Book Review: Miller’s Collecting Fashion & Accessories
I’ve been cataloguing the Significant Seams Stitch and Craft Library recently, and it’s been inspiring. When I came to book number 200, it felt like quite a milestone. Therefore, this review is of Miller’s Collecting Fashion & Accessories, by author Carol Harris.
When it comes to the idea of ‘Collecting’ fashion, I’m not sure about it. More and more shops are now springing up with those ‘Vintage’ clothes, and some seem to have been trading for quite a long time, particularly in the quirky areas of Brick Lane and Camden. I must admit that recently, I’ve found myself browsing in my local charity shops for new old clothes, and whilst I’ve picked up some bargains, it’s not true to say that I’ve ever really thought of it as collecting. On the other hand, if you saw my wardrobe, you’d find I have quite a huge collection indeed!
The book starts off with an introduction and then a chronology of key points about the fashions in each decade, after which it splits into a section covering each of these, further separated into Daywear, Eveningwear, Lingerie, Accessories and Menswear.
I’ve always found the daywear of the 50’s of particular interest and indeed I quite often seek out dresses in the style of the bright, full skirted summer dresses, but I was horrified to come across some of the eveningwear styles for the same decade, which I would never wear!
With the popularity of period TV shows such as Downton Abbey and Mr Selfridge, these days we are getting more of a glimpse into what fashion was like during the early 1900’s, and it is interesting to learn from the book about the value of items from this era. Unless they’re extremely decorative, they don’t seem to be worth as much as collectibles as I would have expected – which I suppose means that this brings them into an affordable price range for people who like to scour the charity or vintage shops.
As a sourcebook of design for each of the periods, the book is very interesting – it shows the glamour of the 20’s eveningwear contrasted with the simplicity of the wartime clothing and the influence of military on design in the 40’s. Most importantly, key pieces from each decade are pulled out and described so that anyone with an interest in fashion could further research and perhaps create their own unique collectable piece using the ideas, colours and cuts of pieces from any of the eras.
To get more into the spirit of things, I popped into Gigi’s Dressing Room in Wood Street Indoor Market and had a look at all the fab things she has for sale and for those on a budget. She even has items for hire! I was pleasantly surprised to come across many things I’d be happy to have in my wardrobe, and for very reasonable prices. The book has had me thinking more ‘outside the box’ as to what might suit me and be a bit different from what I might find on the high street.
You can find this book and many other craft resources and patterns in the Stitch & Craft Library.
Gigi’s Dressing Room is based at 100 Wood Street, E17 3HX
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/GiGis-Dressing-Room/408189179247374
With kind thanks for Gigi’s enthusiasm, lovely service and letting me see what I was missing! The pictures are both of items from her shop.