That lucky bamboo brooch A young woman in her 30s begins the long journey from Ft. Worth, Texas to Okinawa, Japan. It’s the early 60s and she is on her way to meet her new husband, a Marine who is stationed there. Life has been a rough go so far with an abusive first husband and then life as a single mother. But now there’s future waiting for her over 7,000 miles away.
She thinks about the last few weeks and what a whirlwind it’s been. First a marriage ceremony in her living room with the groom over shortwave radio. Then the hasty packing and now the long trip from Meacham Field to Japan, a land completely foreign to her that will become her home.
A stopover in Guam provides a welcome respite to stretch her legs and get some fresh air. In the airport walking by a small jewelry shop, she spies a jade brooch in the window. It’s a lush shade of green and hand-carved as lucky bamboo. She could use a little luck right now.
1960s Lucky Bamboo Jade Brooch
How did the story turn out? She passed away a few years ago at age 81 still married to that Marine.
This is the brooch and that woman was my aunt.
Start your special story with vintage jewelry from MadgesHatbox Vintage.
Madge has an extensive collection of Hats Magazine ranging from the 1950s – 70s. Hats Magazine, established in 1876, was the trade publication for milliners, hat manufacturers and suppliers. We’re highlighting a fun issue from 1951 which happened fall on the 75th anniversary of the publication. It’s filled with stylish toppers, so enjoy these spring hats from 1951
The stunning cover shot is a platter hat. The milliner is John Fredrics. Made for a chignon or updo hairstyle, the back features a cascade of spring blossoms. In the front is a netted veil.
One of the monthly columns was Gotham Gossip featuring the latest millinery designs from New York City. This issue featured some of the biggest names at the time including Jack McConnell, Emme, John Fredrics, Laddie Northridge, and William J. Other prominent designers shown are Beatrice Martin and Eric Braagaard.
William J was the nom de plume of the late Bill Cunningham, who covered New York City fashion from the 1970s until his death in 2016 at age 87. He chronicled the world of fashion by photographing both street fashion and the famously well-dressed. His two columns, On the Street” and “Evening Hours”, were must-reads for fashionistas. Before his career as a photographer, he was a hat maker in the 1950s. The unique design shown above is described as a harlequin style in bright red straw with black buttons on the top and a front dotted veil. Not a style for the faint of heart. Unfortunately very few of his creations still exist.
You could always count on Hats Magazine to feature some fun stylized ads. Madge really loves this hatbox over the NYC skyline advertising Alfreda Hats, a milliner prominent in the 1940s and 50s.
The American Way solves the quandary of what to wear after Easter and features sketches of upcoming summer designs including capelines and cartwheel hats, bonnets and sailors.
The article notes that many of the hats feature a design of flowers, bows or upturned brims on the back. From the editor: “The forward line predominates in all shapes, the silhouette is young, with flattery as it’s the chief goal.”
Take a gander at the extravagant one in the middle from Lilly Dache. We do love the large capelines from Eric Braagaard and Jack McConnell. Do you have a favorite?
Because milliners and designers submitted their own photos for each issue, the resulting collages were always a fun mix of photographic styles around one theme. This time it’s symmetrical designs ranging from Lily Dache’s roller to Don Marshall’s Buddha style. Roller style hats were similar to a Breton and usually sat well above the hairline as shown. The middle bottom photo features a very chic suit and hat by Elizabeth Arden
Another popular feature was Pariscope, a look at the newest hat designs from France. The columnist, Renee Freid was a prominent fashion reporter based in Paris who wrote for various publications. In this issue, she mentions that the current style is toward smaller hats including sailors (again!), caps and bonnets. The one exception is number nine, a hat described as a Louis XV extravaganza. Not a fan.
Here’s another ad we love featuring a daisy sisal hat.
Bright and cheerful florals are always just the thing for Easter. You’ll love the new arrivals in spring hats at MadgesHatbox. In fact, we’re grabbing one these beautiful half hats for our own wardrobe. We particularly love this daisy half hat, plus this one with blue roses. If a larger hat is more your style, this Leslie James straw with a large daisy on the hatband is super adorable. Of course, the cloche hat is a sophisticated style that works for every woman and we think this one with silk leaves is the prettiest hat in the shop right now.
Our Spring Vintage Jewelry Collection The calendar says spring, and northern climes are digging out from all that snow. Here in Atlanta, the Bradford pears are blooming and peaking out from those lush green bushes? Azalea blooms. As a result, it is the perfect to time freshen up your wardrobe with a pretty pin, brooch or bracelet. Our Spring Vintage Jewelry Collection is just the thing to lighten your mood.
It’s Our 48 HOUR SALE!Have you been eyeing that special piece at MadgesHatbox Vintage? Now is the TIME!We’ve never offered this big of a discount before,and we will probably NEVER EVER DO THIS AGAIN. It’s all over Midnight Sunday. So grab it now!
And to get you in the mood we’ve provided you with some music to shop by.
In honor of International Women’s Day I take a moment to remember my grandmother Madge Beals Meredith. Naming my online shop #MadgesHatboxVintage, was loving nod to her years as a #milliner. Then a chance remark by my aunt sent me on a yearlong journey in search of a hat shop my grandmother opened in Mississippi in 1917.
After securing funds for millinery supplies from a woman milliner in #Chanute Kansas with whom Madge had apprenticed, she traveled alone from farm country to the rough and tumble railroad town of Scooba, Mississippi hoping to find her fortune. Her life – as a child traveling in a covered wagon with her parents from Indiana to #Kansas; homesteading in a sod house; leaving high school to start a career in hat making; her drive to succeed, and her raising a brood of successful women continue to be an inspiration to me.
Madge’s courageous journey in 1917 covers me in loving armor each day as I go out into the world to advocate for #vintage and how every person can find their unique style. Not based on trends or fast fashion, but from the spirit within you and from those who came before.
Madge’s life lived created a line of entrepreneurs down through my mom and finally to me. I am eternally grateful Madge was in my life and I work hard each day to make her proud. I hope she is.
If you watched an award show this season or caught any of the various fashion weeks around the world you know that bows are back. Almost every designer has some sort of bow design in their collection including the fanciful femininity of Rodarte’s Fall Winter 2019 Collection to the witty Givenchy backpack bows.
A myriad of red carpet looks also followed this trend. At the 2019 Academy Awards more often than not, the bow made the statement or finished the look. From the Reem Acra gown with an oversized bow worn by Angela Bassett to the playful pussy bow blouse by Awkwafina from DSquared, bows ruled.
The current bow craze has women reaching into the netherworld of their closet for bow looks long cast off but not forgotten. But before you pull out that glittery disco bow dress from the 70s make sure you understand the look. From oversized to tiny, today’s bows are sophisticated. But not to worry gals, Madge Central has your back with these vintage looks and much more in the shop.
Shop the Bow Collection at MadgesHatbox Vintage
The 1950s were a great era for smart bows used in all sorts so sophisticated ways. We love this Lilli Ann suit from 1952.
Of course, bows on hats aren’t anything new, but these chapeaus use them in unique ways. One of our favorite hats currently in the shop is this mid-century Ranleigh black velvet turban with the large satin bow on the back. It reminds us of a current design on this Rasario gown worn by Candice Swanepoel at the amfAR Gala in New York.
This vintage netted 50s close hat is all bows and silk leaves perfect for a spring wedding or Easter in its gray and light pink tones.
Enjoy this blast from the past for Valentine’s Day
This may be my favorite Valentine card ever.
Peek a boo. How about that grin?
From Designs by Frederick J. Garner, How to Draw Series published by Walter Foster
Joan Crawford in a fabulous heart-shaped hat
Go behind the scenes of our Winter Lookbook shoot at Mutiny Artwrx
Our winter photo shoot lived up to its name as the temperatures dipped into the 40s in Atlanta. Our intrepid crew, photographer Roya Miller, videographers Duncan and Connor from Pineapple Cut, plus our fabulous models Kristen and Karah braved the elements and we came out with some fantastic shots. Our location, Mutiny Artwrx, an artist’s collective south of downtown, proved to be the perfect backdrop.
We had racks and racks of clothes and jewelry to shoot. Madge is amazed we go it all done. Now to get it all up in the shop!
This shot was in the Madge studio at Mutiny. Evening dresses from two different eras. On the left, a classic beaded sheath from the 70s. On the right a fringed blast from the 80s. How about that mod hat?
Mutiny owner J. P. let us pose in front of his prized Ford Falcon Cub Wagon. Shouldn’t your ride always match your dress?
Two “little black dresses” one with ruffles and the other a 60s fringed cocktail dress. We added some vintage Chanel jewelry.
We love this navy cocktail suit in a subtle tone-on-tone window pane plaid. A feather and lace close hat and a statement brooch finishes the look.