Lady Levis®

Jeans had been around for sixty years before it occurred to anyone that women might like to wear them too. Designed as tough workwear for miners in 1873, they had been swiftly adopted by cowhands and other chaps in the American west as comfortable, practical clothes. That’s not to say women didn’t wear the men’s…

The Museum of Shops

“I remember that.” “My mum had one of those.” “We used to have one exactly like that.” If The Museum of Shops or ‘How We Used To Live’ had a ha’penny for every time one of the above phrases was uttered in its hallowed halls, it would probably be able to move to larger premises. As…

Tiki Chic

One of the least-played records in my vinyl collection is Bing Sings Songs of the Islands. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I was seduced by the picture on the front: El Bingo is resplendent, happily sporting several Leis and a sailor hat. It was only after playing half a side that…

Brownie Points

The joy of the Box Brownie. Part One – Buying a box camera. I’m always a bit surprised when people ask me if the box cameras I’m carrying around with me have actual film in them or worse, if they’re even real. They seem to think I’ve adapted them for use with a digital camera, or that I’ve somehow managed to hide…

The Delicate Art of the Evening Glove

Evening gloves conjure up the opulence of a bygone era like tiaras and opera glasses. Every lady should know how to wield a pair, but they are fickle mistresses. Well-chosen, they’ll transform that tired old cocktail shift into something Edith Head would be proud of. Poorly chosen, you’ll be mistaken for a hen-night refugee and…

Vintage-Hunting in the USA

American Retro and Western classic memorabilia have a big following here in Britain – we love to collect everything from 1950s kitsch – gumball machines and carnival glass – through to gambling memorabilia and pyjama-party chintz. Much of what’s available here, though, is either replica, tatty original or very expensive. It’s hardly surprising – dealers…