Category: 1940s

Chatelaine Magazine-March 1947: Charm Check-Up

While reading my March 1947 Vintage Chatelaine, I found an interesting article entitled ‘Charm Check-Up‘ by Adelle White.

1940's charm school tips

Are you making friends and having lots of fun? Your popularity should be unlimited if you can honestly answer “Yes” to these questions. But even if you can’t, be of good cheer; you can always change your type — and no time like now!

I thought for today’s post it would be fun to put ourselves into the shoes of a 1940’s woman and read some of the charm check-ups thru her own eyes. What would your imaginary ‘1940’s gal’ check yes or no to?

**First Category: Your Looks

1940's Woman from 1947 Vintage Chatelaine

Do the small details of grooming seem important?

No matter how ultra-fashionable a costume may be, if hair is untidy, back of shoulders, unbrushed, gloves even slightly soiled or heels run over at the sides, the effect of smartness will be ruined.

1940s vintage fashion

Do you change your hair style every so often?

It’s a treat for your family and your friends to see you with a brand-new hair-do — if only to assure you that they like the old way best. Don’t be afraid to try something new — you’ve nothing to lose and the gain may be exhilarating.

1940's Vintage hairstyles vintage ad

Have you learned to carry yourself gracefully and with poise?

Whether you’re slender or plumpish you can improve you figure 90% by stretching upward with the top of your head….lifting your chest out of your ribs….and pulling in your tummy. It takes inches off your waistline and makes you seem taller.

1940's posture class Miss Cook's School of Manners
Image by © Lucien Aigner/CORBIS

 

**Second Category: Your Personality

1940's yearbook photo

Do you talk in a natural and unaffected way?

Just think of the number of girls who spoil an otherwise charming personality by speech affectations, such as kittenish baby talk, or a superimposed accent. It’s a temptation, sometimes, to vary, your type by imitating the dulcet tones of a movie siren — but don’t do it. You’re you — a pretty important person, with no need to borrow tricks from someone else.

singing in the rain movie image

Do you like other women?

You and I have both heard girls say, quite proudly, that they get on better with men than with women. Just imagine some man tossing off a remark that he liked women but couldn’t hit it off with other men! What a raised-eyebrow situation that would be! Haven’t you found that a woman who studiously avoids her own sex is putting on an act which won’t go over with other females?

vintage archie comic
Source: coverbrowser

Are you as casual and friendly with men as you are with other girls?

If you act naturally and are not self-conscious when men are part of the group, you’ll enlarge your circle of masculine admirers much more than if you put on a special act for their benefit. Like everyone else, a man wants to feel relaxed and comfortable when he’s talking to you.

1940s vintage image of man and woman talking life magazine

Are your compliments always sincere?

People who toss flattery about like confetti soon find their compliments lose value. If you don’t admire another woman’s hat or dress it’s best to say nothing — or praise something else about her. Honest compliments, the kind which can be trusted, make friendship jell more firmly.

1940s katie keene comic book cover
Source: Comics Beat

 

**Third Category: Your Party Style

Do you start off for a party with the full expectation of enjoying yourself?

High spirits are contagious. If you arrive looking as though it were a special treat, you’ll not only be a joy to your hostess, but you’ll infect the other guests with the same spirit of gaiety. It just takes one or two guests with a zest for fun to give the whole party a lift.

1940s toga party vintage image
Source: Etiquipedia

Can you forget to worry about how you look?

If you know your dress is becoming; if you’ve spent plenty of time on hair and make-up; if you nails are freshly manicured and your hands do you proud, there will be no need for nervous peeks in mirrors or constant fussing with comb, lipstick and powder puff.

1947 Vintage women's fashion vintage illustration

Have you social assets?

You may not be a pianist or a fine singer — but if you’re good at dancing, card games, ping pong, table tennis, or some other indoor sport, you’ll be a sought-after guest. One of the quickest way to enlarge your circle of friends is to become an expert in some field — such as bridge, rummy, chess, or a sport such as skating or skiing; badminton or squash; tennis or golf. Special sport fans tend to band together. But when you’re with other groups, go easy on your specialty.

1940's party vintage image
Credit MOHAI, Al Smith Collection, 2014.49

Can you forget your own shyness by concentrating on other people?

If you’re the shy type who takes a bit of time to shed reserve and get into a party mood, you can speed the process by picking out another guest sitting alone in corner, and coaxing him or her out of the same shell. Time yourself mentally at just how smart you are, in drawing people out and making them feel comfortably integrated. You’ll please your hostess, probably make a friend for life, and that social diffidence you suffered from at the start will melt like snow in the sun.

1940s bobby soxers teenagers vintage image
Source: Corbis Images

 

Question Time: Do you think that any of these “Charm Check-Up” ideas are applicable in today’s society? Or better left in 1947? Let me know in the comments below.

Liz

My “Virtual” 1940’s and 50’s Vintage Closet – New Year Edition

2017 is all about new beginnings and for many it means refreshing their wardrobe. I would LOVE to do an add-on to my vintage collection this year (not restart) but due to current situations in my life and space I’m all about the virtual window shopping instead. So thank you Pinterest for allowing me to fill up my “closet” with so many fantastic vintage goodies.

Lets go shopping in my virtual closet friends!

Dresses

1940s Rayon Dress. This would be marvelous on the dance floor. Who ever now owns it, is one lucky gal.

1940s Rayon vintage dress
Source: Etsy

1940’s Green Emerald Swing Dress dream.

Vintage 1940s Dress . Emerald Green . Pleated Sleeves
Source: Pinterest

As I continue to look for a new job, I’m always thinking about what my first day, future new jobs clothing would look like. This Dorothy O’Hara 1940’s wool suit would be so perfect and make quite a statement. Don’t you agree?

Vintage 1940s Dorothy O'Hara Navy Blue Wool Wiggle Dress
Source: Pinterest

One of my dream trips with my husband is to rent a camper in Scotland and drive around to the castles and distillery’s for several weeks. This 40’s red plaid wool swing coat and hat would be so amazing for this trip!

Red Plaid Wool Swing Coat and Hat Set
Source: Etsy-Sweetbeefinds

When one needs a gown for a special function, you can’t go wrong wearing a 1950’s Suzy Perette Dress.

Vintage 1950s Suzy Perette Gold Lame
Source: Etsy- MyLiliMarlene

Who is not a fan of adorable cotton 50’s dresses? They are perfect for any occasion and come in all figure flattering styles.

1950s Vintage Dress - 50s Pink and Silver Floral Cotton Dress
Source: Etsy-Sweetbeefinds

This is a Liz dress…right here. I can see it on me already, I can see where I would wear it and how I would wear my hair. Now someone else owns this, but I don’t think that should stop me from dreaming about one day owning this early 1940’s day dress.

1940s vintage day dress
Source: Pinterest

Like most of the Vintage community, I have a love for the designer Jonathan Logan and his 1950’s designs. What a great colour combination, and look at those pockets!

vintage 1950s Jonathan Logan dress
Source: Etsy-Trunk of Dresses

Art Deco influence meets 1940’s classic styling.

Vintage 1940s navy crepe vintage dress
Source: Pinterest

Are you a card playing, Vegas loving gal? Then this cute kitschy 40’s dress would be perfect for you. I love Vegas, just terrible at cards.

vintage 1940s dress playing card novelty applique black 40s wiggle dress
Source: Pinterest

 

And that is a peak into my virtual closet for this month. If you like what you see, keep up to date on my Pinterest Board, ‘My Vintage Style‘.

Question Time: If you could have any vintage outfit or designers outfit on the planet, what/who would it be?

Next Weeks Blog Post: Vintage Photo Tuesday-Art Deco Toronto

Liz

Remembrance Day-Roundup of Interesting Canadian WW2 Posts

Today is Remembrance Day and I will be spending it acknowledging the courage and sacrifice of those who served their country. As for my blog today I wanted to supply you with a roundup of posts done about Canadian’s/Canada specifically during WW2.

Canada Poppy

Starting off, please head over to my friend Elinors Blog ‘Wartime Wednesday‘. I have mentioned her before on this blog (several times to be exact) because it’s a wonderful piece of Canadian History (and beyond) that needs to be read by everyone! All month she has been sharing blog posts on her Facebook (and other social media channels) on stories from her new book ‘My Favorite Veterans’ and they are fascinating. Please take the time to read some of them today.

wartime-wednesday Elinor Florence

2. Another friend Jessica from Chronically Vintage wrote a marvelous blog post on the ‘Canadian Ration Book of WW2‘. It’s a interesting read on how Canadians handled rationing.

Canadian WW2 Ration Book

Side Note: Jessica and her husband suffered a devastating loss recently as a fire swept thru their home due to arson and destroyed everything. If you can help with anything please visit Jessica’s Blog post about this loss and donate whatever you can (I have). Thank you so very much.

3. Victory Gardens. “We urge every citizen to endeavour to grow more vegetables in order to make an appreciable difference in the situation that confronts us,”– Emily Schofield and Elizabeth MacKenzie

victory-gardens-canada

I personally have written various posts on Canada during WW2. Here are a few of them:

4. Tale of the Canadian Army Show. This idea behind the show was to entertain troops, promote recruitment by enhancing the army’s image, to increase the sale of war bonds, and to bolster civilian morale.

Canadian Army Show

5. The Canadian ‘Rosie the Riveter’-Veronica Foster.

veronicafoster-ronniebrengungirl-smoke

6. ‘WW2 Air Force Uniforms for Canadian Women‘.

5-wds-on-parade

This blog post is very special today, not just for the content (provided by Elinor Florence) but because of the below comment I recently received from Marie:

I served in the RCAF Womens’ Division during 1942-46 stationed in Ottawa at Princess Alice’s Barracks. I am now 92 yrs old and remember those years with much fondness. I just recently had my greatcoat cleaned and pressed and donated it to the Legion in Aurora, Ont. My family still enjoy my tales of my time as a WD.I am grateful that I was able to serve Canada during that stressful time.

Isn’t that comment incredible? I’m so glad that Marie reached out to share this with myself and my readers. Thank you for your service.

And with that comment, I’m going to end this blog post today so that I can go off and reflect.

Thanks for stopping by friends!

Liz

Vintage Photo Tuesday: Canadian Women on the Home Front during WWII

vintage-photo-tuesday canadian women during ww2

This Friday is Remembrance Day, so for this week’s blog posts I am going to focus on Canada during WWII. That means today’s Vintage Photo Tuesday are images of Canadian Women on the Home Front, doing their part for their Country.

canadian-ww2-propaganda-poster-conserving-food
War production and savings poster regarding a variety of goods for reuse or repurposing as war supplies, 1940 – 1941 Source: Collections Canada

1943-Time to punch in and begin your service for Canada.

1940s-vintage-womans-style-canada
Source: Library and Archives Canada

January 1943-Mrs. Mackay using a Riveting gun at a shipyard in Pictou, Nova Scotia.

ww2-canadian-woman-working-for-the-war-effort-vintage-photo
Source: Library and Archives Canada

Defense workers on the line.

defense-workers-on-the-line-ww2-canadian-image
Source: Library and Archives Canada

Not all women during WWII were working on items for overseas, there was regular upkeep needed of items already made in Canada. Like the train pictured below.

canadian-women-during-ww2-working-vintage-photo
Source: Library and Archives Canada
Female worker Margot Bourassa shellacs the body of a fuse in the breakdown room of the Cherrier plant (Montreal) of the Defense Industries Limited.
canada-1940s-bomb-girls-vintage-photo
Source: Collections Canada

At the same plant mentioned above a woman sews cordite bags. On a vintage hair note, check out that style. Wow!

1940s-vintage-image-of-woman-working-at-factory-canada
Source: Library and Archives Canada

It was important in some factories that the workers minds did not go idle, so music was played to help combat this. The below picture is of 2 women workers selecting the music to be played from their central control room at a Montreal factory.

1940s-canadian-women-working-in-a-factory-vintage-image
Source: Collections Canada

Female munitions worker Françoise Corbeil turns out parts while listening to the piped music in her factory.

1940s-canadian-woman-at-work-in-a-factory
Source: Collections Canada

Break Time! Group of female workers enjoying a break from their work at a munitions plant.

vintage-image-of-1940s-canadian-woman-taking-a-break-at-a-factory
Source: Collections Canada

Testing lenses, at the Instruments Division of the Canadian Arsenals Ltd. optical plant. On another vintage hair note, nice to see hair that looks like mine when I style it (not perfect!).

vintage-hair-1940s-canadian-woman-working
Source: Collections Canada

The Perry Sisters, employed at the Dominion Arsenals Ltd. plant, armed with rake, watering can and pitchfork, help look after the vegetable garden where they are working (looking mighty cute I might add).

1940s-canadian-women-gardening-vintage-image
Source: Collections Canada

1943-Women of the Aluminum Co. wait in line to get an autograph from famous Canadian fighter pilot ‘George “Buzz” Beurling‘. Helen Fowler is the lucky lady first in line.

buz-beurling-canadian-pilot-world-war-2-vintage-photo
Source: Library and Archives Canada

After a hard day in the factory there is nothing better than catching a few rays with friends. French-Canadian women at Dominion Arsenals (Personal Note: I adore this image).

1940s-vintage-image-of-women-in-swimsuits-and-summer-clothes-canada
Source: Collections Canada

Hope you enjoyed the images of our hard-working Canadian ladies of the 1940’s. Thank you for your service!

Liz

(Blog Post Main Header Image Source)

Vintage Photo Tuesday: The Halloween Edition

Vintage Photo Tuesday The Halloween Edlition

With Halloween so close around the corner it only makes sense that this weeks Vintage Photo Tuesday is the Halloween Edition.

Let the Spooky Spectacular begin!

——

Anaheim Halloween Parade, circa 1950s. The Witches on Parade.

Anaheim Halloween Parade, circa 1950s
Photo courtesy Orange County Archives

Robin Hood and his Pumpkin-1957.

1950s Halloween Image Boy dressed as Robin Hood
Source: Flickr

Normally the lamp shade ending up on ones heads usually happens at the end of the evening. Hmmm maybe this IS the end of the evening? A 1950’s Costume Party.

1950s Costume Party
Source: Flickr

Halloween Party for US Servicemen in 1943. That pumpkin to the right is bizarre. That is a pumpkin right?

Halloween party for U.S. servicemen 1943
Source: Flickr

Time to pick the winner at our 1955’s school Halloween Party!

1950s School Halloween Party
Source: Flickr

Now it’s the older kids turn. I pick the Carl Perkins look-alike to the right.

1950s School Halloween Party
Source: Flickr

Halloween party, Mars Hill College, 1951

Halloween party, Mars Hill College, 1951
Copyright Mars Hill College

Flash Gordon to the Rescue!

1950's Space Cowboy
Source: Flickr

The prettiest little princess.

1950's Halloween image of a little girl as a princess
Source: Flickr

Everyone wins a prize for best costume in this 1950’s Halloween party image. They all did a great job!

1950's Halloween Party Vintage Image
Source: Flickr

I will leave you with an image of my brother and I at Halloween in the 80’s. What is hilarious about these costumes, is that I just had a conversation with my mom on Thanksgiving about how she felt that she did a really great job on our costumes each year. That was until I found this image and I asked my mom if this was the year she gave up 😉 lol!

Vintage Inn Blog 1980's Halloween

Question Time: What are you being for Halloween this year? Going with a vintage look or something far removed from the vintage world?

Happy Halloween Week!

Liz

15 Fashion Tips from Chatelaine Magazine-June 1947

1947 Fashion Tips for Women

A couple of weekends ago at the Toronto Vintage Clothing & Antique Show I purchased two Vintage Chatelaine Magazines from a favorite vendor.

While browsing the June 1947 copy over coffee later on that day, I discovered a great feature called ‘Fashion Shorts‘. In this piece the magazine discusses fashion tips to make your June a fashionable success. These tips are wonderful insights into a time period of fashion that many of us love and I knew that I just had to share it with my readers. PLUS 1947 was a turning point in fashion with the ‘Dior’s New Look‘ making its way onto the runways only a few months early.

So without further adieu lets begin!

1947 Fashion Tips for Women

1. Lovely the Bride (it is the June Magazine).

1947 Fashion Tips for Women

Perfect Example: Princess Elizabeth II and Philips November 1947 Wedding.

royal-wedding-dresses-queen-elizabeth-edinburgh-philip
Photo: Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014.

2. Marquiesette Gowns are a must for the bride and her attendants.

1947 Fashion Tips for Women

What is Marquisette?

Marquisette is a sheer, lightweight mesh or net fabric with a leno weave.  It can be made from almost any fibre: silk, cotton, wool, rayon, nylon, polyester and a blend of any of the above.  It is used for dresses, curtains, and mosquito netting (Source).

Note: For a more detailed description please check out The Dreamstress blog post on this interesting fabric.

Now the below dress is not from 1947 but it is a beautiful example of a 1940s Marquisette gown,

embroidered-marquisette-1940s-evening-gown
Source: Vintageous

3 & 4. You’ll want a striped cotton and Yellow in your wardrobe.

1947 Fashion Tips for Women

1940s Striped Cotton Day Dress
Source: Pinterest

1947 Fashion Tips for Women

yellow

5 & 6. Order ribbons on a lapel are all the rage, and playsuits are not just for the wee ones.

1947 Fashion Tips for Women

1947-playsuits-rompers-women
Source: Vintage Dancer

7 & 8. From work to play or sometimes just to play.

1947 Fashion Tips for Women

1947-dress-with-bolero-jacket
Source: Pinterest

9. New York and its high style.

1947 Fashion Tips for Women

1940s-rayon-crepe-dress-with-lace-insert
Source: Pinterest

10 & 11. Bertha collars and influences from famous British salons.

1947 Fashion Tips for Women

Bertha Collar Examples.

1940s-bertha-collar-vintage-pattern
Source: Pinterest

A Norman Hartnell Gold tissue dress..wow!

norman-hartnell-gold-tissue-dress
Source: Pinterest

12. Stay much cooler than the men with your pantaloon slip!

1947 Fashion Tips for Women

13. Peasant blouse & dirndls skirts for comfort and for formal occasions.

1947 Fashion Tips for Women

1940s-peasant-blouse-and-dirndl-skirts-for-women
Source: Pinterest

14. Beach Coat Time!

1947 Fashion Tips for Women

1947-beach-coat-for-women-vintage-pattern
Source: Vintage Patterns

15. Stocking Clocks ARE due for a comeback! Wait what are stocking clocks?

1947 Fashion Tips for Women

And there you have it, fashion tips from June 1947 Chatelaine.

Question Time: What was your favorite fashion tip stated above? Did you learn anything new about June 1947 fashions? Please share.

Liz

Vintage Blog Love: Go and Greet These 5 Vintage Bloggers

og post by Vintage Inn Blog

As mentioned before this past weekend was the Canadian Thanksgiving and I have a lot to be thankful this year. One of those blessings is my readers who faithfully read, share and comment on my blog each and every week. You make writing this blog so very easy when I know I have your support. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

thank-you6

Today I wanted my readers to meet (and go and greet) 5 of my followers who have their own blogs, of which I have enjoyed and found inspirational over the years.

1. Jessica from Chronically Vintage

Chronically Vintage

Jessica is one of the first bloggers that ever reached out and started to leave comments on my blog. She was always encouraging, warm and made it feel like we have known each other for years, Jessica is also a fellow Canadian so we share many of the same vintage loves about our country.quarks and fun history tidbits.

If you are not following Jessica yet (and you really should be) you can expect to see on her blog: her vintage clothing style (the 40s & 50s), fun interviews with other vintage bloggers, vintage recipes/images/items to purchase and so very much more.

UPDATE (Oct 17th/16): Jessica and her husband were recently involved in an arson fire and they lost everything (home, personal belongings, her Etsy store products and all her vintage items). There has been a crowd funding campaign started to help them get back on their feet. If you have it in your heart to donate to them please do. DONATE HERE.

2. Retro Rover-Vintage Living with Dogs and Cats

Retro Rover Vintage Blog

One of the things I love about Katherine’s blog (besides her Star Trek love) is how her vintage looks are ever changing. She can rock an awesome 1920s look and then in her next post she is sporting a fantastic 50s look. Katherine looks great in it all! If you love cute dogs (she has so many adorable ones) then you need to check out her blog to see how they are incorporated in her vintage lifestyle.

3. Tanith Rowan- Adventures in Millinery: Vintage, Costume & Modern

Tanith Rowan Blogger and hat Maker

If you love vintage hats, costume hats, hats in general then you need to follow Tanith and her adventures in hat making. Her blog is filled with tons of inspiration on how to style your hat, what hats used to look like in vintage ads and old movies, fun posts like ‘The Sisterhood of the travelling Hat’ and ‘Snoodtember’ (which I totally missed out on). There are even tips on how to make hats, yes Tanith makes her own stunning hats that can be purchased right off her Etsy site or even custom made. Bloggers and Vintage enthusiasts far and wide love Tanith hats and blog and I know you will too.

4. Vintage Gal

vintage-gal-blog-cate

Cate from the Vintage Gal blog is an inspiration to all who want to jump into the “sew clothes from vintage patterns” game. Her 1930s style, created most of the time by her own hands are fantastic and I look forward to every single outfit she posts. Cate’s blog though is much more than clothes, she posts about vintage movies & tv shows, her vintage lifestyle, books she has read and vintage items she has acquired (and much more). I have learned so much about UK vintage TV shows from this blog that I’m always googling how to watch them here in Canada (with limited success).

If you have a passion for the 1920s-40s then Cate and her blog is truly the place for you.

5. What Kate-Em did next

What Kate-Em did next

Kate-Em has one of the cutest blogs out there for lovers of knitting vintage clothes and boy are her skills on point. I have typed many a comment using the words “wow”, “super envious”, “so talented” to describe her creations and I hope that one day thru the power of magic I will be able to knit like her (one day..one day). What I also love about Kate-Em’s blog is her posts on her vintage adventures, vintage finds, 1940s anything and of course her vintage style. These are all topics that are very close to home for me and why I have been a fan for so long. I know that you, my readers will enjoy her blog as well.

——

Once again thank you to ALL my readers new and long term for sticking with this gal from the Vintage Inn. I truly do appreciate every single one of you. Also stay tuned in the future for a part 2 (maybe 3, 4 etc) on other vintage bloggers who follow my blog.

Liz

Vintage Photos: The Front of House Edition

Have you ever noticed when browsing vintage photos, that there are many taken in the front of people houses, front steps or front doors? If not, then you will now (one of those glass shattering moments). I personally just noticed this while browsing Flickr the other day and I thought “why have I not seen this before?” And “why the house all the time?”. Intrigue set in and off I went to see what images I could find with this setting.

1950s-house-vintage-image
Source: Etsy

Here are some of the goodies I discovered…..

Doris & Phillis showing off their outstanding taste in 1940s hats. Wow!

1940s-vintage-hat-in-vintage-image
Source: Flickr

Proud Parents-1940s (Amazing hair on this beautiful new mom)

1940s Vintage Image of husband and wife with baby
Source: Etsy

1950s Wedding Day, photos at home with mom and sis. I love all the dresses in this photo, especially the sister on the right.

1950s-wedding-photo-black-and-white
Source: Etsy

Cub scouts, on their way to a gathering.

vintage-1960s-cub-scouts-image
Source: Etsy

Three little girls all in a row.

vintage children image 1920s
Source: Etsy

Never leave home without making sure that the family is dressed to the nines.

1961 vintage family image
Source: Etsy

Three sisters during WW2, all off to do their part for the war effort.

1940s-vintage-image-of-three-women
Source: Etsy

Heading out to lunch with friends.

1940s-vintage-woman-in-vintage-image
Source: Etsy

Stylish kids in training-1960s. Can I have her purse?

1960s-well-dressed-children-vintage-image
Source: Etsy

1920s fashion on display.

1920s-woman-in-cloche-hat-in-vintage-image
Source: Etsy

Bob the hair and show off those ankles, it must be the 1920s!

1920s-woman-on-front-porch-vintage-image
Source: Etsy

I’m going to cheat a little bit with this last image as it’s not technically in front of the house, but I was in love with her 40s skirt and just had to share. Isn’t marvelous? True Vintage inspiration, right there.

1940s-woman-in-vintage-image-with-vintage-patterned-skirt
Source: Etsy

 

Last thoughts: I think the pictures in front of houses are popular due to the house being the central area where family and life is and therefore making the home part of the family. What do you think?

Next up in this fun little mini series “Front of Car”.

Liz 🙂

 

Behind the Scenes Interview with ‘The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress’

A while back, I received a lovely email from Tam Francis of the website ‘The Girl in the Jitterbug dress’, introducing herself and her new book. After several emails back and forth we started to realize that we were clearly kindred spirits, with many of the same hobbies and likes (Lindy Hop, 1940s, Vintage Fashion, Husbands who Lindy Hop, Love of Scottie Dogs and the list goes on and on.). I have really enjoyed getting to know Tam these last few weeks and I know you will too.

The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress

So without further adieu lets begin my Behind the Scenes interview with Tam of the ‘The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress’.

What was your inspiration behind your latest novel the ‘The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress’? How long did it take to write?

(Liz Note about the Book: I really enjoyed reading this book and found it quite delightful, interesting and a fun read and recommend you pick up the book).

The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress

My husband was deployed, and I was home with two children and no family. I had been blogging my dance adventures, and a friend suggested I write a book. Sure, why not. I wanted to write about all the things I loved: swing dancing, vintage fashion, classic cocktails, retro music and lifestyle. It took about a year to write my first draft, but I didn’t really start re-writes until we moved to Texas and I joined a local writer’s group.

If you only have one sentence to describe why someone should read the book (and they really should), what would that sentence be?

If you love anything vintage, (specifically fashion and swing dance) this book is for you, and I haven’t found another that highlights all those things we love about vintage lifestyle—plus it’s an emotional roller-coaster with enough depth to carry you through, but not too heavy that you can’t read it in a weekend.

The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress

Beyond writing really cool books you are also a poet. Does your poetry carry a vintage theme to it as well, or do you write about other topics?

I’ve written a half-dozen poems about dancing and music which will appear in my upcoming short story collection in 2017, “Swing Shorts,” but my poetry chick phase was in my college days when I wrote about everything and anything—social issues to existential contemplation.

How long have you been blogging and what made you start (my reason was to share my love of vintage with like-minded readers)? Could you supply one piece of advice for newbie bloggers?

I started my blog years ago on MySpace. I would be so wound up from dancing, I couldn’t sleep, and I had all these wonderful feelings and ideas about the people and places—I had to write them down. It eventually morphed in a swing dance magazine, Swivel: Vintage Living Magazine.

My advice to bloggers or any writers is to read books on the craft of writing or follow other writing advice bloggers. My early blogs are embarrassing. There’s a difference between good story-telling and good writing. Those of us who gravitate to writing, whether it be novels, short story, blogs or poems, are natural story-tellers. It’s the learning the craft of writing that is hard. I am always on a quest to learn how to be a better writer.

And learn about SEO. Unless you want your blog to be an online diary that few read, you’ve got to understand some basic SEO stuff and basic marketing.

What was your journey into the vintage world like?

As a young girl, I had always had a fascination with the past, and was drawn to the fashions of the 1920s-1950s. I watched old Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies and my heart filled with the beauty and glamour of the era. I started seriously buying vintage in the 9th grade from thrift shops and yard sales. I loved the hunt as much as the find. In my early days, I mostly gravitated toward either 1950s or 1920s. I hadn’t yet developed an eye for the other eras.

The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress

The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress
Tam and her husband have passed on their style to their kids

I see that the 1940s is represented pretty well on your blog, is this your favorite vintage era? And why (and if not, then tell us about your fav era)?

If I had to pick only one, I would say, yes, the 1940s is my favorite. I NEVER get tired of listening to the music, and set against the backdrop of the war, there is always this heightened sense of tension and immediacy to life. But there are specific things I love about the 1920s, 30s and 50s. It’s wonderful to have the choice to dress any vintage era we like, isn’t it?

I’m a mood dresser. Fashion reflects my state of mind or daily intention. Some days I feel sassy and want to show the world I’m in charge, I don a fitted two-tone 40’s suit—like when I’m going to a Town Hall meeting or advocating for something to the school board.

Some days I feel romantic and languid and wear a flowery 1920s dress. Other days, I want the world to know I’m a capable, cute 50s-style housewife and or pert teacher. And of course, there’s the nights when I use all the tricks of late 1930s glam to imbue myself with unique style and confidence.

Does anyone else make your fashion choices this way?

The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress

You’re a Lindy Hopper like me, how did you fall in love with the dance that would become one of the main “characters” in your new book?

I had ALWAYS wanted to learn how to dance. Just like in the book, I was at a show when I was knocked out by this couple decked out in vintage, swinging around the floor. I’d only ever seen dancing like that in movies. I found out where they took lessons, started going, and never stopped. At first, it’s like a drug. You can’t get enough dance. I read about it, found old movies with Lindy, collected big band music and created scrapbooks of “vintage inspiration.” It become and integral part of my identity.

Lindy Hop Girl in the Jitterbug Dress

Favorite Lindy Hopper past or present?

I know it’s cliché, but I adore Frankie Manning. I was lucky to meet him and interview him for my magazine. He was always so generous and filled with love and love of dance. He was truly an inspiration.

As far as style goes, I try to emulate the 40s style of Jean Veloz and Jewel McGowan.  They’re both old-timers you can see in many of the bobby soxer movies. Jean is still alive and dancing, and that is an inspiration, too.

 bill nye the science guy
Tam with Lindy Hopper Bill Nye the Science Guy

I’m a romantic at heart, tell everyone how you met your husband?

We both worked retail in the shoe department—he in men’s, me in women’s. In the stock room,  I would glimpse this cool looking guy who was dressed in vintage suits, black and white shoes, and even a fedora when he left for the night.

After watching (okay sort of spying on him) for weeks, I got the nerve to talk to him. I asked him, “Where’d you learn to dress so cool?”

“Old movies,” he’d replied.

We went on to talk about 1930s and 40s movies, big band music, and vintage fashion. I told him I was taking swing dance lessons and did he want to check it out. He did! He was a natural. We became dancing fools in love. Our courtship consisted of vintage fashion quests, old-movie watching, and lots and lots of dance.

When he joined the Navy and went to boot camp, I thought that was it. We’d drift apart, but our feelings for each other grew. When I went to see him graduate in Chicago, he asked me to marry him. That’s a whole long story for another time! But I will say it was delightfully spontaneous, romantic, and vintage-esque!

The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress

The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress
Tams homecoming with her husband

Teaching Lindy Hop with your husband, must have been a blast (and a lesson in working together and patience I’m sure). What did you love about the teaching process?

When we first moved to San Diego—Navy stationed us there—we were some of the first Lindy Hoppers in town and one of the few couples who stressed the “vintage” aspect of the dance.

We are a good match and a bit comedic. I like to think we’re a little like Gracie Allen and George Burns in our repartee. My hubby gets very focused on small details and often would stop the class to help someone who was struggling. I would keep track of how antsy the other students were getting and keep us rolling forward.

We both have our way of expressing the rhythm. My hubby is a numbers kind of man. I like to use sounds and positions to teach. It makes for a perfect match since everyone’s learning style is different, too. We cover all the bases and make sure to keep it really fun.

I love sharing the love of dance and the history of it. Plus, some days I’d be tired or crabby and think “Ah, hell, I don’t want to teach tonight.” But by the end of the night I was refreshed and the negativity drained away.

The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress

Favorite vintage item in your home and why?

Non-clothing? It might have to be my vintage kitchen table. When we first moved to Texas, I was looking for a bed for my daughter at an antique store and I saw this table and totally geeked out on it. I seriously started sweating. My husband was in San Diego, getting our house ready to go on the market, and I bought it without him seeing it. But he loved it.

I love to cook and am in the kitchen a lot. Every time I look at it, I get a thrill. It is so damn vintage and in my mind, represents all the good things about the past that I love.

awesome vintage kitchen table
The awesome vintage kitchen table

Coolest vintage event you have attended to date?

Camp Hollywood, which is still ongoing and in its 19th year. Holy Smokes! I was at the first one. (yikes I feel old). Then there was also this event called Swing Camp Catalina that brought instructors from all over the world to beautiful Catalina Island (which makes an appearance in the sequel: The Girl in the Jitterbug Dress Hops the Atlantic). The island itself is magical, but the historic ballroom made you really feel like you’d time-travelled. It was enchanting to dance there.

Camp Hollywood

You live in Texas, tell everyone why Texas would be a cool vintage destination to visit?

visit texas vintage sign

I can’t speak for all of Texas, but my little town of Lockhart is adorable with a vintage square and the BBQ Capital of Texas. Plus, we have the oldest, continually working library in the state, as well as the most photographed courthouse.

But that’s all sight-seeing stuff. If you want to do dancing and vintage, you’d have to go to Austin a mere 30 miles up the road from me. They have an amazing swing scene and Austin is the live music capital of the world!

There are so many great swing band. My husband and I love to go to the Continental Club and hear, Continental Graffiti or Hot Club of Cowtown! And anywhere White Ghost Shivers are playing, we try to go. Not only are they fun to Shag, Bal and Lindy to, but they put on a hell of a show, reminiscent of 1930s vaudeville.

There are two very old (Western) dance halls, one is the Broken Spoke. We go there when they have Western Swing bands like Big Sandy or Billy Mata. It’s pretty rough and a little seedy, but has a nostalgic vintage cowboy feel. The same goes for Gruene Hall (pronounced green). It’s one of the oldest continuing operational dance halls in Texas, located in Gruene, TX.

In downtown Austin, we also like to patronize the old Driskill Hotel and have heard some great band there as well. The joint oozes vintage ambience and is supposed to haunted.

And did I mention the shopping? SoCo (South Congress), as the local’s call it, it ripe with vintage, thrift, and unique stores for a day or two of eclectic shopping.

You collect vintage patterns, do you also sew like many other vintage enthusiasts out there?

Absolutely. I’m trying to drop a little weight—Texas beer and BBQ snuck up on me—but will get back to sewing as soon as I do. I found that I couldn’t afford all the beautiful vintage I wanted, so, I started sewing it. Plus in comes in handy when you rip seams dancing.

Your bio at the very beginning says “Tam Francis is the girl in the jitterbug dress, writing vintage romantic short stories and novels with a cocktail in one hand and a pen in the other”.  Name that cocktail in your hand.

Lavender Lemon Drop! Want the recipe? I just made my own lavender bitters from my home-grown lavender, too! It’s my latest fave.

lavender lemon drop drink

Okay here is a tough question (and last one).Cary Grant or Gene Kelly?

Oh My! Are you kidding? I LOVE Gene Kelly (got to interview his brother Fred for the magazine years ago), and Gene is one hell of a dancer and that cute butt. Seriously, best butt EVER! (Is that rude of me to say?) But Cary Grant is my kind of handsome with a nice balance of humor. The way he jumped around in Indiscreet (1958) makes me think he’d be an excellent Lindy Hopper and my man has got to hop.

Thank you Tam for such a wonderful Interview, it was a pleasure getting to know more about you and I look forward to visiting Texas some day soon. And don’t forget to check out my Interview that Tam did on me, HERE.

Find Tam:

Liz

 
 

 

Time to get Tikified!

Tomorrow night the Toronto Vintage Society is hosting our 4th annual Tiki Lani Lanai Party right here in Toronto and we cannot wait! It’s going to be chalked full of what we do best…fun! 3 Surf bands, Burlesque, Limbo Contest, King & Queen of Tiki and so much more. If you live in Toronto join us at the Caddy.

Toronto Vintage Society's Tiki Lani Lanai Party

In honour of the party I wanted to share some of the fun items for sale that you can take home to Tiki up your decor, yourself, or maybe for your very own Tiki party. Whatever it is, have fun with it and get TIKIFIED!

Bali Hai Restaurant, Shelter Island in San Diego, California.
Source: Flickr

Obviously one needs the perfect shirt for all those summer Tiki parties you will be attending, so here is a couple that I really liked.

Vintage 1940s Rayon Hawaiian Shirt.

Vintage 1940s Rayon Hawaiian Shirt
Source: Etsy

This next shirt is a pricey option but 100% worth it because it’s so different. A 1940s Vintage Hawaiian Dress shirt by Nani Co. of Hawaii. Hand painted and dyed, with real coconut buttons, with a seamless pocket. Beautiful.

1940 Silk Hawaiian Shirt
Source: Etsy

And ladies who like a good Tiki dress, here are some lovelies to choose from.

A 1950’s Vintage Alfred Shaheen.

1950's vintage Alfred Shaheen
Source: Etsy

A stunning Hale Hawaii label late 1940s Hawaiian dress (This is a dream dress).

Hale Hawaii label late 1940s Hawaiian dress.
Source: Etsy

Now normally one would not need cufflinks to wear to a Tiki party BUT maybe you want to bring your love of Tiki to the office? Then these Pineapple cufflinks would do the job.

Pineapple Cufflinks Men's Cufflinks
Source: Etsy

Here is another Tiki Accessory to take with you everywhere you go, the Tiki Brooch.

Tiki Drink Pin, Tiki Bar, Tiki Mug
Source: Etsy

Another fun one (this is personal favorite).

50s Inspired Tropical Brooch,Pineapple Pin,Hibiscus Pin,Tiki Brooch
Source: Etsy

No Tiki closet or party is complete without the Vintage 1940s/50s Resort Hat, pictured below. I have seen at least 1 person a year wearing this hat at the Tiki party pool parties at VIVA.

1940s-50s Resort Hat
Source: Etsy

Well I am super bummed out now, I found my dream fascinator way to late. This would have been the perfect accessory for my outfit while I MC the event tomorrow night. Who does not love a flamingo on one’s head (a fake one of course lol)?

Flamingo fascinator, tiki
Source: Etsy

This next item is so cool, I just had to share it! It’s a Tiki Lurex Turban (AND the brooch is removable). Love it!!

Tiki Time lurex turban // Vintage style turban
Source: Etsy

Having at least one Tiki/Hawaiian purse in your collection is a must, like this cute 1950s wicker purse.

Wicker woven hawaiian 1950's bag
Source: Etsy

I don’t have kids but I want this for someone’s baby that I know. An Easter Island Bib.

Moai Baby Bib, Tiki, Easter Island
Source: Etsy

Having Tiki artwork on your walls is always a good way to instantly get that Tikified look and a good artist to look at for inspiration and images is the artist ‘Shag‘.

Here is a greeting card with a ‘Tiki Band’ that you could frame and put on your wall.

SHAG Rare "TIKI BAND" Greeting Card
Source: Etsy

Tiki Bosko is another very famous artist, who has created (and still creating) everything from Tiki mugs, masks, poles and so much more.

Tiki art by Tiki Bosko
Source: Tiki Bosko
Tiki Mod by Tiki Bosko
Source: Tiki Bosko

Polynesian Pop an original illustration by Mookie Sato.

Polynesian pop, Tiki Mug Poster
Source: Etsy

And of course you need a Tiki mug or two in your home to complete the look. My ‘Internet friends’ (I call them this because we have never met lol!) have some super Tiki mugs for sale on their website ‘The Greaser & the Doll’.

Holualoa Tiki mug
Source: Greaser & the Doll

Mai Tai Tiki mug (I love a good Mai Tai).

Mai Tai Tiki mug
Source: Greaser & the Doll

And now friends, you have been TIKIFIED! Do you feel a bit more Tiki now?

Have a great weekend and make sure you follow me on Instagram to not miss all the adventures from tomorrows party.

Liz 🙂