Shop Spotlight: Hotel Ashtrays

Hey, it’s Arlo again, back with more great stuff from the Polyverse. I love finding ashtrays of all kinds, whether it’s a plaster psychedelic mushroom or classy Art Deco aluminum from Kensington, but some of my favorite  ashtrays are from midcentury hotels.

Townhouse Midcentury Ashtray

Great font!

These are from the golden age of car travel, right about the time Holiday Inn was setting the standard for hotel chains, and interstate highways opened up the country for vacation exploration.

Smoking was much more popular then, and you could expect to find a unique ashtray in your room wherever you went. A lot of people decided these were complimentary souvenirs, which is fine by me, because that’s why they’re still around today to be enjoyed.

Top o' the Morn Midcentury Ashtray

Looks like 8:00 is the top o’ the morn in Hyannis.

These ashtrays combine cool advertising graphics and sculpture in a classic and functional package. They also barely take up any space, so you can collect a lot without filling up your house.

We have 3 midcentury hotel ashtrays for sale in our Etsy shop right now.

The first one, from the Townhouse Motor Lodge, has a great logo and font.

Our next one, from The Top o’ the Morn Motor Lodge, has a their sign and old-school phone number, plus great styling on the cigarette slots.

The final ashtray, and my personal favorite, is from the Thunderbird. An awesome logo and cool concentric circle pattern make this stand out from the crowd.

Thunderbird Midcentury Ashtray

Thunderbird graphics!

Pick one up and capture that thrill of the open road and the spirit of adventure for yourself!

Shop Spotlight: Newly Listed

Pitcher by Rorstrand, Sweden - Picknick 1954

Pitcher by Rorstrand, Sweden – Picknick 1954

I’ve been adding some great items to the shop this week, including this  pitcher by Rorstrand, Sweden.  This was designed by Marianne Westman in 1954.  The pattern, called Picknick, has been reproduced on everything from fabric to framed prints.   We know someone is going to love this classic example of midcentury design.

What beautiful eyes you have!

What beautiful eyes you have!

I also added a painting to the shop, which is a first for us.  We love mass produced items, sure, but who can resist a one of a kind art piece?  We bought this from the estate of the anonymous artist.  There were lots of portraits available, but we selected this one because we just loved this young lady’s retro charm.  The background is a wonderful rusty orange color.  You can find more photos of this original painting in our shop here.

We will be adding quite a few great items to our shop in the coming weeks, including some fab fabric, more home decor, some bright spring dresses, and 1960s ladies accessories.  Follow us on social media to see our finds first!

Shop Spotlight: Aloha Shirts

Hukilau Fashion Shirt

Hukilau Fashion Shirt

A lot of the time in vintage fashion, men’s clothes are overlooked. As a longtime wearer of everything vintage, from Van Heusen dress shirts to hippie tunics, I’m pleased to have a chance to change that. I’m Arlo, one half of the Polyverse team, and I’d like to focus on some of the men’s clothing we have in our shop. In the spirit of finally getting some warmer weather around here, let’s take a moment to talk about the Aloha shirt, better known as the Hawaiian shirt.

Hawaiian shirts have gotten a reputation as the classic party apparel, and why not. They’re bright, comfortable, and you’re never going to see one tucked in. There’s a little more to their story, though.

Hukilau Fashion Label

Hukilau Fashion Label

Aloha shirts as we know them started to be produced around the 1930s, and were based on traditional patterns and fabrics that had been popular in the islands for hundreds of years.  Modern designers began incorporating these patterns, fusing traditional style and Western sensibilities.  Air travel made the islands more accessible, and by the time Hawaii became a state in 1959, Aloha shirts were reaching the height of their popularity. Throw Elvis into the mix, who popularized the islands in films like 1961’s Blue Hawaii, and you’ve got the coolest shirt around! Aloha shirts remained popular throughout the rest of the 20th century, so you’ll see examples from the 1930s to the present.  A glance at shirt labels will help you to know when you’ve found a vintage Aloha.  I love vintage labels.  They’re always the first thing to look at when you’re shopping.  So unique, and like the shirts, so colorful.

Waltah Clarke's Hawaiian Shops Label

Waltah Clarke’s Hawaiian Shops Label

We’ve got three vintage Hawaiian shirts for sale in our shop right now, and they’re all great. A red shirt by Hukilau is a great example of an Aloha shirt from the 1960s, made for tourists visiting Honolulu.  It has the classic look, and a wonderful bright red color that will certainly make you the life of the party. This shirt is 100% cotton –  shirts from the 1940s and 1950s tended to be made of early synthetics like Rayon, which helps to tip us off that this one is a slightly later model.

Waltah Clarke Shirt

Waltah Clarke Shirt

The second Aloha shirt I’d like to feature is slightly more subdued.  This one also isn’t a classic Western-style button down shirt – it’s a polo shirt in brown with a light floral print and a chest pocket.  This was made by Waltah Clarke, who sold shirts in Hawaii but also exported shirts to the mainland.  The style had become so popular that people wanted the spirit of the islands without having to make the trip.

Sears Hawaiian Fashion Label

Sears Hawaiian Fashion Label

The final shirt I’m going to look at is another 100% cotton Aloha shirt – but this one is by Sears Fashions.  You might not associate a traditional American company like Sears with the Aloha print, but the fact that these shirts were produced and reproduced in such large numbers really shows how infatuated the American public was with the Aloha shirt.

Sears Hawaiian Fashion Shirt

Sears Hawaiian Fashion Shirt

In the beginning of this post, I talked about how men’s clothing is sometimes overlooked in vintage fashion.  But the Aloha shirt is a men’s vintage style that certainly can’t be ignored.  If you like the looks of any of these shirts, stop by our store and pick one up.  We’ll add more as we get them, so keep checking back! If you’d like to learn more about Aloha shirts, check out The Aloha Shirt: Spirit of the Islands by Dale Hope. Since I’m also a librarian, I feel it’s my duty to remind you to look for it at your local library!

Shop Spotlight: Spring Dresses

This winter has been long and brutal for lots of folks in the States, including here in Pittsburgh.  It’s finally spring, and I’ve already bought new sandals and started daydreaming about warmer weather!  And what goes with warmer weather?  A chance to wear all those pretty dresses that have been languishing in your closet these long winter months!  I am a public librarian and, to a certain extent, adhere to the cardigan-loving stereotype –  but this is one year that I will be happy to put my sweaters away.

We’ve got lots of lovelies over in our Etsy shop, in case you feel like adding a new dress to your springtime wardrobe!  Here are some of my favorites.  Click on the photos to see the individual listings in our shop.

1970s Strawberry Dress

1970s Strawberry Dress

This dress is simply adorable. This is a pale mint green polyester maxi dress with a collar featuring lace and embroidered strawberries!  I have a soft spot for novelty patterns, and anything made for adults that is slightly childlike – or at least has the sort of whimsical touches that are usually associated with items made for children.  This is a perfect example.  This dress is really too cute – a lighthearted fresh fashion statement from the 1970s.  I can’t wait for strawberry season!

pink dress

1970s Pink Floral Dress

Here’s another dress from the 1970s.  This is a darling maxi dress – very feminine, with a sheer pink floral overlay.  I love these flowing graceful layers!  The under layer on this dress is very crisp, and the whole thing is in wonderful condition.  This dress would be right at home at a garden party, a wedding, or a formal dance.

1970s Cream Formal Dress

1970s Cream Formal Dress

This one is another example of a formal dress from the 70s with a sheer overlay.  Exquisite!  This dress is NOS (New Old Stock) with the tags still on, and is just waiting to become a part of someone’s special day.  I can see this dress being worn in a field of flowers by a hippie bride, can’t you?  I’m not a very femme girl, but this dress makes me wish I had long hair, parted in the middle, and was standing in a field holding a bouquet of daisies.  So romantic!

1960s Dress by Anjac

1960s Dress by Anjac

I picked one more dress to showcase – let’s come back to reality with this one, shall we?  This pretty 1960s shirtwaist dress doesn’t need a special occasion to shine.  You could wear this dress to work or play, any day of the week.  The soft cotton poly blend is really perfect for this season.  This dress is by Anjac, a company founded in the 1940s by Jack Needleman in Los Angeles.  Anjac is a combination of his and his wife Annette’s first names.  Marc Needleman, the designer of this particular dress, was one of their three sons.  The Needlemans became one of the most successful families in the L.A garment district, and moved from clothes on to real estate – Anjac Fashion Buildings still exists as a real estate company.  When Jack passed away in 1999, he was a major philanthropist who had donated millions of dollars to charities and to organizations like the Los Angeles Conservancy.  Isn’t that a fantastic history for such an unassuming garment?

Now that I’ve spent some time talking about these lovely dresses, I’m even more ready for sunshine and warmer weather.  I hope all of you are enjoying your spring season!