Browsing Category Vintage Fashion Looks

My vintage fashion looks from the 1930s-1950s with a modern twist.

1930s kimono robe with a modern twist

by

I’ve been dreaming about a 1930s kimono robe ever since I saw Marlene Dietrich wearing one in Shanghai Express. The 1931 visual masterpiece directed by Josef von Sternberg.

Marlene Dietrich Kimono

Marlene Dietrich

The breathtaking 1930s kimono robe you see me wearing in the pictures is one of my most cherished vintage pieces. It was a gift from Letia, the Queen of vintage kimonos herself, owner of  Daggers and Dames, where you will find truly extraordinary vintage lingerie.

I remember opening the incredibly well-packed garment and immediately falling in love with the magnificent shade of teal. The kimono is made of silk crepe with floral lace panels throughout and what makes it really special for me, is that it’s adorned with hand-painted cranes. Very similar to the ones on Dietrich’s robes in the photographs above. It’s definitely the most dramatic dressing gown I’ve ever owned and it’s a piece I wouldn’t hesitate to wear on a red carpet.

Winter essentials for the vintage girl

by

Today’s post, entitled Winter essentials for the vintage girl, is the follow-up to my “How to dress vintage when it’s cold” article from a few weeks ago.

Winter is a harsh mistress, making icicles of us all and sadly the vintage girl is not the exception. With the temperature dropping rapidly and way below my cold-threshold, I need to take extreme measures to stay warm. Not an easy thing to do without compromising my vintage look.

All black vintage look. How to wear all black!

by

An all black vintage look might be just the right idea for those of you who are as fond of the colour black as I am.

It is also the perfect colour for anyone who is new to the world of vintage and at the stage of now contemplating the purchase of their very first vintage piece of clothing.

“You can wear black at any time. You can wear it at any age. You may wear it for almost any occasion; a ‘little black frock’ is essential to a woman’s wardrobe. “Christian Dior

Even though black is often used as a symbol of death, mourning as well as witches and magic, for me, it represents elegance, power and individuality. Also, as an old-school Goth, I’m rather thrilled that it’s associated with darkness and Victorian mourning attire. That also explains my fascination with XIX century funeral capes which I have in abundance. It’s the prefered attire colour of a Femme Fatale and if you are curious about her history in the 19th Century paintings, Film Noir and 1930s-1040s Fashion, I suggest you read my article on that very topic.

How to wear 1950s clothing in Autumn

by

How to wear 1950s clothing in Autumn!

Autumn is without a doubt my favourite time of the year. It’s the most vintage friendly season, as long as it’s not raining that is, when I can wear a 1950s skirt suit, like the Handmacher beauty in the picture below, or a dress, without the need of having to cover it with a coat.

Queen Bee look

by

 

My Queen Bee look consists of:

A 1950s Handmacher skirt, “Queen Bee” top from 1683 Atelier, a contemporary brand that goes perfectly with all my 1930s-1950s garments, a late 1940s purse, a 1950s style Pillbox hat and the French Sole Hefner slippers with Queen Bee embroidery that I believe even Joan Crawford would approve of!

Queen Bee top

Detail of The Queen Bee top by 1683 Atelier

“Old age ain’t no place for sissies” Bette Davis

by

 “Old age ain’t no place for sissies.” 

Bette Davis

Beautiful Bette Davis as Margo Channing in All About Eve

 

I heard someone say once that the ‘beast’ known as Hollywood forgives everything from a small indiscretion, to a huge scandal even a month at a Betty Ford clinic but not birthdays. This resonates so well with a quote attributed to the great Miss Bette Davis, one of my favourite actresses of all time, who said that “Old age ain’t no place for sissies”. Assuming that those were indeed her words, it’s likely that she spoke while thinking of all the female Hollywood movie stars, including herself, who beyond the age of being able to pass for a smouldering temptress, a Femme Fatale, a daughter or a woman that men would leave their wives for, were simply left to play the part of being a reminder of times past, of Hollywood’s golden age.

Porcelain jewellery by POPORCELAIN

by

Porcelain jewellery by POPORCELAIN

 

What are vintage girls dreams made of? That’s a question capable of opening a potential Pandora’s Box of answers, as all vintage girls are surely made different, we pride ourselves on our individuality and yet we covet so many of the same things. Now don’t play coy, I think you all know what I mean ladies, in a word it’s called ‘Etsy’. Aside from the good fight, when I’m not favouriting items on Etsy, I can often be found going full Magpie, scavenging through antique markets in search of yet another piece to add to my growing collection. Accessories are always top of the list and at the top of that list would be antique cameo brooches which apart from their beauty, hold a dark secret in that their origins can be traced, according to the famed English Egyptologist and Orientalist Sir Wallis Budge, to a talisman on which ancient spells were carved.

How to wear leopard print!

by

If someone told me a few years ago, that in their clairvoyant vision of my future they saw me wearing garments with leopard print, or any print for that matter, I would most likely come back with a malevolent response worthy of Dorothy Parker and members of the Algonquin Round Table. The reason for such a strong reaction to wearing anything that’s not black was that that the only other colour I would have ever considered was a darker shade of black. 

I have a very vague recollection of when exactly and why I opened up to wearing a variety of colours such as red, green, purple and even pink but I do remember the discovery and instant  love with leopard print, which was brought to me in a form of  Dolce and Gabbana lingerie. A brand new world of stepping out of my comfort zone gave me the courage of experimenting with clothes, not only undergarment,  I previously dismissed due to their patterns.

Christian Dior and the Parisian fashion icons from the Adam Leja collection

by

Christian Dior is undoubtedly one of my favourite Haute Couture designers of the 1940s and 1950s. His spring collection of 1947 will forever be known as The New Look, a name attributed to Carmel Snow, the Editor in Chief of Harper’s Bazaar, as it was she who said at the end of Dior’s first collection “It’s quite a revolution, dear Christian! Your dresses have such a new look!” Full skirts in sumptuous fabrics, perfectly tailored, fitted jackets creating the illusion of tiny wasp-like waist is definitely my ideal of beauty and female sensuality as well as sexuality. To me Dior’s creations from that era will always be synonymous with the perfect silhouette and immaculate workmanship so apparent in the tailoring of al his glorious designs. The opinion that was clearly shared by Australians as in the spring of 1948 David Jones, a department store in Sydney, organised a fashion parade of fifty Christian Dior creations, the first complete Dior collection to be shown outside Paris. So it comes as no surprise that 70 years later the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia hosted an exhibition entitled The House of Dior: Seventy Years Of Haute Couture.

1950s Handmacher suit

by

1950s Handmacher suit

To say that I have 1940s and 1950s skirt suits in abundance would be an understatement as it’s my number one choice when buying vintage. I can never resist the immaculate tailoring that 1950s suits are so synonymous with and when it comes to a choice between the perfect vintage dress and an equally perfect suit, I usually end up purchasing the latter. Nothing can beat the versatility to which a vintage suit can be dressed up or down, making it the perfect choice for a day-to-night look, a real pièce de résistance. When shopping for vintage on Etsy or at any of the vintage fairs in London, I don’t look for any particular brands, with the exception of Lilli Ann and Dorothy O’Hara that is, because a lot of incredible garments from the 1930s and 1940s were hand made either by the original owner of the piece or custom made by a seamstress. There are times however when I get extremely excited about a vintage brand, like in the case of my latest purchase of a 1950s Handmacher suit, that I later found in Harper’s Bazaar from 1952!

Joan Crawford inspired look

by

Joan Crawford inspired look

Partaking in my pleasure for being a dissolute designer of lists, if I was to name only five of my favourite movie stars of the 1930s and 1940s, it would have to be without doubt or hesitation; Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn, Rita Hayworth, Marlene Dietrich and of course the Queen Bee herself, Joan Crawford who I’ve taken ample inspiration from for my latest look which should not be confused with me trying to be a copycat but rather seen as an Ode to an actresses who I’ve been fascinated with since the age of seven.

The queen of the silver screen once famously said “I never go outside unless I look like Joan Crawford the movie star. If you want to see the girl next door, go next door.” Always glamorous, known on and off the movie set for being a true perfectionist, with a distinctive style adorned and copied by fans all over the world. How powerful her influence on the public really was we learn from the August edition of Click magazine printed in 1938 “The greatest fashion influence in America, stylists now sadly admit, is the much-glamourized, much-imitated movie queen. What she wears is news, eagerly copied by girls all over country who want to look like Crawford or Loy. The most widely imitated star, Joan Crawford, started more girls wearing kerchiefs for hats.” Which almost ruined the $250,000,000 millinery business.

Mixing vintage fashion with contemporary designers

by

Mixing vintage fashion with contemporary designers

More and more often, I’m being asked by readers for tricks on how to mix vintage pieces from the 1920s to 1950s with those of contemporary designers. The thinking behind this, being to avoid looking too costumy or like an extra from Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Not that there’s anything wrong with looking liked you’ve just stepped out from a scene, playing the part of a murderess in Miss Fisher, I would almost be willing to sell out Mr de Merteuil to medical experimentation for such a privileged opportunity, as I’d very much to be fighting crime in a 1920s couture gown along with the glamorous Miss Fisher. Back to the topic at hand however, the answer to the question is very simple, take one garment at a time.

Vintage fashion blog – the reason behind mine

by

Vintage fashion blog – the reason behind mine

A quick introduction to my new readers!

My name is Dominique de Merteuil and I’m the creator of It’s Beyond My Control, a vintage fashion blog that I started back in 2012. In the beginning and for the first 3 years, I have to admit, I lacked focus with the blog. I changed the entire outlook and direction in 2015 and that’s the year when all the pieces fell into place, finally made sense and I consider this to be the true ‘birth’ year of my vintage fashion blog with a modern twist.

Discover vintage inspired hats by Allginnedup!

by

Vintage inspired hats!

“If I was a woman, I would be dressed in the same thing for a month and just change my hat and gloves. Maybe my shoes too; yes, I see what you mean but, really, it’s jewels that change an outfit.” Manolo Blahnik

Any lady or vintage vixen should not be seen without a hat and gloves (you can read about the secret etiquette of gloves here!) and as it can be challenging at times to find a true vintage hat of the right size, colour and in great condition, the only alternative is finding the perfect vintage-inspired hat with few minor conditions attached. It has to be of course hand made with fastidious care and with the right adornments. It must carry my favourite tilt style hats and must breathe the spirit of 1930s and 1940s designs. Is it even possible to find such a brand that would stand up to the challenge and match my capricious wants? The answer is yes, thanks to the milliner extraordinaire who creates the most incredible vintage-inspired hats, that will go with every ensemble, and my latest discovery Allginnedup brand founded by Isabelle Alexia Nguyen!