Wednesday, January 27, 2010


(Scroll to end of blog to learn about winning the February BLOG GIVEAWAY)
I’m not sure if it’s more about my pursuit to stay cool and comfortable in the Orlando heat (even in the winter – it's supposed to be 80 tomorrow!), anticipating the next season of Madmen, or just a general obsession with vintage clothing, but I’ve really developed a passion for 1950’s “shirtwaist” dresses.
Dress styles of the 50’s fell into two general categories.  There were the provocative pencil dresses and skirts; these skimmed the body to the knees with a small slit at the back hem that didn’t allow for a very long walking stride so women tended to wiggle when they walked (picture the character Joan from Madmen – very sexy).  Then there was the dress that was fitted through the waist and fell into a wide skirt from just above the hip -- the shirtwaist style.  Though the shirtwaist design was based off a menswear staple, the dress’ emphasis was on the waist and bust and was anything but masculine.  Both casual and dressy versions of the shirtwaist dress were staples in a woman’s closet, and were sometimes worn with petticoats or crinolines underneath to increase the skirt’s volume and make the waist look smaller.  Without petticoats, shirtwaist dresses were more casual and most often referred to as “house” dresses.
Working at my business and tending to the farm I do wear shorts and jeans but more and more I’m finding comfort – literally! – in my vintage dresses.  The housewives of the 50’s were on to something (minus the heels and pearls while vacuuming –ha!) because wearing a cotton shirtwaist dress is much cooler and roomier than pants, and come on – so much prettier!  Here are a couple of my favorites:
 I found this dress on Retro Dress (; I love the lightweight cotton fabric and the pretty embroidery at the left shoulder.
This darling carnation pink dress with a print resembling hankies is also from Retro Dress – check this site out for an amazing collection of wearable vintage clothing and acessories 1930’s to the 90’s.
Another excellent source for wearable vintage clothing is Dorothea’s Closet Vintage ( where you can find treasures from 1820 through the 80’s.  I found this lovely cornflower blue and white eyelet shirtwaist dress at Dorothea’s:
Speaking of vintage dresses, check out this fabric I found!  I’m loving the ladies in their wiggle and shirtwaist dresses and am thinking I’ll make some shower caps from this material.
On the rare occasions when a cold blast hits central Florida I reach for my leopard print coat from 2 Swans Nest (  This is another marvelous vintage find; the empire waist, three quarter length sleeves and tiny black ruffle around the collar are wonderful details and every time I wear it I feel so chic!
Knowing that there are a few blustery, wintery months ahead for many of my blog followers, I thought this would be the perfect February blog giveaway:
I picked up this vintage, 1950’s neck wrap several years ago at an antique store somewhere in Georgia. Sadly, I’ve never worn it because it’s just not that cold here.  I think it is real fur but if not, it’s a good imitation.  It’s in mint condition, braided and secures at the neck with a fur button. For a chance at winning this absolutely fabulous neck wrap, comment on this blog (include your email so I can notifiy you of winning) and on February 28th I will randomly pick the winner from all those who comment.  Good luck!


Ang said... cute are YOU??? Love your blog! Thanks for the mention, the blue and white dress looks great on you (as do the others!).

Ang, Dorothea's Closet Vintage

Anonymous said...

I am loving your posting about your pretty vintage dresses. I love the 1950s and early 1960s style dresses too. They seem made for my figure in the way that the later 1960s stuff isn't. Anyway, crossing my fingers that I win the lovely neck wrap. It's been cold here.
Anna S.

Anonymous said...

Love your post! The leopard jacket is awesomely fabulous! And the photo of you in your vintage dress next to the classic thunderbird is so cute. I love it! Enter me in the drawing...thanks. ~ Georgia

Tracy said...

I read all your blog posts! I just love the way you write... Can't wait for next month!

Debby said...

Fun fabrics. Really like the blue & white :-)

Anonymous said...

Hey Cindy,
Love the dresses ! When you are you going to give us a free quilt block of the month? See here, this lady is posting her mom's 1951 journal and designing quilt blocks to go with it.
Thinking you can do this too, to generate traffic to your site and bless us all with a cool free project ! It traditional to post the free block for a month then sell the pattern at the end of the year.

BB said...

Just stopped by the blog to see what's new (am wearing the shower cap right now with my overnight hair conditioner!), and wow, new contest! Yea! Love the dresses, and the fashion history lesson. Fabulous! I'm super cold in Italy right now - it's one of the coldest winters on record... would love to win that awesome fur wrap. Want!

BTW, not sure why it's not giving me the option to comment as BB (Blaine), but it's me. Okay maybe it worked; not sure.