Category Archives: Dressing up

How to wear a bow tie

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The bow tie speaks volumes about a man’s personal style. Some people find the bow tie alarming or confrontational, but regular bow tie wearers find it a liberating and expressive vehicle for adding a unique accent to an outfit.

The history of the bow tie traces it back to the seventeenth century, in the form of a development of the cravat, along with the knotted necktie, the “four hander” “Half Windsor knot” and “Windsor knot”. The bow tie, traditionally, is hand tied. There are various ways of creating the bow, and a simple way is shown in the above diagram, from the McClatchy Tribune. At Coolclobber we stock a selection of vintage bow ties and the most common self tie examples we stock include white waffle cotton, for formal occasions, and classic silk, in plain or in traditional patterns, often paisley.

There are two types of clip on bow ties, both available at Coolclobber. What you need depends on the occasion and on what type of shirt collar you are wearing.  For a formal occasion, and when wearing a wing collar, you should either tie your own tie, or wear a clip on with a collar band. These ties can be simply adjusted to your shirt collar size ( there are often size markings on the inside of the band). The tie is ready tied and sewn on to one end of the band and there’s is a simple clip behind the bow that is hidden in wear. The bow sits just beneath the wing collar and the band is visible all round your shirt collar band. These ties are very popular and easy to wear and are made in silk, rayon, polyester and other man made fabrics.  A variation, that works equally well with a standard shirt collar, has a narrow elastic adjustable back.

In the gallery photos, I have three examples of my favourite style of everyday bow tie, the patent butterfly clip on. These ties are worn with a standard shirt collar. As you can see, in wear the clip lies flat behind the bow. To use, flip the tie forward, revealing the clips in an open position. Slide one side of your shirt collar inside one side of the clip, press the front closed, repeat with the other side. The bow now lies flat and securein front of the shirt collar. These are so easy to use and always look smart. The examples above are from the 1940s and 1950s, and are good examples of popular fabrics. The brown tie is also wired in the front to keep its distinctive shape.

A vintage bow tie is an inexpensive and stylish way to add a touch of individualism to an outfit, adding a touch of distinction. A bow tie undoubtedly gets you noticed!

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/coolclobber

 

A touch of Vintage, the handbag.

 

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One of the easiest and most stylish ways to add a touch of vintage to an outfit is to add a frame handbag. Here are four just added to the shop.  Former film star, Grace Kelly, Princess Grace of Monaco, often carried a Hermès bag with top straps, and that style of bag evolved into the eponymous “Kelly”bag, which is essentially a metal frame bag, boxy in style, with a top clasp and top handles. This style is synonymous with the 1950s, the Grace Kelly  era, but has remained a popular style which we think of as a classic and elegant accessory.

The classic frame handbag comes in many variations, from classic leather to pvc, shiny patent leather to pony skin!

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/coolclobber?ref=seller-platform-mcnav

 

The string vest, retro men’s underwear.

 

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I believe that the string vest was first brought into being in the mid 1930s by a Norwegian army officer, Henrik Brun.  It was designed on the principal that it’s string net structure would trap heat in winter and allow the body to breathe in summer. String underwear was marketed for its athletic and health benefits and had its heyday perhaps in the 1950s. I certainly associate it with “kitchen sink dramas”, brooding young men in cinematic poses, and the memory of these iconic garments drying on a clothes horse in front of an open fire in our 1950s family home! Although it’s popularity dwindled at the end of the 1960s  and died a death in the 1970s, we can still summon the vision of famous string vest wearer Rab C Nesbitt (played by the talented Gregor Fisher)  in the 1980s!

Here is some authentic 1950s string underwear from the shop….perfect for costume purposes, AmDram, dressing up etc. Note the title “Tarzan”. Johnny Weissmuller played Tarzan in films popular through from the 1930s and 40s to the 1950s when they were often screened in afternoon matinées in British cinemas.

(The Strutts Health Vest  cotton ad is period marketing and I am unable to credit the photographer.)

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/coolclobber

 

 

 

 

1970s Designer Ronald Joyce, London

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Ronald Joyce is a London based design house renowned for its evening wear and wedding gowns. The company was originally started back in the 1950s by husband and wife Ronald and Joyce Phillips.

This gown is from their 1970s “Afer Six” collection and , though sized as a UK 16, would fit a modern UK 10/12 , with a relatively small waist and generous bodice it would probably need to be altered to fit. Features include split sleeves trimmed with lace, and a large keyhole back.  The fabric is a semi sheer polyester “georgette” with an acetate lining.

This would have been a perfect “Hostess gown” for passing round the canapés and chipolatas on sticks!

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/coolclobber

The headsquare

Equestrian theme
Vintage headsquares

This is a fabulous little equestrian number from a huge selection of vintage headsquares that I now have in stock.

My best friend wears hers like the Queen….tied under the chin!

There are fifty ways to leave your lover (so I hear), but how many ways are there to wear a headsquare?

1 folded diagonally and tied under the chin, like the Queen.

2 folded diagonally, crossed under the chin and tied at the back (Audrey Hepburn)

2 folded diagonally , tied around the back of head, over the scarf tails, gypsy style.

3 As above but tied under the scarf tails, hippy chic.

4 folded diagonally, point in the front, tails brought round to front and tied, point tucked in , washerwoman  style.

5 pleated, tied, with ends fanned, turban style.

6 rolled on the diagonal and worn as a Hendrix style headband.

7rolled on the diagonal and used to tie a pony tail

8 folded into an oblong and worn as a knotted stock under a hacking jacket

9diagonally folded and tied behind the neck with the diagonal creating a cowl neckline.

10 diagonally folded and worn around the neck with tails at the front, Boy Scout style

11 as above but tails worn near the collar bone, cowboy style

12 as an element of a hijab

13 as an element of a headwrap

14 tie it around your wrist

15 tie it around your waist

16  tie it around your hips

17 tie it around your leg, like a punk Morris dancer

18 wrap up some possessions,tie it to a long stick and take a hike

19 drape over a side table

20 use it as a halter neck top

…….. I can think of more!

 

 

 

Labor Day Flash Sale Aug 31 – Sept 4

Labor day
Labor Day sale
Labor day
Labor Day sale

Iconic 90s bodycon…curves not corners

If the 80s gave us shoulders like American footballers, the 90s gave us back the wiggle, in the form of Bodycon.

Designers:- Geoffrey Beene, Ronald Joyce, Halston, Jean Muir….Versace’s safety pin dress for Liz Hurley…..

Fabrics, stretch silk, silk jersey, synthetic jersey, any new stretch fabrics that could wrap or bandage, cling or contour the body….

This such a fabulous dress. Taking photographs this morning was a pleasure, and it has gone straight in to the shop.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/coolclobber

 

Bodycon dress
1990s black jersey bodycon dress by Chrystiano.
Back view Chrystiano dress
Back view of this fabulous black bodycon dress with twisted rouleau straps.
Straps and wrap
Side detail showing straps
Detail Chrystiano dress
Back detail showing lining and centre back zip
Black jersey bodycon dress
Iconic bodycon dress by Chrystiano

Vintage key pieces.

Coolclobber , vintage coats
New stock at Coolclobber, women’s coats, men’s coats.
Vintage accessories for men and women
New selected accessories from Coolclobber

I have been busy adding new stock to the collection, with over a hundred mens accessories now in stock, and women’s accessories up in the eighties, browse away! The complete store inventory is now over five hundred items of vintage clothing and accessories, sorted in to convenient sections.

Two great recent finds…..a 1960s London Maid car coat, made from fabulous Llama wool, with oversized crochet buttons…it’s classic, and a great key piece for any 60s wardrobe. The gentleman’s tailored overcoat was a particularly great find, as it was originally sold at a local gentleman’s outfitters here in West Wales, Daniel Davies, Men’s and Boys outfitters of Lampeter. It is in amazing condition with a glossy satin lining and a sealskin finish.

It is certainly the season for wearing a scarf. I have some fabulous silky headsquares in stock. Wear them like Audrey or Grace, or add an accent to a suit or coat by wearing them Western style, folded diagonally and knotted at the back of the neck.  Always popular for men, the gentleman’s reversible silky and wool scarf, adopted in the 1960s by scooter riding Mods….so great with a traditional overcoat  and equally good with your old fish tailed parka!

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/coolclobber

What’s your favourite vintage accessory?

 

No muffin tops, no diets…

Just a big pair of knickers from Floslingerie

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/FlosLingerie

What gives you the best silhouette under your vintage clothes?

Spandex, Elastane and Lycra……are all basically the same synthetic fibre, developed by DuPont in the very late 1950s and early 1960s.  Up to the 1960s, the girdle or corset was a very restrictive garment, generally worn from under the bust to the top or mid thighs and consisting of unyielding layers of stiff fabric with channels of “boning”, often metal, and complex lacing or buckles and straps to shape and hold the body. The girdle or corset also had sets of suspenders to hold up ladies stockings and was open bottomed, i.e. put on an worn like a very wide belt. The earliest Victorian and Edwardian laced up garments needed an extra pair of hands to tighten and do up the laces. They would have been worn over a cotton chemise or combination garment, one of several layers of undergarments. Later versions from the 1930s and 1940s had long lines of hook and eye fastenings.  So, when Lycra came on the scene in the early 1960s, it was liberating! Two new sorts of girdles became available, the roll- on, an open bottomed pull on garment with no boning or fastenings, usually with neat elasticated suspenders, often detachable, and the pantie girdle. The pantie girdle combined knickers and girdle as one, and again, often, but not always, had detachable suspenders. The pantie girdle became the preferred control garment as it created a smooth body shape, perfect under popular clothing styles such as the mini skirt and slim fitting trousers. Lycra is still used in many different types of shapewear, sportswear, swimwear and fashion garments. Occasionally, I come across old shop stock, and it is always good to be able to offer these for sale at Floslingerie.  Right now I have pantie girdles and control briefs in Small, Medium and Large, in white and in black. I also have a stock of Mary Quant body stockings from the 1980s….but that’s another story!

1870s combinations
White cotton chemise, split drawers
1960s girdle
1960s roll-on Girdle with suspenders
Mary Quant 1980s body stocking

It is worth noting that when you wear vintage you may notice that the fit of your vintage clothes is quite different to modern garments. The average body shape has changed dramatically over the last fifty years, with women becoming both taller and wider! You may notice that a vintage item from the 60s, for example, could be labelled as a 10, but fits like a 6 !  Often, waists are smaller, busts and hips cut for more curves. When you buy vintage, check the measurements will suit your body shape. If you are buying on-line, check the measurements against something from your wardrobe that fits you well.

Vintage fabrics hang differently to modern fabrics. When you are planning your outfit, think about how the fabric drapes or clings. Is it bias cut? Is it a stiff fabric like taffeta, or is it a soft pile like cotton velvet? Choose your undergarments to enhance the look of your vintage outfit.  Modern shapewear is pretty good….but if you can find lingerie from the same era as your outfit you will carry yourself with more confidence, knowing that you have created the perfect silhouette!