Wednesday, November 20, 2013

1940s Style: New York in Autumn

This week in New York, we're being treated to a brief respite of warm weather before it plunges back into pre-winter weather.  You know, that weather where hats go from accessory to necessary.  It's wonderful, and not just because I'm not ready for winter: it gave me a chance to really enjoy the gorgeous fall scenery at Central Park.  I also thought it would be an excellent opportunity to take some photos before work, and boy, could I not have scored a better backdrop.

For some reason, I have a hard time assembling a 1940s look.  Maybe it's the creative hairstyling or the wide lips, but I think it's mostly because for me, the iconic wartime look is the long line skirt suit with strong shoulders.  As I confirmed while shopping this past weekend, the cut of these suits can really overwhelm my frame, particularly since the jackets are often full coverage.  (Not to worry--I did find two *fantastic* 40s pieces I'll be writing about later!)  I realized, though, that with the slim cut of this pleated skirts, I could channel a more casual wartime look.

A hat to match the foliage--from its brown color to the leafy, feathery, textured patterns--tops it off, with brown gloves and shoes that draw from the color scheme without drawing attention.  The hat's probably from the 1950s, an example of the cocktail hat style, but I thought it was perfect regardless.

I love the appliqué on this sweater--it's a gold and white swirling pattern that eliminates the need for jewelry.  Something you may notice as I continue to post--I'm not actually a big fan of jewelry.  Janey at Atomic Redhead inspires me to try to break out my small and sorely underused brooch collection, but apart from those and a few more eye-catching necklaces I wear once in a while, I'm not big on accessories.  I'd rather those accents come from the clothing itself--like the gold threads in the sweater decoration, or rhinestone buttons (like on this dress), for example.  Laziness?  Yep.  Probably.

Walk faster!
Seriously, you're late for work.

 Just a few more glorious Central Park photos:

I snapped these photos mid-stride, on my hurried way out of the park.
The park is actually just that photogenic.

Anyway, I was really happy to figure out how to make this skirt work, and to be able to touch on an era  I love, but from which I don't have many pieces to pull.

What about you?  What eras do you like to emulate, either with vintage-appropriate garments, or with a mix of eras?

Outfit details:
Hat: 1950s cocktail hat, vintage fair
Sweater: Brooklyn Flea
Skirt: Ralph Lauren, thrift shop score
Shoes: Thrifted
Gloves: Antique mall, Fayetteville, PA
Purse: Michael Kors

Next week: My profile on Vintage Queer Marlene Dietrich.  (FINALLY.)

See?  I'm preparing, I promise--that thing is 700 pages!


  1. This is an adorable look! And I totally understand certain things just not working on you. Everyone's build is different.

    What glorious photos! I'm not sure that there is anything QUITE like a New York (or New England for that matter) fall!

    And I'm so glad I inspired you! Some gals just don't dig some accessories. One of my friends just can't stand hats!

    As for eras and mixing...I used to aim for period perfection, but lately I've been loving to mix-and-match. Right now my attitude is wear what you love! Who cares!


    1. Can't stand hats! We should set up a trade sometime--I seem to find so many pieces of jewellery, and virtually no good hats; maybe she finds the reverse! I'm in your camp--I'd love to get every detail on-era, but I think I'd get exhausted, making sure everything was perfect instead of just enjoying what made me love vintage in the first place, you know?

      And it's funny, I used to have a thing for collecting brooches-- they were probably my gateway vintage drug-- but I never figured out how and when to wear them, so they sort of fell by the wayside. So seeing how you always seem to incorporate some fantastic brooch or small pin into your outfit gives me ideas!

  2. I wear a little of everything--if I had the energy/time/money/fill-in-the-blank excuse, I would focus on this era, the earlier the better. I have found looking at earlier images, starting in roughly 1939, have really focused in on the elements I like best. However, for me, I find so little vintage that fits my frame, even after losing a lot of weight, that I tend to end up in lots of 1950s and early 60s dresses because of what fits.

    By the way, if you haven't watched it yet, Bombgirls is an amazing wartime Canadian show (sadly cancelled but getting a movie) available on Netflix. Really helps broaden visual images of the many different fashion styles of the era for all body types.