Friday, May 31, 2019

Vintage 1950s Weddings Bridal Accessories

Vintage 1950s Weddings

The Bride's Accessories
Everything for that special day.
Gloves were equally as elegant as the dress. In the early 50s, a short sleeve gown would be paired with over the elbow or at elbow doeskin white gloves that wrinkled at the wrists.  Long sleeve gowns didn’t need gloves but a pair of wrist length or fingerless gloves in satin, lace or tulle was a nice touch.

In the late 50s  short, wrist length white gloves in materials matching the dress. They paired well with short sleeve, tea length dresses the best. Only about 1/4 of all brides chose to wear gloves.  

Flowers. Lilly of the valley and fern or a single stem white Lilly tied in a white satin bow was popular. Elizabeth Taylor chose yellow daffodils and tulips to match her bridesmaid’s yellow chiffon dresses. Jackie Kennedy carried a spray of white and pink orchids and gardenia.  Anything pink was highly fashionable in wedding flowers for most of the decade.
Jewelry was minimal. A short, single strand pearl necklace was often worn with low neck dresses. A matching pearl bracelet was a nice addition, especially if it was “something borrowed.” Pearl clip on or stud earrings may have been worn if they were not covered up by hair.  
Shoes Cuban or kitten heels with a rounded toe in white was the classic wedding shoe. Anything fancier, open-toed, strappy or otherwise more “interesting” shoes would detract from the bride and her wedding dresses. Shoes had to be simple. However, the shorter the dress, the taller the heels. High heels, i.e. ultra-thin stiletto heel shaped the exposed calves into something attractive.       


Friday, May 24, 2019

Vintage 1950s A Special Wedding

 Vintage 1950s

A Special Wedding
We started researching our new book GAME TOWN, in Hollywood, 1957. Reading newspapers and magazines of the year we came across some amazing stories of people's lives after WWII. Here is one of those amazing stories.
          World War II, Maj. Claud Hensinger and his crew made a successful bombing run over Yowata, Japan. However,  on the way back to base, one of their engines caught fire and they were forced to bail out over China. In 1944, much of China was still occupied by the Japanese who were always on the lookout for down Allied aviators.

          Hensinger was also injured from landing on a pile of sharp rocks and was bleeding. He kept his parachute after landing. The chute kept him warm and kept his bleeding to a minimum.
          When the war ended, he returned to Pennsylvania, where he reconnected with Ruth. When he got down on one knee, he proposed to her without a ring. Instead, he gave her the parachute and told Ruth how it saved his life and that he wanted her to make a wedding dress from the dirty, blood-stained nylon.
          She said yes to both questions. One day, while she was walking by a store, the inspiration came to her. In the store window there  was a dress inspired by the one worn by Scarlett O'Hara in the 1939 film Gone With the Wind. She patterned the dress to match that while designing a veil and bodice.
          A local seamstress sewed the veil and bodice, Ruth sewed the skirt, using the parachute strings to lace the skirt. Keeping with tradition, Hensinger didn't get to see his wife's parachute dress until she walked down the aisle. He was a happy man, according to Ruth.

          The couple was married for 49 years before Hensinger died in 1996. In the years between, two other generations of women were married in Ruth Hensinger's parachute dress. The dress is now on display at the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of American History.


Monday, May 20, 2019

Vintage 1950s Teen Shoes

Vintage 1950s Women's Shoes
 Teen shoes

New 1950s style shoes for Teens were more than just black and white saddle shoes.

Saddle Shoes Teenagers and housewives wore saddle shoes. These were black and white oxford shoes most associated with teenage girls in felt poodle skirts. They were usually worn with a pair of bobby socks-– white socks rolled or folded down 2 or 3 times. The soles and heels were black along with the center panel. White shoes and heels had to keep in pristine condition. Girls would clean and shine their shoes nightly and buy new ones as soon as they began to show signs of wear. Learn about the history of saddle shoes. 

White “bucks or nubucks, were another style of Oxford shoe for teens. They had to be kept perfectly white all the time. Small “bunny bags” of chalk powder were included with each white buck shoe so girls could powder them on breaks. Another white shoe was the clunky Joyce, which resembled nurses shoes or senior orthopedic shoes today. They also had to be kept perfectly white at all times. Bleaching laces, polishing leather and washing soles were all part of the nightly routine.

Mary Jane They were a young girl’s shoe that to teens meant you were too young to know how to keep your shoes on. Graduating to a strapless shoe meant growing up. There was a trend for the T-strap shoes, which returned everyone back to strapped shoes again.  Black or red were the most popular colors among 12-15 year-olds.  Even women jumped on the trend with T-strap evening shoes and sandals.

Bunny Shoes Another teenage shoe trend in the late ’50s was bunny shoes or just bunnies. They were leather slip-ons in white, black or red with two “ears” for a tongue and wings on the heel for a bunny tail. The fad for bunnies, also called Pixies, was widespread but short-lived among girls and teens. Women’s shoes, however, adopted the “ears” calling them twin peaks and placing them onto loafers and flats. The two peaks stayed in fashion into the early ’60s.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Men's Fashions Bomber jackets

Vintage 1950s Men's Fashion
Bomber Jackets
          Bomber Jackets were popular for the entire 1950s decade. The long, lean lines resonated with the era. This short waited jacket with ribbed waistband, cuffs, front zipper, slash pockets, and ribbed collar or classic point collar began in the 1940s and continued into the 50s

                The original design was called the Eisenhower jacket, a short military jacket, worn by the future president. Over time the extra military pockets were lost in favor of a simpler, streamlined look. They came in suede, leather, wool, gabardine, and even cheap vinyl and satin. Gabardine was the best choices for a light jacket. They were the perfect jacket for the casual man who needed a light jacket for spring or heavier suede jacket for fall. Suede was the most popular 50s style.

                Leather bomber jackets had their own admirers. Made of horsehide or cowhide in dark brown or black, almost every man who drove a car or rode a motorbike wore one. Topless convertible sports cars were the envy of every suburban man who longed to escape corporate business life on his way home. Wearing a leather jacket gave him that sense of youthful freedom. Leather made it the most windproof and durable choice as well. The black motorcycle jacket with off center zip, slash chest pocket, one button flap pocket, and bottom belt became associated with rebellious youth, even if they didn’t actually ride a motorcycle.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Vintage 1950s Lost Buildings

Vintage 1950s Lost Buildings

(RKO) Pan-Pacific Auditorium
formerly located at 7600 West Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles

          The doors were thrown open to the Pan-Pacific Auditorium (PPA) on May 18, 1935 (Originally it was called RKO Pan-Pacific Auditorium). The first event held there was a home show aimed at hyping then-President Roosevelt's signing of the Title I legislative act "which authorized government loans" aimed at aiding homeowners with repairs and renovations.
          The Pan-Pacific Auditorium was a landmark structure in the Fairfax District near the site of Gilmore Field, an early Los Angeles baseball venue predating Dodger Stadium.

          For over 35 years it was the premier location for indoor public events in Los Angeles. The facility was closed in 1972, beginning 17 years of steady neglect and decay. In 1978 the Pan-Pacific Auditorium was included in the National Register of Historic Places, but 11 years later the sprawling wooden structure was destroyed in a fire.

          Unfortunately,  the pictures of the PPA were in black and white and didn't show its size. We met and interviewed several native Angelinos and they all said it was "huge".  I could imagine the red carpet and stars arriving by limo to this interesting structure during award nights.