Sometimes, our greatest inspirations for new looks come from the past. Which is why we love The American Vernacular, a recently launched (it started last November!) online vintage store with fantastic, bygone-era inspired taste. Each piece on the site comes with information about its brand history, written by TAV’s owner and founder, Bryn Lander. This week, Bryn shares her vintage style secrets with us and gives the down low on how to score those glam, leading lady looks.
(Row 1) left to right: Louise Brooks, Josephine Baker, Clara Bow, Claudette Colbert
(Row 2) left to right: Bette Davis, Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Coco Chanel
The ﬁrst truly modern era in terms of fashion and style was the 1920s to 1930s. Women were embracing their newfound freedoms and means of self-expression in the wake of World War I—not to mention the passage of the 19th amendment, which gave us gals the right to vote. Woot woot!
Get inspired by some of the great films from the early years of Hollywood’s Golden Age, like Clara Bow’s It (1927), Greta Garbo’s first talkie Anna Christie (1930), Marlene Dietrich and Anna May Wong in Shanghai Express (1932), and Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert’s romantic screwball comedy It Happened One Night (1934). Click through to see how to get style like these classic leading ladies!
1. Joy by Jean Patou Paris
Released at the height of the Great Depression, Joy was marketed as “the world’s most expensive perfume” for upscale clientele who could no longer afford couture fashions. Voted “Scent of the Century” by the Fragrance Foundation, this is still the world’s second best-selling perfume.
2. Broadtail Fur Evening Stole (The American Vernacular)
Fur stoles and collars were hugely popular and an easy way to accessorize less formal ensembles during the Depression era. These pieces accentuated the shoulders and helped women achieve an air of strength and glamor.
3. Art Deco-Style Compacts
Wearing makeup and applying it in public became a sign of reﬁnement and self assurance. Engraved Art Deco-style compacts and cigarette holders were all the rage.
4. Morabito Micro-Beaded Clutch (The American Vernacular)
Elaborately ornamented evening clutches, often designed with matching mirror compacts, were carried by chic women for evenings out.
5. Chanel L’Exquise Velvet Matte Lipstick
Red lipstick and matching manicured nails in a deep shade of red called Oxblood became a symbol of sexuality and women embracing their power. The look of the era was achieved with powder, a little rouge, and thin arched brows that were drawn in with dark pencil.
6. Inlaid Tropical Wood Bangles (The American Vernacular)
Art Deco drew lots of inspiration from the Far East and other exotic locales. After the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb and artifacts in 1922 by Howard Carter, Egyptian motifs became hugely popular.