Vintage Queen no 65: Jill from Canada Whether she is wearing a simple feedsack dress, a knitted jumper or a period swimsuit, our fabulous Vintage Queen number 65 looks utterly amazing wearing the styles of her favourite decade, the Thirties. “My name is Jill MacLachlan and I live in a lovely Forties brick cottage home in the Victorian Village of Waterdown, Ontario, Canada, with my husband and Cavalier spaniel. I’m an online vintage seller (I was a college English literature and composition professor for the last five years until our move led me to re-evaluate my career path). My grandmother, Adeline, definitely influenced my love of vintage fashion. This influence is reflected in the fact that I’ve named my Etsy online vintage shop, Adeline’s Attic, after her. My grandmother was a seamstress, and she made many of my dresses, often from vintage patterns she had used to make clothes for my mother when my mom was a little girl. She also allowed me full access to her own wardrobe and storage closets, which were full of home-made house dresses and many items she had saved from the Fifties and Sixties, like glorious crinolines, so I have fond memories of traipsing around her house on weekend visits in her vintage dresses and shoes. More generally, I also think my love of vintage clothing is a natural extension of my grandmother’s own advice to me that one should always insist upon quality and craftsmanship when buying things from the shops. As anyone who has shopped in a mall knows, many modern mass produced items are cheaply and poorly made; the level of quality I have come to see as paramount to true value and style is usually only found in vintage, especially vintage from the Thirties, Forties and Fifties. It never ceases to amaze me that many of my Thirties dresses are holding up better than most modern garments in my closet, which start fraying at the seams after I wear them only a few times! Saying that I do love some reproduction clothing too such as Able Grable. I would also say the vintage clothing I integrate into my everyday life is perhaps connected to my long-standing fascination with history and fashion history. Although I have perhaps permanently retired from academic life in favour of my online Etsy shop, I actually have a Master’s degree, as well as a Ph D, both in English literature, both specializing in Victorian/Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture. During my research for my both my degree projects, I kept finding myself bored with straight-forward English Literary Studies. Luckily, I was able to work with a couple of supervisors who were open to me to sneaking my insatiable interests in fashion history into my thesis projects. My Ph D dissertation ended up focusing a lot on what 19th century women mountaineers (or alpinists) as they were called were wearing! Such fun! Looking back, though, I really wish I had majored in Fashion History! Victorian studies was interesting, but most of the vintage clothing I wear these days is from the Thirties. For a while, I was really into World War II era fashion, and I still love everything to do with War-time Land Girls, but I have really come to feel most at home in clothing from the early to mid Thirties. This time period, in which women were really pushing past many of the old gender norms, really fascinates me. I just love images of Thirties women embracing modernity and the freedom of travel, such as sporty car ads encouraging women to drive roadsters, or images of Amelia Earhart showing young girls new horizons, even Deco girdle ads promising undergarments with freedom of movement. Very wonderful. I’m a pretty physically active person myself, so I love the ideals of beauty of the late Twenties and then the Thirties, arguably largely influenced by one of my idols, Coco Chanel. I love that women were encouraged to be both sporty and glamorous, and that the ideal for evenings was elegance and drama without too much “frou frou.” Of course, I also think it’s fascinating how this era was so contradictory and complex in terms of the changing class system and the huge gap between wealthy and poor. From a fashion standpoint, I am equally entranced by my growing collection of humble little dustbowl feedsack dresses as I am by any dazzling silk charmeuse evening gown. Both capture important histories of the people who lived through this time period. I definitely think my love of Thirties feedsack dresses also stems from the connection I feel to memories of my grandparents’ stories of the hardships they endured living on the Canadian Prairies during the Great Depression. As for my ever-growing obsession with Thirties knitwear, I have no idea where that comes from. I only know that I can’t stop accruing more pieces! All in all, I think the Thirties aesthetic, the shorter wavy or curly hairstyles, the longer lines and often curve-hugging fashions, the fabulous sportswear, just suit my tastes and my lifestyle perfectly. Now that I’m a vintage seller on Etsy, I can only say that my immersion in all things vintage is complete and I have never been happier, so really, reveling in the past is where I am meant to be now!” Don’t forget to check out Jill’s blog! 12 Responses Rocketblast March 29th, 2010 I love this thirties look! I have previously been into the forties stuff but every day now I am getting more and more fascinated by the thirties, and Jill has some wonderful outfits here. Her hair and make-up are gorgeous, too. I’m finding it increasingly difficult to drag myself away from the Poirot re-runs on TV at the weekends, so it’s only a matter of time before I go for the chop and get that fantastic bob :0) Reply Sheila Brady March 29th, 2010 Lena, you just blow us away. What a ‘splendid’ look. Your choice of pieces is amazing, but, it is your wonderful figure and looks that really make your look so fabulous!! One is reminded of the remark by Wallis Simpson ‘you cannot ever be too rich or too thin’! Reply Lena March 29th, 2010 Yes Jill is amazing! Very true – she has the perfect Thirties figure! Reply LollyWillowes March 29th, 2010 You look so lovely. Reply Catwalk Creative Vintage March 29th, 2010 What a lovely lady. Great hair too! I’ll try and find Jill’s Etsy shop as neither links you’ve provided are working. Enjoyable read. 🙂 Reply Catwalk Creative Vintage March 29th, 2010 Found Adeline’s Attic. Jill was already a favourite. 🙂 Reply meena March 29th, 2010 well deserved! she is such a favorite of mine and so good at what she does, nobody i know has such a dedication to one particular decade! her authenticity blows everybody away. excellent choice! Reply Rebecka March 29th, 2010 so nice to “meet” the seller behind adelines – she has such good stuff in the shop. and now i want her wardrobe too! i love that she has a phd and then went on to sell vintage clothes (much more fun than academia, i’m sure). Reply Jill March 31st, 2010 Thank you SO much for your amazingly kind and wonderful comments on my Q of V feature and my Etsy shop! I’m really flattered and really grateful to have been chosen as #65 Queen of Vintage and am elated people like the frocks I’ve been stocking in Adeline’s Attic. BLUSHING and BEAMING over here!!! http://www.adelinesattic.etsy.com Reply Fabiola "Fab" March 31st, 2010 She’s lovely!!! love your style! Reply Dalena Vintage April 4th, 2010 Jill has such a gorgeous style! Reply Annabella Freeman April 18th, 2010 I love love love that swimming costume! It’s so flattering, stylish and ladylike. Shame our beaches and shores can’t say the same thing today! 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