Cosmopolitanism, Trousers & La Mode Garconne.

Cosmopolitanism, Trousers & La Mode Garconne.

Hello Chaps & Chapettes

Two coincidences in my life recently have made me firstly curious and secondly aware of the people within the “vintage” scene who do not live in that crowded 1940’s pigeonhole.

The first thing that made me curious was a blog by Snoddlebug Entitled Bette does Butch.

Snoodlebug tells us about an event called “Bette Davies Night” that she attended recently and what she wore and why.

snoodlebug Betty Davies


The second thing is an amazing Girl I am fortunate to be friends with, who totally thinks outside the box when dressing.

Now I know you have all heard of The Tweed Run, this is said Girl (Michelle) at the Manchester and Lytham Tweed Runs.


Manchester Tweed Run 2016.                                                        


1920's /30's


Tweed Run Lytham 2015 


1920's /30's

During the 1920’s -30’s this fashion / style was known as
“La Mode Garconne”.
Parisian fashion designer Coco Channel endorsed this style and women who adopted it were called “Garconnei” (feminised version of the word “boy” in French).


Coco Chanel   


Elsa Schiaparelli

Both Coco Channel & Elsa Schiaparelli created memorable fashions that were in step with 1920s /30s concepts of what the modern woman wanted.
It seems to me that in many ways these two amazing decades of fashions have been forgotten and are being over looked.

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Michelle 2016                                                                               1920’s/30’s

The boyish bob became very fashionable in the 1930’s and was worn so very well by Lady Mary in the TV series Dolton Abbey.
It is such an easy hair style to maintain however, longer hair can also be style to suite this look.


Lady Mary Dolton Abbey.

So Chapettes & Chaps maybe next time you are feeling a little stifled in that amazing but somewhat over crowded 1940’s pigeonhole and you are looking at your incrediable wardrobe full of 1940’s cloths and wondering what to wear or how to once again reinvent yourself and your wardrobe, maybe you could take a leaf out of Michelle and Snoodlebugs Books and take a peek at and  maybe dip a toe in to the pool that is 1920’s & 1930’s fashion.

I'd love to hear how you add an edge to your outfits?
Rosie Lea xx

A Broad Abroad.

As it is International Woman's Day today I thought I would introduce you one of my favorite Ladies.

ca. 1945 --- Wallis, Duchess of Windsor in a short-sleeved Vionnet dress and belt, holding a hip-length jacket. --- Image by © CondÈ Nast Archive/CORBIS

Wallis Simpson Love her or Hate her it can not be deny that she had an amazing sense of style which is why her wardrobe continues to fascinate us.

wallis 1

Wallis was said to be a realist and possibly a little bit if an exhibitionist, she certainly had a penchant for wearing the most current fashions of the time.

1937  saw Wallis wearing an Elsa Schiaparelli Lobster gown designed in collaboration with Salvador Dali, it shows that Wallis was determined to make a statement.

Wallis was willing to showcase the most accomplished designers and painters of her generation, she wore this cutting edge gown for her shoot by Cecil Beaton for Vogue.

wallis 2                                                          wallis 6

The Leaf motif was a recurring design through out Wallis's life.

wallis 3

1940's  saw Wallis in a white wool skirt suit with red embroidery Wallis was of the opinion that she may not be the most beautiful woman in the world, but she could make up for it by being the best dressed and in my opinion she was.

wallis 4

Wallis is seen here  in a blue printed dress and red belt outside Government House in Nassau, the Bahamas in 1942 some say that Wallis worn  fashion as a kind of amour, who could blame her, to me the more notorious she became the more sophisticated her sense of style became.

wallis 9

1950 The Duchess of Windsor never lost her penchant for wearing the most current fashions of the time 1950 saw Wallis in Dior's Flûte Enchantée dress from his Autumn/Winter collection.

wallis 7                                                                   wallis 5         

In Portofino with their dog Thalmet.                                                           Relaxing with the Duke.

Wallis along with being credit as being one of the most beautifully dressed woman of her time was also a guinius for coning aphorisms.

She came up with....

"You can never be too rich or too thin".

"Never explain, Never complain".

but Wallis's

" Dress Better" was a Mantra by which she lived.

wallis 14                            wallis 15

wallis 16                                     wallis 17

If you would like to read more about this amazing beautiful some times tragic but always better dressed than everyone else then I can personally recommend all of the above books.

Enjoy International Woman's day


Rosie Lea xx






Wolves in Men's Clothing

During the 1920’s and 1930’s.the fur coat was a staple in the closets of the most excellent dressed gent, the most expensive furs were Sable, Ermine, Mink and Fox and any man who could afford a fur coat probably own one, as it was seen as a symbol of status and social position.


Whereas furs such as Racoon, Beaver and Buffalo were deemed to more often associate with Gentlemen of less-than-legit professions wearing it however allowed it’s wearer to publicise his wealth.

Full length fur coats were and are substantial, and make the wearer look much more imposing.

al harry fur coat 2                                           fur coat 1

Big Al wearing his original 1930's American Racoon Coat as he goes about Gangster Squad Business.............. 

Don't ask........

The less you know the better ..........


harr fur coat 1

Gangster Squad Associate Dapper Gent Harry Esq. wearing his original Coyote Fur Coat Date Undisclosed..... as is most of Harry's business.....

Racoon Coats.

These coats may look a bit distorted to the modern eye accustome to a slim over coat however,  traditinally these coat were cut a little bit wider and if made by an expert furrier could look as if they were made of one skin.

fur coat 2

With the development of the early motor cars which tended to be open, motoring in cold weather necessitated warm and protective clothing, and so Racoon and Coyote coats became the rage for motoring and motoring events.

Fur Collars.

However, if a chap only favoured a touch of fur or if his primary interested was not so much in the insulation properties of the coat then a overcoat with a fur collar was the way to go.

Many over coats of the 1930's & 40's had shaw collar made of fur or sheepskin.

Ray fur coat 1

Sugar Ray is seen here with a 1940's  double breasted over coat with sheepskin shawl collar maker unknown.........

Aquired from a chap in New York ..... No questioned asked!!!

isabel & Al                  424652_474481762638354_627261644_n

Big Al with Maw Hootie Ma Boobies in a double breasted 1940's over coat with sheepskin shawl collar.

harry & Co Print works 1

Harry his  grey 1940's overcoat with a black Astrakhan shawl collar.

We hope to see you soon

Rosie Lea xx


The Ramblings of Rosie Lea


The Ramblings of Rosie Lea

I hope to retell the riveting tales of adventure that The Gangster Squad have and to also bring you the occasional motivational posts designed to inspire ladies (and chaps) to be more glamorous, active or go-getting.

I hope you enjoy my ramblings, and don't forget to leave your comments or contact me at                



What Ho

Like most of you find chaps & capettes we are totally enthralled with the new French drama Resistance.

Set during the Second World War and based on true event.

Whilst watching ithowever, I wondered if I put in that postion would be so brave, I'd like to think so and hope so, but one thing I know we all owe a great debt to the people of the Resistance.

It is thought that Gen de Gaulle, lonely and defiant radio message from London via the BBC in which he told his countrymen that France had lost a battle, but not the war,

This was seen as a call to arms and the formulation of The Resistance.

Churchill acknowledged De Gaulle as the leader of the "Free French" and they were aided and financed by the British.

The series follows a group of young heroes fighting for freedom from Nazi occupation who join forces to produce a newspaper.

As well as the newspapers, information posters were also printed which were pasted to any and all available walls.

The estimated number of active resisters during WW2 is thought to be about 2% of the adult French population, approximately 400, 00 resistance fighters

Britian sent SOE experts over to France to work alongside and train the memebers of French Resistance in espionage, sabotage, and reconnaissance.

Skills that they quickly became most proficient in.......

The Resistance also maintain an active escape networks which helped allied soldiers and airmen trapped behind enemy lines to escape back to England.............
To fight another day.

How many Allied military escapees and evaders were actually smuggled out of France and into Spain by The Resistance will never really be established as records during the war were often hastily kept and collating them has been almost impossible.

However, the combined official American and British sources indicate there were roughly 3,000 evading American fliers and several hundred escaping POWs who were processed through Spain.

In 2005, a new museum at the Natzweiler Memorial Site was dedicated to the heroes of the French Resistance whose efforts to defeat the Nazis and liberate Europe were significant.

We intend to watch and enjoy the remainder of this series and maybe check out some of the other French Resistance films and TV series that have been made to watch during the dark night of winter.

Rosie lea x

London’s Real Peaky Blinder.

What Ho Chaps & Chappettes.

peaky blinders 1

Darby Sabini in flat cap fourth from right – picture Islington Local History Centre.

We like most people watched and enjoyed Steven Knight’s historical crime drama Peaky Blinders.

The story as we all know follows a group of Birmingham gangsters led by Tommy Shelby, a veteran of World War One, who seeks his fortune by aiming to control racecourse gambling.

Rosie Lea and the London crime scene.

In the second series the Birmingham Peaky Blinders attempt to muscle in on the London crime scene.

Rosie Lea already knew of the London Peaky Blinders and knew the history of the many real people places and events that are referenced in the series two.

Take the vicious but elegantly dressed head of the Italian gang Darby Sabini he was most certainly one of the most well-known criminal bosses in London in the 1920’s.

Sabin was however not a particularly snappy dresser as portrayed  it is said he only ever wore one jacket in his life and habitually wore a checked flat cap and black muffler.

Charles "Derby" Sabini (born Ottavio Handley 1888, Saffron Hill, the illegitimate son of an Irish mother and Italian father Sabini grew up on the mean streets of II Quartere– Clerkenwell’s Italian Quarter, and after a short-lived spell as a boxer, became a runner to a local bookmakers.

Sabini came to prominence in 1920 during an altercation with members of the Elephant Gang (so-called because they came from Elephant and Castle) who came to the Griffin pub in Clerkenwell Road intent on causing trouble.
Sabini broke the Elephant Gang leader’s jaw with a knockout punch.

This act propels Sabini to the top of the tree in II Quartiere.

The TV series Peaky Blinders portrays Sabini Clerkenwell based organisation which he ran out of  The Griffin Public House as the most powerful in London, Sabini organisation dominated the local underworld for nearly 20 years during the inter-war period and is alleged to have perpetrated more than 300 razor attacks.

Sabini left London for Brighton in 1926 – and established a similar racket there, using the name Fred Handley (his mother's maiden name).

During the 1930s, Sabini is alleged to have been the permanent resident of a penthouse apartment at the Grand Hotel Brighton.

In April 1940 Sabini was arrested at the Greyhound Stadium at Hove and interned for a year as an enemy alien despite his mixed parentage and inability to speak Italian.

In 1943 Sabini was found guilty of receiving stolen goods and sentenced to 3 years in prison.

Meanwhile, his only son was killed on active service for the RAF in Egypt.
After the war, his empire was taken over by the White family led by Alf White and subsequently by the organizations of Jack Spot and Billy Hill.

After the war, Derby Sabini worked as a bookmaker and was resident in Hove.

Derby Sabini was immortalised as the gangster Colleoni in Graham Green’s Brighton Rock.

Brighton Rock

And so we wait with bated breath the Autumn and Series 3 of PeakyBlinders.

Rosie Lea x

Que Sera Sera. What ever will be will be !!

Que Sera, Sera
(Whatever Will Be, Will Be)

Welcome Chapettes & Chaps to our world.

Ladies I am sure you can all empathize with me when I say I love wear original vintage dresses... but... they are rather fickle... And just a little bit flighty.
This is me and Marie-Eileen original at the beginning of the evening isn’t she lovely...The dress not moi!




However by the time we arrived at the dinner dance Marie-Eileen had decided it was to be her night.

And so the fun and games began.....

The small zip at the back on the neck line teeth had decided to part company, but never one to be flustered I dug out my trusty small gold safety pins...

A gal  I was wisely informed should never travel without them don’t you know ..... after all your knickers elastic could go at any time.....

So after pinning the zip at the neck line I continued to enjoy the evening......

However, Marie-Eileen had other ideas.

The petticoat that I was wearing under her,  appeared to have conspired in a pact with Marie-Eileen.
As throughout the middle part of evening the sizable side zip periodically opened from top to bottom, sporadically exposing my beautiful vintage petticoat as I dance and twirled on the dance floor.

I thought to myself as I once again sought out another trusted tiny gold safety-pin to come to the rescue of my modesty …..
I was winning the battle of the dress…. How misguided could I be?

In-between sipping champagne cocktails and delighting in the company of the exotic and eccentric people who I was privileged to be with I dance on into the night ….

She who should not be named Marie-Eileen.  Now decided to fall apart at the seams, I ask you and not a drop of alcohol had been soaked up by her..... but she behaved like a tipsy floozy.

The side seams of the dress under my arms promptly became such a gap I expected at any moment to hear the dulcet tones of the famous Peter Lodge announcer on my beloved London Underground
“Mind the Gap, Please” ……

But never one to be defeat.... I carried on regardless.

And so on arriving home at the end of our night Marie Eileen was as always place carefully and lovingly on to a padded coat hanger but on this occasion she was put to one side to be repaired in the near future.

And as for moi I fell into bed tired but grateful for the opportunity to be out in the company of a beautiful creation Marie-Eileen Original of which I am proud but know that I am but her temporary custodian.

Rosie Lea x