Tag: 1940’s fashion

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

 
 

 

My Favorite Vintage Images-July Edition

I don’t think I can stress enough, how much I LOVE Vintage Images from the 1930s-1950s. Sometimes it’s just crowds of people or just a lone individual that catches my eye, but you can be sure that whatever I’m saving and sharing (with you!) they are a wonderful moment in time.

Now friends lets see what goodies I have found this month:

Cute and stylish kids alert! I love the contrast between the two friends. I wonder what the design is on the skirt? I see balloons I think…

Kids in Saddle shoes and jeans and poodle skirts
Source: Flickr

The following photo was taken in May of 1956 at a New York photographic trade show by photographer Frank Larson

1950s woman at a trade show
Source: Frank Larson Photos

Can I help take those dresses off your hands? Oh and the car too?

1950s woman in front of 50s car with 1950s dresses
Source: Pinterest

Recently Toronto hosted the Great Gatsby Garden Party, these ladies from 1920s Toronto would have been wonderful inspiration for that day.

1926 Toronto Fashions for women
Source: Toronto Archives via Pinterest

Lets dance on the street! Or pretend we are flamingos.

1940s girls vintage image
Source: Flickr

If your in need of perfect examples of women in the 1940s rocking pants, then look no further then this image.

1940s women's fashion
Source: Flickr

These 2 gorgeous women remind me of Barbie, especially the friend leaning up against the car.

1950s women in swimsuits
Source: Flickr

Well this looks like an exciting party. What do you think is going on here? Pants and saddle shoes party?

1940s vintage image and saddle shoes
Source: Flickr

Janet always had the best handwriting and therefore made her the best secretary for their monthly meeting (or so I think that is what is happening here).

1940s vintage image
Source: Flickr

And there friends are some of many favourite images this month, did you have a fav from above?

Liz 🙂

 

 

Love Is In The Air-1940s and 50s Real Life Couples, Part 2

Last year around this time I did a Valentines day post with several vintage images of couples “In love” during the 1940s and 1950s. For today’s post since we are close again to that special Love Day, I thought that I would do a part 2. Mainly because I have been seeing so many really great photos that I just HAD to share with you (you know me and my weakness for great vintage photos). Lets take a peak at what I have found.

Just Married! 1950s Grand Forks, BC

Just Married Couple Posing 1950's Grand Forks, BC Vintage Photo
Source: Ebay

Summer of love-1958

1950s couple in love vintage image
Source: Ebay

Hugs at home

1950s vintage couple in love in house
Source: Ebay

Love can sometimes make you feel shy

vintage photo of couple in love
Source: Ebay

Cool Love“-Claude “Hoot” and Jenny, June 1953

1950s young couple in home vintage image
Source: Ebay

May 14th, 1945. Date night during WW2 (this is by far my FAVORITE photo in this batch). Would you believe that one of the gentleman is also called “hoot”. Must have been a popular nickname, since the gentleman above is also called that.

WWII 1940s Souvenir Photo Holder San Diego w/ Miltary Couples at Night Club
Source: Ebay

Love in a Garden

1950s vintage couple in love in garden
Source: Ebay

“And the bachelor was down to his 2 final ladies. He was in love with them both but knew he could only give one rose to one lady. Who does he pick?”

1940s vintage image of 2 women and one man
Source: Ebay

The look of Love

orig 1940s vintage photo young couple IN LOVE staring into each others eyes
Source: Ebay

Teenage Love-1947

varsity jacket 1946 with young woman
Source: Bulldog Vintage

AND for a little giggle here are a vintage cow couple getting in the Valentines Day mood.

1950s vintage cows
Source: Ebay

Have a wonderful weekend friends! I will be spending it with some friends and my husband, drinking wine and eating BBQ.

Liz 🙂

Happy New Year! The Vintage Inn’s 2015 Year in Review

What a year this has been and how fast it has gone as well. I literally feel like I just started 2015 and now it’s coming to an end. Well the one thing I do know is that 2015 was a busy and fun year and I would love to share with you some of the adventures I got into with you. Here is my 2015 in review.

January: Every year I attend a big German Karneval (mardi gras) function called GAMGA in Las Vegas. It’s 2 days of costume parties, after parties and then a big Gala. It’s super fun and something I have been doing with my parents since I was a kid.

German Mardi Gras in United States

February: I was lucky to be able to attend the premier of the 1940s new Canadian TV show called ‘X Company‘. I have never been part of a premier and it was a cool experience and we even got to meet the host of the event and get our pictures taken with the cast and producers.

X Company TV Show Premier in Toronto

I attend a 1920s Speakeasy party at the famous and beautiful Palais Royale in Toronto.

1920s Speakeasy Party at Palais Royale Toronto

AND I traveled to Seattle, Washington for a long weekend to visit a good friends parents and see uber cool Seattle. I did a blog post all about it HERE.

Seattle Washington first starbucks
In front of the first Starbucks

March: I did nothing really blog post worthy. WHAT?? lol

April: VIVA Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend! I did several posts on that big adventure which can be found HERE.

Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend 18

May: Vintage Spectacular Dance with the GTA Swing Band. This was a super night of dancing, dressing up and great Big Band Music. The image below is some of the lovely ladies of TVS and the lead singer of the Band (she is soooo good).

vintage spectacular dance

I was very lucky to be part of a cool experience in May with a favorite Rockabilly band in Toronto called “The Millwinders“. Myself and few friends were filmed dancing in front of a green screen for use for future videos. Here are a couple of pictures from that day.

1950s vintage style
Credit: Kahlil Heslop

Lastly Toronto Lindy Hop (that I’m part of) put on a full weekend of Lindy hop, classes, history lessons and live music dances all weekend long called ‘Toronto World Lindy Hop Day’. I played host and it was such a good weekend 🙂

The images below are with 2 living legends in the Lindy Hop World. Chazz Young the son of one of the founders of Lindy Hop-Frankie Manning (and a talent as well) AND Dawn Hampton the Queen of the Cabaret and a little firecracker (her image is on the shirts we are wearing).

Dawn Hampton and Frankie Manning toronto lindy hop

Summer (June, July and August): I did a full blog post on all the events I attended (tiki party, UK Adventure, Horse race event plus much more), so check that out HERE.

hats and horseshoe event 2015 woodbine racetrack

September: Weekend visit to Havana, Cuba

This was not my first visit to Havana, but this was definitely the first time I visited areas outside of the Old part and it was fantastic. I still have to do a blog post on all the new things I saw but for now here is a collage of some of the highlights.

Havana Cuba

October: Halloween and a friend’s Wedding Reception Toga Party (yes a toga party). For Halloween the hubby and I went as Amazing Race Contestants. The outfits were big hits.

Amazing race costume idea

Toga Party!

toga party costume ideas

November: Swing Out To Victory’. Once again I helped my friend Dean with hosting duties as a third of the beautiful “Dominion Belles”.

Swing out to Victory-1940s vintage outfits
Credit: Kahlil Heslop

The throwing of the candies 🙂

Swing out to Victory-1940s vintage outfits
Credit: Kahlil Heslop

Here I am with 2 friends from the Toronto Vintage Society. Both created their outfits from scratch and Joy on the left, won the best dressed because she recreated the “Swing Time” outfit from the movie with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

Toronto Vintage Society Swing out To Victory

Opening of Toronto’s first ‘Shameful Tiki Room‘ (literally around the corner from my apartment). Now one of my local hangouts.

Opening of Shameful Tiki Room Toronto

The official Tiki mug for Shameful. Very Canadian with the Beaver 🙂

Shameful Tiki Room Toronto

I dj’d my first Rock N Roll social dance night for my friends 50s dance studio ‘Soda Pop Hop‘. Such a fun night!

Soda Pop Hop Social Dance Night. Rock N Roll dancing

December: Toronto Vintage Society annual Kitschmas Party. I played host once again at the party and it was another huge success. Here are the winners of the title of Kitschmas King and Queen. Make sure you check out the blog called “Flipsville” because she made these outfits!

Toronto Vintage Society Kitschmas Party

And that my friends is a general overview of my 2015 year. I hope you had a wonderful year and I wish all of you a Happy 2016! Thank you so much for reading my blog and commenting and just being wonderful readers, I love and appreciate each and everyone of you.

Liz 🙂

 

 

The Stylish “Regular” Folks of Days Gone By

I recently did a blog post on the “The Stylish Toronto of the 1940s” and it was pretty well received, so I decided to expand my search to any location in the world for today’s post. BUT honestly what really motivated me to do a “new version” of that past post was the below image that a friend in Toronto shared of her mother when she was younger (around 1953), taking a canoe ride in England.

What stood out in my friend Ann’s mind and everyone else’s who saw this picture was the fact that her mother was not bundled up in “canoe wear” but instead chose to wear a pretty dress AND pearls around her neck. THAT is Style, don’t you agree?!

So with that, lets check out some more “regular folks” and their own fantastic fashion sense.

vintage photo of a woman in a canoe with pearls 1950s
Photo Courtesy of Ann Mayer

At the Hair Salon

Possibly these lovely women just finished getting their hair done or maybe they are the stylist themselves but it is clear no matter whether they are customer or professional they know how to look good. Their hair is perfect and I adore their simple but stylish style (especially the lady to the far right).

vintage image of women in a salon in the 1940s
Source: Ebay-growinggarlic101

Bows and Ruffles

When I saw the below image while browsing the amazing collection they have at one of favorite vintage shops in Toronto-Gadabout, I quickly knew this pretty woman named “Eva” had to one day be shown to the world. How can you pass by such lovely fashion?

Her peplum blouse with its wonderful bows and ruffles is paired so nicely with a textured skirt. Excellent combo!

1940s woman in a pretty dress
Vintage Inn Image Collection

Stylish Coats and Perfect Hair

This image speaks for itself. Simply Beautiful.

1940s woman in stylish coat
Vintage Inn Image Collection

Hanging in the front yard

I dream of owning a playsuit like you see below and to see it on this lovely photo of this pretty girl in the 1940s make me want one so much more. These playsuits are seriously the cutest and the fact that you can go from dress to shorts in one easy step makes this a must to add to my list of “stylish folks”.

1940s girl in vintage dress
Source: Ebay-Darrins Car Photos

Sisters with Style

I know the rockabilly/vintage community ladies love their “Spanish” style blouses and their circle skirts. Well ladies and gents here are 3 ladies who are pulling off this look in real vintage time. Are you able to make out what looks like I’m assuming to be beautiful embroidery on the tops? And the patterns on 2 of the skirts are really great. Hair..perfect.

1940s vintage girls in mexican style outfits
Source: Ebay-Darrins Car Photos

Pants and Blouses

Going along with the “Spanish” style blouses (gypsy tops they are also sometimes called) here is an image of a stunner of a woman from my own collection. I love the combo of a pretty blouse with pants (sorry for the not super clear image, the picture was very faded) and I’m pretty sure a really amazing belt from what I can see. Nice look!

1950s woman in pants and spanish style blouse
Vintage Inn Image Collection

At the Swimming Pool

Here is Ruth, Anita and Ellen in California in July of 1954 enjoying at day the Giant Swimming Pool (according to the sign in the back). What caught my eye was the lovely suit on the right on who I think I might be Ellen (she looks like an Ellen). I would give anything to see the full details because the little peak of what we do so is so pretty. That is why this picture is on the list.

3 women in 1954 in bathingsuits
Vintage Inn Image Collection

Stripes and Mustaches

What a dreamy Best Dressed Couple! I love everything about their outfits and this picture. His suit with that great tie and his nicely trimmed mustache is perfect. And his lovely wife in her ‘Katharine Hepburn’ like dress is oh so lovely.  Very nice indeed.

1950s vintage image of a couple
Source: Etsy-ljpsales

Saddle shoes and dances

We cannot possibly leave out the fashionable kids of times gone by. Look at these two doing a little dance together?  Her dress and saddle shoes and his teeny tiny cardigan… Ahhhh!! High Fives to being adorable.

1950s children dancing vintage image
Source: Etsy-EphemeraObscura

Beautiful Suit and Peplums

If you follow me on Instagram then you would have seen this picture already, this is MY family on my mom’s side. My Grandfather is the very stylish, handsome man in the middle of his equally as fantastically dressed sisters (my great Aunts). I do believe this is his wedding day if I’m not mistaken. I absolutely ADORE my Great Aunts dress with the asymmetrical peplum design…drool.

1940s Men and Women in stylish 40s clothes
Vintage Inn Image Collection

The Dior Look

And one last family picture, my 1950’s Grandmother (once again my mom’s mom). Her “Dior Look” is spot on and I now know where I got my good fashion sense from 🙂

1950s Dior Look
Vintage Inn Image Collection

And that is the roundup for today’s post, but I had so much fun working on it that I don’t think it will be the last post I ever do on this topic. Stay tuned for more.

Question Time:

Do you enjoy looking at “real life photos” of everyday folks for style inspiration? Or do you prefer to take tips from the stars (or maybe both!)

Liz 🙂

The Stylish Toronto of the 1940s

While looking thru Flickr the other day for some inspiration I stumbled upon this absolutely wonderful photo of 8 of the most stylish men and women 1940s Toronto has ever seen! Aren’t they just fantastic?? My favorite is…all of them 🙂

1940s people in Toronto
Source: Flickr-Mary-Doug Wright

The post inspired me to gather up other images of stylish folks in Toronto during the same time period and put them together into one giant fashionable post.

Now lets see who was in “Vogue” shall we?

1940s Toronto storefront window Vogue
Toronto Store Front Window 1940s. Source: Flickr-Jessica

The below image is of Betty Willis (vocals) and Frank Wright (vibraphone), two early stars of the Toronto jazz scene in the 1940s and ’50s.

I’m not 100% sure what is on her dress, but I do know I like it on her (great hair as well). Great examples of 1940s suits as well, such well dressed men.

1940s Jazz musicians of Toronto
Source: National Post

Of course you must have a Beauty Pageant or 2 to showcase more great style (see a past post on Miss Toronto). In this case, great swimsuit style.

Miss Toronto 1946
Miss Toronto 1946

Even if you had to do your part for the war effort, true style still shone thru (even if it was how you did your hair or the colours of your nails). Here is the “Miss War Worker Beauty Pageant of 1942”, showing just that.

Miss_War_Worker_Beauty_Contest_1942

We cannot leave out Toronto’s very own Rosie the Riveter-“Veronica Foster the Bren Gun Girl”. You can read all about Veronica HERE. This is her “after work is done look”.

Veronica Foster-Bren Gun Girl
Source: Library and Archives Canada

Remember Miss Toronto 1946 in the swimsuit above? Well here she is again, modelling our Transit system very stylish uniforms for women in 1946. Pretty smart, right?

Miss Toronto 1946 TTC Uniform
Source: Blog TO

More ladies in the uniforms of the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission).

1940s TTC women workers
Source: Blog TO

Off to school? With storefront windows like this one in Toronto in 1942 you were guaranteed to not miss the hottest looks on campus. How do I make the look on the right mine?

1940s fashion for women in Toronto
Source: archives.gov.on.ca

Have children and think you don’t have time to be stylish? Not a problem for the lovely lady Mrs. Jack Wright and her two sons Ralph Wright and David Wright in 1943 doing her shopping in Toronto in a stunner of a dress (source). Aren’t her kids just adorable??

1940s Toronto
Source: Flickr: BiblioArchives

Think being stylish is only reserved for adults? Pish Posh, look at these 2 well dressed boys doing some reading of some very important books for their generation.

Two young boys, seated with books, in the children's department of a Toronto public library, Toronto, Ontario
Source: Flickr-BiblioArchives

This last image is of a young couple with a lovely lady who was a member of the Canadian Women’s Army Corps in 1944. Can we take a moment to admire the 2 doves on the one woman’s dress? Fantastic!

A member of the Canadian Women’s Army Corps feeds a treat to a cat as a couple seated on nearby loveseat watch /
Source: Flickr-BiblioArchives

And there it is, Stylish Toronto of the 1940s. Did you have a favorite photo from this collection? Or maybe you have your own photos of stylish folks from your town or even a favorite image. Do share!

Liz 🙂

 

 

 

 

May 26th, Suit Up Swing Style – #THELINDYLOOK

I’m a Lindy Hopper (the original swing dance of the 1930s/40s and beyond) and I have been for a long time, I’m also a lover of 1940s fashion (if you read my blog this is a no brainer), so it was with a squeal and glee that I saw that the Frankie Manning Foundation was running a fun challenge on the day of Frankie Manning’s Birthday (one of the original creators of Lindy Hop) and I hope you can all join along.

Frankie Manning
Frankie Manning

The Challenge:

On May 26th they are encouraging everyone to wear something from the 1930s thru to the 1950s to peak a conversation at work or at the coffee shop about the dance we love, The Lindy Hop. Then take that picture and post it on social media with the hashtag #THELINDYLOOK.

1945 Swing Style
Source: Flickr: Julie Alicea

 

WAIT! You don’t have to be a dancer to participate….

Now I got to thinking that maybe you don’t have to be a dancer to get involved (because I know some of my lovely readers have mentioned that you have 2 left feet). You could join along by doing the following:

  • Put on your best vintage like you were going to a dance
  • Post your picture on Social Media with the Hashtag #THELINDYLOOK
  • Or you can share it with me (email: thevintageinnblog@gmail.com, twitter, my FB invite) and I will collect everyones images and post collectively on my blog.

I know for many of you all you need is an excuse to dress up and this is a pretty good excuse (at least I think so). And if asked why are you dressed up so nice? “Because Frankie Manning said I should”.

Speaking of Frankie Manning…..

These were the depression years (which didn’t make that much difference to my family since we were poor anyway) and dancing was an outlet for people because there wasn’t much else they could do. We all stayed in Harlem, but you could find someplace to step out every night of the week. Going to a ballroom became our social life.

Even though we were poor, we always dressed up. People in Harlem felt that they’d get more respect if they dressed well. Guys felt that the better they looked, the more likely a young lady would be to dance with them. I only owned two suits, but I always wore them with a shirt and tie and nice shoes, not two-tones, just black or brown ones. This was the fashion, and everybody dressed that way.”

-Frankie Manning-

Inspiration for #THELINDYLOOK

1940s Swing Style Woman

1940s Men Style

Over my time as Blogger I have written many posts on 40s Style, Swing Style etc. So here is a roundup of many of those posts that you can use for your own inspiration on May 26th.

EXTRA CHALLENGE! 

I’m actually going to be taking the FULL MONTH Challenge and dressing up everyday to work and posting on my Instagram my looks. You can follow my progress to the right of this post or on Instagram.

If you are doing the extra challenge please let me know so I can follow your progress as well.

Happy May 26th Planning!

Liz

 

Vintage Images of 1940s Canadian War Brides

The other day I was reading a vintage magazine I had been gifted and there was a very interesting article about “What life was like for young war brides”. It was really fascinating to read the interviews and hear them talking about knowing that while life was so uncertain at that time, they knew that they were in love and would do anything to just marry their soldier and worry about the rest later.

Then later while browsing the internet to read a bit more on this subject I stumbled upon a very interesting site called “Canadian War Brides” and as I was reading the stories, looking thru pictures I thought that this was a great idea for a blog post, that I think you would all enjoy.

PLUS I seriously have no brain power this week to finish working on the post I have had in drafts for a week now, since I have gotten my cold from the depths of hell back again and can barely function as human being. Well good thing it’s happening now and not in 3 weeks when I’m in Vegas for Viva (I hope!).

Here are some of the wonderful goodies…..

War Bride:

The term “war bride” refers to the estimated 48,000 young women who met and married Canadian servicemen during the Second World War. These war brides were mostly from Britain, but a few thousand were also from other areas of Europe: the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy and Germany (Source).

Nearly 48,000 Canadian servicemen who married overseas during World War II. Between 1942 and 1947, the government brought 47 783 “war brides” and their 21 950 children to Canada. Relatively few came before the war’s end (Source).

Meet Annie Barnes Anderson Coyle and George Alfred Brown who were married on February 10, 1945 at South Leith Parish Church, in Scotland. George was from Earlton, Ontario and Annie from Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland. Annie was in the Womens Land Army during the Second World War and George was a tank gunner with the Canadian Grenadier Guards.

Annie Barnes Anderson Coyle and George Alfred Brown.
Source: Canadian War Bride

Wedding Dresses:

In many photos (like the one above) you will see that the bride is not wearing a wedding dress as clothes rationing and shortages of materials made this very difficult (as well as shortage on time in many bride and grooms cases). Many times you will see her in a best suit or in her service uniform.

I even read about the ultimate rationing….a wedding dress (pictured below) that was worn by 15 brides in Britain. Isn’t it stunning?!

Fashion-on-the-Ration-1940s wedding gown
Source: Express

Here is CSM Wm. Lyster and Wren Coral Eswyn Ellinor on August 21st 1943. St. Richard’s Church, Aldwick, Sussex. So young and so in love.

1940s Canadian War Bride
Source: ESWYN LYSTER’S STORY & HER BOOK

Right before getting married, William sent a Telegraph to Canada requesting funds from his savings. I think this is really cool piece of history.

1940s telegram about getting married
Source: ESWYN LYSTER’S STORY & HER BOOK

This wedding below looks to be several weddings, but I believe the others ladies are bridesmaids, hence the shorter veils. The middle couple is War Bride Rose Boulay and her husband Horace Boulay of Belledune, New Brunswick.

1940s Canadian War Bride wedding
Source: Canadian War Brides-FB Page

Nothing thrills me more than seeing vintage images in colour like the wedding of war bride Cathie Elliot to her very handsome Canadian Solider-Glen. They were married on Christmas Eve, 1940, Aberdeen, Scotland. As you can see she is not wearing a traditional white dress.

The paper Horseshoe. In many photos I saw of Canadians and non Canadians the women were carrying a paper horseshoe. What exactly for? For good luck! What a fun idea.

1940s Canadian Bride image
Source: Canadian War Brides-FB Page

Now for the wedding of all weddings…The Marriage of English War Bride Olive Cochrane to Saskatchewan Native Lloyd Cochrane. The Bouquets in all these photos are just stunning and must weigh a ton.

1940s Canadian War Bride
Source: Canadian War Brides-FB Page

Coming to Canada

After the wedding the brides eventually had to make the trip to Canada.

Here is an image of War Brides with their Children arriving in Halifax-Pier 21. Upon their arrival they were supplied with a cookbook and then sent on their way.

War brides and their children arriving in Halifax from overseas.
Source: Public Archives of NS

I have a feeling that making this trip to an unknown country to a family you don’t know and maybe a husband you barely remember must bring these women together in a way that nobody thought possible.

1940s Canadian War Brides Coming Home
Source: Canadian Army

Canadian war brides on board the aircraft carrier Reaper as it enters the Sydney Harbour, NS. On a fashion side, I love the hair and the peep toe shoes.

Canadian War Brides 1940s
Source: CBC Radio

 

For some more reading please check out:

Liz 🙂

 

1940s Women’s Fashion Ideas For Your Next Vintage Dance

One of my very first blog posts I ever did was for a yearly big band 1940s dance we have in Hamilton (outside of Toronto) called Swing Out To Victory.

Big Band 1940s Dance

My post was about what to wear to a 1940s vintage dance and I showed “vintage images” from magazines, catalogues and patterns for inspiration. None of the images I presented were actually for sale though, so I thought since the dance is right around the corner (Nov 8th-Tickets HERE) that I would supply my readers with ACTUAL pictures of outfits you could own tomorrow if you wanted (unless they get purchased before you can hit buy).

Now obviously if you don’t live in Toronto you won’t be attending this dance BUT you can certainly purchase these outfits for your own 1940s vintage dance where you live. Happy Shopping!

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To start off here is what I have worn to last years Swing Out To Victory’s….

2013-I’m helping with the candy toss and wearing my Vintage 1940s Gown I found for $30 in Toronto

1940s Big Band Dance, hamilton warplane musuem
Image Courtesy of Jessica T.

 

Now here are ideas on what YOU can wear to your next Vintage Dance….right now!

Lets just start with a beautiful 1940s Crepe Beaded Gown. Wearing this at your next dance will 100% get you noticed that is for sure!

1940s Black Crepe Beaded Gown Vintage
For Sale on Etsy-TrueValueVintage

Since you might be dancing you want to make sure that you can move in what you are wearing (see my post on “real life vintage images of swing dancers“) and this dress looks like it would fit the bill while looking immensely stylish.

I love the Peplum Detail!

1940s rayon dress vintage
For Sale on Etsy-shopKLAD

I do adore a good green dress! Especially around the Holiday season and this 1940s Taffeta Cocktail Party Dress with the black accents would fit that bill nicely. How lovely would it look on the dance floor, spinning around?

1940s vintage cocktail dress
For Sale on Etsy: TrueValueVintage

I kind of want the below dress in my life..right now because it would be so fantastic for SOTV. Sadly it won’t fit, so someone else take it home and wear it dancing..Please!

1940s Vintage Crepe Cocktail Dress
For Sale on Etsy: TrueValueVintage

I’m a sucker for a good floor length gown, like this beauty below.

Can’t you just imagine yourself being Ginger Rogers and dancing with Fred Astaire in this dress? I sure can.

1940s vintage floor length gown
For Sale on Etsy: dethrosevintage

Keeping with the “Gowns” theme, this black sequin gown with the swooping skirt is Gorgeous with a capital G!

Vintage 1940s gown
For Sale on Etsy: SmallEarthVintage

If dancing is not your thing and you just want to stand around oozing glorious drama then this stunner needs to be in your closet. Oh la la is all I have to say 🙂

1940s vintage gown
For Sale on Etsy: MinxVTG

Now for a little novelty in our lives. The braided detail is delightful and so different right?

1940s Vintage Novely Dress
For Sale Etsy: alleycatsvintage

 

Lastly lets not forget about the Shoes Shoes Shoes! Oh so important and if you are looking for a vintage pair there are lots out there. Here are small sampling of some for sale right now.

1940s..ohhhhhh the blue is so pretty and the strap will ensure your shoes don’t go flying off your feet during that song you just love to dance too.

1940s vintage shoes for women
For Sale on Etsy-honeytalkvintage

Peep toe shoes are a vintage 1940s must! and the sensible heal could work for a night out on the town.

1940s vintage shoes for women
For Sale on Etsy: honeytalkvintage

Now here is a good sensible BUT stylish shoe for dancing.

FYI the oxford below has never been worn…score!

1940s vintage black oxford shoe
For Sale on Etsy: diggerodellvintage

1940s Red Wedge Shoes Alert! Now these are shoes for a night of dancing…oh yes they are.

1940s peep toe wedge vintage shoe
For Sale on Etsy: honeytalkvintage

 

Then you have it my friends. I hope you found something you liked or maybe inspired you to go on the hunt for.

If you do go to a vintage dance, please share some pictures with me! I love seeing how everyone styles their clothes (especially from the 40s, but it can be any era).

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P.S. I have news! I will be hosting my very first ever Guest Blogger post AND Contest in a couple of weeks..Yuppers a Contest is coming your way so don’t go away.

Liz 🙂

A Peak Into 1940s Collegiate Life

August is now gone and that means all the kiddies and older kids are back to school. Sigh..bye bye summer.

Going to school was always something I enjoyed and I have some pretty great memories during those years. I do though vividly remember my first dance of University, I was so nervous and excited all at the same time. I just left my small “ish” home town and had moved to the big City of Toronto to live. I had no idea what the future held but I knew that it was never going to be a dull movement, and boy has it not!

Now going with this theme of “Back to school” and since I’m a fan of the 1940s I thought I would like to do a post on what College life looked like during those years. First up I know it looked nothing like my early 2000’s university life, hahaha 🙂

So are you ready to take a class in “1940s Collegiate Style and Collegiate Life” with me as seen thru pictures?

——————-

Time to move into your dorm.  These lovely ladies look fresh-faced and ready to tackle the world. I love the luggage and hat box! And the dress with the Peter Pan collar is a very practical and pretty.

1940s college days
Source: UMW Centennial

The caption for this picture is: Class Officers in front of Gate at University of Mary Washington.

Saddle Shoes! Great skirts and jackets! Look at their hair?! Oh my this photo is simply and truly wonderful. 1940s Collegiate Style right here ladies and gentlemen.

1940s women in college
Source: UMW Centennial

Studying in the Dorm

Not much in way of great clothing look here, BUT did you notice all the great details in the room? First up, can you see the handsome serviceman on the bookshelf? I saw him instantly! How about that great clock? Do you think it’s Bakelite? I also adore the bread-spreads. Burberry has nothing on these beds.

1940s dorm life
Source: UWM Centennial

Maybe the ladies above were studying up on how to make the perfect pie as seen below? Mandatory for a woman in the 1940s to be able to do, I’m sure.

1940s college classes
Source: UMW Centennial
Time to Join a Club!

Okay this picture has so many fantastic things happening. First up according to the caption on this picture this is “Campus Jane and Campus Joe, members of the University of Miami ‘M’ Club-1946″. Right there I’m in love, how cute is that?!

Next up, their style. When I think of 1940s collegiate style this is EXACTLY what I think of. Saddle shoes (I love my saddle shoes), his collegiate sweater with the M, her wool skirt with cardigan which is just wonderful. Never mind the woman behind them with that great figure and dress. I also think they are too adorable for words. No words!

1940s guy and girl in college
Source: University of Miami Libraries Digital

Like sports? how about joining the golf club? hahaha “Golf Club”!!! Okay I’m done making silly jokes 🙂

For a fan of vintage clothing this picture has so many amazing things happening in it, I don’t even know where to start? The skirts, tops, shoes, HAIR! So stylish and fantastic to look at and what great form they all have.

1940s women golfers
Source: UWM Centennial

Transportation to school

If you did not live in a dorm, how were some of the ways you got to school? Well in this fantastic photo the pretty girl with the great car seems to have her way all set. I’m not sure if the guys are interested in her or the car though?

Can you spot the fun beanie hat and those great shoes on the guys?

1940s vintage car
Source: University of Miami Libraries Digital

Or maybe you had to take the bus like these students at Duke University.

1940s vintage school image
Source: Duke Yearlook

Doing your part for the war effort

During the early part of the 1940s a big part of school activities was helping with the war effort. These pretty ladies are collecting scrap at Duke University to “Help rub out the axis with scrap rubber

1940s college students doing their part for the war effort
Source: Duke Yearlook

Learning First Ad, very important as you never knew when you might need it. Future nurses?

1940s vintage image of women doing first ad
Source: Duke Yearlook

Letting off some steam

After a long day of school and studying (and helping with the war effort) it’s always fun to kick up your heels and listen to a good band, like at this welcome Party.

I love the beanies that the Freshman girls were probably expected to wear. I also see some great patterns on dresses.

1940s college life band playing
Source: UMW Centennial

How about a dance with your significant other on a Saturday night? These two couples look like they are having fun. I also adore the peplum dress that is longer in the front, I wonder what colour it was?

1940s school dance
Source: UMW Centennial

Maybe dancing was not your way of relaxing, so how about a swim with your college chums?

Students at the University of Miami in 1944 enjoying a day off from their studies.

1940s students swimming
Source: University of Miami Libraries Digital

 

And there you have it friends, a peak into 1940s collegiate life. I think they were wonderful photos, during a time that was not the easiest for many of these men and women. Don’t you agree?

Do you have good school memories? Or would you rather just forget they ever happened?

Liz 🙂