September 16, 2014

Fill out Chronically Vintage's 2014 survey and you could win big!

It has been well over two years (I know, where on earth does the time go?!) since we last had a reader survey here on Chronically Vintage, and in the face of an ever changing, ever evolving online universe, I thought it was high time for another.
This survey includes questions not only about Chronically Vintage the blog, but also the Etsy shop, as well as CV on social media. From day one, your impute and feedback have always been extremely important to me and I genuinely care about what kind of an experience you have when you interact with any of my sites. I value and adore my readers and online friends and would wholeheartedly appreciate it if you took a few quick minutes to fill out this survey.

{Now's your chance, take this Chronically Vintage reader poll, tell me your thoughts loud and clear, and you could win a $75.00 Chronically Vintage Etsy store credit to spend on anything in the shop. I can't wait to hear what you save to say. Image source.}

Once you've done so, please leave me a comment on this post letting me know that you've taken the survey. All comments will automatically be entered in a draw for a $75.00 store credit, which can be put towards any item (or items) in my Etsy vintage shop (that is/are available at the time you redeem your store credit).

Please note that if the item(s), including shipping, that are selected exceed $75.00, the additional cost is the responsibility of the winner. If you have any questions about this giveaway, please don't hesitate to email me any time.
In one month's time (I want to keep it open for a month to give lots of folks the chance to fill it out), I will use a random number generator to draw the winner, contact them via email or Facebook private message, and announce their name on Facebook and/or Twitter. This giveaway is open to readers from around the world and the only condition for entry is that you fill out the the survey below.
In addition, to thank you for filling out this survey, all those who complete it will receive a special, limited time coupon code (upon completion of the survey) which they can use in the shop until October 16, 2014.

Please note that your answers are completely anonymous and confidential. I will see your answers, but I won't know who or where they're coming from, so please be as honest and forthright as you'd like when filling out these questions.


Thank you very, very much, everyone, for your time and help. I'm always on the hunt for new and innovative ways to grow and better my blog, shop, and social media presences, and really look forward to studying the data this immensely helpful survey will provide me with and doing just that as we head into the last leg of this year and well beyond.

September 14, 2014

Photos of early and mid-century Miss America winners

Though there are no shortage of different opinions on the Miss America contest - and beauty pageants in general - and I know full well that not everyone out there is a diehard fan, I think it's relatively safe bet to say that what unites nearly all of those reading this post today is a general love of, and appreciate for the past, which includes looking at vintage photographs, even if they're of beauty pageant winners.

Started as a marketing ploy by the Businessmen's League of Atlantic City to lure visitors to the boardwalk after the Labour Day long weekend, the traditional end of the tourist season had wrapped up, and ultimately evolving into a hugely popular televised event decades later that is broadcast to many countries around the world, the Miss America contest has not been without its share of ups and downs (as well as contrary including anti-Semitism and racism - prior to 1950, for example, the contest was only open to Caucasian participants) over the years.

Ultimately though, it held on and flourished, giving rise to the dreams of many a young lady across America over the better part of the last nearly ninety years and becoming a cultural institution of sorts in the United States (and beyond). Often imitated (there are, for example, similar competitions such as Miss USA, which began in 1952), but never, save perhaps in more recent decades by Miss Universe, which is open to participants from around the globe, quite matched, Miss America is to beauty pageants as Barbie dolls are to the toy world: Glitzy, beautiful, heavily made up, and often met with criticism, yet few can deny its rightful place in 20th and 21st century culture.

In celebration of the fact that today is the 88th Miss America event, I thought it would be fun to take a peak at each of the earliest earliest winners, starting all the way back in 1921 with Margaret Gorman, the first ever winner of this now world famous event which was initially held in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and spanning the mid-century years until 1960, when a Mississippi gal named Lynda Lee Mead took home the crown.

{Miss America 1921 ~ Margaret Gorman}

{Miss America 1922 and 1923 (intitially participants could compete for more than one year) ~ Mary Katherine Campbell}

{Miss America 1924 ~ Ruth Malcomson}

{Miss America 1925 ~ Fay Lanphier}

{Miss America 1926 ~ Norma Smallwood}

{Miss America 1927 ~ Lois Delander}

{Miss America 1933 (the contest was not held between 1928 and 1932; in addition, the 1933 winner retained the title throughout 1934 as, again, no pageant was held that year) ~ Marian Bergeron}

{Miss America 1935 ~ Henrietta Leaver}

{Miss America 1936 ~ Rose Coyle}

{Miss America 1937 ~ Bette Cooper}

{Miss America 1938 ~ Marilyn Meseke}

{Miss America 1939 ~ Patricia Donnelly}

{Miss America 1940 ~ Frances Marie Burke}

{Miss America 1941 ~ Rosemary LaPlanche}

{Miss America 1942 ~ Jo-Carroll Dennison}

{Miss America 1943 ~ Jean Bartel}

{Miss America 1944 ~ Venus Ramey}

{Miss America 1945 ~ Bess Myerson}

{Miss America 1946 ~ Marilyn Buferd}

{Miss America 1947 ~ Barbara Jo Walker}

{Miss America 1948 ~ BeBe Shopp}

{Miss America 1949 ~ Jacque Mercer}

{Miss America 1951 (due to changes with how the dates of a winner's reign occurred, there was no Miss America 1950) ~ Yolande Betbeze}

{Miss America 1952 ~ Colleen Kay Hutchins}

{Miss America 1953 ~ Neva Jane Langley}

{Miss America 1954 ~ Evelyn Margaret Ay}

{Miss America 1955 ~ Lee Meriwether}

{Miss America 1956 ~ Sharon Ritchie}

{Miss America 1957 ~ Marian McKnight}

{Miss America 1958 ~ Marilyn Van Derbur}

{Miss America 1959 ~ Mary Ann Mobley}

{Miss America 1960 ~ Lynda Lee Mead}

{Please click on a photo to be taken to its respective source.}

♥ ♥ ♥

Even if you're not keen on beauty pageants (I can see all sides of the coin there, believe me), it's hard not swoon over the stylish clothing, hairstyles, makeup looks and overall sense of glamour that these gorgeous yesteryear winners all shared in common and that alone is worth shining the spotlight on at least once a year.

September 12, 2014

There is no tiger...

...But that doesn't mean you take some serious fashion cues from one!

Vintage Fashionista Friday blog graphic for Chronically Vintage photo VintagefashionistaChronicallyVintag.png

{Who doesn't love a great vintage inspired headwrap like this wonderful leopard print cotton gem? It's cute, practical, fun, and such a handy helper when it comes to creating mid-century, rockabilly, and pin-up girl hairstyles alike. $14.00 from Eternal Magpie.}

{You're eyes will look especially fierce when you surround these fantastic 1950s tiger meets confetti clear horn rim style eyeglass frames, which are the purr-fect blend of mid-century fabulous and modern day appropriate cool all in the same go. $98.00 from Dia Vintage.}

{Reminiscent of late summer sunsets, harvest moons, fall pumpkins, these timelessly pretty orange plastic 1950s/1960s clip-on earrings are an ideal, lightweight way to bring one of the season's most iconic colours to your wardrobe. $9.50 from Chronically Vintage on Etsy. }

{Go on, I double dare you not to squeal with sheer delight over this immensely cute vintage 1960s kitty cat novelty print blouse! It's sweet, fun, and adorable - not to mention bursting with several of the finest shades from autumn's palette. Fits up to a 38" bust/28-29" waist. $86.00 from from Rococo Vintage.}

{Though we may still technically have a few more days of summer left, for most of us, the temperatures have already started to take a noticeable plunge and our minds are shifting more to thoughts of overcoats than swimsuits at the moment. If you want to stay roasty-toasty and look seriously chic in the process, than this awesome 1950s/1960s faux tiger fur coat is for you. Fits up to a 45" bust, full waist and hips. $155.00 from True Value Vintage.}

{Rich, luxurious gold tone metal and faux tiger eye plastic stones call this strikingly elegant, circa 1970s/80s does 1930s/40s bracelet home, and would make for such a fabulous, autumn hued piece of vintage jewelry to wear to your next Thanksgiving get-together. $25.00 from Chronically Vintage on Etsy.}

{My renewed summertime love for vintage reproduction swing trousers is going mighty strong as we look fall's return square in the eyes. As we do just that, I find myself especially yearning for pairs in dark, seasonally fantastic hues like these beautiful brown pinstripe 1940s vintage reproduction pants. Available in modern ladies UK sizes 10 to 18. £60.00 from Heyday.}

{Oh-la-la - and then some!!! This wildly alluring, figure flattering 1980s does 1940s tiger print peplum dress is all kinds of magnificent! From the "killer" pattern to the summer into fall perfect sleeve and hem lengths, this yesteryear frock will have all who see you roaring with praise about your ensemble. Fits up to a 40" bust/20-38" (elastic) waist. $29.00 from Bombshell Shocked.}

{At the moment, I'm tucking away my summertime accessories and bringing out my fall and winter ones, be they berets, boots, or gloves, to ensure they're all ready to go at at moment's (chilly!) notice. A gal can never have to many great winter gloves as these vintage appropriate brown leather beauties embellished with brass studs would look right at home in my - our your - mid-century wardrobe. Available in modern ladies sizes small to XL. $45.00 from Blue Velvet Vintage.}

{While we tend to typically associate them with spring and summer, there's no reason why vintage straw handbags like this good sized, classic 1960s beaut can't keep on serving us well come autumn, too - especially on sunny days when their flaxen hues call to mind fields of wheat, corn, and barley all waiting to be harvest. $38.00 from Dalena Vintage.}

{Suede high heels have been a favourite of mine for many years, with my beloved black 40s pair being one of my most currently sported pairs. If these beautiful brown suede 1950s pair was my size (they're a touch too small), I'd be adding them to my closet. My loss, is your gain, especially if you're hunting for fall time fabulous vintage high heels. Fits a vintage size 7AAA. $79.20 from The Best Vintage Clothing.}

What, dear Jess, are you talking about, you may be wondering as you read the title and introductory line of today's post. Allow me to elaborate.

You see, I am blessed to have a husband who is incredibly wise and insightful. I don't say that with any bias. If I knew, but was not married/in love with Tony, I would still say that he deserves to have a word like "sage" in front of his name, for he possesses that rare and fantastic combination of true intellect, stealth-like perceptiveness, deeply rooted compassion, the ability to see logic in any setting, and a knack for putting one's mind at ease, which is worth more than all the gold and diamonds in the world.

This isn't to say that he doesn't worry sometimes himself (how can anybody not?), but that of the two of us, I tend to be the one who worries far more - especially about things that are, objectively, not worth fretting over for two seconds, let alone days or longer. I'm no stranger to genuine anxiety, and stress and I might as well wear matching halves of a grade school BBF necklace.

I have a near crippling fear of confrontation and another of not pleasing people when I know they want me to do something (they're two sides of the same coin most of the time), as well as a workaholic's approach to business. My health is forever throwing curveballs my way that means I quite literally do no know what my world will be like, in some ways at least, from one day to the next. I am a recovering perfectionist (I was a major one as a child) and great fan of everything being in order, even though I know full well that life is never endingly chaotic.

This year, with the significant number of changes that have been underway in my life (especially on the professional front), which I chatted about recently in this post, I've been dealing with - what is in the scope of my personal world and circumstances - an unhealthy amount of stress and worry. As I discussed in that post, I'm working on taking steps to reduce that somewhat, but as we all know - such is easier said than done with it comes to scaling back on stress and work alike. Enter the title of today's Vintage Fashionista Friday post. You see, sometimes, when I'm having an especially difficult day on the stress/anxiety/worry front, my perceptive, caring husband will say to me, "It's okay, there's no tiger chasing you". And he is 100% correct.

Our brains (and nervous systems) are products of our human evolution. Once, long ago, we were traveling bands of hunters and nomads whose lives were constantly in danger. We developed certain internal systems and responses (such as the flight or fight response) to help us survive and cope in these harsh, life or death conditions. In fact, we lived in these kinds of circumstances for millions of years more than we've yet to dwell in cities, had weapons like swords and guns to defend us, and created man made barriers to keep the wolves at the gate, both literally and figuratively.

Yet, as with so many elements of how we behave and respond to the situations we find ourselves in millennia after most of us started to form civilizations and no longer live quite so on the edge of constant treats to our lives (or at the very least, not all of those same ones that our early ancestors knew on the plains of Africa), we still respond internally to danger and worry exactly the same way. We're hardwired to do so and overriding that internal programming is so hard, it verges on impossible.

How can you tell your brain, the epicenter of your emotions and thoughts, to just chill and take it easy, that most of the worries and problems we face today are not matters of our very survival and that, ultimately, you'll be okay? There isn't an easy answer to that question, but learning to put stress and worry into prospective can be a big leap forward there. Believe me, I speak from experience. Tony is also fond of saying (in situations that worry me), "What's the worse that can happen?", and he is so incredibly right – what is the worst that could happen? Usually, when you spell the realistic worse case scenario to a given situation out in black and white, it's not as bad as you've made the possible outcome to be in your head.

We may still have our ancestors responses to worry and danger, but we don't have their set of daily challenges. Now there’s a new, different, equally (if not more so) complex ones, which we may adapt to and come to handle differently in many thousands of more generations, but for now, we're still dealing with a hunter-gather's brain clothed in Nike shoes, Armani suits, Levis jeans, or - in our case - vintage threads.

However, we're very fortunate that there isn't (with exceptions made of course for those who still live in parts of the world where animal attacks are a very real threat) a tiger chasing us. We can stop, breath, take stock of our thoughts and circumstances, discuss our problems with loved ones and paid strangers (such as doctors and psychologists) alike, and decide how we want to take down the beast that it is our own worry and stress.

This is a luxury our ancestors rarely had when a wild, menacing creature was hunting them every bit as much as they had their spears aimed at the animal itself, and we're profoundly fortunate that such is the case, however we must be incredibly careful that we don't let stress us eat us alive, instead of a saber tooth tiger.

I share this topic today, which I know has rather little, objectively, to do with vintage fashion, other than providing a tie in theme for this fun yesteryear outfit, in the hopes that if you're also a chronic worrier and/or if something has really been weighing on your mind and bringing a lot of stress into your life lately, you can also avail of Tony's insight - so simple, yet so brilliant in its entirety.

Instead of running from imaginary tigers, let's access each worrisome situation as it comes our way, remind ourselves that we likely have the strength and coping skills needed to survive it, and spend our days far less consumed by stress and way more filled with peace, happiness, and all of the amazing things that we're fortunate to have in the 21st century - very much including our beloved fashions from the past (animal print or otherwise).