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"?
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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!
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Eva Brandt - found in a house in Volga IA.
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Unknown - Unknown
Added Jun 18, 2013 by: Lloydster Lloyd
Lloydster Lloyd
10 favorites
Rachel Frankensztejn Nationality: French (Jewish) Residence: Paris, France Death: 1942 Cause: Murdered (listed in Shoah memorial) Age: 12 years
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Dec 6, 1930 - Aug 21, 1942
Added May 29, 2013 by: Alyssa McIntosh
Alyssa McIntosh
1.03k+ favorites
James Winfred Copeland, son of Fred Copeland. Early 1900s?
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Unknown - Unknown
Added Jan 31, 2013 by: Beatrice Huth
Beatrice Huth
45 favorites
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.
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Feb 9, 1895 - Unknown
Added Jan 24, 2013 by: Karen Weir
Karen Weir
6 favorites
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!
Added Oct 26, 2012 by: Kathy Pinna
Kathy Pinna
3.04k+ favorites
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.
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Jul 29, 1885 - Unknown
Added May 14, 2012 by: Daniel Pinna
Daniel Pinna
6.29k+ favorites
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.
Added May 6, 2012 by: Daniel Pinna
Daniel Pinna
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Edward Harrison Bell, conducting business in London, England in 1900.
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Unknown - Unknown
Added Feb 16, 2012 by: Roger Bell
Roger Bell
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Portrait of Regina M. Goellz, age 13 years, taken in 1917.
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1917 - Unknown
Added Feb 5, 2012 by: Pam Marks
Pam Marks
3.93k+ favorites
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
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Aug 19, 1871 - Jan 30, 1948
Added Nov 22, 2011 by: Kathy Pinna
Kathy Pinna
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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.
Added Oct 28, 2011 by: Kathy Pinna
Kathy Pinna
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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
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Unknown - Unknown
Added Oct 28, 2011 by: Kathy Pinna
Kathy Pinna
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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.
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Aug 7, 1876 - Oct 15, 1917
Added Oct 6, 2011 by: Kathy Pinna
Kathy Pinna
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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!
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Unknown - Unknown
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.
Added Oct 4, 2011 by: Kathy Pinna
Kathy Pinna
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Amanda Elisabeth Snow-Selders (1864–1892)
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Dec 31, 1864 - Dec 2, 1892
Added Dec 11, 2020 by: V Sprouse
V Sprouse
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This is a photo of Nitza Vernille added by Shay Tobias on December 11, 2020.
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Sep 14, 1902 - July 1985
Added Dec 11, 2020 by: Shay Tobias
Shay Tobias
28 favorites
This is a photo of René Eugène Hubert and Gloria Swanson added by Amanda S. Stevenson on December 10, 2020.
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Unknown - Unknown
Added Dec 10, 2020 by: Amanda S. Stevenson
Amanda S. Stevenson
11.4k+ favorites
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This is a photo of René Eugène Hubert added by Amanda S. Stevenson on December 10, 2020.
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Oct 7, 1895 - May 31, 1976
Added Dec 10, 2020 by: Amanda S. Stevenson
Amanda S. Stevenson
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This is a photo of Coco Chanel added by Amanda S. Stevenson on December 5, 2020.
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Aug 19, 1883 - Jan 10, 1971
Added Dec 5, 2020 by: Amanda S. Stevenson
Amanda S. Stevenson
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Florence Weir
Added Nov 26, 2020 by: Marlene Hontz
Marlene Hontz
74 favorites
Agness Belle Weir
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February 1842 - May 6, 1907
Added Nov 26, 2020 by: Marlene Hontz
Marlene Hontz
74 favorites
Photograph taken at a professional photographic studio.
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Feb 19, 1870 - Nov 20, 1955
Added Nov 24, 2020 by: Jo Lodge
Jo Lodge
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This is a photo of Mildred Mable (Phelps) Berry added by Danney Palleschi Donovan on October 26, 2020.
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Jun 8, 1909 - Jun 8, 1995
Added Oct 26, 2020 by: Danney Palleschi Donovan
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This is a photo of Rose (Friedman) Frank added by Ellen Terry Friedman on September 25, 2020.
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Unknown - Unknown
Added Sep 25, 2020 by: Ellen Terry Friedman
Ellen Terry Friedman
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This is a photo of 1891 Young Boy Portrait added by Jesse Dean Williams on September 17, 2020.
Looks like one of them has something that the other one wants. Playing keep away?
This is a photo of Unidentified British Band added by Jesse Dean Williams on September 11, 2020.
This is a photo of Clara M (Houser) Walicki added by Angie Geneloni on September 8, 2020.
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Oct 25, 1917 - Dec 16, 2012
Added Sep 8, 2020 by: Angie Geneloni
Angie Geneloni
30 favorites
This is a photo of Unknown Laughing Woman added by Jesse Dean Williams on September 5, 2020.
This is a photo of Bert Okla Williams added by Jesse Dean Williams on September 2, 2020.
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Oct 31, 1902 - Jan 30, 2000
A 1954 photo of Grace Kelly in one of her costumes for the movie "Rear Window". The movie was directed by Alfred Hitchcock and also starred Jimmy Stewart.
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Nov 12, 1929 - Sep 14, 1982
Added Sep 1, 2020 by: Kathy Pinna
Kathy Pinna
27.2k+ favorites
Her picture she took for my grandpa, she said he needed a “pin up” photo so he wouldn’t forget her.
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Dec 25, 1921 - Aug 10, 1998
Added Aug 26, 2020 by: Amanda Peaden
Amanda Peaden
4 favorites
This is a photo of Deborah C. (Meeker) Rulison added by Brigette Meeker on July 25, 2020.
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Jun 8, 1835 - Aug 28, 1910
Added Jul 25, 2020 by: Brigette Meeker
Brigette Meeker
3.82k+ favorites
This is a photo of Carolyn Gargano added by Craig Gargano on July 25, 2020.
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Aug 23, 1938 - January 1977
Added Jul 25, 2020 by: Craig Gargano
Craig Gargano
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This is a photo of on the left Alyce M (Patenaude) Chase on the right her twin sister Bertha M. (Patenaude) Meade added by Brigette Meeker on June 18, 2020.
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May 28, 1912 - Oct 24, 1995
Added Jun 18, 2020 by: Brigette Meeker
Brigette Meeker
3.82k+ favorites
This is a photo of Dora O. (Patenaude) Mahoney added by Brigette Meeker on June 18, 2020.
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Apr 3, 1900 - Apr 11, 2003
Added Jun 18, 2020 by: Brigette Meeker
Brigette Meeker
3.82k+ favorites
Portrait of Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley - the dressmaker to Mrs. Abraham Lincoln. Born into slavery in 1818, in November 1855 she purchased her and her son's freedom in St. Louis Missouri. She later moved to Washington D.C. where she began a dressmaking business employing 20 seamstresses who provided fashion to the wives of elite politicians including Varina Davis (wife of Jefferson Davis), Mary Anna Custis Lee (wife of Robert E. Lee) and of course the First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln.
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February 1818 - May 26, 1907
Added Jun 17, 2020 by: Daniel Pinna
Daniel Pinna
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Elizabeth Keckley- dressmaker to Mary Todd Lincoln. She was born into slavery and became a successful seamstress, civil activist, author and dressmaker to the First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln.
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February 1818 - May 26, 1907
This is a photo of Lida Hennacy Drummond added by Andrea Fazio Fox on May 28, 2020.
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Added May 28, 2020 by: Andrea Fazio Fox
Andrea Fazio Fox
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This is a photo of Diane Fazio added by Andrea Fazio Fox on May 27, 2020.
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1936 - Jan 5, 1999
Added May 27, 2020 by: Andrea Fazio Fox
Andrea Fazio Fox
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This is a photo of Alfreda Elizabeth (Lowman) Corbett added by Yasmin Finlay on March 27, 2020.
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Added Mar 27, 2020 by: Yasmin Finlay
Yasmin Finlay
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This is a photo of Elizabeth Wasilok added by Michael De Mat on March 23, 2020.
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Unknown - Unknown
Added Mar 23, 2020 by: Michael De Mat
Michael De Mat
24 favorites
This is a photo of Therdra L Stonemetz added by Paul Cook on February 21, 2020.
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July 1884 - Unknown
Added Feb 21, 2020 by: Paul Cook
Paul Cook
55 favorites
Unidentified photo found in an antique store.
Added Jan 27, 2020 by: Roxy Triebel
Roxy Triebel
1.32k+ favorites
Unidentified photo found in an antique store.
Unidentified photo found in an antique store - seated woman with parasol and handbag.
Found in an antique store. No identification.
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