It’s been a while since I checked on Heyday!, my favorite UK retailer of heavenly high waisted trousers, but I see that they have been busy. They have expanded their line of women’s and men’s clothing and have some pretty impressive and hard-to-find pieces at not unreasonable prices. Men can pick up some more casual style jackets, like the gab jacket or the Hollywood jacket, or some elegant 1940’s trousers. Women who are looking for separates will find several styles of adorable reproduction blouses, 1940’s style suits, dresses that are great for dances and work, as well as those famous trousers that make everyone’s bum look like a million bucks.
Last week I embarked on a quest for nude seamed stockings. I have little patience for wading through lingerie websites, so I solicited Facebook for ideas. When Kate Patsky declared “This is like finding the Holy Grail…” I knew I had a real shopping challenge on my hands; thus, I headed to the Stockings HQ chat forums to ask the experts/fetishists where I could find the Holy Grail. Stockings HQ is a lingerie website based in the UK that also hosts chat forums where people can share stocking info, pictures, and talk about…anyway, they were most helpful during my last hosiery dilemma, finding stockings for a Sally Bowles costume that would be period appropriate and fit my short legs, and they delivered yet again. One of the forum regulars recommended What Katie Did and I’ve been in love ever since.
What Katie Did makes beautiful reproduction and vintage-inspired bras, panties, girdles, corsets, stockings, slips, swimwear, and much more. I loathe most “vintage-inspired” undergarments because they are skimpy and not at all what was actually worn. What Katie Did has gone to the heart of the matter, reproducing things that are such rare finds, like fully fashioned stockings, bullet bras, 1940’s bras (which were just coming into the modern age of the bra), and different kinds of girdles so you can get your Joan Holloway on. If you really want a vintage look, then the next step beyond just the clothes are the foundation garments. Think about how your underwear selections change with what you wear and how that affects your shape and the way the clothes fit, then apply that to your dance dresses. What Katie Did goes further and actually improves the reproduction by eliminating discomfort and taking garments, like that 1940’s bra that probably did little to lift and support, and upgrading them to modern standards. If this sounds dull, like a conversation you’ve had with your grandmother, never fear! There are also plenty of skimpies and pretties on the website for everyone, and I know some burlesque girls who might find some goodies here.
From the website: “Founder and head designer Katie Halford has had a deep and abiding love affair with 1940s and 1950s fashion her entire adult life, but though the clothing was always fairly easy to come by, the appropriate undergarments were not. Her quest for the perfect bullet bra, the most authentic stockings and the firmest foundation garments, led to the development of her own collection, over ten years ago. And since then, thanks to her abiding passion, What Katie Did has been at the very forefront of the vintage revival that’s only recently come into the public eye.
On this website, in our London boutique, and in the glossy pages of our catalogue, retrophiles, vintage queens and lingerie lovers who appreciate the art of a circle-stitched cup, a wasp-waist, or a flash of fully-fashioned seam, can find everything their hearts’ desire.
We create and produce beautifully cut, high-quality and affordable undergarments, corsetry and hosiery inspired by the 1940s and 1950s. Our designs are based on vintage patterns, adapted only slightly for modern figures, using authentic fabrics and even old-fashioned production methods wherever possible. We’re proud of our close-knit team, high standards and enthusiasm for great customer service, all of which which have earned us fans worldwide, and led to What Katie Did being worn by stars as lofty as Claudia Schiffer and Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks. But really, we make our beautiful lingerie for every woman, so she can look and feel like a bombshell, any day of the week.”
I don’t often get excited about underwear, but I am excited to try out some of these gorgeous things. Here’s what I’m loving:
It’s back to reality, post-Experiment, but while I was away I did have a chance to chat with instructor Bobby White about some of his impeccable garments. He directed me to Magnoli Clothiers as a great source for vintage reproduction three piece suits. I must agree with Mr. Whi-te on this one, as the tailoring and fabrics look spot on.
Magnoli Clothiers is more than just menswear, it “is dedicated to the reproduction of vintage clothing, historic garments and popular film costumes. These reproductions, however, are not costume pieces, but tailor-made, high-quality clothing…any piece of mens clothing that you can provide images of can be reproduced. We can copy a garment you already own, or, by analyzing various images, we can reproduce any article from photograph or film stills.” The sky is the limit, or you can choose from their impeccable sample suits, pants, leather jackets, sport coats, shirts, vests, shoes, hats, and accessories.
The prices are no bargain, but for custom pieces…consider this an investment in looking awesome. Reasonably priced vintage repro menswear is hard for Lindy Shopper to find, but I am on a reproduction kick right now so I thought it best to share. Did I mention shipping is included in the price? That helps a bit.
Here are some of the great pieces you might want to own:
The seller of these 1940’s reproduction Hollywood style high waist pants proudly displays them in this eBay auction and reports that he/she made these pants from a real 1940’s pair with the same specs. Very cool! It’s always nice when clothes are worn by someone, rather than a mannequin, and these pants look pretty sharp on the model. The seller, johnny-jays-vintage, reports that they are made from a lightweight gray wool and are lined in black cotton. It also looks like there’s room for alteration, so these pants could fit a range of sizes. A great basic to add to your wardrobe!
If you have ever come across a 1920’s beaded gown for sale, odds are the retailer was asking upwards of $1,000 for the dress, if in mint condition. If not in mint condition, then the seller was still asking hundreds of dollars for the garment. Even then, there was no guarantee that the dress would not disintegrate upon wearing, and dancing in it was out of the question.
I could only lust after these dresses, wishing I could cut a rug and hear the soft swishing of beads like the dancers in the Great Gatsby movie.
The unattainable is now attainable. Leluxe Clothing Company offers hand beaded dresses in modern materials that give you the quality and craftsmanship of a 1920’s beaded dress without the worry that the dress will fall apart.
According to the web site, “LeLuxe Clothing Company was founded in 2000 with the goal of continuing the traditions of design and craftsmanship of a bygone era. Working in the costume houses of Hollywood, owner Jill Schliesmann realized the fragile creations of diaphanous cottons, laces, and beaded silks were being lost to time. She and her husband, Shane Burroughs, recognized a void that needed to be filled – a style that needed to be revived so that those creations could live again. LeLuxe Clothing Company makes the fun and luxury of the Jazz Age accessible to the Twenty-first Century. The combined experiences of Ms. Schliesmann and Mr. Burroughs gives them insight into the specialized needs of the entertainment industry, the demands of cutting-edge fashion, and the fascinating sphere of collecting, preserving, and restoring vintage clothing. LeLuxe Clothing Company not only offers faithful reproductions of period designs, but also a number of exclusive designs created in the spirit of the 1920’s – dresses that embody creative energy, sharp design, and a wonderful sense of whimsy.”
These dresses are stunning. And sparkly. And wearable! They come in a variety of lengths and the owners have noted which dresses are best for dancing. The fit on 1920’s dresses does not have to be exact, which makes these dresses easy to size because the dress can be as fitted or loose as you want it to be. All of the dresses have different measurements, there is no uniform sizing, so pay close attention to the measurements before purchasing or dismissing.
The dresses are mesh, so a slip is an essential part of the ensemble. Leluxe also offers slips that are made to go under these dresses in a number of different colors. Depending on the look you want or the dress you have chosen, you can mix up the shape and the color of the slip.
As if the beaded dresses weren’t enough to make Leluxe fabulous, they also carry dreamy white cotton dresses with vintage embroidery. Everything is so lovely here!
It’s going to be hard to narrow this down and not post every dress on the web site, but here’s a sampling of these glorious dresses (most come in multiple colors):