Archive / Vintage Clothing Thoughts

RSS feed for this section

Occasionally, my thoughts about vintage clothing and antique dresses don’t fall into any category. You’ll find these here!

Happy New Year … Just a Couple Months Late!

Happy New Year! Gotcha! I’m late. It seems every day I come up with a subject to add to my blog, but going full speed ahead, I don’t stop to write it down. (I truly *am* sorry – I’ll get that death by corset article up soon!) I’m just going to just do a quick little update right now to let you all know what’s going on.

The good news is that I’m feeling pretty healthy and only gained back 5 lbs after the holidays and that I’ve got lots of great plans for my shops this year, including the addition of a booth in a new, local antique mall! For now, the majority of things in my mall space are antiques. But I have some vintage jewelry there, and vintage sewing things, hats, purses … vintage accessories — and there’s much more to come.

I’m planning on making a theme for jewelry each month – both at the mall and on the website here. Right now, I’m featuring green jewelry for St. Patrick’s day. Around March 18th, I’ll change over to spring pastels. Watch my Facebook page to see when the themes change and what the new theme will be. (And, when you “Like” my page, be sure to also click on “get Notifications” so you are more likely to see when I post. Facebook only allows between 5% and 10% of my followers to see anything I post!)

Working on the mall booth has taken me off my “routine” plan for a few weeks, but we still have lots of wonderful things to add to the website. Just a couple weeks ago, I added this great Juliana bracelet with faux hematite navettes , sparkling crystal rhinestones, and gold filigree beads. Definitely droolworthy! And there’s more where that came from!

Around Thanksgiving last year, we finally got our antiques website – Craig Antiques – back up and running. It’s still a little sparse, but good things are worth waiting for. I’m really excited about some of the great things planned for the site. There is a blog with the antiques website where I get to share a little bit more information about our antiques. I hope you’ll can stop by and hopefully learn some interesting information about different antiques, like this one about Old Paris Porcelain.

And don’t forget to keep an eye on our Etsy shop because we’re constantly adding lots of fun vintage fashion. There’s a little peek of some of the things you can find there in the right sidebar.

Were People Really So Much Smaller in the Victorian Era?

Wow. Once again, I must apologize for not posting. I have a good excuse this time. I spent some time in the hospital, lost a bit of weight, and now I have to rebuild my energy. To tie this into vintage clothing – I can wear my vintage dresses again! But I don’t recommend disease for weight loss. Although health, nutrition, and lifestyles are among the many reasons antique and vintage clothing is considered so tiny today.

“People were so much smaller back then!” One thing about working in a retail setting, I heard that statement AT LEAST once a day.

I used to display antique dresses for sale in my antiques shop. Waaay back when I first opened my shop, I thought that people really wanted to learn about these beauties so whenever someone would utter those words I tried to use the opportunity to talk about their history. Who can resist talking about them?

From the Way Back Machine:  Antique Dresses displayed in my shop back in 2004

From the Way Back Machine: Antique Dresses displayed in my shop back in 2004

Nine times out of ten the exchange would go like this:

Visitor: Oh my! Have you seen the size of that waist?
Me: Um … (thinking to myself – yes, I dressed the dress form … how do I answer this one?) Yes. It’s a lovely dress isn’t it?

Visitor: People were so much smaller back then. How horrible it would be to wear a corset!
Me: Actually, a properly fit corset is not uncomfortable at all and females wore corsets from such a young age that their bodies and minds were used to them.

Visitor: They were shorter back then, too.
Me: Not necessarily. I’m 5’ 1” and all these dresses are too long for me. The shoulders on the dress forms are all set higher than my shoulders are – in heels!

Visitor: (blank stare) (silence) Well, ALL these dresses are so tiny!
Me: There can be many reasons for that. Think of your own closet. Have you saved a dress or two from the past? What dresses were they?

Visitor: Only my wedding dress.
Me: That’s pretty typical. We tend to save a dress worn at a special occasion or time of our life. USUALLY that’s when we’re young and … well, at our smallest adult size.

In the 19th century it wasn’t uncommon for a young lady to be married in a new “best dress” instead of a special, white wedding dress. The newly married lady would then probably continue to wear this “best dress” for special occasions and to church on Sunday. It probably wasn’t long before the bride became pregnant with her first child and .. before long she couldn’t wear it and put it away to wear after the baby came. For many reasons, that dress might not come out of storage and these are the wonderful, near perfect dresses we love so much today.

As time passed, new dresses that were at least somewhat larger (you know, the “huge” ones with the 28” waist LOL) were made and remade into more current styles. Lots of bodices still exist without matching skirts because the skirts had larger spans of fabric that could be used to make other clothing – probably for children – when they became worn or stained. And sadly, a greater number of women died at a younger age then and it’s likely that their clothing was put away and left for sentimental reasons.

There are many other factors that contribute to our larger sizes such as better nutrition, portion sizes, and our sedentary lifestyles. Plus, the shape of a corseted body is much different than the natural shape our bodies take today.

Visitor: ZZZzzzzZZZZzzzzZZZZzzz……

After having this exchange with few variations over a period of years, the exchange has become much more concise.

Visitor: Oh my! Have you seen the size of that waist? People were so much smaller back then.
Me: (Smile) Well, they never met a Big Mac.
Visitor: (Smile) That’s true!

Visitor: I wouldn’t wear a corset. That would be so painful!
Me: (Smile)

I’ll share the death by corset article next time ….

Resolving Not to Resolve This Year

Did you make resolutions this year?  I did and I didn’t.  Actually all I really did for a resolution was to not really make any!  Just a vague Get Organized resolution, and I don’t really consider that a New Year’s Resolution because I think I make that resolution every morning!

So now that I’ve organized my workspace into vague piles of Stuff To Do with various levels of priority, I can get right down to business!

You probably noticed that I changed the name of this blog last year, but did you notice that I changed the name of my shop, too?  Why, you ask?  (c’mon … ask!)  The old shop name (Bonnie & Clyde’s Treasure Trove) was actually bringing more people to my website that weren’t looking for vintage clothing.  Some were looking for history, some were looking for B&C costumes, and all sorts of other items I don’t sell or even know anything about!  Since I didn’t want to have to change my URL, I wanted to keep the initials fairly similar and came up with our new name:  Belle à Coeur Treasure Trove Vintage.  (Beautiful (at) Heart) I think it better reflects our shop and I hope you do too!

Now I have a teensy little request:  Please go to my new Facebook page and “like” us there.  You may already “like” my old Facebook page, but I need to close that down and delete it and I can’t do that until I get at least 107 fans.

A New Year – A New Place

Happy New Year!  I can’t believe it’s been 6 months since my last post … I hang my head in shame.  Ok, I’m over it now.  LOL

I have a good excuse.

You see, the building my shop was in has been for sale for 2 ½ years and, finally in October, it sold.  I had to move rather quickly.  I’m still deciding on the final destination for the antique inventory, but so far have put a nice selection in The Crow’s Nest mall in Wabash, Indiana.  It’s a very nice, well-run antiques mall and I’m pleased.  The balance of my inventory – my antique and vintage clothing and jewelry is finally settled in a new little studio.  It’s a little squashed in here, but once I finally get things organized properly it will be cozy.

You know … “they” say you HAVE to include graphics/photos in a blog post.  Please forgive me for avoiding it this time.  I took some photos of the studio space but pride seems to be keeping me from including them.  Still too much of a mess.

But this is a good time to say that I’ve got big plans now that I can devote almost all of my attention to vintage clothing.  For starters, I’ve updated the website structure by consolidating clothing categories in the 1800’s decades to a single category called (get this) “Victorian”.  I’ve also started to remove some of the “best of the best” items that have sold from the regular pages and placed them on a museum page called GALLERY.

My current newsletter subscribers know they’re lucky to see a newsletter every 6 months.  Our Facebook page serves just about the same purpose, so LIKE Belle à Coeur Treasure Trove Vintage on Facebook!

It’s not a lot to start, but I have tons of ideas just trying to come together.  It’s a brand new year and it’s a great time to freshen things up.  I’m really looking forward to being able to focus more on vintage and be more creative this year.

May you all have a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

2010 New Year’s Resolutions … or Not?

Now that the holidays have been and gone and I’ve finally caught my breath, it’s time to make those Resolutions, right?  How did I do with last year’s resolutions?  Not too bad.  After all these years, I’ve finally learned not to resolve stupid things.  Like losing weight.  Either I will or I won’t and a New Year’s Resolution isn’t going to accomplish anything except leave me sitting on December 31st depressed because yet another resolution went by the wayside.

Granted, there are things I should resolve to do like exercising and eating properly, but I won’t (resolve to or, probably, DO them).  Therefore, I resolve NOT to resolve.

But there are some things I’d like to accomplish this year.  Like making blog posts more frequently.  So here I am.

I’d also like to update the websites more frequently.  Today, I have diligently kept my nose to the grindstone and have uploaded some nice vintage jewelry to all three of my shops!  Off to a pleasant start.

Another thing that needs more attention is my newsletter.  When I first started sending out newsletters, I was sending them every other month.  Last year, I was lucky to manage them quarterly and maybe that’s not so bad.  Since becoming active with Twitter and blogging a bit, most of my “news” is old news by the time a newsletter goes out.  So this year, I’m going to use the newsletter as a platform for letting subscribers know about special promotions.  It’s easy to have little promotions in my brick and mortar store since I see and talk with people all the time there.  So I’m excited about having special Internet Only “events”.

Sure, there are many more things I want to accomplish this year but instead of resolving a whole bunch of things today, I’m going to conquer this much and then set a few more.  Less stress, don’t you think?

If you’d like to subscribe to my newsletter (to get in on those special internet promotions .. or even if you just want to see if I actually DO this resolution!) join us on Facebook 

We ship domestically and to select international locations. International customers please contact us for shipping quote. Thanks! Dismiss