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Home > Newsletters > April 2005

April 2005

Common Question:

My girls and I attended a three day textile auction this weekend. Day one included vintage handbags, buckles, clasps, jewelry, and buttons. Day two included antique and vintage fashions from the 1700s to 1980s. And day three included lace, fabrics, quilts, and more. It was pure heaven. The girls don white gloves and carefully finger through the lovely fashions: from bustles, to psychedelic prints (my younger daughter is drawn to the latter). Although I don't specifically look to buy vintage clothes (it often finds its way to me), I was looking for a blouse, a Gibson Girl type, with the high neck and fine detailed embroidery, for myself, to wear. I asked the assistance of Karen Augusta, the women who catalogs the auction, if there were any in the sale, and she escorted me to a rack with several white blouses. All of which were tiny! I am a regular size 8, or a medium when I buy today's clothes…so my question to her was:
"Were women really that tiny a hundred years ago?"

The answer she gave me was "probably, no". Her reasoning is that the larger blouses, dresses, and other garments were cut down to hand down. There is also the consideration that women wore corsets, which another woman informed, took a woman in by up to 4"! Gotta get me one of those!

If you have the time and want to see some stunning textiles, visit Karen's website at:

Feature Article: "Dress to Impress with Dress Clips"

A dress clip is an ornament that attaches to clothing by a hinged clip with a flat back and small prongs on the underside (Warman's Jewelry). And although they did not reach their height in popularity until the 1930s, they were being used, as far as I can tell, since the 1880s. They can be worn just about anywhere: hat, scarf, purse, belt, pocket, cuff, shoes, but were mostly worn in pairs at the neckline. They range in size from the vary small to the very large.

During the 1930s they were considered Fine Jewelry made from silver with precious and semi precious stones. Costume pieces were made from rhodium, pot metal, and other metals with rhinestones, faux pearls, and other affordable embellishments.
They were made by designers from Cartier to Monet to Trifari.
They stayed somewhat fashionable up until the 1950s.
So next time you think pins and brooches are the only way to add a little sparkle…think about a dress clip.
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