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Mar 28, 2012

Makeup, Maternity, Girdles and MORE!



Friends, we're busy, busy, busy here at MPB Industries!

First, I was delighted -- and moved, really -- by your enthusiasm about Cathy's grossesse.  We're in a quandary, however, about maternity patterns.  Do we go with the Lucy look (up top and immediately below), or more of a Jackie pregnancy?  So many choices -- I want to make them all!





Meanwhile, my more immediate project is a pair of jeans for me.  I have my denim already -- indigo blue with no stretch -- and my plan is to launder and dry it a second time this afternoon.  I hope to get started tomorrow.



In other ripped-from-the-headlines news, I'm reading a fascinating book about the history of makeup -- Kathy Peiss's Hope in a Jar: The Making of America's Beauty Culture.  Are you familiar with it?  I'm still in the Nineteenth Century at the moment, but it's a very well-written (not too dry), well-researched book and I recommend it to anyone who has ever spent $37 on Chanel lipstick and asked themselves, Why am I doing this?



Fun fun FUN is Bound & Determined: A Visual History of Corsets, 1850-1960 by Kristina Seleshanko.  If you're interested in girdles -- and I know most of you are -- you'll enjoy this book, which features photos of vintage girdle and corset ads, along with a little history.  (Sadly, Spanx are not included.)











Meanwhile, in the movie queue is Lana Turner's campy biblical epic, The Prodigal on DVD.  I watched the trailer and I'm not sure if this one is campy enough for me to sit through.   I'd put it on reserve at the library and I can't even remember why.  Still, who doesn't love luscious Lana in a jewel-encrusted hairdo, dripping with beads?  It might be worth a try.





Also from the library is Alan Flusser's coffee-table tome, Dressing the Man: Mastering the Art of Permanent Fashion.  There aren't many books on men's style that I find interesting.  They're usually similarly full of vintage photos of movie stars like Cary Grant, Gary Cooper, and Fred Astaire dressed to the nines, and in that respect this one is no different.  (You don't see style books for women telling them they should still dress like Marlene Dietrich or Claudette Colbert, do you?) Still, there's a lot of what looks like interesting text here and useful information about how clothes should fit.  (Nothing about patching old pants, sadly.) 

If it's at the library, I'll give (almost) anything a shot and it's hard to resist a book with a chapter entitled "Hosiery Harmonies."













Any good fashion-related books you've been reading and wish to recommend -- or not? 

In closing, do you think girdles -- and their more-modern stretch substitutes -- are here to stay, or are we likely to look back on the last four hundred or so years and wonder, What was that about?

Have a great day, everybody!

20 comments:

  1. Regarding the Lucy or Jackie pregnancy look--I say do one of each. I like all 3 patterns.

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  2. Girdles are here to stay. With 68% of Americans overweight or obese, seems to me there's a huge market for it, pun intended. Evidenced by the Spanx inventor, Sara Blakely's, bank account: Blakely owns 100% of the private company, has zero debt, has never taken outside investment and hasn’t spent a nickel on advertising. At 41 she’s the youngest woman to join this year’s World’s Billionaires list without help from a husband or an inheritance. (from Forbes).
    I think the girdle/Spanx popularity will ebb and flow like anything else, but there will always be a market for it in some fashion.

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  3. I have a real addiction to girdle patterns, so far I have around 10 vintage ones. They are fantastic, I've been now spending time hunting down vintage books with girdle patterns in them. Fantastic that shape wear is coming back in style, now to find some more of my elusive bullet bra patterns!!

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    1. People sew their own girdles, too?

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    2. There are articles on how to pattern and sew bras, girdles, corselets, and so forth at Foundations Revealed. I think they're all in the members-only section of the site, which is accessed by paid subscription ($10/month), but they're SO COOL! I keep looking at the vintage pieces in Eleri Lynn's "Underwear: Fashion in Detail" (from the V&A) and thinking about how much I want to make some nifty girdles and bras. I should probably make a few of the corsets I need to work on first though. hehe, too many projects, too little time!

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  4. I've been reading a book, also from the library, for several months now - I've probably renewed it 5 times by now, it's slow going for me. It is Linda Grant's "The Thoughtful Dresser: The Art of Adornment, the Pleasures of Shopping, and Why Clothes Matter". I LOVE this book, and just bought a copy for myself online. It's the kind of book that you want to read in bits and pieces, then talk about with someone. I highly recommend it.

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  5. Marlene Dieterich (and Kate Hepburn and that iconic Nadya Auermann/Helmut Newton YSL Le Smoking photo) are _constantly_ brought up as menswear-for-women references.

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  6. "You don't see style books for women telling them they should still dress like Marlene Dietrich or Claudette Colbert, do you?"
    Peter, what planet do you live on??? Vintage fashion and looks are huge right now, and everywhere a gal turns there are books, blogs, classes, the works, to show you exactly how to look like Claudette or Marlena. Although personally, I feel that without the aid of black and white and 1930's grade film, a gal could look like Aunt Sally trying to do so!

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  7. I would much rather have my man dress akin to Cary Grant, Clark Gable or Fred Astaire than the cast of Jersey Shore. While three piece suits are no longer the daily staple, there is something about a dapper looking man. (In the interests of complete disclosure my boyfriend regularly leaves the house wearing threadbare shirts, shirts with holes as big as the armhole and ripped jeans. I hate it.)

    As for shapewear, it is definitely here to stay. I do wish it were easier to find reasonably priced substantial girdles that I'm not afraid I will rip or that will roll as soon as I sit down. A smooth curve is much more flattering than a lumpy, rolly looking waist. If I had the funds, I'd invest in some nice corsets as well as waist cinchers.

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  8. I vote the first and third patterns. The second patter is too much like a circus tent or a circus clown (never a look a woman tries for).

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  9. I haven't read that particular history of corsets (astonishingly enough! is it new?) but if you're interested in such things, I highly recommend Valerie Steele's "The Corset: A Cultural History." It's really fantastic - extremely well-researched, nicely written, beautifully illustrated, and best of all, not full of lies! I'm a historian, and I study clothing specifically, and it drives me crazy to see how dreadful most histories of underclothing, especially foundation garments, are. I reviewed a bunch of them for my undergraduate thesis project, and it was a harrowing experience! I'll have to look into your library book and see how it compares to Steele's book, which I love to tiny little pieces.

    (My notes about it are here, if you're curious: http://bygoneglamour.wordpress.com/2011/04/13/ab-steele-the-corset/)

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  10. Girdles are here to stay. Women will have bellies to firm up after having babies until they invent another method of reproduction. In fact, Cathy's back will benefit greatly from wearing a girdle while playing the waiting game. Tim Gunn let us all know he was wearing shapewear at the Oscar Red carpet. It may change, but it will not go away. I can't ever find what I need in that department. I hope for help daily. Any of the maternity patterns will look great. It will be the fabric choice that will make or break the look.

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  11. I can't imagine anyone who has ever worn materniy clothing wanting to look like the picture on pattern #2704, the blouson look! Yikes! How hideous can you get? The Jackie Kennedy styles are better, but stretch garb is what I'd choose if I had to.

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  12. In the 1920's women would wear a corset starting the day they left the hospital after giving birth for a year to keep their hips from staying bigger because of the 1920's fashion for boyish figures. My FIT grad grandmother wrote a book in the early 1930's about pregnancy through toddler raising in NYC and mentions this along with a lot about maternity wear of the time.

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  13. Girdles are necessary to look flat tummied--internal organs push out unless you have zero body fat and rock hard abs. That Playtex commercial is scary, with long line bra over girdle. Skin doesn't need to breathe!
    If history teaches anything it's that people will suffer to look good. Even pragmatic me, sometimes.

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    Replies
    1. I wonder if this is more common among women than men...

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    2. I think in general women in our society are socialized to worry more about their appearance than men are. Men worry about other things but in general as long as they can get their clothes on don't worry about their weight nearly as much.

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    3. My grandmother always wore a girdle, she made it herself. She also said after giving birth women would bind up their stomachs,

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  14. I actually had two custom-made corsets that took me down 2 inches (from 26 to 24 inches on a 38-26-38 figure). It took some doing to get used to them; even a 2-inch waist reduction in one of these things is brutal, let me tell you; don't know how Scarlett O'Hara survived the 16-inch waist cinch!)! But boy-o-boy...I once went to a party wearing a dress I had worn before (longish, slim-fitting, rounded non-low neckline, dropped waist with a wide flared tiered skirt) but underneath was the corset...all the men were FALLING OVER THEMSELVES to come over and chat me up...I never got a reaction like that in that dress before or afterwards so it had to have been the tiny waist! I loved having the waist but I didn't enjoy the discomfort they caused; the best part of wearing those corsets was TAKING THEM OFF.

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  15. I LOVE Kathy Peiss's work! Her book on women, families, and leisure time is also great! If you like Hope in a Jar, you might The Body Project by Joan Jacobs Brumberg.

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