Thursday, December 1, 2016

Brooklyn Royal - Our First Pop-Up Shop in NYC!

And here I thought we were done with travel for the year. Nope!

Back to New York City we go (twice in one year!) for our very first, very special Pop Up Shop at Slapback in Brooklyn. This is a try-n-buy event with our Royal Vintage Classic 1940s Shoes, and is an opportunity for all you ladies of the NYC area to try on and walk out of the store with a pair of our reproduction 1940s shoes.

Click through for the event page and information on Facebook
We've never done an event like this before, so I have to admit I'm really nervous! I packed up six 20 lb boxes of shoes earlier this week and sent them ahead. We'll have one of everything there - all seven 1940s designs/colors and one in every size (6 - 10 and 11). It's a big undertaking, but I'm excited!

I'm also way-too-excited about the vintage outfits I've packed for New York. I went a little splurgy at OverAttired over the Black Friday weekend and got a splendid tweed suit and a showstopping rayon and crepe dress, both original 1940s. The suit is for the day, naturally, but the colorblock dress is reserved for a very special trip to the Metropolitan Opera to see La bohème.

I feel in love with this dress and just had to have it. Here it is modeled by Terra. I'll be sure to take a few photos the night of the opera :-)
So if you're in the New York Area, please come by Slapback Saturday or Sunday to hang out, gab about vintage clothes, and shop. I hope to see you there!

Friday, November 25, 2016

A Winter's Sale

It's that time, my dears! Welcome to the Holiday shopping season. We can't ignore it (nor do we wish to), but we want this to be a joyous time for you rather than a stressful one. So with that in mind, we've got specials for you....oh yes....

This year we have all sorts of goodies:

  • Look for the green "Freebies" banners on most of our shoes - these mean you get a choice of free accessories like silk stockings, 18th century shoes buckles, or button hooks on that product.
  • In addition, any non-freebies accessories purchased with shoes or in multiples gets a discount.
  • Victoria Carriage Boots and Dunmore 18th Century Shoes in White are on clearance - go get 'em because they won't be back.
  • We have a handful of Imperfects too. (these never last long)


Additionally, there's a sale on at We have a clearance sale section here, and will also be tempting you with FLASH SALES each day over the weekend. Friday through Monday there will be one of the Royal Vintage 1940s shoes on sale for $20 off for that day only. 

Follow @missroyalvintage on Instagram, Facebook, or sign up for the Royal Vintage newsletter to receive notifications of the flash sales (and coupons...and other stuff).

Happy Holidays, ladies! I hope you enjoy our sales and get some loverly things. Thank you for supporting our business. <3

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Finding Inspiration in the 1790s with Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun

Self Portrait by Vigee-Lebrun, 1791
Those of you who have been following for awhile will know I'm not a huge fan of, well, anything with an empire waist.

I just can't seem to find my groove with Regency attire. I see my gorgeous friends dressed in their early 19th century finery and I think they look fantastic, but when it comes time to wear it myself....not so much.

Part of this has to do with our own personal styles. When you're looking at pretty dresses on Pinterest, of course you will naturally gravitate to what fits your style, whether it's 2016, 1916, or 1816.

My style veers towards redingotes, pelisses, military overtones, menswear vibes, orientalism, and clean lines. Some eras seem like they offer more for my style than others - for instance, the 1780s are full of everything I love, but I feel the turn of the 19th century isn't.

Of course, I'm wrong! It's just a matter of finding those fashion plates, extant pieces, and paintings that speak to us.

When deciding on the chapters in our 18th century costuming book, coming out next year, Abby and I deliberated on whether to include the 1790s or not. The silhouette changed significantly in the 1790s, which we though was important to include. However, we want to *really* focus on the 1790s as a period aesthetically quite different from the fashions to follow, with particular attention paid to the cut of the gown and the accessories. We want to show a different 1790s than the typical, and explore a period of dress unique and interesting in itself.

Without telling you *too* much of what we've been working on, here are some of our inspiration images:

Atelier of the Artist (Madame Vigee Le Brun and her Pupil Marie Victoire Lemoine) by Vigee Lebrun, 1796 (The Met)
Portrait of Countess Catherine Skavronskaya by Vigee-Lebrun, 1790
Theresa, Countess Kinsky by Vigee-Lebrun, 1793
Portrait of Empress Elisabeth Alexeievna (Louise of Baden) by Vigee-Lebrun, 1795
Portrait of a Young Woman, by Vigee-Lebrun, c. 1797
Princess Belozersky by Vigee-Lebrun, 1798
These paintings are all by Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun. The fashions are both French and Russian, but you can see the clear interest this period had in Eastern dress. Some of the gowns are white, some rich colors. The accessories are many - turbans, whimples, shawls, chemisettes, long sashes, exotic colors. This is a side of the 1790s that, to me, is rich and interesting and full of lots of enticing details.

What do you think? Do you like these looks or prefer the more English style?

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

What I Wore to the Election, November 1920

Day dress, c. 1920/1921. Silk with embroidery, paneled skirt, belt, and cotton underbodice.
In case you hadn't noticed.....

Today is election day. And for the first time, a woman is a real contender for President of the United States. Whether you support her or not, we can't deny that this is history in the making, which of course has got quite a lot of us women thinking about our right to vote.

Now, I voted early, a couple weekends ago, and there was no fanfare, not even much of a line. In, Vote, Out. Easy. Today, however, I am seeing many of my historical costuming friends going to the polls with some nod, however small, to the women's suffrage movement. Some are wearing gold and purple ribbons or jewelry; some are wearing original, antique "Votes for Women" pins; and some are wearing full historic dress with yellow sashes. So, of course, even though I already voted, I wanted to show my support-remembrance-respect-pride not for any particular candidate, but for our nearly-and-only 100-year-old "right" to vote.

The nineteenth amendment, that which prohibited any US citizen from being denied the right to vote based on sex (but let's be real here, we're talking only white women still), was ratified on August 18, 1920.

Day Dress, c. 1920/21 - found on eBay, this dress was marked as plus size, but fits 34 bust / 29 waist perfectly. The loose lines of the 1920s can be deceiving.
The dress I am wearing today is an original frock I found on eBay. Made of brown silk with rather heavy turquoise and black embroidery, the dress has an interior strong cotton underbodice, and a bajillion hooks and eyes. It was labeled as "plus size," but fits my 34-29-38 measurements perfectly, like it was made for me. I'm proud that today, Election Day, is its first wear.

 When I got the dress, I was giddy about the condition and the fit. I wasn't sure of the date - late teens? early 20s? - so I leapt down the Research Rabbithole with gusto and found, as if by magic, this dress in Everyday Fashions of the Twenties: As Pictured in Sears and Other Catalogs for the year 1921.

Sears catalog, 1921 - The dress pictured in the middle bears an uncanny resemblance to my dress.
The dress in the illustration does differ - just by looking at it, the motifs are different, the belt is broader, the sleeves taper, the neckline shape is different. In the description, the differences increase. It says:
31F5155 - Navy Blue 
31F5156 - Black 
31F5157 - Taupe 
One material that ever figures in fashion's scheme of things, regardless of the season is all silk satin messaline. Youthful grace has been displayed in the lines of the divided panels, so artistically trimmed with iridescent bead motifs. The generous girdle is adjusted in a novel way - the long fringe trimmed streamer slips through a loop, having the appearance of a knot. The waist lining of good quality batiste, is neatly finished at the top with a lacy looking edging.
The parts I marked in bold are where the two dresses differ rather greatly. Still, the design is almost exactly the same. It does make me wonder...where did my dress come from? Perhaps a competing catalog retailer? Perhaps it was made by a dressmaker? Maybe it even is a Sears dress (the Dover book is a survey, not a complete catalog), but from a different season, or pictured later or earlier in the same catalog.

Putting on the dress starts with the cotton underbodice. This is a sturdy cotton that hooks closed at center front. It is attached at the back and around the armscyes. There are additional bars on the left side (here seen on the right) to then hook the front of the silk bodice to.

The skirt has a hook and bar closure on the left side, along with a horizontal hook to keep the waist of the skirt attached to the underbodice.

The inset panel then hook across the underbodice, and the left side of the dress hooks to the panel. The belt isn't tied, but snaps together on the left side.
Whatever the origin of this piece, it's fascinating, rather sturdy, kindof fun to put on (unless you're in a hurry), and easy to wear. I've not got a hat as befits it (yet), but I badly marceled my hair and have worn black stockings and Gibson shoes, along with a gold, purple, and white ribbon.

Worth it in every way, to pay homage to the women who courageously fought for our right to vote, and who wore their best dresses to the polls this day in 1920.

All put together. Notably, there is no staybelt in this dress. The underbodice is quite fitted but not tight (I don't think it is too large or too small; just right). The rest of the dress is loose, not restricting in any way. Even the belt is loose. It's quite wonderful to wear.