Thursday, June 14, 2012

Oh, Bullocks! (Disambiguation: The Store Not Sandra)

"That is very funny, but labeling people can be dangerous."

So true Cassandra, so true. Clothing, however, is a different beast and today, we're learning about this label:

And this label
And this label
 Are we seeing a pattern here?
 Housed in a gorgeous Art Deco building commissioned by John Bullock and designed by John and Donald Parkinson, the Bullock's Wilshire opened its rather impressive doors in 1929.

Bastion de style: 3050 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles.
I know we like to say this a lot around here, but really, this store had EVERYTHING. Everything glamorous and high-end that is: a exterior facade design by George Stanley*, a perfume hall, a porte cochere, a saddle shop, sixty custom-designed clocks, travertine floors,
Travertine in Nature (Impressive, yes?)  Photo: M. Samaee
Travertine in Bullocks. (Still impressive)

a tea room, future celebrity employees (among them June Lockhart, Pat Nixon and Angela Landsbury) a Chanel shop, several decades of exclusively handwritten receipts so as not to have the none-too-melodious sounds of cash registers disturb the peaceful and genteel shopping environment

a climate-controlled fur room, a Doggery (for the sophisticated canine) and an in-store Salon Boutique for Irene Lentz Gibbons- better known by the single moniker, Irene- stylist for the grande dames of LA and later costume designer at MGM.

The Irene Salon

An Irene display, including sketch. Photo M. Hall. Source:
More info on Irene's work at Bullocks can be found here:
And Irene in general
Apparently the definitive work on Bullocks Wilshire (or so 2.5 hours of internet research would suggest):
Awesome info and photo tour of the building today:
For your other labeling and other vintage clothing-related interests, check this out:

Bullocks Wilshire closed in 1993. The following year, the building was purchased by Southwestern Law School. Extensive restoration and conservation was done, and 3050 Wilshire now houses the Dean's Office (formerly John Bullock's top floor office) and the Leigh H. Taylor Law Library. It is closed to the public but once a year they do offer the "Tea and Tour" event. For info on that see here:

And if you have trouble finding a gift for that persnickety person just take a cue from this:
"His wife and daughters found it impossible to buy clothes for him, except for sweaters and handkerchiefs. He preferred to choose his own outfits, and every two years he went to Bullock's Wilshire in Los Angeles and bought a supply." Thomas, Bob. Walt Disney: An American Original. Disney Editions, 1994. p.226

If Walt Disney can shop there so can you....provided you have a time traveling contraption of some variety. 

 Okay, gotta go. Me and the Doctor have to go buy some high-end scarves and bowties. 

*George Stanley designed the original Oscar statue from a design by Cedric Gibbons- MGM's Art Director- also btdubs the brother-in-law of Irene, herself twice nominated for an Academy Award. OMG, everything's coming together.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Yeah, it's been more than a couple days. There may have been a concussion-related incident somewhere in there, but you know what? Now we get to say this: Western Costume Blog- We're Better with Brain Injuries!
If any one wants to make me a graphic for that, I'll totally post it, provided, of course, it meets with the family-friendly(ish) rating of this station. So then...Swords. Cool people have them.

Obviously. Let's learn things and be cool too.

Sword Anatomy- Courtesy of
Names of different parts of Medieval SwordsThe names of the different parts of a Medieval sword are as follows together with facts and information about their history:
  • The Blade - The blades of Medieval swords which were used in England were usually straight with two sharpened edges. The history of Blades shows that they were first made of Bronze, then iron and culminating in the steel Medieval swords
  • The Crossguard or Quillion - This was the handle of the sword resembling the shape of the Christian cross. Expensive to produce and sometimes covered in precious metals - bronze, silver or gold
  • The Edge - The cutting part of the blade. Medieval swords were designed to be used for blows directly against the opponent's body or shield and in the edge to edge style of sword fighting
  • The Forte - The strongest part of the swords blade, nearest the hilt
  • The Fuller - The central shallow on a straight double edged blade - also referred to as the 'Blood Gutter'!
  • The Grip - The hilt of swords held in the hand of the Knight. The Grip was often made of horn or wood, covered in leather and contoured to fit in the hand
  • The Hilt - The Hilt is the handle of the sword made up of the crossguard, grip and the pommel. The personal engravings on the hilt, and its expense, would often ensure that when a blade was disguarded the hilt would be re-used
  • The Pommel -The pommel was part of the hilt which acted as a counterweight to the blade on Medieval swords
  • The Tang - The tang was the unsharpened end of the sword blade covered by the hilt
(The Other Tang)

Different swords have slightly different terms. It's okay. Terms can be fun. It's not like there's a surprise spelling test next Wednesday, you know between recess and group-project time. Also, I'm sure if you start rattling these off to random strangers your cool factor will just skyrocket. I know mine does.

Western (American) Sword Anatomy- Check out for even more detailed info.

Fun fact: The medieval Greatsword could be up to 91 inches length. That's nearly eight feet. That's the deep end of residential swimming pool. Four words: Get out the way.

Reading instructions in plain English is just too easy for you? The Association for Renaissance Martial Arts teaches you how to use potentially deadly weapons in Olde English, and ...wait for it... translated medieval German. Hardcore, no?

Now go on, have fun*, and remember the sage words of
"Getting a good Scottish Claymore for under $300 is not an easy task.."   Thanks for reading, and good luck with all of your sword related adventures.**
*Play safe, friends.
**Kingdom not guaranteed with purchase or removal of sword.