Sunday, November 7, 2010

The A-Z of Vintage part 3: M-R

Time for the second last A-Z of vintage!

M is for Make Do and Mend the ethos during the rationing of the second World War. During that time there were restrictions on fabric, trims and other provisions meaning that women had to make their clothes to go the distance. Instead of getting a new dress women might've made a collar or worn a scarf to change how it looks and also there was an emphasis on repairing instead of disposing. My grandma said she used to draw a line on the back of her leg and powder them to give the look of stockings because they were rare.

N is for Nylon the synthetic fabric first developed in 1935 and revolutionised our clothes. In 1939 nylon stockings were shown at a fair creating excitement and changed the production of hosiery due to its popularity. During the war it was an alternative to natural fibres such as silk. In the 50s the blend of cotton and nylon created 'wash and wear' clothes, garments that dried quickly and didn't need ironing. Its popularity is still evident today. Thanks nylon!

O is for Orlon a bulky synthetic fibre popular in the 1950s. Its uses were for sweaters but the fibre was later developed to fit more needs, I recall seeing it on an ad for hosiery. Despite its promising past the fibre did not have the staying power of nylon and was completely discontinued by 1990.

P is for Pincurls the standard vintage hairstyle. They are tight curls achieved by pinning wet hair into ringlets and waiting for them to dry. The were popular throughout the 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s and can yield many different looks allowing them staying power. They can be extremely easy to do however painful to sleep on (I use prong clip things, not pleasant), hmmm possibly a tutorial soon? We'll see.

Q is for Quant. Mary Quant! A British designer who was big in the mod movement in the 1960s. You know miniskirts? You can thank Mary Quant for that ladies! Hot pants? Mary again! According the her she also invented the quilt cover. Her designs incorporated pop art and apparently she even designed George Harrison's wedding suit.
R is for Rosie the Riveter the wartime propaganda hero! First of all the 'we can do it' lady isn't actually Rosie the Riveter, the real one graced the cover of a magazine publication but I'll just refer to the former as Rosie. During the war when the men were fighting women were left to fill up their jobs, many of them manual work, such as Miss Rosie's. To avoid any tangles with hair and machinery women wore scarves like Rosie. Even the famous actress Veronica Lake's trend setting peek-a-boo fringe was requested to be changed because women were getting it caught in the machinery. The poster was used as a tool to boost morale and these days it is used as a symbol for feminism.

Have a lovely week :)