Tag Archives: antique clothing

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.

She Had It First

Meet Chloe, my most recent addition to the Wall of Fame.

Meet Chloe - the latest addition to our Women With Bad Attitudes.

Meet Chloe – the latest addition to our Women With Bad Attitudes.

I have no idea what this lovely lady’s real name is.  Sadly she is one of the “instant relatives” so often found tossed into a box in an antique store.  (Let this be a lesson to always identify your photos!  Do you want to end up with your face in a box with a thousand other unknown faces 50 or 100 years from now, with strangers making up stories about who you were?)

For some reason, she just “told” me her name was Chloe … so now she is Chloe.

Chloe caught my eye because, well, she has the Attitude.  And an awesome blouse.  Oftentimes, an old photo will catch my eye simply because of the clothing.  Chloe caught my eye because she has both.  Take a good look at her.  She KNOWS you want that blouse.

One of the great things about scanning an old photo is the ease of enlarging it to see the details.  And the details of this blouse, or waist, are wonderful!  Each shoulder has a small, probably ¼” tuck, then working toward the collar, it looks like a vertical wavy line of whitework embroidery, then flowers with 5 petals – they almost appear to be individually sewn on – then 5 or 6 tiny pin tucks.  Vertically, down the center is ruffled lace decorated with fabric covered buttons.  Sort of makes the graceful high neck collar look a little boring with mere lace insertions and pin tucks.

Was the blouse a ready-made, or did she make it?  What was the occasion of the photo?  A graduation?  An engagement?  Whose picture is in the locket?

So feminine.  So romantic.  And Chloe owned and wore it when it wasn’t vintage!  Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a vintage blouse AND a photo of the original owner wearing it?  Those are so rare.

Of course now I wonder what her skirt looked like.

It’s kind of thought provoking to realize that the antique or vintage dress we may be fortunate enough to own today originally belonged to and was worn by someone so many years ago.  The original owners would probably be surprised to learn that many of us today are so appreciative of the style, beauty, workmanship of the clothing that was taken for granted as part of their lives.

Ahhh … so that’s explains Chloe’s attitude, “Remember, I had it first”.

Women With Bad Attitudes

I have a Wall of Fame.  Or maybe it’s the Wall of Infamy.  Here at the shop, the wall behind the counter is covered with hats, purses, bodices … and Women with Bad Attitudes.

How it came to be was purely accidental.  I had come across a modern decorative tile that depicted a Victorian woman giving the proverbial “look that could kill” with the inscription, “Everyone’s entitled to a hissy-fit now and then” and it just seemed to address my … shall we say, state of mind … at the time.  I hung the tile on the wall behind the counter.

She has ATTITUDE - "Patience"

She has ATTITUDE “Patience”

Not long after that, I added a wonderful hand-tinted photograph of a Victorian lady in a beautiful gold oval frame to my inventory.  Being too lazy to haul out the ladder and out of space near the floor to hang the photo, I put it on the wall behind the counter.  One day, I realized that the lady in the oval frame looked like she could have been the woman on my tile!  Evil stare and all.  I call them Patience and Mercy.

Is this the same lady, or what? She *definitely* has ATTITUDE!

Is this the same lady, or what? She *definitely* has ATTITUDE! This is “Mercy”. Reeeally?

"Bonnie" definitely has attitude!

“Bonnie” definitely has attitude!

As happens in a vintage store, more and more things accumulate.  Occasionally, an item comes in that just SPEAKS to me.  A particular chalkware statue of a girl called to me.  Chalkware (really plaster of paris) was commonly given as an inexpensive prize at fairs or carnivals between about 1910 and 1940.  This particular piece is fairly common  – she stands about 16″ high and wears a cute pink jacket and wide legged, cuffed pants with a matching cap cocked at a rather sassy angle and a green striped (with glitter!) turtleneck.  Her hands are in her pockets and she has a sort of pouty “don’t mess with me” expression painted on her face.  Since she came to live here, I’ve mentally compared her to others I’ve seen out and about and no others have this pouty expression!  She sits on a shelf on the wall behind the counter – I call her Bonnie.

Back in 2006 the dear lady, Nedra Beebe, who owned the building my shop is in passed away.  I made a copy of her obituary that included her photo on pretty paper and put it on the wall.  Nedra and her husband had a very successful and well-known antique store here since May 1, 1940.  She was LEGENDARY.  I could do an entire blog about her.  She was quite the lady and one heck of a good businesswoman with a loyal following.  Countless of her customers have come in and the stories they tell … oh my.  She had THE attitude!  One story that has been told quite often was that occasionally a customer would invoke her ire.  Consequently, if that customer attempted to purchase something, it was no longer for sale!

About this time, it occurred to me that I had unintentionally covered this wall with photos of Women with Bad Attitudes.  And yes, my photo was already there.

Some years ago my husband and I had one of those old-timey black and white photos taken where you “dress up” in costumes.  Yeah … we did Bonnie & Clyde (don’t get me started on everything wrong with the styles portrayed there!).  That photo also hangs on that wall.  Now you know why I’m qualified to ascertain “attitude”:  It takes one to know one.

Bad attitude, for sure!

Bad attitude, for sure!

So what does all this have to do with vintage clothing?  Since realizing that I have this absurd collection of Women With Bad Attitudes, I’ve consciously collected a few more photos of Women With Bad Attitudes to study and admire the hairstyle, the dress, the hat, or some other fashion attribute. I find that old photographs are an excellent window into the past that, over time, becomes a learning tool that helps us understand a lot of the whys of fashion, such as how hairstyles affected hat styles and how certain types of jewelry were worn during a particular time period.   I’ll be posting these photos  soon with some thoughts and comments and, hopefully, some information about the fashions depicted.


Stay Tuned!

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