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Vintage Fashion

Fashion styles and vintage clothing throughout the decades that will inspire you, make you wish for those times again, or may make you ask "What were they thinking"? Read more >>

Clothing styles have obviously changed dramatically over the years. Some fashion trends like tight corsets to create teeny tiny waists are mainly out of favor now, while other fads return decade after decade. Hats for daily wear were in favor for centuries - now, the fanciest hat for most men and women is a baseball cap. And not only do styles change: the amount of clothing that we wear has changed over the centuries!

Modern media has a lot to do with the speed with which fads change today. In past centuries, the style of clothing was bound by what you could make at home - what materials you could weave and how you could sew those materials into durable everyday clothing. Until the mass production of clothing - beginning in the mid 1800's - fashion for the common person was defined by your own creativity and what you saw your neighbors wear. Today, celebrities and manufacturers create the trends and our choice can be limitless - we can follow the fad or we can wear vintage.

Some of the most elegant clothing styles - especially for evening wear - evolved in the movie environment of the 1920's through 1940's. These clothes, or parts of them, still look "modern" and "stylish" and you can see versions on them on the red carpet today. The evening tuxedo for men has its roots as far back as the 1800's and women's evening dresses became the rage around the same time. But as usual, the evening dress has had more iterations than men's fashions - while evening dresses are usually long, plunging necklines and the level of "bling" has changed.

Daywear has enjoyed even more extreme change. Hemlines above the knee? Shocking in the early 1900's - de riguer in the 1970's. "Bling" during the day? A real lady didn't wear anything bright or eye-catching - other than her wedding ring - during the day in the early 20th century. Now, rhinestones and big fake jewelry are everywhere. Real fur? Out! Real bird feathers in your hat? Out! Big hats? Too much trouble! Layers of underclothing? Too cumbersome! Scratchy fabrics - thank goodness we don't have to wear the materials of the past. But some styles keep reappearing: Sweetheart necklines, turtlenecks, dresses (mini or maxi), capris, shorts . . . the iterations may change but the basics don't.

Enjoy some photos of the fashions of the past centuries - and perhaps you can become your own fashion guru with their inspiration! << Read less
Eva Brandt - found in a house in Volga IA.
People in this photo:
Rachel Frankensztejn Nationality: French (Jewish) Residence: Paris, France Death: 1942 Cause: Murdered (listed in Shoah memorial) Age: 12 years
People in this photo:
Rachel Frankensztejn
Dec 6, 1930 - Aug 21, 1942
Paris, IdF, France
James Winfred Copeland, son of Fred Copeland. Early 1900s?
People in this photo:
Mabel Lamb was born in Iowa Feb 9,1895 in Iowa. She was a daughter of William James Lamb and Lida Kelly. Mabel grew up in Stafford, Stafford County Kansas and was involved in the theatre in Chicago. This photo was taken March 12, 1946. It was given to her childhood friend Ethel Johnson, also from Stafford.
People in this photo:
Mabel Lamb
Born: Feb 9, 1895
This photo of a woman dressed as a carousel may have been a costume for Halloween - or it may have been just a fanciful costume for a photo shoot. The name of the woman is unknown, as is the date and place of the photo, but it's looks to be from the 1910's - and she looks like she has a lampshade on her head!
Famous silent film actress Theda Bara posing as Cleopatra in the 1917 film Cleopatra directed by J. Gordon Edwards. Cleopatra 1917 was one of the first big budget Hollywood movies - costing over $500,000 and employing 2,000 people during the filming in 1916 - 1917. Of course Theda Bara was a famous actress in the early days of silent film, best known for her femme fatale roles and risqué clothing. Unfortunately, this film has been lost to time as less than one minute of footage lasts today.
People in this photo:
Theodosia Burr Goodman
Born: Jul 29, 1885
Unknown photo of a fashionable couple enjoying a Kentucky Derby. Not sure when this was taken - perhaps 1930's? The Kentucky Derby race has occurred every year since it's inception in 1875.
Edward Harrison Bell, conducting business in London, England in 1900.
People in this photo:
Shared on Feb 16, 2012 by:
Portrait of Regina M. Goellz, age 13 years, taken in 1917.
People in this photo:
Regina Goellz
Born: 1917
Orville Wright, Katherine Wright (sister of Orville), and William Wright in 1909. Orville Wright, of course, was one of the "Wright Brothers." His sister took care of him throughout his life but when she decided to marry at age 51 (in 1926), he wouldn't speak to her. (Presumably, because she was "leaving him.") He didn't speak to her until over 2 years after her marriage when she contracted pneumonia and died. He was at her deathbed. William Wright is not identified but there was a famous British aviator of this name and about the right age. This may be that man. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress, Bain Collection
People in this photo:
Katharine Wright
Born: Aug 19, 1874
Stanley Kubrick took this photo for Look Magazine in 1949. A model is standing in an office, in bra and girdle, smoking a cigarette while a secretary looks on. I really don't know the point of the photo since there is no mention of the article with which it was associated. Make up your own caption! Photo courtesy of the the Library of Congress, Stanley Kubrick photographer.
Lithograph of hats designed in the Paris atelier of Madame Carlier in 1897. I know that shoes are the new hats but I kind of miss the days when hats were so much fun and so ubiquitous. The joke in the first half of the 20th century was when a woman was depressed, you could cheer her up by hat shopping. The litho says that the models are Jane Harding, Baronne de Carlsberg, and Suzanne, actresses at the Gymnase theater (a theater in Paris that also trained young actors). Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress, litho appeared in the Millinery Trade Review. New York
People in this photo:
Born in the Netherlands in 1876, Grietje Zelle reinvented herself as Mata Hari in Paris in 1905. She began as a circus horse rider (and artist's model) in 1903 and moved on to become a famous exotic dancer. Many people believed that she wore a body stocking so she did not actually appear nude but the impression was that she was nude. She was also rather promiscuous and lost custody of her daughter because of her behavior.
People in this photo:
Margaretha Geertruida "Mata Hari" Zelle
Aug 7, 1876 - Oct 15, 1917
A postcard from around 1900 featuring a costume from the Folies Bergere in Paris. I can't figure out what the box sticking out from her bust is? Part of her act? I'm sure that this was a scandalous costume at the time!
Edna Loftus was a British music hall actress who died penniless of TB. (An obituary in The New York Times - June 17 1916 - said that if not for the intervention of friends, she would have been buried in Potter's Field.) She was a colorful lady: The obit also said that she moved to the U.S. after divorcing her first husband (an American jockey, Winnie O'Connor) and married Harry A Rheinstrom in 1910. This was after she got a writ of habeas corpus to get him out of a sanitarium. When she died in 1916, she was rumored to be engaged to Lord Dunbarton. Her life was a music hall play!
People in this photo:
This is just such a handsome family - not beautiful, just distinguished - in this family group photo. They were probably well-known in their day since this photo is by Harris & Ewing, a news organization in its day. They often took photos of politicians, so the father/husband could have been a politician or judge. No date for the photo was given but it looks to be 1908 - 1910 to me. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress, Harris & Ewing.
Unidentified photo found in an antique store - seated woman with parasol and handbag.
A photo of Rosa Casalina-Rispoli
People in this photo:
A photo of Pamela Colman Smith
People in this photo:
Pamela Colman Smith
Feb 16, 1878 - Sep 18, 1951
A photo of Nora (Leveson) Blumberg.
People in this photo:
Nora (Leveson) Blumberg
Nov 26, 1900 - Jun 14, 1991
Found in an antique store. There is no information about the woman. Look at those "mutton chop" sleeves!
Found in an antique store. There is no information about the woman.
Found in an antique store. There is no information about the woman.
A postcard of a woman wearing the traditional folk costume of Markgräflerland, Germany. The name "Kehl" is written lightly across the bottom in pencil, but that may only be the name of the postcard dealer.
Found in an antique store. Unfortunately, this lady is unidentified.
A photo of Emma Youlden (Mrs. A. Watts) Know nothing of her except she was mentioned as a friend of Bessie Watmuff in 1867 in JHW diary. This photo was in a trunk belonging to J. H. Watmuff. See also the back of this photo.
People in this photo:
Emma (Youlden) Watts
Morn, Australia
A photo of Antoinett Kaborycha
People in this photo:
Antoinetta Kaborycha
Jan 4, 1918 - Mar 19, 1982
Woodside, NY
This photo was found in a central Texas antique store. The original has gone missing. Written on the back: "Mrs. Jenny Fields". From the large "leg of mutton" sleeves, the photo appears to have been taken some time in the 1890s.
People in this photo:
Jenny (Doty) Fields
Mar 6, 1847 - Jul 30, 1916
A photo of Jessie Hazel (Cahoon) Clark
People in this photo:
Jessie Hazel (Cahoon) Clark
Oct 18, 1895 - Jul 1, 1987
A photo of Joan (Wittman) Michniewicz
People in this photo:
A photo of Susan (Farrell) Wittman in the 1910s
People in this photo:
A water damaged photo found in an antique store in central Texas. On the back is written: "To Clem and Lena". In another hand, much harder to read: "Aunt Bessie". Photographer's name appears to be A. E. Forry.
An un-named photo found in a central Texas antique store this weekend. The woman is wearing an intricate lace dress.
Found in a Texas antique store with other photos of the Ashenden family of Massachusetts. Mable Gates and Mollie Tallie or Lallie. Probably friends of Eva Ashenden. This snapshot was taken during the same visit as the larger group snapshot. Mollie is visible on the far left of the larger group photo.
People in this photo:
A photo of Eva M. (Ashenden) Murray and friends at Plum Island. Found in a Texas antique store with other photos of the Ashenden family of Massachusetts. Written on the back "Eva Ashenden + friends on vacation at Plum Island in Newbery Port [sic] Mass. 1914" The woman at far left rear is identified in the other Plum Island photo as Mollie Lallie or Tallie.
People in this photo:
Found in an antique store. Somebody has written a name on this in shaky ballpoint, but I can't quite make it out - "Mr & Mrs Wirley?". The woman appears to be wearing a watch around her neck along with some shiny beads. She also has a hair ornament. Her husband has a pair of lapel pins that look as though they might be for some organization or society. The one on the right appears to have a triangle or Greek letter Delta on it. I can't make out the one on the left.
Found in an antique store in Texas. According to the logo on the bottom, this was taken aboard a railroad photo car (the photographer's name was Orris Hunt). That must have been a great convenience at the time. Written on the back is "Sarah Tampke" in the same hand as the writing on the dual portrait.
People in this photo:
Sarah (Tampke) Prause
Oct 30, 1868 - Jun 22, 1963
Found in an antique store in Texas. Their cheeks are tinted pink. Stamped on the back: Border print from THE WISEMAN STUDIO, Hico, Texas
Found in an antique store. Handwritten note attached - "Mrs. Hattie Faulkner Key [sic] oldest daughter of Aunt Emma". Note the little golden bits attached to her throat and finger to look like jewelry. At first I thought they were debris and almost tried to scrape them off.
People in this photo:
Hattie Isadora (Faulkner) Kee
Nov 23, 1867 - Aug 3, 1946
A photo of Irene Louisa (Outtrim) Neill
People in this photo:
Irene Louisa (Outtrim) Neill
Feb 17, 1880 - Apr 10, 1949
On the back it says "Photographed by L. K. Bair, Newmanstown, Pa.". There's a word written in pencil that might be their family name, but I can't quite make it out.
There is no information on this photo anywhere, so I don't know who this cute little girl was. I believe the object in the chair is her hat.
A photo of Florence Gordon
People in this photo:
Florence (Brutman) Gordon
Oct 11, 1919 - Feb 23, 2010
Delray Beach, FL
A photo of Elma (Bowman) Simmons
People in this photo:
Elma (Bowman) Simmons
Sep 8, 1862 - Dec 20, 1943
Probably taken in Kingston, New York. Guessing the date would be sometime in the 1910s? The silver in the emulsion went bad and this is the best I could do to reduce the reflectivity.
People in this photo:
Gladys (Simmons) Van Kleeck
Feb 10, 1897 - May 16, 1966
Probably taken in Kingston, New York. Guessing the date would be sometime in the 1910s? The silver in the emulsion went bad and this is the best I could do to reduce the reflectivity.
People in this photo:
Gladys (Simmons) Van Kleeck
Feb 10, 1897 - May 16, 1966
A photo of Gladys (Simmons) Van Kleeck and her cat Patsy. I'm amazed that the cat is calmly sitting for the portrait. All the cats I've known would have panicked at the strange setting and found some large piece of furniture to hide under.
People in this photo:
Gladys (Simmons) Van Kleeck
Feb 10, 1897 - May 16, 1966
I purchased a “lot” at an auction in Columbia, Missouri and found this photograph amongst the other materials in the lot. I do not know who she is. The photo is on hard stock and is in excellent condition. If you know who she is and would like to claim her, please contact me! Melinda
A photo of Dorothy (Van Kleeck) Smith as a young woman. Probably taken sometime in the 1920s. I wonder what color that dress was.
People in this photo:
Dorothy Emily (Van Kleeck) Smith
Oct 6, 1909 - Mar 31, 2010
Kingston, NY, United States
A photo of Sheila Johnstone (center) and sister-in-laws, Hyrill and Silvia
People in this photo:
Sheila Johnstone
Sep 19, 1917 - Jun 23, 1997
Moreno Valley, CA
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