1930s Rain Storm Pajamas

Flashback Summer - 1930s beach pajamas, Wearing History Lounging at the Lido pattern

Flashback Summer - 1930s beach pajamas, Wearing History Lounging at the Lido pattern

Yes, these are technically 1930s beach pajamas, but during the photo shoot for this post they turned into rain storm pajamas.

It was sprinkling a little the day of the shoot, but photos needed to happen nonetheless. I planned on going to a lake nearby because, sadly, there is no actual beach in Missouri on which I could actual model these beach pajamas.  However, when Jacob and I got there, the rain did not let up as I thought it would; it turned into a thunderstorm.  Then into a severe storm.  Then the tornado sirens started going off.

So… as a true Midwesterner, I checked for funnel clouds and a green sky, and seeing none… I finished the photo shoot.  Under a pavilion near the lake.

Flashback Summer - 1930s beach pajamas, Wearing History Lounging at the Lido pattern

Perhaps these aren't the best photos I've ever taken, but considering it was done during a severe storm, they aren't so bad are they?!  The blog must go on!

Anyway, to the pattern details!  I created these pajamas from the Wearing History "Lounging at the Lido" e-pattern.  There are a LOT of pages to print out for this e-pattern (due to those ginormously, fabulously wide pants pieces!), but the e-patterns are a cost-effective way to get Wearing History style into your closet.  Here are my thoughts on the project and details you may find useful if you want to try it out yourself:

Skills You Need to Know Before You Start
  • Bias tape binding - This is how the arm holes are finished
  • Darts - There are two on the front bodice pieces
  • Sewing points - The front and back of the bodice have points at the bottom, and this can be a bit tricky if you haven't practiced it
  • Buttonholes - However you want to do them, you'll need a bunch down the back

Flashback Summer - 1930s beach pajamas, Wearing History Lounging at the Lido pattern

Flashback Summer - 1930s beach pajamas, Wearing History Lounging at the Lido pattern

Fit and Ease of the Pattern
The fit of this pattern is a pretty typical, baggy 30s fit.  I sized down on the bodice, as I often do with 30s and 40s patterns.  I used the 30" bust bodice pattern, but I graded it to the next size up near the hip area at the bottom.  This fit worked well for my measurements (32"-24"-35").
The pattern also recommended checking the armscye depth, and I completely agree with that advice!  The fit on this pattern is pretty snug around the arm, so I highly recommend measuring the pattern and adjusting before cutting your fashion fabric.  Lastly, this pattern seems petite.  I didn't have to change the length of anything on a combo of the two smallest sizes, and I'm 5' tall.  I didn't shorten the pants pieces or anything, so unless you are also petite, you may find it useful to check this first.

Things I Changed
  • Buttons I added one more button to the back.  The pattern calls for three, but with four large ones I still have a bit of gaping at the top between my shoulders when I move. I know others have used far more buttons, so depending on how much security you'd like to have, I'd consider using more than the pattern calls for.
  • Waist ties The pattern says to cut two slits in the front of the bodice to run the ties through. I just sewed the ties onto the bodice, like Lauren did with the pattern sample.

Flashback Summer - 1930s beach pajamas, Wearing History Lounging at the Lido pattern

To find out all the details of this awesome hat, check out my previous post!

Flashback Summer - 1930s beach pajamas, Wearing History Lounging at the Lido pattern

Unclear Things/ Tricky things
There isn't a whole lot of instruction with the pattern and no diagrams, so I'd suggest having help if you're a beginner.  (However, if you've sewn a bit before, especially pants, you shouldn't have a problem.)  It's pretty straightforward!
I struggled with the back point where the bodice and trousers meet. I tried it a couple times and still had a bit of a wrinkle in the seam where I couldn't get the two bodice pieces and trouser pieces to line up quite right. However… I have trouble with points, admittedly, and the addition of two sides of a bodice to line up was apparently a bit much for my skills!

Moments of Pride in This Project
I sewed the front point where the bodice and trousers meet really well!  I'm quite proud of that actually.  Also, I'm glad my pattern grading worked in fitting my hips better than the smallest size would have.  There's no shame in sizing up!  A good fit is better than claiming a smaller size that doesn't look right.

Flashback Summer - 1930s beach pajamas, Wearing History Lounging at the Lido pattern

Flashback Summer - 1930s beach pajamas, Wearing History Lounging at the Lido pattern

Moments of... Eh, I'll Do Better Next Time...
  • The back of the collar doesn't lay quite right.  It's my own fault.  I didn't account for both a button and a bias facing on the collar, so I need to go back and cut a slit in the facing to put the button through.  Duh, Emileigh!  I think I'll also need to put a snap in between the buttons.  That's kind of jerry-rigging a solution to the gap you see in the picture below, but it's a lot easier than adding a lot more buttons!
  • The back point of the bodice… is just not done so well.  Like I explained above.

Flashback Summer - 1930s beach pajamas, Wearing History Lounging at the Lido pattern

Pattern Conclusions
I love this pattern!  As with every other Wearing History pattern I've tried, this one is great.  I'm looking forward to trying it in different fabrics for different occasions. I may not have much call for more beach pajamas (although this is going to be great summer wear!), but a version of these made up in something silky or soft like a jersey would be fantastic for hanging out in the house. It's quick to make up, too. (It took me two evenings to do everything.)

Flashback Summer - 1930s beach pajamas, Wearing History Lounging at the Lido pattern

Here is a summary of the pattern details and things I changed:
Fabric: vintage cotton and navy cotton sateen
Pattern: Wearing History "Lounging at the Lido" e-Pattern
Year: 1930s
Notions: buttons
How historically accurate is it? Honestly, I think it's accurate, but I'm not super up on 1930s beach pajama construction. I know they had plastic buttons and cotton back then, so I'm thinking it's pretty accurate.
Any tricky parts to the pattern?  I talk about this more above, but point on the back of the bodice was the hardest part for me.
Did you change anything?  I just graded the bodice top from the 30" bust size to the 35" hip size at the bottom.
Time to complete: two evenings
First worn: 29 May 2015
Total cost: I got the pattern with the coupon code I won from Wearing History in a photo contest. The fabric was gifted to me and from my stash, and the cotton sateen was about $30 for four yards.
Notes: I've gone into great detail above!  I like this pattern!

Have any of you tried out this pattern or know someone who has?  Please add the link and lets help future sewists have a database of good info and pictures of this pattern!

Other versions of this pattern:
Girl with the Star-Spangled Heart - version 1 and 2
Salvia's version

1930s Couture Millinery

Flashback Summer: Tanith Rowan Designs - 1930s custom couture hat, millinery

When Tanith won a giveaway for ad space on the blog a while ago, I was very glad!  I had seen her millinery work (from her shop, Tanith Rowan Designs) elsewhere on the interwebs, and I was very impressed.  I asked how we could work together to promote her shop, and she said she'd best let her hat skills speak for themselves!  She offered to make me a custom hat so I could share my experience with you guys.

She started by asking me what kind of hat I wanted.  (Logical, right?)  I actually don't have that many hats, and I thought I'd ask for a kind of hat I've been looking for a long time: a 1930s sun hat! I sent her some inspiration photos and asked for versatile colors, a wavy brim, and some kind of floral-y summer trim.  Boy, did Tanith deliver! 

Flashback Summer: Tanith Rowan Designs - 1930s custom couture hat, millinery

The hat is light, summery, and fantastic!  It arrived beautifully packaged in a giant hat box, and it traveled safely all the way from Australia.  Tanith had taken my head circumference measurement, and the hat fits beautifully.  It really does feel like it was made for me… because it was!  I love the shape and wave of the brim, and navy blue is a color I wear a lot.  I also like the fabric detail on the back; it gives it an extra unique touch.  The hat is perfectly vintage appropriate, but without any of the condition issues vintage hats oftentimes have.  It's like being able to step back in time and buy the hats from "back in the day"… and it's brand new!

Flashback Summer: Tanith Rowan Designs - 1930s custom couture hat, millinery

Flashback Summer: Tanith Rowan Designs - 1930s custom couture hat, millinery
The spots are rain drops.  Which I will explain in the next post.

The beauty of couture millinery, like what Tanith does, is that you don't have to wait for a reproduction company to come out with a line of hats that may or may not strike your fancy.  You don't have to worry about it fitting your head, or flattering your face.  Working with Tanith gives you the opportunity to get exactly the hat you want!

I also wanted to get some insight from Tanith herself about her work in Tanith Rowan Designs:

In a world of fast, cheap fashion, what is so special about a handmade hat?

In my eyes, the most special thing is owning a hat that is a unique creation. Handmade means that you are wearing something that you just aren't going to see in the shops and on everyone else.
The ability to customise is a bonus with handmade as well. That could be anything from getting a style you like made in a different colour to having a completely designed-for-you one-off.
I personally am a believer in ethical fashion and supporting small businesses and craftspeople, so that is another element to consider. As well as the feel good factor, you get to deal directly with the maker, which I always love.

Flashback Summer: Tanith Rowan Designs - 1930s custom couture hat, millinery

Flashback Summer: Tanith Rowan Designs - 1930s custom couture hat, millinery

Why did you decide to get into millinery?

I don't know that I did "decide". It just sort of happened! I have always pursued creative hobbies, and this is one that I never got tired of, and kept wanting to follow year after year.
I have always been drawn to hats and have been collecting them for a long time. I made my first, very amateurish, attempts as a part of fancy dress costumes, which prompted my sister to give me a millinery book for Christmas that year. From then on, I was pretty well hooked!

What makes the quality of your hats better than store-bought ones?

Hand-sewing means that every stitch is carefully placed, and every detail is attended to. Each work is an individual creation and I will have checked it thoroughly before packing it up.  (Of course, I am still only human. I'm very aware while saying this that I forgot to add my label to Emileigh's hat!)
With hats, like clothes, the quality of store-bought varies, and it can be very good, but it can sometimes mean inferior materials and workmanship.

Flashback Summer: Tanith Rowan Designs - 1930s custom couture hat, millinery

How much would it be to have a hat custom made?  What sorts of factors go into how you price them?

The main factors are materials and time. Your straw hat, for example, would be in the range of $200-250. The fine linen weave straw is expensive, and the edge is wired and bound twice, all with hand stitching.
On the other hand, a wool felt hat could be more like $100-150, depending on complexity, since wool felt is cheaper than straw, and the edges can be left unfinished for some styles.

What else should we know about your hats?

I'd like to include something about vintage style hats in particular, along these lines...
While I also do other styles of hat, vintage is my main passion, and that influence tends to appear in all of my work. I do a lot of ongoing research into vintage hat styles, trims and methods. I want my work to be accurately vintage appropriate and as authentic as possible, while still expressing my own artistic input.

Flashback Summer: Tanith Rowan Designs - 1930s custom couture hat, millinery

At first, $100-250 can seem like a lot for a hat (although there are less expensive options available in her shop!)  But when I think about how well made vintage hats were, it makes sense.  That quality craftsmanship and human touch is what enables us to still wear these hats today!  Not to mention, you don't have to worry about outgrowing a hat. You can wear it forever!  That's a pretty great wardrobe investment in my mind.

I highly recommend Tanith's hats.  Her work is impeccable, and I'm ridiculously pleased with my hat.  I'm thinking of wool hat ideas for winter already!

Have any of you commissioned hats from Tanith?  What is your favorite hat in her shop?  Have you seen a hat you've loved on her blog?  If you could have any hat created for you, what would it look like?

I have received this hat for free from Tanith Rowan Designs in return for this post, but all opinions expressed are my own honest opinions. To learn more about my collaboration policies, click here.

How to Embroider Dandelions

In celebration of May and it's springiness, it's time for another embroidery tutorial!  This time we're looking at how to do a dandelion.

- scissors
- something to embroider
- embroidery floss
- needle
- embroidery hoop
- pencil

Thread your needle with embroidery floss. Always a good step one. I used a double length of thread.

On your fabric, decide how large you'd like you finished flower to be, and draw a circle that size.

Draw another smaller circle inside this one.  You'll be sewing around the "donut" you just drew to make your flower.  Put your fabric in an embroidery hoop.

Starting at a point on the inner circle, bring your needle up, then go straight across and put your needle down on the outer circle.

Bring your needle back up through the inner circle, and down on the outer circle.  Repeat this around the entire circle, being sure to space the "spokes" of your dandelion further apart on the outer circle than they are on the inner circle.

The dandelion is done!

(Sidebar tip: The dandelion flower is also good for smaller flowers, just like the lazy daisy.  However, if you’re feeling ambitious you could add more rings around the first “donut” and continue outward as you like for a bigger donut.)

1930s Zanzibar Dress

Flashback Summer: 1930s Zanzibar Dress

This is my new favorite dress.
Like... I really love it.  Well, most things about it.  This was a learning piece!

Princess Seam 40s Dress

I pulled my wedding going-away suit out of storage recently and got it all ironed and ready for wearing again, and I realized that I never actually posted a picture of the dress without the jacket as I promised!  (To see the whole suit, you can go to this post.)  I was surprised at my utter lack of a brown brooch to finish the look, but I'll figure out a remedy for that in the future!
I made this dress and it's matching jacket out of some poly-mystery fabric found in a thrift store.  Before my wedding I was a college student on a budget, so in the authentic spirit of "make do"--if not the authentic fabric--I bought the poly-mystery and used a 1940s mail order pattern to create it.  These pictures are after a day at work, so pardon all the wrinkles!


I had never done princess seams on a garment, so this was a good learning process.  I need to do a bit more adjustment on the, ahem, bust area to give myself a bit more room, but otherwise it's perfect!  The only thing that threw me off at the time, as a not-as-skilled-as-I-am-now sewist, was that there were no facing pieces at all for the top, which includes the neckline, armholes, and straps all as one continuous line.  Now that I know things, it's obvious to me that bias tape would be a perfect way to finish this... but not then.  So... improvements will come in the future!
It's nice to know I've grown in my sewing skills.  I feel like there is still SO much to learn, always a new technique, some new specialty I'd like to learn.  But at least I am definitely growing my knowledge little by little!

(And look!  I made my first gif! Admittedly, I'm not on the cutting edge of technology, so this is cool to me.)

Outfit details
1940s brown shoes: Decades (Springfield, MO)
dress: me made, Mail Order 3700
red sweater: me-made, Sun-Glo 40 No. 2292
scarf: flea market

Controversial Post: Why Is Vintage So White? - Part 2

Flashback Summer: Controversial Post - Why Is Vintage so White? - Part 2

This is a continuation of a controversial post published yesterday.  If you haven't already, please go to the first post to learn the intention behind creating this post and the first half of the questions for the panel.  Feel free to join in the discussion below with your own respectful viewpoints!

As a refresher, here are the lovely ladies on the panel!

Carla - blogger at "Tiny Angry Crafts" | Nora - blogger at "Nora Finds" | Daffny - blogger at "A Vintage Nerd" | Angelique Noire - pinup model | Candace - pinup model

Since you've already read the background info for this pair of controversial posts, let's get back to the questions!

Does there seem to be a common theme of why others of your race don't wear vintage? (This may also tie into the culture you identify with, which is often connected to race. Also, maybe there isn't a common theme! That's okay to say, too!) 

Angelique: There are many Black people that wear vintage or styles based on the 1940s/50s.  They don't typically frequent events catering to the vintage community, but that doesn't mean they are non-existent...If you look, you can see the influence of classic 40s/50s style being interpreted in a modern way by many Black women. It's just a matter of how you interpret their style. For example, when you see a Caucasian woman wearing a turban, midi skirt, a button down blouse with cat eyeliner and red lips, many can see the influence of a popular 1940s/50s fashion style. You see the exact same style on a Black women, people automatically think she is doing something solely based on African influence because of the turban. I have so many Black girls and women tell me that I am their inspiration because they adore the style. 

Candace: Two words: Not cool. It’s okay to like and listen to Beyonce and Nikki Minaj, it’s okay to listen to R&B and hip-hop but don’t you dare wear seam-stockings and say how much you love Dita von Teese and Dean Martin. Those two don’t mix. I think it has to do with not being brave enough to be who you are. I love artists like Erykah Badu, Janelle Monae, and India.Arie they are neo-soul R&B singers, and are brave enough to wear their natural hair and to be fully clothed and show talent and not skin. I like women like that. Unfortunately, mainstream has dominated so much so that if you wear vintage or want to you get frowned upon. Especially, for the younger girls they find it hard to and sacrifice who they are and want to be because of looks and bad mouthing. When has liking James Mason and Elvis ever been a crime? Why is it horrible to be classy and leave mystery behind?

Carla: I've asked some of my friends why don't they want to dress vintage, and the response is usually either "I don't see anyone who looks like me doing it." , "I don't want to get teased " "Oh, my people didn't dress nice back then." And I've seen some people posting on sites 'Oh white kids who emulate that style are harkening a caricature of the past, and are erasing the struggles of PoC.'

Carla - source
 Nora: What we mainly call vintage pieces are of Western style, but vintage actually encompasses a whole bunch of historical pieces whether they are vintage batik, vintage kimono, or vintage cheongsams. But what we wear nowadays are mostly American/European vintage so a lot of minorities don't feel like they can relate. My grandma grew up in Indonesia under Dutch colonization so she wore the kind of vintage we wear now. But if you are from mainland China I can understand that you don't "get" vintage. Also, Chinese people (or maybe all Asians) have this believe that new is always better, so they tend to not like the idea of wearing second hand clothes. I think it's because vintage clothing reminds them of the past, which in my culture is usually something we don't like to talk about. We Chinese like to move on with things and improve ourselves, so past sometimes just feels like something that holds you back.

Daffny: I find those within the Latino culture here in New York think its cool what I do and do not judge me for it at all.
Nora - source
Are there elements of the vintage community that are, at the least, not friendly toward people of color or, at the worst, just plain insulting? What are they? If you could, how would you change these things? (Meaning, how would you prefer these situations be handled?) 

Nora: I personally do not think there are things that are insulting. But I'm probably not easily insulted. Heck, it's a think line between appreciate a culture and adopting it as a costume. What about this year's Met Gala?! Is it offensive to wear chopsticks in your hair or wear cheongsams?! I don't think any one person can represent a whole racial group to say what's offensive and what's not. Obviously Edwardian pieces are less minority friendly because they simply aren't a part of our history, but the Western fashion did make its way to other countries pretty early in the 1920s (like mogas or Japanese flappers).

Candace: There have been a few guys on my FB page (Black Pinup Models) that have said some down right vile things that I had to delete and ban. Some see black women as exotic creatures and that’s it, no brains, no personality, I had to get rid of them as well. We’re more than that.

Carla: I haven't personally experienced this, but I've heard stories of Black people being treated rudely at rockabilly festivals. I find this entire situation very odd, considering rockabilly was a subset of rock and roll, which has roots in African American blues music.

Angelique:   I think it is downright insulting when people wear clothing and/accessories with the Confederate Flag. Either they are wearing it because they are absolutely ignorant of the hate and racism it was associated with, or these individual straight up could care less about exercising empathy. Also what I mentioned about lack of diversity in publications, and photographers who choose to not photograph Black women is also insulting. 

Daffny: I don't think the vintage community is unfriendly to anyone who is different. We have black women, gay women, disabled women like me and everyone is quite friendly and sweet. Its one of the reasons I love this community so much.

Daffny & her lovely kids - source
How would you encourage other people of color in embracing their own personal style?

Daffny: I would encourage someone from my culture to embrace the beauty and the history of the past and to have fun with it. I would tell them to add their own dash of salsa to the mix and make it dazzle!

Nora: I would encourage them to do some research on their own history, on other people's history, and just generally on fashion history to find what they like and what they don't. I don't identify myself with just one racial/cultural group so I don't feel like I need to limit myself on wearing only one type of clothing. I would encourage people to find their own style whether or not that is vintage.

Candace: One of my favorite lines from a song from my favorite bands, Halestorm has a song “Sick Individual” the chorus says, “I’m doing thing called whatever the f**k I want…” I love that attitude… [but] It is hard to do because growing up we’re told what to say and do and not do certain things because we’ll appear as something to others and so on. But it gets tiring, and you get fed up with so you have to have that attitude...I’ve been adapting that attitude because I’m tired with trying to please everyone, it’s exhausting. I think everyone should live by that. If wearing seam stocking and cat eyeliner makes you feel better, happier, prettier go ahead and do it. Why should you sacrifice your happiness for someone else? I will not sacrifice my polka dots and pearls for anyone!

What practical things can members of the white majority do to support other races in the vintage community? 

Nora: I don't think there is any discrimination to be honest. I always feel like people appreciate my style and myself and don't think I'm wearing vintage to imitate white people or I'm simply costuming. I think the most important thing is to treat everyone the same way. Give compliments and be genuine - when someone looks lovely, then tell them but don't be patronising or don't sound surprised.

Daffny: I think those who aren't from other cultures just make sure that they are welcoming and friendly to anyone who comes into the community irregardless of their culture. You cannot go wrong by being nice!

Candace: Just keep supporting. I have such wonderful supporters who aren’t black quite a few of them are white believe it or not and I’m very happy. I was a little worried I felt like I would be alienating them with the name Black Pinups, but I think most of them are like me, they like it because it’s pinup, it’s a great product/photo and they want to see me and others do well.

Carla: Feature more PoC of the eras in beauty posts and the like. (I'm working on this during the summer) Talk to PoC who dress vintage, and compliment their style.

Angelique Noire - source
What other things do you feel need to be said pertaining to this issue? Is there anything else that could help readers better grasp your experience?

Daffny: I think it is important to know that not all Latinos in America are Mexican. The Mexican culture is a beautiful one but we also come from Europe, South and Central America, and the Caribbean. We come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. We have blonde hair and red hair, we come tall/slender and round/curvy, with freckles, with dark skin and pale skin. Don't judge a book by its cover. You never know who may be and so therefore I encourage you to just ask.
  Candace: I hope that people will be more open if they’re not towards black history especially in the entertainment industry. I had a post of black history female pioneers and I was happy to see how many of my white followers were interested in learning, it was awesome. I’m glad more people are wanting to learn more. I love to learn about any history not just mine but everyone’s so I’m hoping it continues.

For more information on Asian culture & vintage, check out Nora's more in-depth post, "Why Don't Asians Wear Vintage?" 

Controversial Post: Why Is Vintage So White? - Part 1

Flashback Summer: Controversial Post - Why Is Vintage so White? - Part 1

I haven't posted in the past few days because I've been gearing up for this one! I don't think I've ever been so excited about a controversial post.

Today we have a panel of lovely vintage ladies that are here to talk about a tough issue: Why is the vintage community made up of mostly white people? 

Now before anyone puts up the defenses, this isn't going to be a guilt trip or accusation party for any of you, so don't worry.  This post has come from my own wonderings about how mostly white people gravitate toward vintage and why that is, and I've enlisted the help of women who are willing to share their unique perspectives and personal experiences on why this might be.  I'm a firm believer that personal relationships and listening to each other's stories are two of the biggest keys to achieving racial equality in our world!

I've also noticed that I have sometimes unintentionally thwarted efforts to meet that goal.  As a white person, it can be very scary to talk about racial issues in our society today.  I don't want to say something dumb or insensitive and get labeled an ignorant racist.  I don't want to hurt people's feelings.  I don't want to become a hated hashtag!  However, I do want to help. But I'm not always sure how I can help.  I know society has been skewed in my favor and that I probably do things to propitiate that, but I don't know exactly how I'm doing it, and I don't know how to fix it.  It can be frightening to ask, though.

From what I've heard, it can be frightening to talk about these issues as a member of a minority race, too.  It takes courage to call out a society that doesn't always value you.  It can be hard to be bold and take flak from people who don't understand your experience and who don't seem to want to understand.  It takes strength to intentionally bring up a subject that you know is going to rock the boat.  It can be hard to stand up in the face of stereotypes knowing that many people will assume who you are instead of listening to who you are, assuming they know your motivations already instead of discovering them.

This is going to be a long post, but I think it's an important one.  The goal is to find out how we as members of the vintage community can work together to support each other in a difficult world and how we can make our niche more accepting of all races.


Meet the panel!

Carla - blogger at "Tiny Angry Crafts" | Nora - blogger at "Nora Finds" | Daffny - blogger at "A Vintage Nerd" | Angelique Noire - pinup model | Candace - pinup model

What initially drew you to vintage style and the community around it? 

Daffny: I have always been attracted to things from the past and I always loved history. I'm intrigued by how people live and was very close on becoming an Anthropology major at University. As a young girl I also spent a great deal of time with my grandma who introduced me to classic film and old fashioned living.

Angelique: I was drawn to the vintage style since childhood. My father constantly played Jazz music, and I regularly watched Classic movies. Naturally seeing the beautiful Old Hollywood actresses, I wanted to imitate their styles. I initially wanted to start modeling early on because I hoped to be made to look like those Old Hollywood actress. Little did I know, that being a Black woman, hindered my likelihood in being booked to do commercial print work in that style… As a result of being fed up with not being able to find many pictures of Black women shown in those styles I adore, I decided to share my passion via the Internet. When I did this, I discovered the vintage community that existed.

Carla: I initially was drawn to vintage from watching classic films with my grandpa. As I got older, I found out people dressed in those styles, and I wanted to play too.

Nora: What drew me to the vintage style are the elegance, the femininity, and the nature of vintage - where every pieces have their own story and we all find different treasures. Honestly the community didn't matter to me at first and it still doesn't. For me this is just the way I express myself but it doesn't dictate who I am. I don't limit myself to hang out with vintage kids only :)

Candace: Two words: Marilyn Monroe. When I got into Marilyn, about ten years ago I was surprised that what she wore could still be worn today, a lot of her dresses were very slimming and didn't look dated, the same can be said for Audrey Hepburn. The fashion is what drew me in first, and then the cars, and of course the men and everything fell into place there. I love the vintage style.

Angelique Noire - source
Did you feel immediately welcomed into the community, or were there some barriers you encountered, or even still deal with? How do you cope?

Nora: Yes I definitely felt welcomed. There are always snotty people or cliques but I didn't feel like it's any different from any community. The main challenge are people who decide that they are more "vintage" than others, which sometimes translate to rude racial comments - I had a vintage seller complaining about her customer, "I don't get why Chinese people dress so badly - they just don't get how to wear vintage."

Angelique: Being that I am a professional model, it was pretty easy to share nice pics online to use as bait. ;) My overall experiences have been pretty positive while participating in the vintage community…Often times I am praised by people of various races, so I feel as welcomed as anyone would.
       If what I seek to find are barriers within the 1920s-60s style lovers, then it is easy to see these barriers. Yes, I have witnessed followers/admirers tag their friend on my photos only to have the tagged friend respond in ways that show they had no desire to appreciate Black women. Yes, I have witnessed photographers who's body of work fail to show Black models, or they choose to include a few photos of the one "ethnically ambiguous" model they have photographed. Yes, I see retro clothing brands that don't use any Black models to model their clothing...Yes, I see pinup magazines that have yet to have a Black model on their cover. 
     All in all, I don't expect everyone to love me, especially if they fail to see beauty when it is displayed with brown skin. I can't totally fault them because the beauty icons of the 1920s-early 1960s era were mainly Caucasian or Caucasian looking. Rarely if ever were mainstream magazines, movies, print ads, etc. showcasing Black women as being beautiful...especially dark skinned Black women. When a person is constantly being subconsciously programmed by all forms of media that the Caucasian person was the beauty standard of that time, then vintage lovers of today will naturally gravitate toward going crazy over the blonde, brunette, or redhead pinups more than they would a Black Pinup. For those in the vintage community who have broadened their appreciation for fellow vintage lovers of various ethnicities, those people are the ones from whom I feel appreciation.

Candace: I was quite surprised that it was very accepting; I thought I would be seen as weird or strange, that a black girl loves Marilyn Monroe and love classic Hollywood movies and lifestyle as much as white people do. Where I came from that wasn’t cool, when I started to get into the pinup/vintage/retro culture a lot of black people looked at me crazy and said I was trying to “act white” or “be white” so I would try to hide it so I wouldn’t feel alienated. That didn’t work out too well because when I talk on a subject that I love watch out I can go on about it for years! Haha!

Carla: After I stopped being scared, and started to talk about vintage sewing and the like on my blog, I felt very welcomed. I was initially terrified because I didn't see anyone who looked like me in the blogging world, who would regularly blog. But, I shrugged it off, and just went on and did my own thing.

Nora - source
Do you have to overcome barriers or stereotypes from people outside the vintage community as you rock vintage style? Have you gotten flak from others in your racial group that don't wear vintage?

Candace: Oh my goodness yes! Like I said the vintage/retro/pinup community has been very welcoming but anyone outside that is a pain to deal with. Especially, from my race (African-American), it’s the most difficult thing because it’s not a cool or popular thing. They always bring race into it, and I know that there was segregation but we can’t change the past. I can’t help it that Gregory Peck was a great actor and Lucille Ball makes me laugh. I just see talent, I know of the racial problems, but that’s not the first thing I look at. Unfortunately, there are a lot of narrow-minded people out there that if you don’t like anything that’s black if you’re black, you’re abandoning your people and forgetting your roots and are trying to be white. Never mind the fact that I have a business of black pinups promoting black women and talking about black history of female entertainers.

Nora: Just as anyone who's adopting a new fashion style I did get some comments like, "You're very dressed up," but no one has ever been rude or anything. I haven't gotten any negative comments too from my racial group, mostly just comments like, "I don't know how to start wearing vintage," or, "Ijust don't think it'll look good on me!"

Carla: Well, usually if I'm all dolled up and am wearing a hat, I get asked if I'm on my way to church. I had someone call me Aunt Jemima when I was rocking one of my hair scarves on the bus. I flipped him off, and he said nothing the rest of the ride.
In my own racial group, I've gotten "Why do you want to dress like a white girl?" a lot.
Aside from that, I just get the usual 'Oh I wish people dressed up more' from older folks, and people being super polite to me.

Angelique: For the most part, I have received an abundance of appreciation from many different women. I have yet to see comments or hear someone ridicule my physical appearance. I guess I am lucky.  On many occasions, I have heard and read negative comments about several popular pinups in the vintage community.
    ...In spite of how easy it is for pinup magazines to get women to submit their pinup style pics without compensating them for their efforts, there are still pinup magazines that have yet to put Black Pinups on their covers. In the pinup world, any female can be an "internationally published" model because all it takes is sending your pictures to the various magazines, which is very different from what I'm accustomed to as a mainstream model. So it is a lack of effort on the magazines part to not publish a Black woman on their cover. Just like it is a lack of effort for Repro companies to lack showing diversity in the models they use...and I am not referring to the diversity of hair color or tattoo vs non-tattooed Caucasian pinups. 

Daffny: You may be surprised by this but here in New York not much shocks or surprises people unless you are wearing very sexy or revealing clothing. If you do dress that way then yes, you will get a lot of stares and comments being made. I, on the other hand, have never encountered any flak from anyone within my culture or from strangers. I am usually with my family and people stare at me more because they see me with three small children or because of my leg braces. I have often received lovely comments from strangers, both men and women. I have found more men seem to appreciate the vintage look and are not shy about saying how much they like my look. I think older gentlemen appreciate it it when a woman dresses like an old fashioned lady. I know some people find the word Lady and the phrase "Lady-like" to be a bad thing but I love it and I very much consider myself a lady.

Daffny - source
What have been your observations on who the vintage community holds up as the "ideal" beauty type (if there seems to be one)? Where does this ideal come from, and what effect do you think this has on the community? 

Carla: I was actually talking about this with a friend the other day. This whole slightly scary obsession with 'being pale' in the vintage world is something that I've seen a lot. This is amusing, as during the mid-century there were a plethora of sun tanning lotions, and concoctions to give that "sun-kissed" look. I think with Dita and the revival of vintage fashion/burlesque, people have set her as the ideal modern vintage woman, which shows in a lot of things.

Angelique: As demonstrated during the 1940s and 50s the "beauty ideal" was a Caucasian woman, which naturally the vintage community and modern media's version of this era continues to perpetuate. In addition, plastic surgery, chemical facial enhancements, and/or the trend of body tattooing are also common factors we see displayed by most of the popular pinup models. It shows that the quest for "perfection" (as demonstrated in modern society), also influences vintage lovers even though these enhancements were considered very taboo during the 40s and 50s.

Nora: The ideal beauty type for me seems to be long luscious hair, luscious lips, small waist. I observe that this standard is the same across races but I definitely think these three features are the favorites.

Daffny: The vintage community seems to be comprised many different categories of vintage… At the end of the day no matter how they dress, these folks love vintage. I have found through observation that the extremes of those in the community are the ones who seems to get the most attention. The purest [head-to-toe vintage] and the unconventional. If I were to choose which is the most popular at the moment I would have to say the unconventional. I think for a long time the ideal look was the pale skin and ruby red lips and perfect victory rolls. Now it seems people want to see either those who dress exactly like a specific decade or those who take it to another level and add pink hair to the mix. I think its made the community more diverse but its also confused those wondering if this person is a part of community and perhaps confuses bloggers who wonder if they are indeed a vintage blogger or not.

Candace: When I first entered this vintage community, I knew Marilyn was the most beloved, worshipped woman in it, her and Bettie Page, at first I couldn’t see what the big deal was until I watched a movie of Marilyn (Don’t Bother to Knock-1952) and was mesmerized by her. I saw a lot of hour glass models and thought I had to be 5’9 and skinny to be a model. Thanks to Facebook I have seen a growth in pinup and was pleasantly surprised that the vintage community accepts all looks, body types, age, etc. I don’t think that there is an effect on the community for an ideal body type unless we put it on ourselves. That’s the great thing about pinup, the modeling world has a specific type but in the pinup world it’s anyone is welcome, which is why my slogan is “Embrace your inner pinup!”

Carla - source
Do you feel there is anything missing in the content of vintage books/blogs/resources that would be helpful to you as a person of color? Is there a subject you wish more people would talk about? 

Carla: Oh yeah, there are a great deal of resources I feel are missing; hair, makeup, 'how to dress' guides, etc. But I think I can try to make them available from my own experience. Because someone with naturally curly hair, who straightens it with heat can't just do wet rag curls, I would have a 'fro. But, in regards to things in vintage books, it's very rare something from the past purposefully was created to cater to PoC. They existed, such as a hair styling book by Madame CJ Walker, but they are difficult to find.

Daffny: Although I do consider myself a person of color, my color happens to be white. People often get confused when I tell them I am Latina but in fact Latinos come in all colors. I think the only thing missing is that  people assume all Latinos are Mexican, even in the vintage community because either that's all they know or all they see within the community. In fact there are all sorts of Latinos out there.

Candace: I wish there was more history instead of books only pertaining to pinups of color. I have a lot of pinup magazines and I just wish there was a good mixture of all ethnicities, instead of one dominating race dominating the other. I had to create Black Pinups because I didn’t know there were black pinups and it was so underground. I wish that there was more integration. I know that it’s not out of spite or evil, but I also think people just don’t know and some are oblivious to it. I can’t tell you how many people more so from my race are surprised to find black pinups. But I think there is progress; I am seeing quite a few black pinups in modern pinup publication. I think everything will change for the better.

Nora: I don't think it's particularly "missing" - I don't feel like styling vintage is that different just because I have straight hair/small eyes/yellow skin. I don't think the resources are missing - I mean it's fair enough that there are less resources on how to wear and style vintage cheongsams, but there aren't many Asian vintage writers out there. The white writers probably feel like it's not their expertise so they wouldn't touch on that subject.

Tune in tomorrow for Part 2 of this controversial post!

But until then... Are there any of these ladies' comments that really resonate with your experience?  Are there any opinions that you don't quite agree with?  Why is that?
 As usual, please keep your comments dignified and respectful!

For more information on Asian culture and vintage, check out Nora's post "Why Don't Asians Wear Vintage?"