Thursday, October 30, 2008

The most chic of vampires

Lauren Bacall at 19. Frightfully beautiful, isn't she? Because of this magazine job she was discovered by the wife of the filmmaker Howard Hawks, who suggested she come to Hollywood for a screen test. She was soon cast in Hawks' To Have and Have Not, playing opposite Humphrey Bogart.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Orange vintage for Halloween

Have you carved your pumpkin yet? Better yet, have you worn pumpkin?

Get inspired with my new Flickr set. Personally, I love wearing orange, and wish there was more to be found!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

More Depression Era Song-and-Dance

I can't stop watching Depression-Era films! I guess I'm trying to cheer myself up with a little cheap hooch and a flick, like our forebears during uncertain times?

If you don't know 42nd Street, you simply have to! The year is 1933, with fabulous Busby Berkeley production numbers. "I'm Young and Healthy" is classic over-the-top Berkeley. Dick Powell sings the incredibly challenging song, and there are girls galore, including Ginger Rogers in the chorus line. The shot through the girls' legs at the end is fabulous!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Vintage election style

Recently I came into the possession of a dress that is alleged to have been made at the time of the Kennedy election in 1960:

I'm sorry, that one's not for sale, but here is a Coro braying donkey available at

and an elephant with Goldwater's glasses at

If you want to see how you look in partisan style, try out InStyle's Election Hair Extravaganza at
InStyle Election Hair

Here I am as Cindy McCain, Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin and Michelle Obama:

I promise, I'm not running for office any time soon! If I were, I'd need to work on my hair...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

More Fred and Ginger Depression strategy

If you don't know the movie Shall We Dance, you must. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers are at their best, the supporting actors are magnificent, and the music is (in my opinion) the best of all Fred and Ginger movies, and that is saying something! George and Ira Gershwin wrote the music, and George insisted upon writing and orchestrating all the incidental music as well as the major songs.

At the end of the movie, Fred's character has pretty well given up on being with Ginger's character, but he has put together a show-ending number that features many women with masks of Ginger's Linda Keene character. Happening to be in the audience, she sees this, already with one foot in the grave of marrying the most wrong person one can imagine, and is so smitten that she goes backstage to participate in the dance, and is happily discovered by Fred's character Peter P. Peters, aka Petrov.

This is another example of Fred and Ginger in The Great Depression, uplifting, entertaining and poignant. Particularly poignant is the fact that George Gershwin died at the age of 38 before the movie's most beautiful song could be awarded its Oscar. Ira Gershwin reportedly could keep going after his brother's death because of this song, "They Can't Take That Away From Me." I love this song, it has represented so much to me at various times in my life. "The way you wear your hat, the way you sip your tea"...Simple things that mean so much.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The last word in plaid: Pendleton 49er jackets

Recently I took stock of the vintage plaids I've come across for a photo set on Flickr, and realized that many of them were fine woolens from Pendleton.

I live so very near the home of Pendleton (Portland) that I am determined to have a field trip to check out Pendleton history first hand.

For now, here's a parade of Pendleton 49er jackets, the great sporty basic that Pendleton started making in 1949...the company's very first article of clothing for women. It has been made ever since, with some variations.

The classic has flanged shoulders, a back yoke with gathers falling from the sides, roomy patch pockets with the plaid cut on the bias, big dark shell buttons, and long sleeves with buttoned cuffs. They are always plaid or tartan. A woman recently wrote me to say that her mother had sewn pockets in Pendleton 49ers until 1957. She was surprised to see a vintage jacket in purple and lime green plaid, asked her mother if that could possibly have been an original 49er color scheme, and her mother said yes! The variety was wonderful.

Pendleton still makes the jacket, now quite faithful to the original model. Here's the Fall 2008 jacket:

Other companies made very similar jackets (I've seen Western Star, Spokane's The Crescent department store and the "Frisco Jac" by Minnesota Woolen Co. labels).

Jody of the Couture Allure Vintage Fashion blog recently posted a 1955 ad for the 49er and coordinating pieces at

and it really was a revelation to me that the jacket is shown belted in the ad, and Jody shows her favorite 49er belted. From now on I am all about the belt with this jacket!

Here is an assortment of Pendleton 49ers (and a few 49er-style jackets by other makers) I've sold in the past, although the first is currently for sale here.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Vote for Vintage!

My newest theme will make it easy for you to decide how to cast your vote:

Vote for Vintage

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Do you Twitter?

Good heavens, I can't believe I'm asking this, but if you are on Twitter and would like to share brief utterances with me, let me know. I'm denisebrain on Twitter.

I never thought I'd be able to do yet another thing in the way of online communication, but I do like it, especially if I get to know little things about what my friends are doing. It makes me feel much more connected in a real-life way.