Monday, 11 June 2012

Suit Up!

It's been a long time between drinks, but today I have a little time on my hands to share with you a trend that went unnoticed by me until recently. Suits. 1940's suits more to the point.

This year I was lucky to attend the 'Love Vintage Show' which travels around Australia and New Zealand. Many vintage exhibitors come from all over Australia and New Zealand to show off their vintage wares and conduct master classes and seminars. One of the free workshops I attended was hosted by The Lindy Charm School For Girls. Sounds like something out of an Enid Blyton novel, right? The workshop was run by the lovely Headmistress Chrissy, who gave us an insight into the 1940's. Besides showing us tricks of the trade to get ourselves looking like a 40's dolly (and scaring us with stories of 40's frugality!), Headmistress Chrissy modelled a fabulous 40's suit. Apparently, in those good ol' days, women had to make do with a couple of garments and sew for themselves. That's right ladies: SEW FOR THEMSELVES. That being said, garments were made to last, and a new dress wasn't easy to come by. Households were money savvy after the war and due to the Great Depression. Having seen Headmistress Chrissy in her stunning suit made up my mind. I had to have one!

This picture was borrowed from the Love Vintage Show Facebook page.  It  shows Headmistress Chrissy in her wonderfully tailored 40's suit. Sweet little checks and a cinched in waist make this look a knock out! There is also the
gorgeous A-line skirt to boot.

I had since been on the hunt for a 1940's suit, in purple no less, and was successful in my search. I encountered the usual problems, few purple garments (and to be honest - I probably wouldn't settle for a different colour, regardless of its social acceptability!), tiny waist bands and poor vintage condition. Eventually, I struck gold! Purple gold!

Before my surprise reveal though, here are a few beauties worth taking a peek at:

Plum Garbadine darling available here for  $160 US

Black Wool Crepe available here for $175 US. Check out the button detail! Wowee!
Powder Blue beauty available here for $78 US

1940's skirt suits are a work of art, without a doubt. So much effort goes into the fine details, whether it be elaborate cuffs, beautiful button detail or an elaborate collar with ornate embellishments. They don't make 'em like they use to - I think think women's 1940's suits are the epitome of this statement.
My suit. From JP Allen Atlanta according to the tag. The label also says that it is a 'Davidow' London, Paris, New York. It is made of a deliciously soft tweed wool; possibly a mohair blend. It's very warm and perfect for winter. The jacket is fully lined with an art deco embellishment applied to the breast and the classic A-lined skirt has a deep kick pleat. And by god, it's purple. Worn here with the lavender vamp top by Deadly Dames available here for $58 US. 

So, some things to look out for when purchasing a vintage suit... Obviously, as you would with any vintage item, inspect the quality. Satin and synthetic lining can pull easily and seems prone to discolouration which might not be too big of an issue for you as this is on the inside. Check the measurements between the skirt waist and jacket waist; you want to be able to shut your jacket! Best to have a difference of about two or so inches. If you can, test the zipper (almost always a metal zipper) to see if will do up the whole way without catching on the fabric or jamming. It's also a good idea to check how secure the buttons are - sometimes threads are loose. If you lose a button, it's almost a certainty that you will have to change EVERY button on your garment to match a new one.

I love how the tailoring of many 1940's skirt suits can cut a sexy silhouette. Another happy purchase for me and one to keep the rest of my vintage collection company :)

Happy Monday x

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