Vintage Fashion Guide
Whats On This Page
Here you will find original fashion illustrations of the period, knowledge and tips on how to identify and
get 'The Look'.
In addition, tips on how to use what you might already have in your wardrobe or by buying low-cost modern items to achieve
'The Look', on a budget.
Also I have posted about the page
'Etiquette Tips' which are useful for both
men & women.
This page only gives information on
'Antique' and 'Vintage Fashion',
1910 to 1950.
If you want information and tips on the
1960s ,1970s and 1980s fashions
see the link below
One fundamental key for achieving
The Vintage Look, is to research and use the appropriate colours and forms. Once you know this for your chosen period fashion, you can create it by using , things you already have ,modern and original items put together.
The 1910s saw for the ladies the revival of the higher empire waistlines from the earlier Georgian period and the revolution of being bustle-less!
And the invention of the brassiere enabled women to be corset free!
In addition the corset was losing its grip by the mid 1910s. And by the end of the 1910s skirts were much shorter, going from floor to ankle to mid calf in one decade, after centuries of floor length attire for women, this must have been liberating!
Words like avante garde & bohemian were associated with fashion for the first time
Women's fashions were more loose, floaty and fluid.
Fabrics were light and ethereal, adorned with embroidery, beads and other embellishments.
The look was subtle and pretty,
almost Nymphe-like. But by the end on the 1910s fashion was emerging as an art form.
For gentlemen too the look became free-er.
Men were experimenting with fashion, which hether too was a prerogative of women only.
Top hats, spats, bow ties of all colours and patterns, boaters ( straw hat) small ties and turned down collars, sports coats , dinner suits and lapel adornments. Georgian cravats, monocles, pocket watches,walking canes from their grandfathers were mixed with, trendy new plus fours and suits from the continent, sport coat or blazer.Cloth caps, the sign of a working class man and fur coats, the sign of a rich man, two opposites were put together, all for show not for necessity, to make a point, this was the modern fashionable man!
1912 Men in Straw Boater hats
previously only worn by women!
Although I do not consider myself an expert of Vintage Fashion, I have been interested since I was a teen way back in the 1970s!
And as such have taken in a lot of study and information on the subject, as well as practice and so I now think I can say that I have enough knowledge to pass on tips for your benefit.
With the advent of the internet and the world wide web, research with illustrations is at our fingertips and since I have used a home PC since 1994, that's also a lot of information my brain has collected.
In addition, I do hold an Advanced Diploma
in Heritage Interior Design,
although it is not about fashion,
one does have to have a sense of style and flair
to design and the aptitude to learn
about design history.
Anyway, please enjoy the information and illustrations posted here for your pleasure.
Finally, I hope perusing this page will give you passion and love for all things Vintage!
Click on the phone
to see where you
can buy Vintage
All Rights Reserved on this website.
©L R Farmer 2016
COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER: I do not own the images, video's or the music used on this website.
All such material belongs to their respective owners. In addition some historical information was sourced by internet websites and as such I have tired to site these sources.
Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use", including non-profit, educational or personal. No copyright infringement intended .
HOWEVER: I do own the assembling of the information on my personal ancestry and family lineage and the photos of immediate family members and the website's design features.
Continental fashions for men
This double breasted suit is from Spain 1918
Learn the etiquette for which accessories
to wear with what and at what hour.
See ,Etiquette tips dotted about this page.
These are good to read for both
men and women.
Going out for Dinner?
Dinner for Two at a Restaurant at Night
Ladies as you enter let the waiter or your gentleman, take your coat but not your hat & gloves or handbag. Be seated, wait for the gentleman to pull out your chair and then sit, he should then push your chair in but not too close only enough so that you can reach the table but also place your napkin on your knees, which you do just before eating.Then you remove your gloves at the table, lay them alongside your place setting. Your handbag should be stowed away under the table. You keep your hat on. Never cross your legs, put your knees together and direct your feet slightly to the right. Sit with your back straight and do not lean on the chair back or even touch it with your back!
If you should need to adjust your lipstick, replenish your perfume, powder your nose, pick your teeth,relieve yourself or make a phone call, go to the Ladies Lou to do it, do not do these things at the table. Excuse yourself and wait till the gentleman rises first, then leave the table. Once you return, apologise for keeping him and settle back down to conversation.
Conversation at the dinner table.
Never speak about , religion, work,politics, rude things, your clothes or toilette, your mother, your girlfriends, sex , or yourself.
Do ask him about himself. Be engaging and polite, smile a little sweetly( but not broadly, unless he makes a joke then laugh appropriately)
If he asks about you, answer him truthfully without bragging or rudeness.
If he is rude, excuse yourself and leave the table, taking your gloves and bag with you.
Finally make him pay for the dinner,always
The Appropriate Attire for a Formal Dinner
Ladies- A long evening gown, ( keep to one colour) long gloves, evening purse and shoes, which should be sandle type, jewellery especially around your neck and ears.Layered pearls or diamantes ( diamonds if your lucky)with earrings to match. If its winter a fur coat, if its cool but not winter a fur stole, if its summer a silk or satin stole,this can be patterned or a co-ordinating colour, but not tarten ( unless it is a Scottish affair) or a' country fabric'.
Smoking-If you smoke socially use a cigarette holder and only smoke cigarettes offered to you by your gentleman. Never completely finish your cigarette and never smoke alone, it is for socialising.
Gentlemen- A black dinner suit with black bow tie and black shoes with cufflinks and a white handkerchief.Rings can be worn on the ring or pinky fingers but not both together, this is too much.
Smoking-If you smoke socially use a cigarette case and matching lighter. Always offer your ladies a cigarette first ( if she smokes)Never smoke alone, it is for socialising.
For a Simpler dinner
Ladies- A cocktail dress, shoes with a moderate heel, elbow ( forearm length) gloves, bag, hat, jewellery- single strand of pearls or cocktail necklace and earrings to match
Gentlemen-A day suit with tie ( not bow), appropriate to the weather, dark colours for winter and autumn, light colours for summer and spring.
Discourse- here you can talk about most things that are deemed appropriate by yourselves.
For a Picnic
Ladies- wear a day dress like a tea dress, or wide legged trousers and a blouse,short gloves, summer hat( straw)hand bag, simple jewellery & sunglasses in the shape for the period.
Always be the one to offer the food. Heres the time to show off your baking skills ( most foods should be home made by you)It times gone by this was done to impress a future husband!
Gentlemen- wear a nice shirt ( open necked) a cravat ( if desired) or open necked, trousers ( not jeans), sunglasses, a hat if desired
( straw or cloth).
Lay out the blanket and let the lady sit first.
Always pour the wine/beer into a glass for the lady first. In fact you should bring the wine or beer and the blanket would have been stored in your motor car, anyway.
Do not help yourself to the food, wait to be offered and handed the food by your ladie.
Discourse-Here you can talk about love romance, nature, hobbies, sport and all things happy.Get to know each other.
1910 Paul Poiret's Avant Garde Outfit
Example of 1910 Bohemian look
Kimono Dressing Gown
For guessing the age of a piece,
take a look at details. Certain periods had certain patterns, motifs, designs that were voque for the period.
See examples above
Typical fashionable Art Nouveau pattern for fabric
in 1910-14 French Silk designer Paul Follot
1920s Bohemian Scarf 'Oriental' style in
Silk crepe georgette batik
Some later decades had revivals of previous styles
For example The 1970s is known as the
a Fashion Revival Decade by some, although the 2000s have now taken that title I think!
The 1970s revised the Bohemian look by coping 1920s Art Nouveau,'Oriental & Bohemian fabric styles and incorporated a soft flowy look to form, added long beads and wide brim & cloche hats and hey presto!
You have it the 1920s look.
The mid 1970s saw the return of the Edwardian high collars, mutton sleeves and the long dress
called The Maxi
And then in the late 1970s we saw the return of 1930s looks, wide leg trousers, a-line flowy dresses, cross over wrap dresses, etc.
And then in the 1980s The wonderful Lady Di
brought back to vogue the 1920s drop waistlines, Peter Pan collars and hats!
The late 80s & early 90s saw the return of dreaded 1940s shoulder pads only much bigger!
All this makes it cheaper and easy to find the look you want by getting later versions of the original, that still have the right patterns , colours and form.
For example,a 1920s dress is very expensive but a 1970s 'version' might be a 1/4 of the price!
For suggestions on using later 'revivals'
1930s Womens Hats
What to get the look?
Click the button above or below
Click the above & below buttons
The inventor of The Little Black Dress
and suits for women.
And the use of costume jewellery,
Black dress with piles of colourful costume jewellery.( 1920-now)
Square cut skirt suits ( 1950-60s)
Wide leg black trousers with side zip or
'double breasted' buttons and a white, navy or black blouse with pussycat bow, brooch, costume jewellery.
Chanel Style Accessories
Black fedora hat
Fairly big brooches
Necktie or cravat for women
Black court shoes.
Tip- With Chanel the clothing is the stage the costume jewellery are the actors( they must stand out, the stage not so much) In essences this is early Chanel. In the 1950-70s it was the cut of the suit ( the form) that was to stand out with a simple costume brooch.
With the advent of the women's vote,
women strove for equality by doing things traditionally reserved for men. Like driving a car, playing golf, smoking and drinking
or even travel to far off exotic places!
The fashions also reflected this emancipation. Women were not only wearing trousers more often but were actually wearing men's trousers and sports jackets, plus fours, cloth hats, etc.
But evening wear still was the domain of femininity.
However,designs were more daring and sexier.
Thinner materials and satin like feels with dazzling beads and diamante, dangled beads that drew attention to the bust and low backs that accentuated the curve of a woman's back. Even the new brassiere of the 1910s was abandoned to a thin camisole or nothing at all!
Perhaps to refute the hecklers who said that women were trying to be like men, these women wanted to flaunt their feminine sexuality, freely and without restraint and
the evening gowns reflected this.
For men the look was sporty.
Hunting, fishing, golf, tennis, driving, flying a plane, travel,the pursuits of rich men became available to ordinary working class guys as the
weekend and holidays became available to workers.
Swimming, gymnastics and sports were
popular pursuits and so the fashions reflected this
'sporty look' for men and women.
Plus fours no longer reserved for golf were worn as a fashion statement saying
'' I have time for leisure''
Cloth hats and driving gloves, leather jackets were the clothes of a modern man who drove a motor. Tweed, stripes and houndstooth patterned fabrics gave everybody a feel of the upper classes.
Exoticism was also a highlight in fashion due to the 1928 discovery of Tutumkarmens tomb by archaeologists. All things Egypt was Chic!
As too was Chinese fabrics as travel became a pursuit of the many.
The 1920s above all else, was to this post war generation, primarily about youth and optimism.
The 1930s was a decade of plenty.
And what the young like to do was DANCE!
With new inventions rapidly improving our world, there also came new fabrics which in turn could make creations of new styles possible. Improvements with Raylon and the invention of Nylon in 1938 are just a couple of examples. These fabrics looked and felt like richer
fabrics but were much cheaper.
And all the smart girls had them!
Jazz continued to dominate the music scene.
However there was a new thing on the horizon.
Latin themed music re-created new dances like the the Samba and the Rumba for the young who flocked to the dance halls in their droves.
And later in the decade the Lindy Hop and Swing started to make an appearance in the west.
And being so,clothes had to become more practical for dancing. So no longer were you expected to wear a full length gown to a dance, now you could wear a cocktail dress even after the cocktail hour!
In addition the Latin flair came into the fashion designs for both men & women.
Just as Egyptology had influenced fashion in the last decade the popularity of Latin America and Spain was hip in the 1930s. With the revolutions in Brazil in 1930 and Spain in 1936.
Egyptian Inspired Outfit
And with the great wave of European immigration (1870–1930s) there established a strong relationship to The Argentine.
The news was all things Latin.
And so we had , flamenco gowns that hugged the hips, culottes, bolero jackets, butterfly and balloon sleeved blouses, peasant blouses and sombrero for women and baggy pants, two tone shoes,
fedora and Panama hats, slick down hair with Brylcreem & thin moustache for men,
just to name a few influences .
The Cinema was also a big draw in the 1930s with the advent of the talkies.
Every body wanted to look like the Film Stars.
The evening fashions reflected the Hollywood Style. Decadent fabrics of satin and silk were copied with the 'new fabrics' of rayon & nylon. They were rolled out in their yards to form long flowy slinky dresses that skimmed the feminine form.
The invention of nylon & rayon gave cheaper options of fabric & meant that most women could have a satin like gown.
Men too got swisher! Baggy legged trousers with high waistlines and loose fitting suit jackets, showed no expense in fabric was spared!
Sports still featured highly on the youths calendar and new lines in sportswear came into view.
Princess Diana does 1920s
TIP -Style Revival Match- ups
1910 & 1970s ( Mid)High collars, mutton sleeves, the maxi- Laura Ashley look.
1920s & 1970s ( early)Bohemian & wide brim hats, & 1980s ( early)Lady Di look, drop waists, Peter pan collars, Hats
1930s & & 1970s (late) & 1990s-2000s Tea Dress, beret,pleated skirt, wrap dress
1940s & 1980s &1990s(early)Shoulder pads, fur coats
1950s & 2010s ( Pin up style,Hipster)
NB: The 2000s saw revivals in fashion styles from the 1950s, 60s, 70s & 80s as 'Vintage' was trending in the world.
This trend persists today and has grown into a way of life for some.
Now we can say it has become a movement!
Laura Ashley sewing pattern 1970s does 1910s
Almost perfect reverb!