Spring has Sprung

Spring really is just around the corner. Really! It is the time of year when we all start thinking about our spring and summer wardrobes.

As most of you know 22 Shades of Gray launched our Home Party division last year. I am having so much fun introducing my latest  fashions live and in person.

PinkShirtLet me share with you a couple of pictures from my most recent home party.

This  beautiful pink collage pullover is made from 100% Lycra. It sports a very unique form. One side is shirred up with a short sleeve and the other sleeve is long and tapered. It comes in a wide variety of colors. Easy to wear and easy to travel. Wash and dry and wear.

This little jacket is reminiscent of a 1930’s design and one of my most popular jackets. It sports a contrast back belt, lapels, cuffs, front pocket bands and bound button closure. It also has 3/4 length sleeves that allows you to  show off your beautiful jewelry.  Green JacketThese jackets are almost always one of a kind and can be worn in several different ways. With the cuffs rolled up or down, one lapel up or both lapels up with a broach closure. 

You can see how much fun these ladies are having modeling the beautiful designs  for themselves and each other. 

So, If you hate going to the mall and fighting the traffic and crowds why not  consider  having your own 22 Shades of Gray home party and seeing all of our  latest fashions in the comfort and ease of your own home. Just invite a  few of your friends and /or associates to your home and  make your own fun

If you would love to receive free clothing and have a lot of fun in the privacy of your own home contact me to find out how. Email me  @ 22shadesofgray@gmail.com

Vintage Fashion 1930’s – 1940’s

This is the next installment of my vintage fashion series (not as long as the last one) which covers the 1930’s & 40’s.

My mom. She loved to dance.
My mom loved to dance.

This era is very near and dear to my heart because that was the time my mother and her sisters were in their teens and early 20’s and thought they were “the bees knees” of fashion. They apparently loved to ham it up for the camera and so there are lots of pictures from that era.

I have also included a couple of pictures of vintage reproductions that I have sewn. I am planning on creating more in the future. So stayed tuned for that

I hope you enjoy my family vintage photos as much as I do. They are first hand memories of the fashion of the times.

 

My mom on the left and her sister Marie sunbathing.

My mom on the left and her sister Marie sunbathing.

Suntans (called at the time “sunburns”) became fashionable in the early 1930s, along with travel to the resorts along the Mediterranean, in the Bahamas, and on the east coast of Florida where one could acquire a tan, leading to new categories of clothes: white dinner jackets for men and beach pajamas, halter tops, and bare midriffs for women.
Fashion trendsetters in the period included The Prince of Wales (Edward VIII from January 1936 until his abdication that December) and his companion Wallis Simpson(the Duke and Duchess of Windsor from their marriage in June 1937) and suchHollywood movie stars as Fred Astaire, Carole Lombard and Joan Crawford.
Fashion and the movies
Throughout the 1930s and early ’40s, a second influence vied with the Paris couturiers as a wellspring for ideas: the American cinema.

My mom and my Aunt Marie in their evening gown with crinoline slips
My mom and my Aunt Marie in their evening gown with crinoline slips

Vogue credited the “Scarlett O’Hara” look with bringing full skirts worn over crinolines back into wedding fashion after a decade of sleek, figure-hugging styles.Lana Turner’s 1937 film They Won’t Forget made her the first Sweater girl, an informal look for young women relying on large breasts pushed up and out by brassieres, which continued to be influential into the 1950s, and was arguably the first major style of youth fashion.

My mom and her sister my Aunt Marie in the fitted sweater
My mom with a high waisted midriff below the knee dress and her sister my Aunt Marie in the fitted sweater

Feminine curves were highlighted in the 1930s.

Through the mid-1930s, the natural waistline was often accompanied by emphasis on an empire line. Short bolero jackets, capelets, and dresses cut with fitted midriffs or seams below the bust increased the focus on breadth at the shoulder. By the late ’30s, emphasis was moving to the back, with halter necklines and high-necked but backless evening gowns with sleeves. Evening gowns with matching jackets were worn to the theatre, nightclubs, and elegant restaurants.

My mom (right), her sister-in-law Stella (middle) and her sister Jean on the left
My mom (right), her sister-in-law Stella (middle) and her sister Jean on the left 

Skirts remained at mid-calf length for day, but the end of the 1930s Paris designers were showing fuller skirts reaching just below the knee; this practical length (without the wasteful fullness) would remain in style for day dresses through the war years.

The war years

My mom and I think her sister  my Aunt Eva kneeling
My mom and I think her sister my Aunt Eva kneeling
My mom and her sister Eva holding the paper announcing the end of the war.

My mom and her sister Eva holding the paper announcing the end of the war.

Wartime austerity led to restrictions on the number of new clothes that people bought and the amount of fabric that clothing manufacturers could use. Women working on war
service adopted trousers as a practical necessity.
Most women wore skirts at or near knee-length, with simply-cut blouses or shirts and square-shouldered jackets. Popular magazines and pattern companies advised women on how to remake men’s suits into smart outfits, since the men were in uniform and the cloth would otherwise sit unused. Eisenhower jackets became popular in this period. Influenced by the military, these jackets were bloused at the chest and fitted at the waist with a belt.

 

I wanted to include pictures for my family here.

My Aunt Evy she is missed

My Aunt Evy she is missed

Aunt EvyAunt Evy

 

Aunt Marie & Uncle Henry

Aunt Marie & Uncle Henry

 

Aunt Lucy & Uncle Carrol

Aunt Lucy & Uncle Carrol

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aunt Edna

Aunt Edna

 

 

 

 

 

 

Style gallery 1930s

1930's casino dress reproduction
1930’s casino dress reproduction 

This dress is made from an apricot & rose floral chiffon. It was in the 1930’s that the handkerchief skirt first became popular.

 

1930's Day dress

1930’s Day dress

 

 

 

1930’s day dress in brown & black rayon with black chiffon neck tie.

Mermaid kimono

I thought you might enjoy looking behind the scenes a little and seeing part of the creative process. Sometimes I get inspired by a style or pattern, sometimes by a piece of fabric, or sometimes by a piece of artwork.

In this case it was a piece of artwork created by a dear friend of mine Mary France Millet.

Mary Frances is a gifted artist. She has her art displayed and sold at local galleries, art shows and store fronts. She is a watercolor artist and instructor. If you are interested in seeing more of her artwork and classes  check out her website http://maryfrancesmillet.com/. I love collaborating with her and we are planning on more projects in the future so stay tune for updates.

mermaid hand painted panel

mermaid hand painted panel

 

So back to the project.  For this project  I decided to start with the artwork panel by Mary Frances Millet and build it from there.

 

 

 

 

What to choose?

What to choose?

 

The next step is to decide which fabrics I wanted to pair with the panel. Sometimes this offers the most difficult challenges. So many choices.

 

 

Mermaid Kimono pieces pinned to mannequin.

Mermaid Kimono pieces pinned to mannequin.

 

 

And now how to construct it with a mixture of laces, sheers and embroidery fabrics. I try out several combinations by pinning it to the mannequin.

 

 

 

 

finished Mermaid Kimono

finished Mermaid Kimono

 

Finally the finished kimono.

 

 

 

 

1920’s Vintage Fashion

After World War I, the United States entered a prosperous era and, as a result of its role in the war, came out onto the world stage. Social customs and morals were relaxed in the optimism brought on by the end of the war and the booming of the stock market. Women were entering the workforce in record numbers. The nationwide prohibition on alcohol was ignored by many. There was a revolution

Norma Talmedge

Norma Talmedge

in almost every sphere of human activity. Fashion was no exception: as women entered the workforce and earned the right to vote, fashion trends became more accessible, masculine, and practical. Flappers were a popular name given to women of this time because of what they wore. The constrictive corset, an essential undergarment to make the waist thinner, became a thing of the past.

The technological development of new fabrics and new closures in clothing affected fashions of the 1920s. Natural fabrics such ascotton and wool were the abundant fabrics of the decade. Silk was highly desired for its luxurious qualities, but the limited supply made it expensive. In the late 19th century, “artificial silk” was first made from a solution of cellulose in France. After being patented in the United States, the first American plant began production of this new fabric in 1910; this fiber became known as rayon. Rayon stockings became popular in the decade as a substitute for silk stockings. Rayon was also used in some undergarments. Many garments before the 1920s were fastened with buttons and lacing, however, during this decade, the development of metal hooks and eyes meant that there were easier means of fastening clothing shut. Hooks and eyes, they transitioned from hooks and eyes,  buttons,  zippers or snaps were all utilized to fasten clothing.
Vastly improved production methods enabled manufacturers to easily produce clothing affordable by working families. The average person’s fashion sense became more sophisticated. Meanwhile, working-class women looked for modern forms of dress as they transitioned from rural to urban careers. Taking their cue from wealthier women, working women to began wearing less expensive variations on the day suit, adopting a more modern look that seemed to suit their new, technologically focused careers as typists and telephone operators.

Sport suit

Sport suit

Though simple lines and minimal adornment reigned on the runways, the 1920s were not free of luxury. Expensive fabrics, including silk,velvet and satin were favored by high-end designers, while department stores carried less expensive variations on those designs made of newly available synthetic fabrics.

Velvet Flapper Dress

Velvet Flapper Dress

Clothing fashions changed with women’s changing roles in society, particularly with the idea of new fashion. Although society matrons of a certain age continued to wear conservative dresses, the sportswear worn by forward-looking and younger women became the greatest change in post-war fashion. The tubular dresses of the ‘teens had evolved into a similar silhouette that now sported shorter skirts with pleats, gathers, or slits to allow motion. The most memorable fashion trend of the “Roaring ’20s” was undoubtedly “the flapper” look. The flapper dress was functional and flattened the bust line rather than accentuating it.

The straight-line chemise topped by the close-fitting cloche hat became the uniform of the day. Women “bobbed”, or cut, their hair short to fit under the popular hats, a radical move in the beginning, but standard by the end of the decade. Low-waisted dresses with fullness at the hemline allowed women to literally kick up their heels in new dances like the Charleston. In 1925, “shift” type dresses with no waistline emerged. At the end of the decade, dresses were being worn with straight bodices and collars. Tucks at the bottom of the bodices were popular, as well as knife-pleated skirts with a hem approximately one inch below the knee.

Flapper dress w/ clotch had

Flapper dress w/ clotch hat

In the world of art, fashion was being influenced heavily by art movements such assurrealism. After World War I, popular art saw a slow transition from the lush, curvilinear abstractions of art nouveau decoration to the more mechanized, smooth, and geometric forms of art deco. Elsa Schiaparelli is one key Italian designer of this decade who was heavily influenced by the “beyond the real” art and incorporated it into her designs.
Proper attire for women was enforced for morning, afternoon, and evening activities. In the early part of the decade, wealthy women were still expected to change from a morning to an afternoon dress. These afternoon or “tea gowns” were less form-fitting than evening gowns, featured long, flowing sleeves, and were adorned with sashes, bows, or artificial flowers at the waist. Evening dresses were typically slightly longer than tea gowns, in satin or velvet, and embellished with beads, rhinestones, or fringe.

The boyish figure
Undergarments began to transform after World War I to conform to the ideals of a flatter chest and more boyish figure. The women’s rights movement had a strong effect on women’s fashions. Most importantly, the confining corset was discarded, replaced by a chemise or camisole and bloomers, later shortened to panties or knickers. During the mid-1920s, all-in-one lingerie became popular.
For the first time in centuries, women’s legs were seen with hemlines rising to the knee and dresses becoming more fitted. A more masculine look became popular, including flattened breasts and hips, short hairstyles such as the bob cut, Eton crop and the Marcel wave. The fashion was bohemian and forthcoming for its age.
One of the first women to wear trousers, cut her hair and reject the corset was Coco Chanel. Probably the most influential woman in fashion of the 20th century, Coco Chanel did much to further the emancipation and freedom of women’s fashion

Coco Channel

Coco Channel

Jean Patou, a new designer on the French scene, began making two-piece sweater and skirt outfits in luxurious wool jersey and had an instant hit for his morning dresses and sports suits. American women embraced the clothes of the designer as perfect for their increasingly active lifestyles.

jean patou

jean patou dress

By the end of the 1920’s, Elsa Schiaparelli stepped onto the stage to represent a younger generation. She combined the idea of classic design from the Greeks and Romans with the modern imperative for freedom of movement. Schiaparelli wrote that the ancient Greeks “gave to their goddesses… the serenity of perfection and the fabulous appearance of freedom.” Her own interpretation produced evening gowns of elegant simplicity. Departing from the chemise, her clothes returned to an awareness of the body beneath the evening gown.

Elsa Schiaparelli

Elsa Schiaparelli


Next time the 1930 and some personal family pictures as well as pictures of reproduction garments from my personal collection.

Why we can’t wear white after Labor Day, or… Can we?

Wearing-White-After-Labor-Day_-A few weeks ago I was getting ready to attend a function and trying to decide what to wear. Because, it was an art function I selected and Art to Wear piece I had created with an artist friend of mine. My husband immediately responded with it’s after Labor Day you can’t wear white. He really didn’t care he just thought he was catching me in a big fashion mistake.

Of course I knew about the “law” but because it was an art venue I knew my artistic friends would get it. Also my Aquarian natural rebelliousness had her hackles up. I wore the outfit anyway.

The incident did get me thinking who was it that made that rule and why? Did they really have a good reason such as white reflects the heat. If so then did the rule only apply to cooler climates? I decided it was time to get some answers and I did.

To find out the truth about wearing white after Labor day check out this article by Kathy Benjamin I found on MentalFloss.com:

Wearing white in the summer makes sense. Desert peoples have known for thousands of years that white clothing seems to keep you a little bit cooler than other colors. But wearing white only during the summer? While no one is completely sure exactly when or why this fashion rule came into effect, our best guess is that it had to do with snobbery in the late 1800s.

The wives of the super-rich ruled high society with an iron fist after the Civil War. As more and more people became millionaires, though, it was difficult to tell the difference between old money, respectable families, and those who only had vulgar new money.

By the 1880s, in order to tell who was acceptable and who wasn’t, the women who were already “in” felt it necessary to create dozens of fashion rules that everyone in the know had to follow. That way, if a woman showed up at the opera in a dress that cost more than most Americans made in a year, but it had the wrong sleeve length, other women would know not to give her the time of day.

Not wearing white outside the summer months was another one of these silly rules. White was for weddings and resort wear, not dinner parties in the fall. Of course it could get extremely hot in September, and wearing white might make the most sense, but if you wanted to be appropriately attired you just did not do it. Once Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894, society adopted it as the natural endpoint for summer fashion.

Not everyone followed this rule. Even some socialites continued to buck the trend, most famously Coco Chanel, who wore white year-round. But even though the rule was originally enforced by only a few hundred women, over the decades it trickled down to everyone else. By the 1950s, women’s magazines made it clear to middle class America: white clothing came out on Memorial Day and went away on Labor Day.

These days the fashion world is much more relaxed about what colors to wear and when, but every year you will still hear people say that white after Labor Day is unacceptable, all thanks to some snobby millionaires over 100 years ago.