Monday, January 17, 2011

And now for something completely different...

Did you enjoy Hat Week? I had a lot of fun with it and I'm super excited about more theme weeks to come. But now, as the title says, for something completely different.

I bought this sweater mainly because it was cheap. It was only when I was browsing the collection of Sears & Roebuck catalogues on that it struck me that the oversize buttons and wide collar were reminiscent of styles in the late 1910s and early 20s. Plus, the maroon colour is bang on trend for 1920. So, although I've never gone for anything pre about 1935, I thought challenge myself to try an outfit inspired by this period.

Not being a slender beanpole, 1920s fashion is an area I tend to avoid, though I do love those flapper dresses. I've never even considered pre-1920s as a viable fashion era for anything other than theatre, but a lot of the styles actually translate surprisingly well.

These scans are from the 1920 and 1921 fall catalogues.

I would have loved to accessorize in true period style with one of these oversize knitted Tam O'Shanter hats, but I don't have one. I was pondering the headwear question and looking to these pages for inspiration when the little lass in the bottom left reminded me of this hat. It was mine circa about 1998, when these floppy brimmed hats enjoyed a brief vogue thanks to the TV show Blossom (I used to wear it to school, pinned up with the vintage feather brooch to stop it falling over my eyes). I fished it out and not only did it fit the 1920 look perfectly, it was just the right shade of maroon to match the sweater.

I'm pretty pleased with how the look came off - still outside my comfort zone, but quite wearable. The regular passer-by wouldn't even think "you look straight out of 1920" - besides the fact that the regular passer-by, if they think about it at all, assumes that all anyone wore between 1920 and 1929 were beaded, handkerchief hem flapper frocks.

Cardigan, Lidl; Belt, borrowed from a 1940s dress; Hat & vintage brooch, mine circa 1998; Skirt, from a friend, re-hemmed by me (it's been in my "to-sell" pile for ages, and it only just occurred to me to hem it to a useful length!); bakelite bangles, ebay; Shoes, Hotter.


  1. Gorgeous outfit and very cleverly put together. I used to love that style of hat as a teenager (I was also a huge Blossom fan) my favourite being a brown suede one that I wore with a pink kilt and a silk green shirt. Hmmmmmm....

  2. I loved all of the ads for sweaters but there wasn't boob one to be had in any of them. Your figure made me think more of the 40's and 50's. And that is probably more realistic for today's woman.

  3. You look adorable--very pretty look. Great idea to re-purpose the "Blossom" hats.

  4. I love the sweather!
    You look great :)

  5. I like the sweater over a skirt look, esp. with a belt to flatter you shape.

  6. Love the outfit- the vibrant red and dark skirt look gorgeous together. And I love the skirt-good thing you held onto it! :)

  7. hello! so i've been reading your blog for a little while and realised you must live quite nearby!

    really like reading the little bits of social history and fashion you put up. i just came across this online and thought you might like to have a watch as you have such a love for hats!

    hope you enjoy!



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