Tag Archives: sixties

Old Hat’s Highland Fling

Bonjour blog – it’s been awhile! I have splendid splendid photos to share with you from our recent Old Hat vintage social. One of our favourite Old Hat gentlemen (Tim) ordered a pair of tartan pants off Etsy, so naturally, we decided to throw a Highland Fling. Although the tartan pants did not arrive in time (boo!), we had a raucous time nonetheless at The Abercrombie on Broadway.

All our favourite extravagant people came to the social, plus some lovely new friends – all were in tartan, many in capes. Check out the Cape Brigade:

Cape Queens: Me, Emma, Coco, Sophie and Sarah – photo courtesy of Sarah

The lovely Sarah, aka Chronicles of an Eccentric, came along looking splendid. You can read her post on the evening here.

Photo courtesy of Sarah

Dear Coco, who I met at the Fifties Fair last year, and I indulged in a bit of double tartan. It’s so wrong it’s right:

And voila, the whole clan, in various states of readiness for the photo:

Photo courtesy of Sarah

Among the clan you’ll see Emma of Emma Aime, Jesse and Tim of Like Johnny and June, Sarah of Chronicles of an Eccentric, and just a whole lot of attractive, well-dressed people. Also, a shout-out to our friend Emma in the black and teal plaid, who came down from Brisbane especially for Old Hat. Love!

Here’s what I wore:

Early 1950s frock Mint Condition | 1960s cape C’s Flashback | Cocktail hat Scally and Trombone | Seam stockings Honey Birdette | Heels Wittner

I couldn’t resist some tartan-on-tartan, nor did I have enough restraint to forgo a pill box cocktail hat. And as always, I donned a cape (you know they’re my weakness). It all made me feel very Scottish and glamorous and happy.

If you want to come to our next Old Hat event, we’re having a social picnic next Tuesday afternoon (May 8) – visit our Facebook page for all the details. We’re always looking to meet lovely new vintage friends!

Until next time, much tartan love.


Filed under Old Hat, Outfit Posts, Vintage Events


After a wildly exciting whirlwind trip to Melbourne with Jesse and Tim on the weekend, I have a barrage of photos to share with you. We went up for the Von Follies lingerie show (more on this later), but also had a delightful time wandering Brunswick St, and just generally being extravagant. To tide the time away until I manage to poach the photos from Tim, I’ll leave you with a little shot from my last visit to Melbourne.

Stay glamorous, friends!

1950s frock: Retrostar
Cardigan: thrifted
Pill box hat: Scally & Trombone


Filed under Travel

Seam Magazine

Thank you for your lovely and interesting responses to my post on vintage and feminism – I’m still responding to some of you. Even though I do have a specific blog for all my feminist musings (or as of late, lack thereof), I’d like to make posts like these more of a regular feature on Ravishing, seeing as we’re all so inspired. At the very least, I daresay I’ll put up something about vintage and body image at some point: a topic I decided to save for a separate post as I just have SO MANY FEELINGS about it all.

As I’m still living off my travel wardrobe, I don’t really have any fabulous outfits to showcase from my recent wanderings. Instead, I’ll show you an outfit I wore awhile back to the launch of Seam Magazine in Brisbane.

I should have written about Seam Magazine before now, because it’s all kinds of adorable. The crafty, vintage-inspired zine, written by the lovely Linsey from Brisbane, is an absolute visual feast – the photo shoots, featuring dreamy fashions by Alice Nightingale, are positively to die for. It’s also the perfect accompaniment to a pot of Earl Gray tea and some cookies. Seriously, vintage types – get on that (check it out here or on etsy).

And voila, the outfit:

50s dress: Love Vintage Fair 2011
60s pillbox hat: Paddington, Brisbane
Gloves: Paddington, Brisbane
Belt: Brisbane Antique Centre
50s necklace: Love Vintage Fair 2011
Shoes: Bloch

I leave for Las Vegas very soon, so leave me your travel tips if you have any.

In any case, à bientôt !

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Filed under Outfit Posts, Travel

Christmas: Red and Green

If you thought I’d already exhausted my supply of red and green accessories, you would be wrong. Very wrong indeed! I managed to pull together yet another festive outfit for Christmas day – and by “pull together”, I mean that I planned it a week and a half ago.

I wore this green 1950s (possibly early 1960s) frock that I bought from Grandma Takes a Trip, and made it Christmas-appropriate by belting it to add some red, and then piling as many festive accoutrements as I could find on my head. The effect was quite pleasant:

1950s dress: Grandma Takes a Trip, Surry Hills
from an antique store in Guernsey
Belt: belongs to a 1950s dress, bought from Pop Fizz Vintage
Shoes: Bloch

Though I originally had other plans for my Christmas hair accessories, I ended up donning this white floral piece, and then adding to it with some red hair flowers, and some tinsel decorations I stole from a Christmas hamper (I’m nothing if not inventive).

1950s headpiece: Mint Condition, Rozelle
Hair flowers: Sportsgirl

Christmas celebrations were wonderful, as per tradition. Grandma, with the help of various relatives, cooked up a magnificent feast that left us as stuffed as the turkey. We spent the afternoon and evening that followed slumped on various couches – eating so voraciously really takes it out of you (#firstworldproblems).

The weather was perfect, and eating Christmas lunch with a view out over the ocean was most idyllic. ’twas a lovely, lovely Christmas.

A few more days of holiday season family bonding still remain while we’re all up here at Scotts Head together. Nevertheless, there is still a parade of outfits yet to be rolled out, including the Heyday Fleur dress that Santa brought me today.

Until next time, Joyeux Nöel, mes amis.

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Filed under Outfit Posts

Dating a Vintage Frock

Dating vintage really is quite an art. A lot has been written about the various idiosyncrasies of vintage clothes you can look out for when trying to sort out their eras. I won’t give you an exhaustive list of these because some other vintage bloggers and resources have already covered it very well: click here for Tuppence Ha’Penny’s brilliant post, and click here for tips from the Vintage Fashion Guild. Rather, I’m going to show you how I dated one particular frock.

I bought this lovely dress recently from Mint Condition in Rozelle. Of course the shop tag tells me it’s 50s, but I went looking for evidence of this nonetheless. There is also variation in styles of the 50s, so it’s useful to know if it’s early or late 50s, or even early 60s.

The first thing to consider is the style. It’s a little difficult looking at this picture of the dress as it’s hanging rather than being worn, but the frock is in the classic New Look silhouette we know dominated dress styles from 1947 to the early 60s. This means it has a fitted bodice and a circle skirt. So we know it is, at least stylistically, from or inspired by this era.

Nonetheless, I’m inclined to say that this frock is from the late 50s or early 60s because of its length. This picture isn’t the perfect way to check it out, but you can hopefully sort of see that the skirt isn’t really all that long by mid-century standards – on me it’s just about knee-length. Though the same silhouette carried through the 50s to the early 60s, one of the obvious changes was the rise in hem-lines which lifted hems up to the knee, whereas previously frocks were almost almost below.

Another sign it’s in a vintage style: the matching fabric-covered belt. You can see this dress is actually in flawless condition – a lot of frocks lose their matching belts over the years, which is kind of sad.

One of the most convenient things to look at when dating vintage is the zipper. Metal zippers were used all through the 50s and early 60s, until later when they starting using plastic and vinyl instead. You can see that this zipper is clearly metal, so we know the dress has some age to it. You can also see that it’s in the side seam of the dress, which indicates that it’s probably from before the mid-sixties at which point they began to put zippers in the back of frocks instead (thank god). Note that zippers are often replaced over the years, so if you’re 100% sure a dress is 50s but it has a plastic zipper, don’t fret.

It’s handy to look at the hem. I find a lot of vintage frocks have hand-sewn hems, or at least the stitches aren’t really so neat. The most important thing to look for is overlocking, which if you don’t know what it is looks like this. Overlocking wasn’t commercially available until 1965, and after that it was used to finish most hems, so if you don’t see it this is a good sign. You can see this hem has been hand-stitched, and rather than having overlocking to finish it, the hem has simply been folded over before being sewn up.

In this picture you can also see the “pinking” which features in a lot of vintage frocks – pinking is the zig-zag edge you can see. “Pinking shears” were often used to finish off seams before 1965 because overlocking wasn’t available yet, or else seams were also often left raw/unfinished.

I was super-excited to discover a Union Label in this frock, which I’ve never been able to find before. Union Labels were put in American and Candian-produced garments up until 1995 (I believe), and by looking at the label design, you can figure out which era a dress is from. There’s a really good guide to them here on eBay. This label features the logo which I discovered is from the period 1955-1963 (see it on another dress here). The description of it from the eBay guide is as follows:

“This label was issued after AFL and CIO merged in 1955, and lasted until June 28, 1963. It is usually printed in blue on white, and features a scalloped circle with a threaded needle diagonally behind it. In the center are the large letters ILGWU, crossed with a smaller AFL-CIO. Around the edge is printed Int’l Ladies Garment Workers Union.”

Another thing to note here is that the label designates the fabric content as “100% cotton”. This brings me to think that the dress is from the period 1960-1963, as it wasn’t until 1960 that the USA Textile Products Identification Act mandated the use of labels listing the fabric content. It could perhaps be an odd garment from before this, but I’m going to wager now that it’s very early 60s.

Also, it’s listed as a size 14, which wouldn’t at all be accurate by modern sizing standards. Vintage clothes often have wacky sizing.

It was also exciting to buy the dress as “deadstock”. This term means the dress has never been worn, and still has its original tags which is very cool. Looking at tags or labels is very helpful, first of all because it gives you the brand, but also because by looking at the style of the tag you can tell some things. The tag here is in an elegant sort of font, which means it’s probably 50s or early 60s, because after that the fonts became a lot more modern or psychadelic.

Here’s the other side of the tag:

Having the designer name is a treat, because if you do some research you can figure out more about the origins of the dress. The Vintage Fashion Guild has an excellent database of vintage fashion labels you can sift through if you have the time. A google also reaps rewards. Barba Dee wasn’t in the database, but googling the name uncovered an August 1959 edition of the “Milwaukee Journal” in Wisconsin featuring an ad for a corduroy jumper by Barba Dee. And then I found this December 1959 advertisement in the “Pittsbourgh Press”:

It turns out there’s a whole resource of old newspapers in Google News Archives. Barba Dee was advertised in papers between the years of 1955 and 1963, mainly around the East Coast of America – this tells me some interesting things about the origins of my dress.

So that’s my little process for dating a vintage frock. As you can see, shop tags are sometimes a little inaccurate – it seems my dress is from the very early 60s (1960-1963), not the 50s as the store suggested. If you want to know more about dating frocks, I definitely recommend checking out the Vintage Fashion Guild website.

I’m going to be wearing the dress out tonight for the Old Hat Social, even though it will kill me to cut off the original tag. I hope you all have lovely weekends, and research your wardrobes if you have the time.


Filed under Vintage 101

Doris: So Much More than the Girl Next Door

It was a happy day when I discovered there was to be a musical about Doris Day. She’s my Grandma’s heroine of choice, and this love of Doris has naturally filtered through to me. I was sold on Doris from the opening number of “Calamity Jane” when I watched it a year ago – she’s so fierce.

Making up something of a Doris Day Fan Club, Grandma and I went along to “Doris Day: So Much More than the Girl Next Door” at the Lyric Theatre in the the newly refurbished “The Star”. It was terribly exciting. As expected, the crowd seemed to have a fairly high average age, and the merchandise was suitably old-fashioned – we bought Doris Day tea towels.

The show itself was fabulous. Melissa Schneider didn’t impersonate Doris Day, but rather sang her songs as a sort of tribute. She picked excellent Doris songs as well, though perhaps I’m biased because I love “Calamity Jane” with such a passion. I nearly died when she sang “I Just Blew in from the Windy City”; it was so great. Melissa interspersed all this with a commentary on Doris’ life, charting her four failed attempts at marriage, as well as her various artistic pursuits. Melissa was just so likeable, channeling Doris’ sunny disposition. Plus the costumes were divine – very neo-50s.

“Doris” has finished in Sydney now, but I believe it’s off to Brisbane next. Buy a ticket if you have the chance as it’s a fabulous show.

Grandma and I with the “Doris” tea towels.

1960s dress: Camden Passage in London
1930s bolero: Camden Passage in London
1950s necklace: Camden Passage Markets in London
Shoes: Bloch
1950s bag: Brisbane Antique Centre

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Filed under Vintage Events

A Very Belated Outfit Post

I was flicking back through the Photo Booth library on my Mac and found some pictures I took earlier this year, assumedly in a moment of self-indulgence. I think it was Easter-time and I was up visiting my Grandparents. It was one of my first attempts at pin curls, and they turned out quite well, which was probably the motivation for this kitchen photo shoot. My hair was a lot shorter in April – I’d just had it cut for a 1920s party. Short hair is the best for pin curls.

I’m wearing an early 1960s dress I bought in Portland when I was there in January. It’s an odd sort of mustard colour that I wasn’t sure about at first, but it’s grown on me since then. Plus the fabric is beautiful; you can’t tell but it’s almost a brocade.

Dress: 60s, Ray’s Ragtime in Portland
Belt: second-hand, Ray’s Ragtime in Portland
Cardigan: Alannah Hill
Necklace: Disney Couture
Hair Flower: Sportsgirl


Filed under Outfit Posts