion.  Even though she wears a lot of scarves, which is very 60s, Joan still wears her hair the same as when we first met her along with wearing many of the same cuts and lines.  What I like about this dress is while it still has a tailored cut, the big gold buttons and gold loops on the belt help to modernize the look, really planting Joan in the current time.

When Joan has her meeting with Avon, she wears this lovely suit.  Joan wears a lot of dresses and separates to the office, so it was a nice change to see her in this suit when she takes control of her new position in the office.  It's worth noting that the final shot of Joan in the finale has her wearing a suit as well.  Could this be a sign of what's to come for her character?  More suits = more power and control of her partnership.


I love the looks Janie Bryant puts together for Sally.  This one is my top pick for the season.  I love the tent shape, the mix of plaid and red, and the sweet bow at the neck.  I also really like the continuity we have with the Sally character: since receiving this necklace in season 4, Sally wears it constantly, denoting her adoration for her father and her removal after this scene outwardly showcases the rift in their relationship.  

The following a few of the minor characters from this season.  Sometimes I think the best dressed in this show are the extras and lesser characters.


I just love the neckline of this dress Sylvia wears on NYE.  Her double necklaces, however, drive me nuts.  Pick one or the other!  ;)


This nightie and peignoir set Trudy work got a fair amount of discussion time on one of my podcasts with Toby and I think I know why, other than its fabulous.  Trudy kinda dresses dowdy this season (something Pete even commented on in season 5) and this is really a knockout compared to her other looks this season.  


Arlene is married to a TV executive and is a tv star, of course she is going to look fabulous!  This is such an amazing dress!  Nuff said.


Like I mentioned, I really think the support cast of this series have awesome clothes too.  I loved all of Clara's looks this season, but this one was my favorite.  I love 60s poly dresses and this one is too cute! For more on how the secretaries get there looks, read this article.


While the ladies do get most of the attention, one guy on Mad Men takes the cake for the most fashion forward looks - Harry Crane.  From his striped ties, patterned blazers, and dark framed glasses, Harry's got it going on.  We see this the most when he, Roger, and Don are in California and he seems to blend in while Don and Roger stick out; although Roger did give it his best effort with the yachting look.


For my top five hits and misses this season, see my post on

To see the answer to a question I submitted to Janie Bryant to answer on a recent interview, see this article.  I ask what percentage of the costumes are actual vintage pieces and how much of it she creates herself.

Stylelist also has a great interview with Bryant about Season 6 costumes.

Some of the stars of MM wear vintage off the set.  Check out this video with Christina Hendricks.


I hope you enjoyed Mad Men week here on Livin' Vintage.  I had so much fun putting together the posts and sharing my thoughts with you.  

Thank you to all who visited and entered the giveaway.  Amanda is the winner!  Please email me at

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Talking Mad: In Care Of

In our final Mad Men podcast, Tobi and I discuss the season 6 finale, "In Care Of."  This was, by far, my favorite episode this season.  While much of general consensus for season 6 is dismal at best, I did enjoy these 13 episodes.  For one, this season made me like Pete more than ever before.  I have always been less than thrilled with Pete, especially after his driving school/adultery in season 5, however, season 6 did an excellent job of showcasing the Pete character and it a light that I probably haven't been willing to see before.    

I like the struggle we see with Joan trying to find her place in SC&P.  She isn't a secretary, but is she a budding account man?  I mean, "what exactly do you do here?" is the question many ask her and others throughout the season.  Joan is important in the office; in many ways, she is the glue that holds it together.  From a narrative standpoint, Joan is an excellent foil for Peggy and I truly enjoy the scenes they share with each other (and not just the ones from this season either).

I love this above shot.  Like I mention on the podcast, I feel Don has really come into the fatherly role and this completely represents that.  I know there are some critics out there who feel Don isn't the best of fathers, and maybe he isn't ideal (but who is?), however, this season made me want to revisit the entire series from beginning to end, which I dove into after the finale.  Throughout the five seasons, especially those first three, I see Don attempting to engage with his children and I feel like he is attempting to be a better father than his own, which is emphasized with the numerous flashbacks Weiner gives us.  I like Don, even with his unfaithfulness.  This final shot made me truly excited for the final season, where I feel there are endless amounts of opportunity for the storyline to go.

To hear more of my thoughts, head on over to to listen to our podcast.  CLICK HERE

And, this final Talking Mad post wouldn't be complete without at least one more gif.  This was probably one of my most favorite funny moments of the season, making me like Pete more and more!   

And, here are some links to some of the articles we discuss in the podcast and some that are just an interesting read:

-Molly Lambert from Grantland discusses the finale, with some awesome vintage photos!
-Telegraph Magazine does a nice write up on Elizabeth Moss (Peggy Olsen)

I want to give a big thank you to Tobi and SpaceLion for inviting me to podcast with them and for doing all the hard work of editing each cast and doing excellent write ups on the site as well.  This was a total blast!

Don't forget to enter the giveaway for a Joan worthy scarf!  
Today is the last day to enter; giveaway closes at midnight.

giveaway vintage mad men joan harris free

CLICK HERE to enter