Friday, June 29, 2012

Great Hair Fridays - Victory Rolls

Victory rolls are one of the most iconic hairstyles of the 1940s. And it's a style that's popular with many in the retro/vintage world today. But where does the name for the hairstyle come from?

I did a little research and found several possibilities for the origin of the name. Like many things, "victory rolls" seem to have been inspired but a combination of things. Here are a few of the reasons I found.

Bathing beauty in polka-dot bikini and awesome victory rolls

Mary Beth Hughes
- The hairstyle got the name from the "V" shape of the rolls when pinned directly on top of your head in an upwards way. However, not all victory rolls have this shape, there are many variations.

- The name was used to honor soldiers serving during WWII.

- The named for the hair style was copied from an aerial maneuver used by fighter pilots in WWII.

- A great deal of energy was geared towards supporting the War Effort and "Victory" for the allied forces. Victory Gardens, for example, as well as salvaging and recycling items were extremely popular and were considered by many a patriotic duty. Sporting a "V" for victory hairstyle, pin, hat, or other accessory was just one small way to show your support.

A classic looking victory roll hairstyle
Victory roll variation. Source - American Hairdresser, May 1945

Longer hair came into fashion in the late 1930s and early 1940s which was a change from the short or "bobbed" styles of the 1920s and early 1930s. Combine this with a shortage of metal (due do WWII) normally used for bobby pins and other hair clips and you have a need for a completely new up do. One reference said some women were using pipe cleaners to curl their hair due to the scarcity of mental bobby pins but I don't know how true that is.

Basic, or classic, victory rolls are created by taking two sections of hair, one on either side of the front of the head. The hair can be parted straight down the middle, as seen in the first two photos, or off to one side. Each section of hair is first wrapped around two fingers to create a loop then rolled in an upward direction to the scalp. The rolls are held in place with bobby pins. There are tons of tutorials and how-tos on YouTube and other places on the web about creating victory rolls so I wont go into further detail right now about creating them.

Margaret Bainum working at a machine in  1944. She was a machinist/lathe operator at Westinghouse Electric in Emeryville, CA for 2 years
The classic victory roll hairstyle, and its many variations, was a practical up do for the working gal. Especially for women working in factories where safety was a big concern. Think of Rosie the Riveter. The video below shows the lovely Veronica Lake swapping her signature hairstyle for one more that's more practical for war work.

You can see more examples of victory roll hairstyles in last week's post on Linda Darnell.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Pair of 1940s Shoes

Are you ready for the most fabulous pair of 1940s shoes?!!?

Are you?

Ok. Here they are.

I purchased these shoes on Etsy from GingerRootVintage.
These are in the best condition I've seen for a pair of shoes that are 60+ years old. They are NOS - new old stock - and have never been worn. The only condition issue is a slight fading to the toes, as though the shoes might have been on display in a sunny storefront window. I'm realizing now, looking at these pictures, how noticable the fading is. However I don't think anyone will notice when the shoes are on my feet.

The little bows on the toes are so darn cute.
Absolutely no wear to the bottoms, not a scratch! It doesn't look like any one even tried them on which is rather hard to believe. They are made of red leather with leather soles. One shoe has a label that reads Debonaire Creation. Although the shoes have 3 inches heels they are surprisingly comfortable to wear. Unlike many modern dress heels were your weight is forced onto the balls of your feet.

And do you want to know the best part? This lovely little shoes actually fit my fat feet and now have a home in my closet. :)

I'm working on a post about vintage shoe sizes and how to find a pair to fit your modern feet. Stay tuned!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Great Hair Fridays - Linda Darnell

I'm trying out a new series of posts - Great Hair Fridays. I'll pick a different starlet or hairstyle to feature in each post. Let me know what you think!

Linda Darnell in "A Letter to Three Wives"
I think Linda Darnell is one of those talented actresses that is often overshadowed by other starlets of her time. Although her personal life was troubled and later in life she suffered from alcoholism, (what starlet's life was perfect?) she had a successful career as an actress and model. (You can thank her mother pushed her into a modeling career at the age of 11.)

Darnell made her film debut in the role of Marcia Bromley in the film Hotel for Women (1939). She was 16 when the film was produced which made her one of the youngest leading ladies in Hollywood at that time. Some of her best known films are Forever Amber (1947), Unfaithfully Yours (1948) and A Letter to Three Wives (1949).

One of the things I admire most about Linda Darnell is her very versatile look. While some starlets kept to a signature hairstyle - Veronica Lake's peek-a-boo hairstyle for example - Darnell didn't seem to be afraid of trying something different. She was a gal who looked great no matter what! Seriously, do a Google image search on her. You will be amazed at the number of photos that turn up.

 Here she is with long flowing locks and a nice curly up-do.

Linda Darnell c. 1943

Linda Darnell with Laird Cregar in Hangover Square, 1945

I love her look with victory rolls, especially this first photo of her in the plane. I'm trying to master a victory roll hairstyle for myself and I'm using these photos as references.

Swing Fashionista
Linda Darnell, age 16 c. 1939

Linda Darnell as a cheer leader
I'm not sure when this last photo was taken, but I'm guess late 1930s. Isn't she a dish! And what a great hat too. :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Happy Flag Day Everyone!

Poster commemorating the 140th Flag Day on June 14, 1917
Basic Flag Etiquette:

-- The flag should be displayed from sunrise to sunset, but may be displayed 24 hours a day if illuminated at night.

-- If displayed horizontally or vertically on a wall, the union, or star field, should be at the top left. The flag is flown upside down only as a distress signal.

-- When the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object

-- The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything

 -- It should be at the center and highest point when with flags of states or other entities

 -- To salute, all persons come to attention. Those in uniform give the appropriate formal salute. Citizens not in uniform salute by placing their right hand over the heart. A man wearing a hat or other head coverings should remove it and hold it to his left shoulder, hand over the heart. Members of organizations in formation salute upon command of the person in charge

 -- When a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner.

 Betsy Ross presenting the first American flag to George Washington. Painting by Edward Percy Moran
The Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Female Shoe Maker in Boston

Working on a pair of shoes at Eastfield Village.
Photo by Rebecca of A Fashionable Frolic
Behold, a female shoe maker!
I love finding evidence of women in "non-traditional" trades. Shoe making in the 18th century, like many trades, was typically a trade for men. However, if one looks hard enough there is primary documentation for women working not only as shoemakers, but as stay makers, silversmiths, tinsmiths, and even blacksmiths. Some women even owned and ran their own shops. (See CW's article on women's trades here.)

Often times a master shoemaker would employee women to sew the uppers (the fabric portions) of shoes. This type of sewing didn't require any real knowledge of shoe making and could be done quickly and easily by anyone skilled with a needle and thread. In the case of Elizabeth Shaw, it would appear that that she was doing more then simple piece work.

Originally from Europe, Elizabeth is announcing to the public that she is setting up shop to make and mend men's and women's shoes "in the neatest Manner. ... at her Shop in Long Lane" The advertisement for Elizabeth's shop is dated July 20, 1767.

The Boston Post Boy & Advertiser, July 20, 1767
In all likely hood, I'm sure her rates for shoes are very reasonable given that "Callimanco, Russell and Leather" were some of the most common - and cheapest - materials for making women's shoes. It's the pretty silk and brocade shoes that show up most often in museums and at auction. These "everyday" shoes are hard to find today but fortunately there are a few examples in museums.

Red-pink glazed wool shoes, c. 1765 - Historic Deerfield
Shoes, 1780-1790, Leather, linen, wool. These would have been "everyday" shoes for many English women. Snowshill Manor © National Trust / Richard Blakey
I thought it would be interesting to find an old map of Boston to see if I could find exactly where Elizabeth Shaw' shop was located. A search for early maps of Boston led me to the Massachusetts Historical Society. They have over 100 manuscript and printed maps of Boston as well as other towns and counties in Massachusetts. The closest map I could find was an 1835 re-issued map by George G. Smith of a map originally engraved and printed by Francis Dewing of Boston in 1722. I can't post an image of the map here but if you follow this link you can view the map online. Click on the zoom feature to find Long Lane. What is neat about this map is that it shows alterations that occurred in Boston between 1722 and 1769. Only a handful of building appear on the Long Lane. Could one of those have been Elizabeth's shop?

Below is another map of Boston dated 1743. You can clearly see Long Lane (marked Long L.) in the lower left of the map.

Detail of 1743 map of Boston by William Price, showing the Financial District and vicinity
This is what Long Lane looks like today.

Long Lane, now Federal Street in Boston's Financial District
Random history facts of the day - Revolutionary War hero Henry Knox was born in a house on Long Lane in 1750. And, in 1788, Long Lane was renamed Federal Street.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Event at Fort No. 4

This past weekend I attended the French and Indian War event at The Fort at No. 4 in Charlestown, NH. This is a great little living history site. For those who have never been I would encourage you to go visit. 

During the summer months when I was in high school and later college, I worked as an interpreter at No. 4. Some of my time was paid and other times it was volunteer. Paid time varied greatly as the site is a non-profit that relies mainly on grants and donations. I believe the staff right now is entirely volunteer. After college I worked there for a year as a research assistant. The fort received a grant to revamp their website and educational programs. My main projects were the timeline, researching the fort's history, and the research used to create lesson plans and other curriculum resources.

Saturday was a cold and rainy day. And between the soggy weather and allergies I just couldn't bring myself to put on all my 18th century clothing and sit outside all day. I figured I'm entitled to day trip for one event a season. So my friend Erin (who is getting married next June!) and I stopped by in modern clothing to visit for a bit and then went dress shopping. Hmmmm? Sit outside and be wet and cold all day or go try on pretty dresses? Which would you rather do? :)

Erin with Eddie and my brother Chris
Fortunately for everyone, Sunday was warm and sunny. I don't think too many people had to worry about bringing home wet canvas which is good. Does anyone remember the 250th F & I event at Fort Ticonderoga? It rained like crazy that Saturday! Ugh, dealing with wet canvas is never fun but all its part of the hobby.
Eddie looking pretty in his grenadier uniform
My Vintage Visions vintagevisions27.blogspot
The 27th getting ready for inspection

My plan was to finish my purple and white gown to wear for this event but that clearly didn't happen. Oh well. I had a nice time visiting with friends that I haven't seen in months. I'm looking forward to the next event.

Off to battle...
And waiting for the battle to start

More Miniatures - Officers of the 20th Regiment of Foot

As a member of a group who portrays the 20th Regiment of Foot during the American Revolution, these two finds were of particular interest to me. It's not often that you have a face, or even names for that matter, to go along with a particular portrayal.

The 20th came to North America during the winter of 1777-78 and were stationed in Quebec. They took part in Burgoyne's campaign and were interned following the battles of Saratoga. Most of the men were held in New York for the remainder of the war. I don't know for certain if Captain Stanley was here in the colonies but he would have been in his mid 20s during the war. Handsome fellow, don't you think?
The image was from an online auction site and unfortunately I was not able to find a large image.

George Williams c. 1800

Captain John Stanley (1750-1783)

And for my American re-enactor friends, this miniature Captain Daniel Parker (1757-1796) in the form of a brooch. It is in the collections of the Morristown National Historical Park, MORR 3986

Portrait Brooch of Captain Daniel Parker, Morristown National Historical Park, MORR 3986
For more information about 18th and early 19th century miniatures please see:
At the MET - American Portrait Miniatures of the Eighteenth Century

Friday, June 1, 2012

Prom Night! - Jenn's Finished Dress

I finally have pictures of Jenn in her dress! Ok, so prom was actually two weeks ago, but hey better late then never right? I can't take credit for the photos, just the dress. ;) You can see additional photos and read about how the dress was made here.

The prom was held at the Hartness House Inn. This year's theme was "Starry Night." Jenn and her date arrived in style in a classic car and walked the red carpet.

The photo to the right was taken inside the Hartness House Inn. It's a little washed out but I think it shows the actual color of the dress rather well. In some of the photos taken outdoors the dress looks purple. It's really a dark royal blue.

Jenn sent me a Google+ link with tons of pictures but sadly I can't show them all. I think these last two are my favorites of the bunch. It sounded like everyone had a great time! Sort of made me wish I could go to prom again! Maybe one of these days I'll dig out photos from my junior and senior proms to share.

I really enjoyed working on this dress as was so excited to Jenn wear it. She looked stunning. Looks like I might be making prom dresses next year as well.

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