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!
The Swinging Sixties, as it became know, is synonymous with an explosion of creativity in fashion and music and art, that put Britain on the map as the innovative capital of the world!
The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, Hermans Hermit, David Bowie.
Pop Art, Op Art, Peter Blake, David Hockney, Bridget Riley, Andy Warhol.
Hair….the lacquered beehive…..Vidal Sassoon, the five point bob.
Make-up….eyeliner, false eyelashes, pale lipstick, pale nail varnish.
Over the decade, various styles emerged, and it is possible to find plenty of 60s vintage clothing in good wearable condition.
Space Age and Futuristic, with clothes made from plastic, metal or paper and new fabrics. Lots of white and silver. Helmets, short boots, geometric structure and keyholes, geometric prints.
André Courrège, Pierre Cardin, Paco Rabanne
The Mini Skirt
Courrège showed above the knee short skirts in the early 60s, however the term Mini skirt is accredited to Mary Quant, who, in the mid sixties, introduced skirts 6/7 inches above the knee. Mary Quant also designed groovy capes, mini skirts, dresses and bags using Welsh tapestry doublecloth in vivid 60s colour combinations.
Jean Varon, Mary Quant, John Bates, André Courrège.
The brainchild of designer Barbara Hulanicki, Biba started as a small store in Kensington in 1964, later, in the 70s, moving in to the old Derry and Toms department store in Kensington High St. Biba was a complete look, a distinct style, based on both Biba clothing and Biba make-up. Biba was a “dolly girl” look, big eyed and young.
Flower Power, The Summer of Love.
1967 is known as The Summer of Love, and marks a summer when over 75,000 hippies gathered in Haight Ashbury, San Francisco. 1969 was the year of the Woodstock festival. The late 1960s is associated with hippie fashion and inspired by American music.
Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, The Monkees, The Byrds, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, The Mamas & Papas.
Fingertip length mini dress, mini skirt, skinny rib sweater, ankle or knee high boots, baker boy hat, 3/4 length jacket, the headscarf, sack dress, smock dress, hot pants, palazzo pants, long floaty dress, headband. Welsh tapestry capes, skirts and handbags, the Afghan coat, a bibbity bobbity hat, satin loons.
The 1970s was a great era for the “dedicated follower of fashion” (thank you Ray Davies) , and plenty of authentic vintage pieces can still be found. Hippie flower power of the mid sixties had given us long flowing dresses and bell bottomed trousers, and this carried over into the 1970s, but became sharper and more mainstream. 1970s fabric patterns and styles are less whimsical and are generally bolder. Trousers become tight fitting , hipster and flared, shirts become more tailored, often with exaggerated collars and cuffs. Flared trousers are often combined with platform heeled boots. Fashion and music go hand in hand in the 1970s, and styles reflect the diversity of both….
Abba……Dancing Queen, David Bowie, Elton John, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Patti Smith, Blondie, Rock and pop in all of its various guises…
The maxi dress, flares, platform soles, the jumpsuit, hot pants, halterneck tops, shaggy faux fur jackets, feather boas, big brimmed hats, tight T shirts, big belts worn round the hips, crochet dresses, handkerchief hemlines, Palazzo pants, knee high boots, the wrap dress, prairie dress, fitted velvet blazers, long narrow scarf, tan leather shoulder bags.
Designers to look for:-
Gina Fratini, Laura Ashley, Ozzie Clark, Zandra Rhodes, Celia Birtwell, Ralph Lauren, Diane Von Furstenburg, Jessica McClintock, Vivienne Westwood, Gloria Vanderbilt, Barbara Hulanicki (Biba).
Models and Muses:-
Jerry Hall, Lauren Hutton, Iman, Cheryl Tiegs, Marie Helvin, Farrah Fawcett, Joni Mitchell, Cher, Stevie Nicks, Faye Dunaway, Diane Keaton, Charlotte Rampling, Donna Summer, Bo Derek, Debbie Harry.
Lots of :-
Acrylic and synthetic fabrics, wash ‘n wear, non-iron, bold colours, fit and flare, swirling bold patterns.
1980s Vintage is distinguished by a number of distinct styles and looks. Essentially over the top in every way, an 80s look is easy to re-create….you just have to think of a theme and exaggerate it! There is little subtlety here!
Punk. Mid and late 70s and right in to the 1980s…..The Mohican or Mohawk, Doc Martins, slogan T shirts, rips and safety pins, face jewellery and piercings, leather, tartan, bondage, S &M.
New Romantic. Pirate outfits, Braided jackets, big belts, frilly shirts, face paint, long boots, androgeny, night club glamour.
Dallas style Shoulder pads. Power dressing, big hair, Dallas, Miami Vice, Dynasty and other American TV series, Joan Collins, Linda Evans, Don Johnson.
The puffball skirt, acid washed jeans, spandex, leg warmers, leotards, headbands, Flashdance, puff sleeved prom gowns, the man ponytail, shoes without socks, pastel jacket over T shirt, Hammer pants, gold lamé, the body stocking.
The Sex Pistols, Siouxie Sioux, Vivienne Westward, Adam Ant, Duran Duran, Yasmin Le Bon, Boy George, Culture Club, Spandau Ballet, Lady Di, David Emmanuel, Katharyn Hamnett, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Giorgio Armani, Madonna, Leigh Bowery, Steve Strange, Annie Lennox.
All of the styles above can be classified as either young fashion or power dressing….the two principal 1980s fashion themes. Young fashion takes its inspiration from pop music and Television and film and celebrates independence, the new, the loud, the alternative, the individual. Power dressing is all about assertiveness, taking control, creating a business persona, creating a successful persona. It is glamorous and based on the impression of wealth and taste ( ironic).
What is the appeal of Vintage clothing? Fit, repairs and fabrics…..
If you are interested in the history of fashion, you are interested in vintage clothing, and maybe already be knowledgeable about different eras and styles , about specific designers and about the development of signature looks. Choosing to wear vintage often means expressing your personality through a specific look, from a hairstyle to an outfit, right down to your shoes and accessories. You can choose a specific era, e.g the 1960s or the 1940s, and style yourself accordingly as a 60s dolly bird or as a 40s land girl. Or, you can choose key vintage pieces, e.g a coat, a dress, a knit, and combine them with your contemporary wardrobe to add a vintage twist.
The great thing about shopping for an wearing vintage is that you are often looking at unique pieces, and when you create your own style you can be sure that your look is your own!
It is still possible to come across clothes that date from the late 1800’s, and those would be classified as antique. Victorian and Edwardian pieces are often fragile, and personally, I would regard them as collectors or museum pieces. Similarly, pieces from the first two decades of the 1900’s are often un-wearable…with some exceptions. Probably the best preserved pieces from the early 1900s are evening dresses as they were often stored well , particularly the expensive heavily beaded pieces that we associate with 1920s flappers.
If you want to look into 1920s fashions, the names and labels you can look for include Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, Elsa Shiaparelli, Madeleine Vionnet & Norman Hartnell.
For practical purposes, Anything over twenty years old is regarded as vintage, and wearable styles can be found from every decade stretching from the 1980s to the 1930s.
If you are aiming for a complete look, do your research. Look at books and fashion magazines from the era that interests you, do some on-line research, visit fashion collections in museums….there are plenty of resources out there!
When shopping for Vintage clothes there are a few things to bear in mind.
When you are looking at vintage clothes, particularly at anything pre-1960, production methods are quite different. Unlike today, when clothes are mass produced, often abroad, vintage pieces are often made in small runs, or even made for individuals by a tailor or dressmaker. Some pieces that you find will have been made at home, probably cut from a commercially available paper pattern produced for the home dressmaker. The size charts that are more or less standardised today, i.e bust waist and hips measurements, were often quite variable before the 1960s. It is also true that the changes reflect the current average body shape of the 21st century woman or man, which is taller and broader than it was in our mothers or grandmothers era.
Do not take the size on the label for granted! Generally waists are smaller and the general silhouette is curvier on older pieces, so make sure that you know your own measurements and take a tape measure with you when you shop! Expect to have to make a few alterations to the fit of your vintage garment to suit your own body shape, so check seam allowances and depth of hems, or check if there is room to move buttons etc. If you do not already own a sewing machine, think about investing in one so that you can make your own alterations!
It is useful if you are handy with a needle and thread, or with a sewing machine ( see above). Some alterations are easy for beginners, e.g. Sewing on buttons, stitching a split seam….but some take a bit more skill, e.g. Replacing a zip, adding tucks or darts to a bodice. Check over your vintage finds carefully for any obvious flaws, rips, moth holes, stains etc., and before you buy, consider if you can remedy the flaw . Sometimes, a piece is beyond repair, but some beautiful fabric can be salvaged and up-cycled.
Vintage clothing up until the 1960s is likely to be made from a quality fabric such as wool, silk or cotton, with rayon or viscose or early synthetics like Tricel mimicking silk. These fabrics drape and hang well, and looked after properly, will last for many years. However, they often need specialist cleaning. True synthetics, polyester, nylon etc. Came in to their own in the 1960s. 1960s fabrics are often harder and harsher, distinguished by their bright colours and designs. This was the start of easily washable fabrics that can often be drip dried or spun and that need no ironing. Much of the fashion clothing from this era was aimed at a young consumer, and was not made to last!
Coolclobber shop has a men’s department! Well, it has several sections devoted to men’s vintage clothing and accessories. Traditional men’s dressing gowns and pyjamas are always popular, as are hats and wallets. And, for the discerning traveller….what better than a shaving/grooming kit all zipped up in a leather case!
I always have favourite items. At the moment, one of my favourites is an immaculate silk lined British Bowler hat. Think Steed in the Avengers and there you have it….animal magnetism and elegance under one hat!
Featured here…..gorgeous brown leather wallet (un-used) with pre-decimal markings. Tootal 50s/60s Tricel dressing gown, traditional Paisley cotton pyjamas, neat and compact shaving/grooming kit in amazing condition….and hats…..Harris tweed countrymans hat, Jackaru black leather bushmans hat, Kangol street style black felt cap, beautiful British Bowler, traditional cloth cap……..
What is Tricel?
The British company Courtaulds, developed Tricel in the 1950s. A cellulose acetate spun fibre, it was a popular substitute for silk. Tricel is a trademarked name owned by Courtaulds and British Celanese. Among its many qualities, it was easy to wash, retained its shape and retained its colour. Acetate fibres are still used in garment construction, mainly for clothes linings. Tricel itself was superseded in the 1960s by Polyester, which has numerous extra properties and can be crease resistant. The Tricel dressing gown by Tootal, shown above, is a great example . The colours have not faded and the fabric feels and handles like Medium weight silk.
What is felt?
Felt is a non-woven fabric created by wetting and aggitating natural fibres, like wool or fur, until they merge together, forming a mat. Felt is a popular fabric for use by hatters and milliners as it can be cut without fraying, and can be steamed and shaped over blocks to form permanent shapes. Felt can be made in various thicknesses and densities, and left soft or treated to become stiff. The classic British Bowler and the Kangol street cap are great examples of men’s felt hats.
What’s so special about Harris Tweed?
Every length of Harris Tweed, every garment made from Harris Tweed, has its origins in the Outer Hebrides . Harris Tweed is made from pure virgin wool, spun and dyed in the Outer Hebrides and woven by individual weavers , often crofters who live off the land and weave at home. Harris Tweed is protected by its own Act of Parliament, and always carries the Orb logo that distinguishes it as unique to the Outer Hebrides. Weavers have developed their own colour blends and the fabric is much sought after for both traditional suiting and by contemporary designers. Harris Tweed is special . It is hand woven by individual artisans. It is only produced in one place and is both beautiful and hardwearing.
If you find a Harris Tweed jacket or hat….treasure it!
The first decimal coins were introduced to the British population in 1968. The five new pence and ten new pence coins, the equivalent of a shilling and a florin, were used alongside the old coins, as the old coins were phased out. Other coins followed, and in February 1971 Britain was fully decimal. In the old coinage there were twelve pence to a shilling and twenty shillings to a pound. Old money was £sd, £ or pound after a pound weight of silver, s or shilling and d for pence, after the Roman coin the denarius. If you hunt, you can still find items like the 60s vintage leather wallet shown above, marked with pre-decimal markings.
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!
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!