"Out with the New, In with the Old!"

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Peep Through the Keyhole

"I couldn't discern it above the noise of my engine, but reporters said 'a reverent hush fell over the crowd.' This was appropriate, for I was praying."

- Lt. Benjamin D. Foulois, pilot of the first military flight in U.S. history, San Antonio, 1910

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Picture the Past: Employment in the Olden Days

After living in beautiful Texas for almost eleven years, I recently moved back to Arizona and left my old job behind.  I've begun the long, hard work of looking for employment - adjusting my resume, updating my LinkedIn profile, browsing through hundreds of listings, and reading books and articles on the best way to do it all.

My historically-geared mind harkens back to the olden days when one would "pound the pavement" in search of employment, when a handshake was often enough to secure a job instead of mounds of paperwork.  This led me to browse through my digital archives for photographs of people at work or learning a trade in the Victorian and Edwardian eras.  Some of these professions no longer exist, having been taken over by factories or replaced by newer inventions.

Whether you're delighted by the advance of technology or wish for these harder, but simpler days, we can appreciate the photographers who took the time to give us a glimpse of what would be the past.

c. 1860's - Author Louisa May Alcott

1884 - Construction site of the Statue of Liberty

1889 - Placer mining using a sluice near Rockerville, Dakota Territory

1899 - Carriage-building students at Hampton Institute

1899 - Cordwainer class, trade school

1899 - Furniture makers

1899 - Mechanical engineering class at Hampton Institute

1899 - Metal fabrication class

1899 - Students weaving and spinning at Hampton Institute

1899 - Woodworking class

c. 1890's - Animal catcher

c. 1890-1910 - Leonidas and Kizzy Shannon outside their store in Austin TX

1902 - Doctors operating on conjoined twins

1905 - Alvin Steam Laundry in Alvin TX

1905 - Telephone operator

1907 - Woman tending to a dog at the Bide-A-Wee home for animals in New York

1907 - Assistant sales manager J.E. Hintz & stenographer Nellie Ringo at Southern Pine Lumber Co. in Texarkana

1909 - Boys selling newspapers in Hartford CT

1909 - Women working in Brooklyn Navy Yard at a shop that made flags and other items for the U.S. Navy

c. 1900's - Census employee with tabulator, Washington D.C.

c. 1900's - Shoveling and hauling snow, Washington D.C.

December 31, 1909 - Dielman Engineering Firm, San Antonio TX

c. 1910 - Nurse at the Sea Breeze Jr. Hospital in New York City
c. 1910's - Coca-Cola delivery men, Greenville TX

Friday, January 10, 2014

A Peep Through the Keyhole

“Man cannot live by bread alone; he must have peanut butter.”

- James A. Garfield

Monday, December 23, 2013

How Christmas Lights Came to Be

Merry Christmas!

Below is a link to a fascinating article on the history of Christmas lights (hint: they're older than you probably think).  Surprise family and friends with your brilliant knowledge of this famous wintertime tradition!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Retro - How to Look the Part (II)

Part II

I am embarrassed at how long it took me to write this post. I'll admit it, I am a procrastinator. Although, it does throw a glitch in one's life when you go through an out-of-state move (I now live back in Arizona). Since it has been such a while from Part I of “Retro – How to Look the Part,” you might want to read it again before you read Part II. Here goes...

No matter what category of style you associate with, these tips and tricks apply to all. Based on my own journey to becoming a full-blown retro gal, I'd say the following are good ways to get started.

Research - Use the internet (oh, the irony!), encyclopedias, library books, movies, and anything else you can find to determine what era's fashion you most enjoy. Then study those same resources to discover what people wore, how they did their hair, how women wore make-up, etc.

Hairstyles – Changing your hair is one of the easiest ways to transform your look to another time. That goes for both men and women. I'll be honest with you, retro hair takes some fiddling with to get it how you want, but it is possible and worth the effort if you love the look. Depending on your level of enthusiasm, you may decide to dress they way they did but keep your hair up to date.

Accessories – Accessories are to retro style what ornaments are to a Christmas tree. Here are some of my favorites:
  • Old presidential campaign buttons
  • Non-prescription glasses
  • Scarves (for ladies)
Get creative! The possibilities are endless, and this is a sure way to display your passion for yesteryear.

There are a hundred ways to look retro, but above all:

Make it Practical - I simply adore the look of hoop skirts and lace-up boots. I'm nuts about hats from the 1910's and so many other things that would be impractical in today's world and rather hard to come by, too. Retro looks best, though, when it's livable. I don't mind looking a little different from today's crowd with my circa 1950's style. I would even be all right with dressing from the 1920's (not as a flapper, mind you). But a corset would certainly hinder from my daily activities, as I'm sure many other vintage articles of clothing would. Keep it practical and I can guarantee a more receptive audience.

So what era are you most drawn to? Do you have any tips to share with those who prefer styles of the past? Comment below and let us know!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Retro - How to Look the Part


So you love history.  And each time you read another book about “back then,” you wish just a little bit more that you could have lived in times like those.  I, personally, have almost gotten over the fact that time travel is impossible (but one can still dream, right?).  So I find contentedness in bringing the past back to life.  Here.  And now.

You may not aspire to go to such lengths as replacing everything you own with “antiques.”  Maybe you even think some items and fashion styles of yesteryear are dumb or ugly (even I do, though this may seem traitorous to the die-hard history buff).  I'll cut to the chase.  If you want to revive the classiness and charm of the past, look the part!

This definitely is not a challenge to take lightly.  Depending on your level of bravery, passion, and self-confidence, you can be placed in one of the following three categories:

The Fledgling
You are a novice at wearing on the outside what passion for the past you feel inside.  You can imagine yourself in historical garb and desperately want to muster enough courage to completely look the part.  But you get a funny feeling when showing up in it at stores and such (sort of like the first time I wore a petticoat outside the house.)  For now, you've decided to stick with vintage accessories and vintage-styled clothes and see how things go.

The Feeler
You're the kind of person who dresses how you're feeling.  This includes the marvelous sensation you get upon donning the “new” vintage dress you won on eBay or the favorite hat grandpa passed down to you.  But comfort first, people.  The dress is gorgeous, but it'll have to go with a nice pair of sandals, because heels just kill your feet.  And that hat goes just fine with jeans and a smart polo because suits are simply out of the question.  You're quite okay with not being historically accurate.

The Full-out Fanatic
Over the years, your passion for dressing vintage has grown right along with your self-confidence.  The trends of today do not sway your style.  You constantly look for ways to demodernize your appearance, and are gradually transforming your wardrobe to historically authentic choices.  On days when you feel especially daring, those gloves and hats come on, and the cell phone is left behind when leaving the house.

Which category do you associate with?  I must admit to being a Full-out Fanatic!  Share your style in the comment section below.


Check back for Part II for tips on getting started with “Looking the Part.”