Thursday, January 3, 2013
Starting My Education
Learning about a subject requires effort and, at the beginning, we know only generalized ideas gathered passively from our environment. Often, this information is wrong.
For example, many non-bikers think Harleys are the best motorcycles. In fact, they're close to the worst. Harley uses outdated technology. Non-riders, however, see Harley's pervasive advertising and, without any analysis, often believe that information.
There is a parallel between Harleys and my first vintage stockings. Before studying vintage lingerie, I knew seamed stockings existed but I didn't know any more than that. I assumed, incorrectly, that all seamed stockings are the same. I was wrong.
When sheer stockings were introduced in the 1920s, they were made from silk. Silk doesn't stretch. Authentic early stockings sag due to the material used in them. A sharp-eyed reader observed that the seamed stockings in my last post are stretchy and she's right -- they are reproductions using contemporary materials (nylon and lycra). To a vintage purist, this is heresy. To me, I had no clue.
The original style of vintage stockings is called "fully fashioned stockings." The term refers to stockings made of non-stretch material with a seam where the material is sewn together. There are only a small number of manufacturers making stockings in this style today. Modern reproductions of seamed stockings usually use stretchy materials and add seams as decoration, not as the integral sewing junction of real fully fashioned stockings.
Coincidentally, both of my mentors are named Jessica! The first Jessica has a terrific blog which focuses on vintage fashion and is an enjoyable read. It's called Chronically Vintage. Jessica has steered me in good directions for learning about this subject on which she's an expert.
The second Jessica used to have a fashion blog but she closed it a year ago. (Some of you may remember it: I profiled her blog here). I'm currently in touch with Jessica by e-mail and we've been chatting about vintage clothing. She's very knowledgeable about old lingerie, like silk slips, stockings and girdles. I'm hoping to learn lots from her. She has an extensive collection of authentic lingerie from the past.
So, starting from scratch, I have two Jessica's in my corner! Mentors accelerate one's learning curve and I'm lucky to have these two sweet gals advising me. I'll pass along what they teach me to you, so you can join me on this journey.
Do you have any interest in vintage fashion?