Monday, 23 December 2013

Top Ten outfits from vintage Christmas cards.

Over the past month and a half I have been using Pinterest to put together a board on vintage Christmas'. I have been looking at photographs, gift wrap, decorations, adverts and, of course, Christmas cards. I have concentrated on the 1950's and 1960's but if I have liked it I have pinned it! Whilst looking at the cards I realised that they are actually a great source of vintage fashion, something I had not really considered before. Obviously, some are stylised and some reference a period later than the one in which they were produced but amongst those are the ones that capture the time in which they were made perfectly. If you want to see more, here is my board, The ghost of Christmas past.

So, I decided to put together a selection of the marvellous outfits that can be found on these cards. If my vintage wardrobe was extensive enough and if money was no object and perhaps if the weather was snowy this is what I would be wearing over this festive season.

Such a simple illustration using a limited colour palette to such great effect. How glamorous and festive is this lovely 1950's Christmas shopper? A lovely thick (maybe fur) white jacket, cosy turned up collar and wide turned up bracelet cuffs. It should be nice and warm in the snow. It looks like it is fastened with a gold brooch - a nice styling tip there! Accessorised with long black gloves, a black beret and stud earrings. Gorgeous!

Unfortunately I did not have an outfit like this to wear whilst hanging the baubles on my Christmas tree. It is very glamorous but if you break it down into separate garments it is surprisingly easy to recreate. A crimson skirt is always festive, make it a circle skirt with a petticoat underneath and you have a winner. The sash can be recreated using wide satin ribbon. Polka dot tops are reasonably easy to come by, or you could make your own from an original 1950's pattern if sewing is your thing. Finish off with red heels, red lipstick, a choker and set hair. Lovely!

A change of period here and a softer look, bathed in candlelight. A full length shell pink silk dress with double flounces at the sleeves. It is almost impossibly elegant. A red ribbon sash and a red ribbon at the neck line are the only other details. What I really like is how it is all accessorised with the most Christmassy of plants - poinsettias. These could be made out of felt or fabric and turned into hair decorations or even a cocktail hat to help recreate this look. Just beautiful!

I really want this dress, it is simple but stylish and I am a sucker for a green polka dot! I love the big, big skirt, either double layered plain then polka dot fabric, or with a polka dot petticoat if such a thing exists! It has a very demure look with the high neckline, the pussy cat bow and the three quarter length sleeves. Add long white gloves and simple black heels and you are good to go. Spot those poinsettias again. Fabulous!

How great would it be to have an outdoor outfit like this? It truly is an outfit, not just a coat to keep out the cold. I think I need to look for something which has this effect. It has to be said that white coats do look beautiful despite being a little impractical unless constant dry cleaning is an option. I love this fitted bodice and swinging skirt trimmed with black wool, maybe Astrakhan or fur. A great big hand muff for toasty fingers, a warm fur collar and a matching hat. The white pom pom is a lovely touch. I guess she isn't dealing with the worst of winter weather as she strides out in those white heels but they do compliment her outfit perfectly. The colour pop from the red handbag is so stylish. Perfect!

Another Christmas shopper striding through the snow with a teetering tower of parcels and a dog!? I think this is a fantastic use of festive reds and greens without being over the top. The green coat is lovely but it is the lining which caught my eye, those green polka dots on a yellow background. Sadly we can't see much of the red dress but it looks to have a pencil skirt. I can't decide if it is a pinafore dress with a white shirt underneath or if it is a white scarf. The red hat is so cute, I think I have a knitting pattern for something pretty similar so I am going to have a go at that. Fantastic!

I just love this, it is so simple and so glamorous. I am far too messy to wear an all white outfit but I can dream! From the white knitted bonnet trimmed with gold stars, to the lovely fluffy hand muff to the beautiful circle skirt it is just perfection. I love the gold and red holly trim on the skirt and I think it would be possible to at least recreate this part of the outfit by embroidering the design onto a plain white circle skirt. Glorious!

Apart from the lovely outfit catching my eye I was also taken by the poodle! I do love a 1950's poodle, in all shapes and sizes. Candy canes are clearly the influence behind this outfit and why not take your inspiration from confectionery at this time of year?!The black beret with three gold circles is a nice touch as is the striped and fringed scarf. Again, I love the full skirt and the overall shape of the outfit. Marvellous!

I am not always a massive fan of pink but I could not resist this dress. It is partly the shape, lovely circle skirt, fitted boat neck bodice which falls into a cowl. It would be a fantastic party dress, maybe I wouldn't be wearing it to hang my decorations like she is. Then again, if I had it, I might well wear it every day just to enjoy it, regardless of the occasion. It is finished off with long black gloves and little pink shoes. I do like a bit of matchy matchy! Her headpiece looks a bit like it is made from ribbon and fur cones. With a headband and a glue gun this could easily be achieved. Superb!

So, not a serious outfit, lacking the elegance and glamour of some of the others but how much fun is this?! It could easily be made if you were in need of a seasonal fancy dress outfit. It cleverly references the tree shape, a plain green dress in the correct shape could be adorned with baubles or brooches for a subtler take on the look. Finish with gold beads and make a star headband to top it off. Magnificent!

Wishing you a very merry Christmas!


  1. Merry Christmas! What a wonderful selection of cards. There is something sweet and festive about these lovely ladies in their 50's "poof" skirts and dresses. I also agree with you about the green polka dot dress:)

    1. Love the term 'poof' skirt, am going to use it all the time from now on. My wardrobe definitely needs more poof! Hope you had a fabulous Christmas Joanna.

  2. I love these cards! Thank you for sharing them with us. I'd happily wear any of these outfits but it's jeans, boots and a ski jacket most days for me. Very boring. It's nice to dream though!

    I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and wish you all the best for 2014. x

    1. It is nice to dream and to have inspiration for when the occasion permits! I had a great Christmas thanks and I hope that you did too Gillian. Happy New Year.

  3. Super-duper fun post idea!!! It made me smile ear-to-ear and wish, most likely for the first time ever, for a Christmas tree dress of my own! :)

    Sweet Kate, as 2013 comes to a close, I really want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your unending support of, and countless wonderful comments on, my blog this year. I always look forward to hearing from you and the chats we share back and forth in the comments. Your a special, sweet, awesome friend and I'm so very happy to know you.

    Big hugs & countless happy wishes for 2014,
    ♥ Jessica

    1. Thank you so much Jessica, what lovely things to say. I greatly enjoy the chats we have and am looking forward to many more this year. I am very happy that we have become friends, it makes me very thankful for blogging. Big hugs to you too! I hope 2014 has started in a wonderful fashion.