About Joyatri

Avid thrifter and vintage clothes wearer. Love 1960s and early 1970s styles. Partial to Art Nouveau, Pre-Raphaelite, Victorian, Renaissance and Medieval art. Former art historian. Current packrat. On a continual quest for good-looking, comfortable vegan shoes. Bhangra dancer since 2002. Fascinated by all things Indian. Vegan and animal advocate. 

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Words I like:

"She was dressed, as usual, in an odd assortment of clothes, most of which had belonged to other people." 

Excellent Women by Barbara Pym (1913-1980)

 

 

“I said "Somebody should do something about that." Then I realized I am somebody.”

 Lily Tomlin

 

 

 

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Entries in 1980s (3)

Tuesday
Mar122013

Austere tea party, anyone?

In honor of Woman’s History Month, a local vegan café held a Ladies Tea Brunch this past Sunday. When I read that hats and tea party attire were mandatory, I reserved a spot right away. Seeing as we just had a few feet of snow (and I had just watched two episodes of Land Girls on Hulu), I opted for the sober colors and warm fabrics of the 1940s.

First I had to revive this red velvet cap that I used to wear all the time in the 1980s. I removed the ratty netting and the ornamental buttons that were missing rhinestones. I then steamed and pressed it on to a mannequin head to get its shape back.

That accomplished, it was time to check on the dress, a donkey-brown wool number from the early 40s, again something I bought in the 80s and haven’t worn since.

I love the details: the gathers on the top and the pin tucks in the lower part of the sleeve, the tiny gold studs on the shoulders and triangular pockets, the gathered bodice and flared skirt.

And, ta-dah!

The dress, hat, brooch on hat, necklace, gloves, and shoes are original 1940s. I've owned all of them for decades, except for the shoes, which are a recent acquistion.

The bag was made in India and purchased on the street in New York in the 1990s. I just tucked the handle inside to use it as a clutch. The stockings are the wrong color, but I was relying on what I already owned. The eyeglasses are new prescription ones, for which the jury is still out. They did work well with this outfit though.

I had worn this 1940s coat to the point of near disintegration in the 1980s and have been on the verge of throwing it out many times. I’m glad I hadn’t. It needed a few repairs to make it wearable for an afternoon, though. I teamed it with a scarf bought new in the 1980s.

The 1940s shoes were recently thrifted from Goodwill.

The label inside reads “Wilbur Coon.”

Wilbur Barry Coon (1870-1926) and a partner began making baby shoes in 1891 in Rochester, New York. By 1912, Coon had struck out on his own and founded what was to be a phenomenally successful company manufacturing babies, children’s and women’s shoes. After his death, his son Wilbur Levis Coon took over the business. The company sold shoes under their own label to more than 6,000 retailers. An online search has turned up ads for Wilbur Coon shoes from the 1920s to 1940s, but I haven’t found any information that would indicate when the company went out of business.

I have a hard time finding shoes that are comfortable. Turns out that comfort and fit were the two major selling points of Wilbur Coon shoes. One of their slogans was “A Made-to-Measure Fit in Ready-to-Wear Shoes. Sizes 1 to 11. Widths AAA to EEE.” According to a newspaper ad from 1935, there were special in-store fitting days (probably with a traveling rep from the company) and 149 sizes were available.

As you see from all the numbers inside the fit measurements were fairly complicated.

from The Pittsburgh Press, October 30, 1930  The baby’s foot is a perfect foot. And you don’t find foot troubles in adults in tribes that live barefooted. Foot troubles come from shoes that don’t fit.

The fault is only partly yours. Most shoes are made to fit the foot at two points only – length and ball. That method is as old as shoe-making. But, why keep on wearing a two-point shoe on a five-point foot? Wilbur Coon Shoes are made to fit all five points – length, ball, instep, waist, heel?

Another sizing innovation (although I don’t know if it originated with Wilbur Coon shoes) is that samples in children’s sizes were made in clear vinyl so one could actually see if the shoe fit properlyt.  A pair sold on Etsy recently.

There are a number of advertising postcards for the company here.

I wish shoe companies offered a similar level of customization in sizing. With 149 different sizes, I was lucky to find a pair that fits as well as they do. The Wilbur Coon shoes I see currently for sale online are listed at anywhere from $40 to $169, so I was even more fortunate to find mine for 10 bucks.

The shoes alone deserve to be linked to Ta-dah! Tuesday.

Friday
Jan182013

Funky by Dexter: It takes a Funky Chicken to Lay a Funky Egg

More shoe fashions from 1971, this time desert boots, oxfords and bowling shoes.

Lady Dexter shoe ad from Seventeen magazine, March 1971.Penneys shirts and jeans ad from Seventeen magazine, March 1971.

I’m guessing my love of stripey jeans and star motifs started around this year. This ad isn’t for shoes but it shows more two-toned desert boots.

I’ll find some Famolare crepe-soled shoes and clogs for Joni.

What a coincidence that Curtise posted a Horrible Histories video yesterday. I didn’t know what Horrible Histories were until her post, but I had recently stumbled on these videos by History Teachers – mini history lessons put to the music of pop songs. I was in grad school studying medieval art history in the early 1980s, so I particularly like their videos on the medieval period as well as the revamped 1980s songs.

I've posted some of my other favorites on my Facebook page, including one with a chorus of "Ooh, ooh fleas on rats, fleas on rats" and another that begins,

"“Mummification equals immortality
Your brain’s pulled out your nose by an embalmer-priest”

Catchy, no?

Monday
Sep102012

Read all about it

I have been sorting through several boxes of ephemera (antique and vintage magazines, postcards, scrapbooks, photos) that I got out of storage recently. I’ll be posting some of the more interesting items here.

A magazine called ‘TV Headliner’ from 1958 has this ad for a hideous newsprint shirt.

Teenagers’ Rage! “You’ll be the talk of the teenage set.”  This reminded me of a not-hideous 1960s dress I own but haven’t worn in decades. So, I decided to unearth it and try it on. Here's the print that I was reminded of.

It’s made of cotton printed with ticket stubs, images of famous paintings and sculptures, music programs, playbills--sort of an arts-and-culture newsprint. Isn't it fabulous? The dress doesn't have a label; it appears to have been made by a skilled seamstress.

How apropos that I just happened to have curled my hair today. Mod red boots purchased in early 1990s at Shelly’s in London. 1960s velvet embroidered bag from Pakistan, purchased on eBay. I used to wear this dress to art openings in London in the late 1980s and early 1990s. So I tried it on with the big dangling spiral earrings that I would have worn with it. I purchased them in 1988 at the Pure Fabrications at Hyper Hyper, a retail space populated with stalls run by independent young designers, on Kensington High Street in London. To go with my big ‘80s hair (I had a perm – didn’t we all?), I needed big earrings. In addition to the huge red metal spirals, I had a pair of enormous black plastic spirals, also from Pure Fabrications (“jewel mongers to the fortunate” as it says on the cards).

Red ones were £5.99 and the black were £6.50 in 1988.I still have the backing card that came with them. 

That’s me and my big hair and big shoulder pads in 1988.Across the street from Hyper Hyper was the seedier Kensington Market where I shopped for vintage clothes. I used to go to London a lot for my job in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s when the dollar was strong. So I shopped like mad.

In my studio apartment in 1988. The black spiral earrings are barely visible amidst all that hair. Cotton gauze blouse purchased on King’s Road in London. Lots of black rubber bracelets, probably bought at Kensington Market or some other London street market.I had forgotten about my 'newsprint' dress. It fits exactly as it did 20 years ago and I just love the eccentric print.  I think it's worth taking on my next trip to London.

Linking up to Patti's Visible Monday post.