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Discussion in 'The Powder Room' started by 16_sparrows, Nov 4, 2005.
Cable knit tights keep me warm.
Forgive me if this has already been covered, but I'm having a hard time figuring out how a housewife would have dressed at home (doing housework, caring for children etc) during winter? The pictures I see from the 50's always feature a woman with bare arms and legs while the man has on several layers (undershirt, button up, cardigan or jackets). Surely if the house was kept warm he would be uncomfortable, or if it was kept cooler in the winter she would be cold.
I'm new to vintage dressing and feel like it's easy to pull together an ensemble for going out but as a homemaker I struggle to find an outfit that's warm and practical but still feminine. How did they do it?
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My grandparents lived in a house with no central heating -- it was heated with a kerosene stove in the kitchen, one in the living room, an electric space heater in the bathroom, and no heat at all except what rose thru a hole in the floor in the upstairs rooms. The house was always either too hot or too cold, often at the same time.
My grandmother wore simple homemade cotton dresses the year round, but in the winter she often wore a cotton-wool ladies' union suit with a flannel slip over it, heavy cotton stockings, and a ratty old cardigan over the dress. If she worked in a warm room she'd take the sweater off, when she went to a cold room, she'd put the sweater back on.
The sweater was shabby and old, with moth holes and cigarette burns all over it, which wasn't a problem, because the work she was doing was often messy and dirty. The union suit was cut like a man's, with buttons down the front and a flap in the back, except it had short sleeves and legs that came to mid-thigh.
Lizzie is right. While looking high and low myself on the internet I've never found a vintage women's union suit. I've only seen those cartoonish long johns "AKA" onesie. I did come across this cotton vest/tank top http://www.shopnational.com/p/100-Cotton-Rib-Knit-Vest when paired with these thermal shorts http://www.shopnational.com/p/Cuddl-Duds-Lace-Trim-Thermal-Shorts it looks just like a union suit. If you want some thing that will cover your legs more, fleeced lined leggings are super warm.
My maternal grandmother wore pants, including wool pants (had been my grandfather's) that she altered to fit until she could buy clothes that were styled for women. If you like pants, those are an option. They can be quite feminine (think Mary Tyler Moore in the Dick Van Dyke show). She also wore a black sweater in the house as far back as I could remember. (To note, my grandmother was very "with it" as far as style, so she wore pants when pants were in style. On the flip side, my grandmother was very frugal, so she was very careful to make sure that she could afford a few select stylish items.)
She also wore insulated underwear, mostly notably cuddle duds (brand), which is something I wear under my dresses and skirts to keep warm.
My paternal grandmother often wore jeans. She kind of had a "reputation" for being sort of a rebel as far as I can tell from what my father said when I was younger. There is a picture of her and my grandfather (her husband) in matching jean overalls, that at least dates to the late 1940s. She was a school teacher during the day, so... on the farm she wore jeans, particularly when they worked out in the fields.
I have a whole pinterest board dedicated to this! I am interested in dressing how someone would have really dressed then,not like they did in ads and movies. Cotton or rayon housedresses, sweater, undershirt, girdle, stockings, pettipants. With all that on I am always warm (even warmer than in modern styles like jeans!). Lots of slim layers so you don't look bulky. Wool pencil skirts are my winter staple.
Here's the link https://www.pinterest.com/crowandseagull/actual-vintage-wardrobe/
Thanks all - your answers were tremendously helpful! I love your Pinterest board Annie.
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My style is all about combining touches of vintage with modern day stuff ( mostly consignment and thrift store designer pieces ). I love 20's/30's, but also more modern vintage like 90's, so I'm a bit all over the place, which actually makes it easier than trying for 100% authentic anything.
I do see a lot of modern winter styles are vintage inspired. If you search online for photos of vintage winter outfits, you see stuff that is replicated now. I mean, look at combat boots, those are timeless. I live in Brooklyn, so I need to be warm and dry. I'm looking towards a military/outdoors look for extreme weather and jazz age movie star look for cold, dry days.
I have some pricey items in mind, but I buy a few nice things at a time, and do not expect instant gratification. It could take me a few years to acquire, but will last a lifetime.
My wish list is:
- SAM Highline Parka. Military style with a removable fur vest and hood for extreme temperatures and is waterproof. Very pricy, but think it would be worth it to finally have a superior parka coat. Everyone I have bought so far is not that warm or is not waterproof. Winter is long.
- Cashmere beanie to wear under hood for extra coziness.
- L.L. Bean Bean Boots. I mean they've been around since 1912, not much more retro that that, haha. Cute, sporty, and serious icy footwear.
- A cashmere wrap coat with a notched collar. I may look for a vintage MaxMara or other trusted label. I have a wool blend coat in this style, but it is too big for me, and not warm or nice enough material to bother tailoring. But I love the wrap style and being able to pop the collar up. It feels so glamorous.
- A turban cloche that covers my ears. I have been seeing some promising styles on Etsy.
- I have my eye on a few fur scarves on Ebay.
- A few cashmere sweaters and tights. I am over cheap sweaters and tights that do not insulate and loose shape.
AnnieB, I love your pinterest and am now a follower. I'm https://www.pinterest.com/lalablossoms/ if anybody cares. I have an art deco board that is more fantasy than reality. Nice to see more everyday women though. Not everyone from the past was a screen siren and sometimes they did wear "basic" stuff that was not femme.
Hello, new girl here just chiming in to say l am in agreement with you! A vintage scarf or brooch can really elevate day-to-day office outfits where full-on vintage would raise too much attention and just not be approprate, at least in my case. Of course, the fact that Joan Hickson's Miss Marple is my style icon, I look different enough!
Hi All. Weather here in Lincoln has been really mild this winter but we've suddenly had the cold snap we knew would come. This year though I have my lace up brogues to keep me warm. They are very similar to the pictures of lace up boots shown above. I got them on ebay in the summer for £30 which I thought was a steal for real leather boots. I bought them for an outfit I wore to the Steampunk weekend here as I do Diesepunk and had an outfit I have named The Aviatrix. Anyway these boots were a really good investment and I wear them with some long woolly socks I got from Primark of all places. Summer is the time to buy winter boots it seems!
I know this is an old thread, but I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for the tips. I've only been dressing vintage for a little over the year, and this discussion is very helpful as I'm trying to winter-proof my wardrobe. It's not even technically winter yet, but we're already getting temps in the teens here in the Midwest.
I've always found the vintage ranch-girl look suits me, and my life, summer and winter. Oh, I love dresses and heels, but, well, between the garden and the motorbike, it doesn't usually happen. The mainstay of my wardrobe- if you can call it that- is the Wrangler 14MWZG Cowboy Cut Slim-Fit Jean. High-waisted, red-label, heavy 100% denim, sizes 00 to 15, lengths 30-38, for turning up or "stacking" on boots, and they look great whether I'm wearing Tony Lamas or motorcycle boots or just a pair of Chucks. No vanity sizing; these will be your "classic" size; in modern sizes, I wear an 8, in these, 11. Your butt will stay covered (and warm) and your shirt tucked in. Only on the Wrangler website:
Bean boots! Not very pretty, but in -40F wind chill, my feet are...well...not freezing.
I'm feeling a bit bad for the folks in the midwest. Here in Vegas it's already starting to feel like spring! On days where it is colder, I like to wear my full length mink (50s) if I'm getting all fancy and just my WWII wool sailor pants if I am casual. Sure the heat is just as deadly in the summer, but I'll take my desert chances with the sun over the snow cold winters of the midwest. I don't miss those at all and have decided snow looks better in a postcard! Keep safe and warm if you are in one of the scary regions.
If all else fails, I can put the kerosene heater in the kitchen.
I don't miss the roasting hot summers of Denver. It was nowhere near as hot as Las Vegas, but I felt like I was roasting.
Bumping this since it has gotten colder here in the mid-west and any new readers who need advice on how to keep warm will benefit.