The Vintage Designer Fashion Guide

Couture Chanel Sneakers for Spring? Why Not! April 19 2022

The CHANEL Spring Summer 2014 Haute Couture Sneaker Collection in Paris was a breath of fresh air in more ways than one.  Seeing pale pinks and metallic silvers start the show were enough to melt my polar vortex heart, but then what’s this?  Sneakers?!  Leave it to Karl Lagerfeld to pair sumptuous boucle’s and silks with haute sneakers.  It’s love.  It wouldn’t be fair to not mention the silver Chanel fanny packs, because who doesn’t need a Chanel fanny pack?  See the full video below and pick up your Vintage Chanel Fanny Pack Now in Gold at Rice and Beans Vintage!

Experince the Original Saks Fifth Avenue Opening in 1924 April 19 2022

Okay, I’ll say it.  If you’re looking for a feel-good fashion experience—a real look-around-in-awe sort of moment—Saks Fifth Avenue is the place to go.  Especially during the holiday season when the windows have all been magically transformed into miniature wonderlands and you could spend forever and a day watching the light show across the exterior of the building—but that’s another topic for another day.  No, Saks is one of the best places to go if you’re looking for luxury and class and a touch of fabulousness.

The first Saks Fifth Avenue was opened in 1924 by Horace Saks and Bernard Gimbel back in a time when New York City’s Fifth Avenue was more of a residential area than the bustling shopping mecca it is today.  Their goal was to provide the finest quality clothing and accessories available, and offer exceptional customer service; these goals have obviously remained paramount to the company’s objectives today.  Since then, Saks has grown to be an international brand, with 43 stores in 23 states, and 4 leased international stores.  Since then, they have also launched an online store and over 60 Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th outlet stores—and as hard as I’m listening, I hear no one complaining.

The best way to get the Saks experience is, of course, the flagship store on Fifth Avenue.  If you are fortunate enough to be able to pay a visit to the store, just think about all the fashionable and trendy men and women who have walked in those same doors for almost 90 years—and then walked out with Saks bags stuffed with Gucci loafers, Givenchy pumps, and Diane von Furstenberg dresses. I mean, come on—it’s an entire city block and it has 10 floors—what could be better?!

So I guess what I’m trying to say is this—if you’re looking for me, try the Eighth Floor of the original Saks Fifth Avenue.  That’s the shoe floor.  It’s so big it has its own zip code.  Drool.

History and Trends of 1940's Fashion April 19 2022

If the 1930s was all about chic glamour, the 1940s was about being girly and flirty, but also (for the first time, really—hurrah!) professional.  Who doesn’t love a classic suit, a tea dress, and the very image of Rosie the Riveter?

Obviously the event in the 1940s that influenced everything else was World War II.  With the majority of the healthy, appropriately-aged male population on the front lines, women really took the reins and set about to make sure the country continued to operate. Women rallied to fill the vacant jobs and became our Rosie the Riveter heroes even today, 70-something years later.

Rationing during the war years undoubtedly influenced the styles of the time period.  1940s fashion, or so-called utility clothing featured squared shoulders, narrow hips, and skirts that fell to just below the knee—excess fabric wasn’t available anyway, so it was eliminated.  Women of the 1940s were educated to conserve material, and they often updated older dresses to reflect the latest fashions—clever and resourceful.  Nylons were still considered essential before the outbreak of WWII, but during the war years the fabric was reserved for the production of parachutes.  Because of the scarcity, bare legs were acceptable—but you better believe there was a rush on nylon stockings after the war when production started back up.  I think it may have been a little like the footage you see of the Filene’s wedding dress sales, but a little more refined.

1940’s Dorothy O’Hara Dress at Rice and Beans Vintage

Blouses paired with skirts and skirt suits gave women the professional air they yearned for—but obviously some jobs required clothing that was a little more rugged.  Enter: wide-leg pants (slacks, if you will), and denim—talk about an influence that has been felt ever since!

1945 fashion at Neiman Marcus

By the end of the 40s fashion designer Christian Dior unveiled his first collection, featuring full skirts and waist-cinching jackets—the so-called New Look.  (side note: so fab)  This aesthetic replaced the wartime utility fashions, and an absolute embracement of femininity began.  Dior wasn’t the only big name to come out of the 1940s—think Bonnie Cashin, Anne Klein, and Nina Ricci, as well.

New Look Suit by Christian Dior 1947
Not sure about you, but I think we should be thanking the women of the 1940s—I know I’m not the only one out there who enjoys a comfy pair of jeans, wedge sandals, full skirts, flirty little tea dresses, and, perhaps most importantly, the opportunity to work in any sort of previously male-dominated job.  Thanks, ladies!
1940’s Fashion: Trousers!
written by Heather Cox for Rice and Beans Vintage

What Influenced Fashion of the 1930’s April 19 2022

Some of the most glamorous vintage fashion of the 1930’s is only left to photographs of actresses from the era.  There’s just something about those women!   The Marlene Dietrich’s, Mae West’s, and Greta Garbo’s of the world just seem so sexy, so chic, so sophisticated, and just so effortless.

I’m not the only one who admires those images, of course—when those pictures were taken, and when those women—and countless others like them—were active and in the spotlight, everyone took stock of what they were wearing and how they looked.  (I guess nothing has changed, right?)  But in a decade shaped by so many momentous and devastating events, who can blame them?

Let’s start at the beginning (of the decade, that is)—in late 1929, the stock market crashes and all of the sudden, the nation is in the midst of a depression (and not just any depression, the Great Depression).  People lose their jobs, people lose their property, people lose everything—it’s just totally devastating.  Fast forward to the end of the decade, and the World War II has begun.  (Lest you start to feel like the 1930s was perhaps the worst decade in history, don’t forget it also brought the Jazz Age, the invention of air conditioning, the end of Prohibition, the completion of the Hoover Dam and the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge—oh, and Pluto was discovered!)

So, with all that in mind—how did the fashion world react?  With balance and elegance.  Gone was the sometimes-shapelessness of the 1920s and the rigidity of the Victorian era before—clothing design in the 1930s was all about enhancing the body’s form without restricting it.  Not only was new technology allowing fabric to become lighter and, in some cases, more appealing (metallic lame—hurray!), but designers were learning to cut on a bias, create femininity through fluttery sleeves and open backs, and draw attention to the natural waistline (forget those drop-waisted gowns of the previous decade).  Women had Coco Chanel and Jean Patou to thank for that, by the way—both designers presented fall collections featuring natural waistlines in 1929, and the trend was quick to catch on.

While the decade was one of struggle, the 1930s was also about escapism—and one way that was achieved was through the movies.  The fashions presented there and worn by actresses in photographs were ones that influenced the clothing of the everyday citizen.  People may have been forced to give up many luxuries (and perhaps just lavish lifestyles in general), but the 1930s was still a time of big bands and nightlife—and there are some gorgeous clothes that were designed.  Obsession with Chanel aside, we’re also fans of Claire McCardell, Elsa Schiaparelli, Vionnet—love love love.

So, lesson learned: for ultimate glamour, shimmy into an open-backed dress, add some diamonds or pearls, a cute little bolero jacket, and paint those lips red.  Channel that inner movie star!

Joan Crawford wearing Adrian

written by Heather Cox for Rice and Beans Vintage

How to Decorate with Vintage Designer Trunks April 19 2022

-I am so excited to have Erica Johnston from the fabulous blog Chic du Monde as our guest blogger today!  Here to share her tips on how to decorate with old vintage trunks, those of the vintage variety that will pique your interest. Make sure to pop over to Erica’s blog to see more of her genius fashion & interior design ideas!  xx-Sarah

-“Hi, this is Erica from Chic du Monde! I’m thrilled to be writing to you today about how to incorporate vintage designer trunks into your home decor. A lifelong lover of great design, I’m always looking for interesting ways to incorporate unique items into the home. I usually buy what I love and then find ways to work it into my decor (Shh! don’t tell my husband, he thinks I know exactly where it’s going BEFORE I buy!!). Hopefully this will give you some inspiration for that Goyard or Louis Vuitton you’ve been dying for, but weren’t sure where it would go!”  Cheers – Erica

Buy The Vintage Goyard Trunk & The Louis Vuitton Train Case NOW at Rice and Beans Vintage!

The Top Reasons To Buy Vintage Bill Blass April 19 2022

A year or so ago, I fell in love.  It was this knee-length royal blue Bill Blass wool coat with a fantastic collar, and it was perfect. (I still kick myself because I didn’t buy it.)  I was really drawn to the design or the piece.   That’s the thing about vintage clothing by  Bill Blass —they sort of take you by surprise and then you wonder how it was that you had overlooked it for so long.

Born in Indiana in 1922, William Ralph Blass attended the respected Parsons School of Design in New York City before enlisting in the army during World War II.  In 1970, he bought the Maurice Rentner company (he was head designer) and started his iconic Bill Blass Ltd. Fashion house.  He took to designing well-tailored and chic sportswear for American women, and soon his clientele included Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Nancy Regan, Brooke Astor, and Candice Bergen.  His creative talents branched out in the 1980s, but his designs never lost their well-tailored, luxurious standard.  In 1999, Bill Blass sold the company and retired to his country house in Connecticut—just three years later, he died of complications from throat cancer.

Here are some Bill Blass classics to obsess over:

  1. Wool coats—  Reds and blues and whites, waist-length and knee-length, embellished or not—there’s something for everything.

  2. Evening wear—one-shouldered?  Sequined?  Chiffon?  Bows-feathers-rouching-fringe?  Yes please!

  3. Luxe materials—feel like silk?  Lusting for cashmere?  How about a fur collar?  Check, check, check.

  4. Color and texture and prints, oh my!  I saw this picture once of an older Bill Blass with the quote “When in doubt, wear red” written beneath.  Bill Blass knew (like any woman) the importance of black—but he also knew the importance of bright colors, a mix of textures, and bold prints.

Vintage Bill Blass

What else does a girl need?  Shop vintage Bill Blass fashion Now!

written by Heather Cox and edited by Sarah Korsiak Cellier for Rice and Beans Vintage

Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum April 19 2022

This weekend I stumbled upon a picture taken by Arthur Elgort in 1994 of Claudia Schiffer in the Valentino atelier, and was immediately struck by it.  In the image, Claudia (we’re definitely on a first-name basis, right?) sits on a table in one of the most famous fashion houses in the world, surrounded by workers clad in uniforms of white.  She wears a sweetheart necklined strapless dress of black, with geometric cut-outs revealing a white fabric beneath, she’s putting on elbow-length black gloves, and she’s just beaming.

I found this image while spending some time looking around the Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum. [Okay, a lot of time.   Whatever time you think you’ll spend browsing through old advertisements and swooning over the amazing detail of some of his pieces, well, multiply that by three.  While it’s not the most couture of pictures, the most stunning of pictures, or the most famous of pictures, it sort of looks to me like it represents everything the Valentino brand meant—and has meant—to so many people.  There’s the celebrity factor, the luxurious and stylish clothes, the element of sophistication, workmanship, and awe.  It is, in a sense, pure Valentino.  He was once quoted as saying, “I know what women want.  They want to be beautiful.”  Over the decades, the brand has certainly presented women with that opportunity.

Valentino Garavani was born in 1932, and named for Rudolph Valentino, that swarthy and handsome actor that stole many a woman’s heart in the early part of the twentieth century.  When he was 27, Valentino opened his first atelier in Rome, and was soon experiencing the success and fame associated with a brand that had truly made it.  His designs were sought after by some of the most looked-at and sophisticated women of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s—women like Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, and Jacqueline Kennedy (who not only asked Valentino to design her a number of dresses for the time she was in mourning for JFK, but also wore a dress from Valentino’s all-white spring 1968 collection for her marriage to Aristotle Onassis).  Those “Val’s Gals” helped solidify the image and the brand.

Valentino Heels

It is a bit unfair to speak of anything Valentino without turning to the subject of shoes, because ohhhh the shoes.  Lace and studs and bows and frilly bits—what could be more feminine?  Here at Rice and Beans Vintage, we have a pair of these sassy Valentino black patent peep-toed pumps with bows—they would be perfect paired with one of those infamous “Valentino red” dresses.  Trust me, if they were my size, I would be wearing them right now—and while vacuuming, running to the post office, going to an important work meeting…


Written by Heather Cox for Rice and Beans Vintage

How To Get Audrey Hepburn’s Style April 19 2022

Audrey Hepburn loved hats and she knew just how to wear them.  What we love about Audrey Hepburn is that she was never afraid to take risks with hats, in fact at times it seemed like the her philosophy may have been the more whimsical the better.  A great hat can be the perfect fashion accessory or cover up a bad hair day!  Either way it adds instant style to any outfit.  From Ms. Hepburn’s infamous “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” chapeaux to her Leopard Fur topper in “Charade”, she taught us that hats are chic.  Check out some of our favorite Audrey Hepburn hat moments and then find your perfect vintage hat and make it your own!

Vintage 60’s Audrey Hepburn Hat at Rice and Beans Vintage
Audrey Hepburn in Fur Hat from Charade
Vintage 60’s Lynx Fur Hat at Rice and Beans Vintage
Audrey Hepburn in Straw Hat
Vintage 60’s Christian Dior Hat at Rice and Beans Vintage

What Missoni is known for April 19 2022

The rumors are true—spring really is here.  Here at Rice and Beans Vintage our spirits are high and after a long winter we’re really looking forward to seeing those daffodils poking their way up through that glorious dirt.    Thankfully, spring can also be a state of mind—and thankfully, Missoni prints are perfect for spring.  Whether it’s a maxi skirt, a pair of wedges, or a cardigan, those multi-colored chevron zig zags just brighten your day.  Love!

Learn what Missoni is know for. Is it those zig zags, which have had an interesting history?  The label’s founders met at the London Olympics in 1948—Ottavio Missoni was a competing track athlete who also designed the wool tracksuits the Italian Olympic team wore, and Rosita Jelmini was in the country for an English language course.  Rosita saw Ottavio compete at Wembley Stadium, they were married five years later, set up a small knitwear workshop in Italy, and the rest is history.  In 1962, the designing couple hit upon what would become the most recognizable aspect of their brand—the zig zag chevron motif.

Not only do we love Missoni’s treatment of color and tone, lengths and layers, we love that it’s been a family business from the very beginning.  Rosita and Ottavio’s three children have been (and are) involved in the family business—the oldest, Vittorio, was head of marketing for the company (a plane carrying him, his wife, and two friends, was reported missing off the coast of Venezuela last year).  Luca, the middle child, would head the Ottavio and Rosita Missoni Foundation, and Angela, the youngest, is still the head designer.  Missoni might not be the oldest brand in the fashion world, but the pride and sense of family (literally) is just as admirable.

Rosita & Tai 2003 from Harper’s Bazaar

Okay, so here’s the plan—let’s all don our favorite Missoni piece (knit dress, ballet flats, long sweater, knee-length skirt), go to the closest florist, buy the biggest bunch of daffodils possible, and not just dream of spring, but live it.

Shop Vintage Missoni Now!

 written by Heather Cox for Rice and Beans Vintage

Beth Behrs in Rice and Beans Vintage for CBS Watch Magazine April 19 2022

We are beyond excited that the talented Beth Behrs from CBS’s 2 Broke Girls is the cover girl of the April 2014 CBS Watch Magazine.  Not only was it shot in Paris by the legendary Patrick Demarchelier, but Beth is wearing Vintage Chanel Jewelry from Rice and Beans Vintage!  Before she was a household name in 2 Broke Girls, Beth was a nanny and worked at Chili’s!  In this month’s issue Beth Behrs says, “As if I wasn’t already, I’m now insanely obsessed with everything Chanel!”  Oh yeah…she’s one of us….

Here are a few of the shots of Beth in Vintage Chanel Jewelry from Rice and Beans Vintage styled by the fabulous Cannon!  So Chic…

Beth Behrs in Vintage Chanel Gold Cuff From Rice and Beans Vintage

Beth Behrs in Vintage Chanel Necklace from Rice and Beans Vintage

The History Behind The Vintage Chanel 2.55 Bag April 19 2022

We’ve discussed it before, and we’ll certainly discuss it again—we have Coco Chanel to thank for a lot of our modern ideals of fashion. The classic Chanel little black dress, the classic suit, everyday clothing made of jersey material…let’s add one more thing to the list—the often-imitated, much-sought-after Vintage Chanel 2.55 bag.

In the early 1920s, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel finally had enough—she was tired of carrying her bag in her arms, requiring a juggling act of sorts any time two hands were needed for the task at hand. (Not sure about you, but as someone who is constantly juggling keys, wallet, sunglasses, phone, folders of paper, mail, and a handbag in both hands, I can totally relate.) Drawing inspiration from soldier’s packs, Chanel developed what would eventually come to be known as the classic flap bag. After a hiatus from the fashion world soon after, Chanel launched her bags in earnest in the mid-1950s when she returned to the design world. The bags were updated, and called the 2.55 after the date of creation (February, 1955).

Here are the relevant (and much-appreciated) details:

*Hand-quilted jersey exterior (and later lambskin)—the diamond pattern is said to have been derived from a variety of sources, like jockey’s riding coats (Chanel loved horses and horse-racing), the pillows in her Paris apartment, glass windows in churches

*Burgundy-colored lining based on the color of the uniform in the convent where Chanel grew up

*A flap in the back where money was meant to be stored

*A “mademoiselle” lock (a rectangular twist lock—the term derived from Chanel’s life as an unmarried woman)

*A zippered pocket on the inside front flap, rumored to have been where Chanel stored her love letters (love love love the idea of this)

*Chain handle made of one continuous loop, which allowed women to wear it long, or double-up the straps for a shorter look

Vintage Chanel Bags – Classic Flap Bag – Chanel Vintage Flap

Karl Lagerfeld updated the 2.55 design in the 1980s (most notably adding the interlocking C’s, and the iconic chain strap with leather woven through). The bags are usually made of calfskin or caviar leather, and come in a variety of sizes and colors. Chanel’s 2.55 design is still as relevant today as it was when it was introduced all those years ago—they are still representative of elegance and sophistication, yet are versatile enough that they can be worn with literally almost anything. An instant classic.  These bags are truly iconic items that have withstood the test of time. Fads have come and fads have gone, but the classic Chanel flap bag remains steadfast, still as relevant to luxury customers today as it was back in 1955.

Vintage Chanel Flap Bag with classic designer look

Try this on for size—in 1955, the traditional Chanel 2.55 bag sold for $220. Taking inflation into account, that’s about $2,000 in today’s money. Chanel’s bags were not an insignificant sum when they were first introduced, nor are they today—there’s just something inherently magical about them, something women for decades have recognized. A  new classic Chanel flap bag today starts at $2900 for the mini flap bag and goes to $6000 plus for the jumbo flap.  This makes a Vintage Chanel bag a very good deal indeed!  At Rice and Beans Vintage, we are fortunate to be able to offer a wide variety of vintage Chanel bags in all shapes, styles, and colors (many of which we try really hard not to take home for ourselves)—what’s your favorite?

Chic women wearing black & quilted Chanel bags

Vintage Hats: A Must! April 19 2022

Hats, hats, hats…vintage hats.  Is there anything more universal or versatile than a hat?  Throughout history, all types of people—all social classes, genders, ages, cultures—have embraced hats for one reason or another.  Hats have been status symbols, signs of chastity and piety, statement fashion pieces.  They’ve been made out of virtually everything—felt, straw, cotton, canvas, feathers, cork, fur—and embellished with almost anything imaginable—jewels, sequins, flowers, netting, birds, ribbons, and precious metals.

While hats may not currently occupy the prominent place in life they once did, they remain a key fashion item.  Where once hats were worn on a daily basis and men and women never dreamt of leaving their home without their head covered, social dictates nowadays is much more lax.  Just as silhouettes have changed over time, so too have the shapes and styles of hats—but one thing has remained largely the same, and that’s the sun hat. Sun hats have been worn  by people all over the world and in all social classes for centuries, but the basic design has largely remained the same—wide brim, floppy brim, something with a big enough radius to truly protect one’s face from the harsh sun.  Designers today continue to send some great hats down the runway &  this season there were hats that totally translate to an everyday look (think Donna Karan and Badgley Mischka especially).

Donna Karan 2014 Runway Hat

 Here at Rice and Beans Vintage, we’ve got some great summer sun hats for the season—think about pairing the Christian Dior 1960s black-and-white color-blocked hat with a flirty little summer dress, or the Ralph Lauren straw hat with some clean-cut capris and a sleeveless top (have you checked out the silk Christian Lacroix tank we’ve got in stock?).  The key with hats is to experiment.  Try out different materials, different shapes and sizes, and try wearing them on different occasions.  Before you know it, you’ll have your beach hat, your grocery shopping hat, your trip-to-Martha’s-Vineyard-hat, and your lunch-date-with-the-girls hat.  So great!

Vintage 60’s Christian Dior Hat

written by Heather Cox & edited by Sarah Korsiak Cellier for Rice and Beans Vintage