Monday, June 30, 2014

Monday Morning Giveaway #5: "What Shall I Wear?" by Claire McCardell

NOT the original cover...


She was REALLY influential - Coco Chanel can take a lot of credit for sportswear, but Claire McCardell was the designer who actually made separates dressing an option for all women.  Her book is scatterbrained, disorganized, all over the place fun and entertainment; this is NOT a woman who wrote with an outline!

So leave me a comment about what clothing from the '50's and '60's you miss the most (for me, I wish we all still wore hats...) and I'll draw a random number next Sunday afternoon and announce the winner next Monday morning.

Do you think that the burgeoning numbers of skin cancer cases might lead to a resurgence in the popularity of hats?

love,
Janice

And the winner of last week's toiletry kits?  The very last comment left - Sharon!  Dear Sharon - send me an email to theviviennefiles at gmail dot com with your address and I'll ship them right off!



45 comments:

  1. OK, don't laugh, but I miss the 'foundations' of the 60's. I think when we started to wear less structured underware, we gave up the very thing that insisted on good posture and helped to get us back into good form, after having a baby. Longline bras and girdles helped many a woman fit into clothing and look good, when necessary. Granted, our comfort level has improved. but I notice my posture could use a little support....literally!

    Warmly, Kathleen

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  2. I am in agreement with you...hats! My grandmother never gave up wearing them, and she always looked very stylish.
    Happy Monday!
    Patty

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  3. What I miss is the fact that women dressed before leaving the house. The majority of women that I see at my local grocery (and yes, I know I live in the sticks, but still...), should not go to their mailbox in their get-up.

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  4. I'm with Cornelia. Casual is NOT a synonym for sloppy.

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  5. Only wearing white between Memorial Day and Labor Day.....even in the south.....

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  6. Hats and gloves for a finished look.

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  7. Agree!
    I miss the dressmaker suits, the bound buttonholes, detailed functional pockets, matching coat lining and blouse, gloves in a rainbow of colors with exquisitely wrought stitching. Of course as others stated, I miss the hats which were so often the butt of male joking, and sometimes an addiction. The hats could change a look, lift morale and provide protection from the elements. There wasn't the pressure to wear a completely different outfit every day and clothing purchases were planned seasonally, like what we are discussing on this blog. People would dress up to travel, go to church or work and in general, take pride in appearance. What I DON'T miss is the garter belt!

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  8. I guess that I spent the 50s dressed in jeans and t-shirts (I still do!) but the 60s was when I first had money to spend on choosing my own clothes. I loved the colours of the 60s and the cute mini skirts and dresses. I still wear some of the bright colours, but at the age of 66 I think my mini skirt days are definitely over!

    Regarding hats, I wore one when we were on holiday recently as I was with a group and didn't know how much time we would spend in the sun. I posted a photo on my blog saying "I'm not a hat person!" to which some kind readers replied that it suited me. One person made the point about the increase in skin cancer, so we should all vow to make hats fashionable again!

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  9. I wear hats all the time but I think a lot of people find it a bit eccentric. A friend once told me: I love hats, but I wouldn't dare wear them. They definitely make a statement! But I think they can really add style to an otherwise boring outfit, while of course, protecting you from the sun. So, yes, I agree with you on hats, but also gloves. My grandmother had a glove drawer, full of tiny gloves (she had tiny hands) in lace, leather, etc... and I thought they were so pretty!

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  10. Pettipants! So much cooler than the bike shorts most young girls seem to where under dresses these days. And prettier.

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  11. Dressier clothing. Or perhaps what I really would like to come back is the self-respect and respect for others that dressing well represents. The horrors perpetrated in the name of casual are getting old.

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  12. Every day dresses. My family tells me I have a "Lucille McGillicuddy Ricardo" sensibility she it comes to dresses. I like shirtwaists with full skirts - and polka dots!

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  13. I agree with you! Hats! They are so stylish and functional.

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  14. I miss when airplane travel was glamourous.....although technically I can't 'miss' it since I never experienced it. -Ruth K.

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  15. I miss the early '60s simplicity of the early mod years, as typified by actresses such as Julie Christie, Jane Birkin, Anouk Amie, Bridgette Bardot, and others when dressed "off-duty," as it were.

    As far as hats and sun protection, I just bought my first little straw hat for precisely that reason - my fair skin is getting a bit too many sun spots for my liking, and so off to the Goorin Bros. hat store to get a straw cloche for the summer.

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  16. I wholeheartedly agree with all of the above but after pondering this for the past few hours I think what I miss the most is the shopping experience. Even in the small town I grew up in we had at least three or four stylish locally owned shops where both men and women could purchase high quality fashionable clothes and several children's shops which sold clothes and shoes (which they were trained to fit properly). The proprietors knew their shoppers both professionally and personally. My best friend and I would stop in our favorite shop as pre-teens on the way home from school and have a blast trying on the new seasonal clothes to the delight and approval of the owner who encouraged us to "just take this home on approval to see if Mom likes it". I not sure Mom always appreciated it and some items went back the next day! If we needed to make a big shopping trip we would plan an entire day to travel to the city 30 miles away and shop the department stores downtown. It was a special event that included lunch at a restaurant which was a treat for children back then. Contrast that to the typical shopping today which generally takes place at a mall which houses the same stores you find in virtually any city in the US, carrying the exact same merchandise which is made overseas. The salespeople generally don't know you and in some department stores it's hard to even find someone to take your money once you've found what you want on your own.
    Teresa

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  17. Probably hats. I wear them on vacation and in the garden but I'm not brave enough to pull them out locally. I will make sure I bring one the next time my daughter and I have lunch out as we always try to eat outside, weather permitting.

    Suzanne

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  18. When I think about 50s fashion, I miss the full skirts/dresses. There was a "put-togetherness" the flatters women.
    Robin

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  19. I agree about hats. Women who don't like them generally don't know how to wear them - most hats look best when angled to one side. I've seen women try on a hat by plopping it on straight, then exclaiming, "I can't wear hats!"

    Otherwise, Cornelia makes a great point about people dressing before leaving the house.

    Rita

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  20. Saddle shoes.

    In junior high in the early 1970s, there was a brief come-back of the trend for saddle shoes (at least in my small town). How I loved those shoes! I would polish them every week so that the white would stay white. Comfortable, practical, and what a unique look. :-)

    Ann from Maryland

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  21. accurate sizing, even in shoes! my feet were super narrow--4A in the heel, and I could find shoes that fit. Nowadays? nope.

    And Clare McC was a genius. I wish some of the pattern companies would reproduce her patterns (there's only one dress pattern out there that I know of).

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  22. Slips! So tired of seeing the print and cut of everyone underpants under their dresses and skirts. Garments hang so much better on the body with them too.

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    1. Yes. I miss slips. They help to hide that demarcation between waist and hip (or the more modern "muffin top") and make any dress hang correctly. I still wear hats, though.

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    2. I've been looking into slips recently. Never worn them in my life but they do seem to be the 'secret sauce' to a well hanging garment.

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  23. Well, I didn't exist in the 50's or 60's -- from what I've seen in movies and television shows I miss the perfectly tailored, dressmaker suits and full dresses. Beautiful! Karen D.

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  24. I miss the seasonal shopping twice a year. Everybody got new clothes for easter, and then again in late autumn. I had two "rich" aunts who would travel to Munich and Frankfurt respectively (I´m German) and return with a suit, a coat, maybe a special dress and a pair of shoes, and fabric for two or three dresses and blouses their seamstress would sew for them. At this time, it was still cheaper to have something sewn for you than to buy it!

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  25. I miss half-sizes. 'Memba them? When I was a skinny, firm, petite working in department stores in the early '80s, I scoffed at the need for them. Well, karma is a witch. I am a textbook half-size now, and I wish I could easily find clothes that fit. Petites stop a size too small for me, and I have to let the waist out, anyway. Women's start a size too big, and I haven't grown any taller since college. Women's petites are rare.

    Now I know why my mom had a seamstress sew her clothes. I miss that, too: The neighborhood seamstress.

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  26. Yes, hats! I wish we still wore hats and gloves the way they did back then. Although hair and makeup are not clothing items, I love that classic ladylike look, and would love to see it more often.

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  27. Well, I never stopped wearing hats (brimmed hats always, straw or crocheted or fabric, fancy or tailored). And I never stopped wearing slips (half slips--in fact, just stitched myself a new one of very thin tee shirt jersey), because the mirror will quickly show you how much better a skirt hangs over a slip. But my special wish? The return of cotton gloves. How much fun it was to shop for them, in all their variations--tiny buttons, scallops, pleats, embroidery. How delightful to keep a subtle barrier between you and those sweaty subway straps, grimy door handles, and handshakes from sneezy colleagues. . . . Besides, they make even aging hands look trim and graceful.

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  28. I was born in the late 80s so no firsthand experience but what I long for? Seasonal shopping. Hearing elegant woman speak fondly of the 'experience' of shopping. The planning, saving, anticipation of the big day and all the special treats and rituals associated with it. I don't even know if it would be possible now to shop just a few times a year as so much in stores is dictated by trend. Don't even get me started on how long it took to find a excellent quality navy tshirt. A girl can dream though.

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  29. I have to go along with slips! I rarely wear dresses these days, though, so I haven't shopped for one for many years.

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  30. Two comments especially made me nod in agreement: "everyday" dresses and shoes that fit. I remember as a young girl being fitted for my narrow heel (and wider foot). Now I have a much wider forefoot but my heel is tiny. I hear older women talk about buying shoes like 7B with a AAA heel.

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  31. I wasn't actually alive then but I remember my grandmother sharing her cherished patterns that she had used over and over to make house dresses, pajamas, men's shirts, and women's separates. I long for the competence of most women knowing how to sew their own clothes.

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  32. I wasn't alive then, but I have to say that I miss clothing that followed the female form. Clothing was not sized as randomly and not everything had stretch (ugh) built in - things were fitted.

    Also - fitted excellent quality cashmere.You can't really get a good cashmere sweater like they made in the 50s-60s. Oddly my mother who was alive, and a young fashionable woman in the 60s (not a hippie) has many dislikes of the clothing 50s-60s - wearing gloves and heels on the NYC subway (and keeping your balance) for instance. But she looked smashing :D

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  33. I was born in the 60's, but remember my grandmother and her purses. Lovely leather, interesting fabrics and amazing details. And they always smelled faintly of perfume and powder. And of course, hats and handkerchiefs.

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  34. I miss the Grace Kelly fitted dresses!

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  35. The shoes, dresses and slips; the quality of the items. Not disposable.
    Julia

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  36. I would love to see a return to more formal, intentional dressing (and, by extension, shopping practices). As I type this, I'm actually wearing a 50s-esque outfit: button up blouse, belted full skirt, slingbacks. And I adore Clare McCardell - much under appreciated. Thanks for appreciating her! -- Queen Lucia

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  37. When I look at old photos of my mother and her sisters who were in their 20s in the 50s, I marvel at how well their clothes fit and how put together they looked. I miss that sense of dressing well. Modern dressing is often so casual and sloppy. My mother sewed all her clothes and they were lovely.
    About slips - I sew my own skirts and dresses and always, always line them because I cannot abide that see through look.

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  38. I love full skirts and motorcycle jackets. Not necessarily together, but maybe.

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  39. The construction! Whenever I step into a vintage shop I always admire the how tiny the stitches are, the generous seams to allow you to make the fit custom, how securely the buttons are attached and how decorative they are. No flimsy fabrics there, unlike the mall.

    Luckily I'm an easy size to buy for, I can go into nearly any vintage shop and find something that causes the workers to exclaim that "it looks like that was made for you!". I'm thinking of ducking back into one of our antique stores tomorrow to pick up a red velvet dress with silk cumberbund and a deep bardot neckline with 3/4 sleeves. I think describing it just cemented my decision to get it! Now I just need a formal Christmas tea or somewhere to wear it. Who wants to host one?!

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  40. I miss the bright saturated colors of the late 1960s. I recently took down from the attic a suitcase containing the clothes that I took on my honeymoon in 1969. Inside, a beautiful hot pink, orange and white silk scarf in the style of Emilio Pucci plus lots of matching coordinates (vest, skirt, pants) in hot pink, lovingly sewn by my mother.
    Kris from Ann Arbor

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