Educating and Rediscovering an Era
It has been a joy to see the posts and art of Anni Benedikte Hansen of Denmark, who is a fashion collector whose has recreated many vintage fashions for today. Recently, she acquired some vintage Jack Tar Togs items from sellers in the United States, and not only matched them to other items, but shot photos in the same manner of the original Jack Tar Togs advertising of the 1920s.
It’s astonishing that these old fashions, and vintage clothes, can hold up so well 100 years later, a testimony to the women who worked in the original Strouse-Baer factory in Baltimore back in the roaring twenties.This fits with today’s interest in sustainability. Jack Tar Togs was all about durability, both in styles and manufacturing practices.
Now that we are in are in another sort of roaring twenties again, a century later, a few questions we posed to Hansen, who is a recent law graduate. At bottom are her Instagram posts.
Q: How did you start collecting?
Hansen: I’ve been interested in history and old things since I was a small child, but vintage clothing and fashion history first got my interest when I inherited my grandmothers clothing about five years ago. It mostly consisted of 1950’s-70’s dresses and I was really impressed by the quality of the clothing – it felt so luxurious compared to the modern clothing I used to wear myself! The clothing was my size and I couldn’t help trying it on and then I started wearing it. That became the start of my collection of vintage and antique clothing!
Q: How do you find the clothes you have?
Hansen: To begin with I found most of my clothing in second hand and charity shops but as my love to earlier clothing grew, I had to go through the internet to find what I liked. In Denmark – maybe in most of Europe – it is really hard to find any clothing pre WWII, because people wore it out or cut it up and reused the fabric doing the war, because buying new wasn’t a possibility for most people. Today I find most of my clothing on Ebay, Etsy, Facebook and Instagram and mostly from U.K. and U.S.A.
Q: What is your professional career or is this something that is connected with your work, or a hobby?
Hansen: I just graduated from the University of Copenhagen with a master’s degree in law, so collecting and dressing in vintage and antique clothing is a hobby and a personal style for me.
Q: What sort of styles impress you the most in vintage fashion?
Hansen: My absolute favorite period, fashion wise, is the late 1910’s to early 1920’s! Women are gaining more rights in most of the western world and at the same time they stop wearing corsets – which are resulting in a way more comfortable clothing style! Also women doing all sorts of sports are getting a much greater acceptance which also is showing, fashion wise. But the style is still very feminine, and the skirts are still long, wide and flowy (which I am personally attracted to) compared to the later 1920’s, where the skirt gets shorter and the straight cut gets popular. It is the day- and sportswear I like collecting because I find it easy to implement in my everyday life. BUT that is also the type of clothing there is hardest to find today, because most of it has been worn out and people also mostly safe and keep their most fancy clothing.
A: How did you first find out about Jack Tar Togs?
Hansen: Because of my love for the late teens/early 1920’s day and sportswear, I was looking for an original sailor style dress, which was a style there was really popular at that time. After almost a year of searching I found an amazing one listed for sale on Etsy. The price was out of my comfort zone so I tried to forget about it for a time, but I just couldn´t. I kept coming back to it an after about a month I tried googling the name on the tag, which was pictured. The search for “Jack Tar Togs” came up with lots of history and amazing ads – and I found the exact dress pictured in an ad from May 1919! That was when I knew that I absolutely had to own that dress and I went ahead and bought it. That dress is now the most treasured piece in my collection. And of course I couldn’t resist trying to find more Jack Tar Togs and I have recently added two middy blouses to my collection and I have now, while writing this, a second dress on its way to me! The thing I love about my Jack Tar Togs pieces, beside the style and history, are the amazing quality – who would believe that a 100 year old piece of clothing could be just as sturdy as the day it was made? But that is actually the case! And also they are easy to care for as they are colour fast, which isn’t a matter of course with clothing that age!
Q: Are there other old names and designers that you like to find?
Hansen: Most of my vintage and antique pieces don’t have any label – it’s the specific era and style I am looking for. But because I am
interested in history, I love when a piece has a label because that makes the research much easier! Other names in my collection are B. Altman & Co of New York (a late 1910’s sailor style middy blouse similar to Jack Tar Togs) and an Elias & Lowenstein Co day dress, dating to 1915-1918.
Q: In the time period, were fashions sort of the same in the United States and Europe, or were there differences?
Hansen: This is a hard question. I am sure there were lots differences, but I can’t really point them out, as it isn’t a thing I have studied. But overall you see the same trends in both US and Europe and they have for sure been inspired by each other! For example: In my family’s old photo albums I see my great-grandmother’s brothers wearing sailor style suits in the early 1900’s similar to what Jack Jar Togs has made and also a young woman wearing a sailor style middy blouse which was a huge trend in the US. So also in Denmark we shared some of the same trends with the U.S. back then.
Below, Anni Benedikte Hansen’s Instagram images
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Outfit planning: 1920’s Jack Tar Togs cotton middy blouse from @bycinbyhand and late 1910’s skirt which I won in an ebay auction recently for only $30! No one else bid 🤷♀️ and it’s in wonderful condition ✨ I think this outfit could be a favorite this spring 🥰 #vintageoutfit #1920sfashion #1910sfashion #antiquefashion #vintagefashion #jacktartogs #vintage #truevintage #realvintage #vintagesailor #sailorstyle #vintagesportswear #antiquesportswear #antiquesports #vintagesports #vintageblog #vintageblogger #1920sdress #1910sskirt #1910sdress #1920ssportswear #vintageclothing #vintageclothes #slowfashion #sustainableliving #sustainablefashion #outfitplanning
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Today was all about holding onto the hat or I would never see it again! 🌬🌊 Wearing the new to my collection 1920’s Jack Tar Togs middy blouse in a pale yellow cotton fabric from @bycinbyhand, silk skirt with mother of pearl buttons down the front, late teens/early 1920’s boots and fluffy hat 🥰 Swipe to the third pic and you’ll see a Jack Tar Togs ad from May 1920, and to the fourth an ad from September 1921! #jacktartogs #truevintageootd #truevintageootdregular #realvintage #truevintage #vintageoutfit #1920sfashion #1920sdress #20sfashion #20sdress #1910sfashion #1910sdress #vintagehat #vintage #antiquefashion #vintagefashion #vintageootd #antiqueboots #antiqueshoes #vintageshoes #antiquehat #vintageblog #vintageblogger #vintagesportswear #vintagesports #1920ssportswear #slowfashion #sustainableliving #sustainablefashion
Below, a view of one of the early Jack Tar Togs dresses she found, paired with hats and boots of the era. The product probably dates from around 1920, as it exactly matches a Jack Tar Togs ad from Ladies’ Home Journal in 1919.
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May 1919 ad from Jack Tar Togs with my dress featured down in the right corner 🙌 😱 The dress is original and NOT a reproduction! 🌹 The scarf is not original to the dress, but wanted to style it like in the ad ✨ Paired with my late teens/early 1920’s boots and 1920’s cloche hat. #truevintageootd #vintagedress #1910sdress #1910sfashion #antiquedress #antiquefashion #vintagefashion #vintage #vintageoutfit #truevintage #realvintage #vintageblog #vintageblogger #jacktartogs #vintagejacktartogs #antique #vintageadvertising #vintagead #oldadvertising #oldad #antiqueadvertising #antiquead #slowfashion #sailordress #antiqueboots #clochehat #1920shat #1920scloche #sustainableliving #sustainablefashion
Below, her full Instagram feed. Be sure to follow her.