A wonderful product of the vintage revival is its reclaiming of classic pin-up style for the fun and empowerment of modern women. What was once an art devoted to pleasing heterosexual men is now an inclusive and sometimes subversive subculture. In this light, it’s awesome to look back on the pin-up models of the 1950s — many of whom, like Bettie Page, seem far ahead of their time in the way they expressed their sexuality, and whose playful openness foreshadowed the sexual revolution of the ’60s. Vintage Ladies is the best of the many blogs celebrating this style and time, featuring everything from nude art photography to models with just a little flirtatious skin showing.
Vintage Madison Ave.
Looking at the ads on Vintage Madison Ave. is like entering an alternate universe where nothing makes a woman happier than a new vacuum cleaner, and every family is married, pretty and white. As we know from the endless bombardment of advertising that is American life in 2011, ads are less a reflection of reality than a ideal that is used to motivate buying. In this gap between the real world and the world of marketing, we can take a fascinating peek into the psyche of a different era. The old ads on this Tumblr can be ridiculous, moving, or beautiful, and if you are a Mad Men addict waiting for your next fix, this is not a bad substitute.
My Vintage Vogue
For serious fans of 1950s and ’60s fashion, this site may be too much to handle. My Vintage Vogue’s breathtaking fashion shots from magazines have us constantly asking ourselves why the hell we don’t have clothes like these anymore. These drool-worthy magazine scans never lose their appeal, and it can be a struggle not to reblog every post — much less keep from daydreaming about a time machine that could take us back in time 50 years.
Retrospace leans toward the humorous side of the vintage Tumblr spectrum. The content focuses on the late 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s, and many of the pictures feature the now-ironic aesthetic that has become so popular with the hipster set. Many posts showcase fringe or campy artifacts, like an article advising lesbianism as a method to “cure frigidity,” or old tabloids chronicling sex scandals that are tame by today’s standards. This blog rarely fails to entertain.
The Nifty Fifties
For those who love the pre-Feminine Mystique vibe, this is the blog for you. Nifty Fifties pretty much posts what you would expect: pictures of the idyllic, if unrealistic, world of suburban America after World War II. We especially appreciate the scans of 1950s home architecture and over-the-top kitchens. We wouldn’t turn down a Manhattan stirred on those green Formica counters.
This blog features a mix of kitschy vintage horror movie stills, pin-up art, celebrity portraits, and advertisements. The overall tone is more upbeat than some of these other blogs, and the variety can be surprising but is always welcome. Definitely follow-worthy if you’re drawn to the slightly bizarre side of vintage fashion.