Saturday, February 28, 2009

Trim Reflections

Whilst out and about on our travels in search of vintage treasures for the website, we come across so many wonderful and fascinating finds that it is often hard to resist their appeal, and this in turn, leads us into different areas of vintage and collecting. One such area which holds a great fascination for me is vanity, grooming and beauty. This covers a vast and diverse range of pretty items, so there is plenty of scope for building collections and displays.

When I came across this beautiful Victorian Y & N Corset advertising mirror at a recent antiques fair I couldn't resist its rarity and simple beauty...

...with its delicately etched glass lettering and original heavy wooden frame. Women today have a significantly different life from those in Victorian days and one of those contrasts is in the way we dress. My research on the Y & N corset revealed it was really rather innovative in its day, being heralded as 'the most comfortable corset ever made'.

But I have to wonder just how comfortable it was. History has documented the terrible damage to women's organs, which was attributed to the long-term wearing of the restrictive corsets and ladies would often faint because they were unable to breathe properly!

The Y & N corset was revolutionary in its day and its 'diagonal seam' gave the corset extra strength and created a more pronounced hourglass figure. It featured a heart-shaped bust and was popular for evening wear and cleavage enhancement! I don't doubt it was still highly restrictive for women and having never worn a corset (honestly!) I can only imagine how it must have felt to wear one.

So, given the emancipation of today's Western women, many vintage vanity and grooming items are not only desirable and decorative objects, they are also a reminder that things were very different for our female ancestors.

A Special Thank You!

We would like to express our sincere thanks to everyone who has emailed us or left a comment with regard to our new-look website. We were overwhelmed with the response and consequently have been working very hard packing and posting for the last couple of weeks! We are continuing to add new stock and are delighted to reveal that we have also been lucky enough to obtain some real beauties for the textiles section - these will be finding their way onto the website in the coming weeks. Thank you all once again and don't forget you still have time to enter the prize draw (see post below.)


  1. Hi Claire,
    Oh, I'm so cross! The blog follower thingy did not notify me of your post 2 whole weeks ago. I was reading your post today and it mentioned a giveaway, see below, and it was all news to me!
    Anyway, just wanted to say that the new design shop/blog is so so gorgeous, all my fave things and colours in the picture at the top. I'm off for a good browse of your shop now.
    Best wishes,
    Hen x

  2. I just found your blog and website and am in love! Keep up the great work!

  3. When I was 13 I was diagnosed with osteochondritis and had to wear a corset for several years. This had metal rods in it to support my spine and after wearing it for 4 years I had the most amazing posture and waistline! I never had to wear it so tight that it made me faint, though! On Jeremy Paxman's 'Victorians' it showed some pictures of Victorian ladies with the tiniest waists - did you see it? Love the new look website, Clare.

  4. Hello Claire!
    Terrific finds and fun to read some history behind that corset too! I am totally diggin on your header! hope you are having an awesome weekend~Tam :D

  5. It is very NICE!!!

  6. Hi there!
    I was at my mum's earlier today and happened to pick up her BBC Home and Antiques mag (I gave her a subscription for Christmas)
    Would that be your home that I very saw featured in it ?!
    She passes on the mag to me when she has read it so I will get the chance to have a longer browse,soon;-)
    Love all the things that you show us! ;-)

  7. What a pretty array of things you have bought. Yes it is amazing the discomfort women put up with day after day in those corsets. I love corsets but am glad that wearing them today is an option rather than a must!
    Your new look website is so fresh and bright looking, I love it especially the banner!
    Isabelle x

  8. Oh my! Can I move in with you? :)
    I am so excited that I found your blog! I'll be back again...and again...and again...!

  9. Hiya Clare,
    what a super mirror; a rare find. I will admit that I have a corset, an old one, probably 1930's, but new in it's original box. It is the sofest most perfect pink and is truly beautiful. For curiosity reasons, I tried it on one day and I thought I might die after wearing it for about 10 minutes. It is no wonder women were often fainting in the "old days".

  10. Hello.....lovely have so many lovely things.....did my email about the mug reach you...?
    I was trying to buy it without Olly seeing!
    Norty I know, but it would make a perfect mug for my new job...something pretty to remind me of all the blogging fun!xxxx

  11. i would so love to sit and sip a lemonade with you-and talk about vintage things-