Aug 21, 2011

Antique and Rare, Very Rare Indeed

In the vintage fashion business, there are few topics that can get a discussion hopping as quickly as :  Just how old  does a garment have to be to qualify as vintage? And when is the dividing line between vintage and antique?
I always went with 25 years old to be vintage, and 100 years old to be antique. But that means 1986 is vintage now, and I am having trouble processing that. I want to draw the line at 1970s. And don't even talk to me about 1990s yet. So many people tell me about 'really old' dresses they found that turn out to be, well, younger than me, that I am feeling a bit creaky these days.  Although, I must admit, I acquired some very nice 1980s dresses last week, and the construction and fabric were really quite good.
And then I got these two items out to add them to the website and I felt so very, very  young. I can say without a doubt these are not Vintage, but Antique.Way Antique. I can even use that overworked descriptor, Rare.
It really isn't every day I get to handle 18th Century garments. There are those collectors and dealers who are lucky enough to do so, but in this area of the country, there really are not many pieces of fabric, much less garments, of this age available. 

c. 1740s - 60s Blue Brocade Bodice 
This is a sturdy brocade with scrolling pattern and flowers. The front ties with linen tapes which would have been hidden by a pinned on separate stomacher. Stomacher were treated as a interchangeable accessory and were worn with different dresses and bodices.This garment is small, but not tiny. Note that the sleeves are cut on the cross grain and the small pocket flaps mimicking the menswear of the time. It is lined in  linen.     

c. 1770s Yellow Striped Silk Skirt 
This lightweight skirt would have been worn over a quilted petticoat for volume and shape. It's a light silk , lined in a china silk. First, the obvious piecing at the waist. Either the fabric wasn't wide enough for the seamstress to make a full length skirt, or a later wearer need more length. Or the skirt was just made too short to start with! Since the top of the skirt would be covered by a jacket or bodice with peplum, the piecing wouldn't show, and rather than waste expensive silk matching the stripes, a choice was made to just add on. Another thing to note is that the waist band is open at both sides with two lined vents that closes with ties. This allowed the waist to be adjusted easily, and also the vents allowed access to the tied on pockets worn underneath the petticoat, which also had vents.   

Now available at Past Perfect Vintage


An Historical Lady said...

As an antique dealer, and as long time reenactors and public speakers presenting a variety of costumed historical programs, I like your blog and website very much!

Past Perfect Vintage Clothing said...

Thank you Mary! I am delighted to hear it