Circle Skirt Circumstances

The end of World War II wasn’t just the beginning of an era.  It was the end of an era too.  The end of Fascist Germany.  The end of an imperialist Japan.  The end of many long distance romances. And the end of rationing. 

During the war supplies were limited and everything was rationed.  Foods like butter and grain was not exactly scarce, but they weren’t quiet as readily available as today.  And raw materials were strictly regulated.  Things like metal to make buttons and fabric to make clothes.  The fabric restrictions couldn’t help but impact the fashions of the time and things like the pencil skirt and cropped jackets weren’t just the style, they were the result of limited materials.  When the war ended, women everywhere were rejoicing and celebrating with longer lengths, exaggerated extravagant fullness, and with their handsome soldiers back from across the world. And voila: the circle skirt, among other things, was born.  Boom, baby, boom.

Vintage Embellished Circle Skirt


The skirts first became popular when America’s beautiful and famous women were travelling in search of a “the Quickie Divorce.”  In the 50’s many of them went to Mexico to lose one lousy husband and gained some fantastic Mexican “tourist” skirts.  When they returned to the U.S. women everywhere were tantalized by the gorgeous hand-painted and sequined adorned skirts, only adding to the mystique and style of the1950’s divorced woman. Marilyn Monroe is probably the most noteworthy of these women.  Mother’s everywhere were asking their daughters; If  Marilyn Monroe jumped off a cliff wearing a circle skirt, would you?  History has reveeled, the answer was yes.

1950’s Bull Fighter Cotton Swing


The first time the skirt was designed and sold in the U.S., was by an opera singer named Julie Lynne Charlot.  Apparently, opera singers were about as popular back then as they are now, because Julie was struggling to afford a Christmas dress one holiday season.  Her mother, decided to design her a full and flouncy adorned circle skirt out of inexpensive felt, and soon she was selling them out of her own personal boutique in Beverly Hills.  The skirt exploded from there and some designs were hand-painted and unique, like their Mexican counterparts.  Others were worn with petticoats to accentuate the dramatic ration of hips to waist.  And others still evolved to be plastered with poodles, worn with saddle shoes and socks and twirled into the hearts and souls of America’s rock and roll’n youth.

Rare 1950’s Janzten Circle Skirt


Unfortunately, as America’s youth rebelled, the circle skirt slowly faded out as the min skirt became all the rage.  The circle skirt is still a classic shape and silhouette that has transcended time and trends.  Today pair it with anything from a rock tee, to a bustier, to a denim blouse and bolo tie. Do Marilyn proud, because not only is a circle skirt classic it’s also timelessly sexy.  And who knows, your future ex-husband could be just around the corner. 


Featuring a beautiful hand-painted flower, this Mexican circle skirt has incredible all-over verticle block print texture.  The flower is colored vibrantly and this item is made even more unique by the tiny splatters of paint, only beknownst to you and the original artist.   Wear it with a smug smirk, knowing you and your skirt share a crafty secret.

1950’s Conchita Full Circle Skirt, Monster Vintage

Hand-Paint me September

September is a tricky month.  It’s hot, it’s cold, it’s rainy, it’s sunny.  It’s slightly bi-polar.  Unfortunately, Xanax only works on humans, but here at Monster Vintage we’d like to prescribe something else to help out with this tricky month.  A circle skirt it a perfect solution. Wear it with platform sandals and a tank on those sticky days, or chunky boots and a leather jacket during the cold fronts. This month we’re featuring a series of versatile hand-painted Mexican circle skirts that are both beautiful and functional.

This 1960’s skirt has fantastic sequin detailing and features majestic Aztec motifs.

1960’s Mexican Handprint Mexican Circle Skirt, Monster Vintage

August Adieu

The closing of August means one thing, the end of Summer.  With each day you can feel the sunshine and mojitos being slowly peeled from your sweaty, sticky, tanned fingers.

In desperate moments like these, there is only one thing you can do. Road Trip! or… Beach Run! or… Farmer’s Market! Alright, so there are multiple things you can do in moments like these, but whichever method you choose, fight the setting sun with some amazing summer resort wear that will make you forget all about the dwindling weeks, and keep you hitting up that cabana boy, or girl, or both. We don’t judge.

1970’s Tropical Unique Sleeved, Monster Vintage


1960’s Long Summer Dress, Monster Vintage

The Fight of the Century

If humankind has learned nothing else from the Jersey Shore, and it hasn’t, it would be that fist fights don’t solve anything, but they sure are entertaining.  And, if the cards are played well, said fights can be incredibly profitable for the people stupid enough to take a beating for a buck.  And no beating has been more boisterous, more lucrative, more epic, than when Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier met in the ring three times to battle it out for the Heavyweight Title.

Despite the previous crude comparison, Ali and Frazier were more than the latest reality TV grade celebrity, They were pop-culture icons, political lightning rods, and physically supreme beings with bodies sculpted by the Gods themselves.  They were the rippled forgers of the boxing frenzy that was beginning in the very bowels of manly America.  When Frazier and Ali were to fight, they were the highest paid athletes ever, each pocketing 2.5 million per fight (which today, after inflation, would be equivalent to a million billion dollars).  Their heavy weight match-ups were so anticipated people were literally dying.  Ok, they weren’t literally dying, but there were some small riots and probably an injury or two.

The high-pitched frenzy didn’t impact anyone more powerfully than Frazier and Ali themselves, who in the weeks leading up to the famous fights, talked more crap than a scatologist.

Ali, refused to sign up the the selective service in ‘68, and was an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam war.  He was also a well known “black power” advocate, and personal friends with the controversial Malcolm X.  His failure to comply with the draft, caused him to be stripped of his Heavyweight Championship title, and banned from boxing.  With the unprecedented removal of his title, the boxing world was thrown into utter chaos, and thousands of grown men cried themselves to sleep without the solace of a Heavyweight Title Champion.

1980’s Vote for Peace Tee, Monster Vintage

“Smokin’ Joe” Frazier, on the other hand, was significantly less anti-establishment.  During Ali’s absence, he swooped in and won the title, though many didn’t consider him the true Champion because he never had fought Ali.  Frazier called himself a proud patriotic and while he had supported Ali’s return to boxing, he carried himself with the proud seriousness of a Southern Gentleman.  The favorite among older and more conservative fans, Joe Frazier was a glass of aged scotch amidst a sea of PBR.

1950’s Formal Tux Smoking Jacket, Monster Vintage

Coming from two very different backgrounds, as well as being in very literal opposition, these two athletes exchanged some of the most bombastic name calling and game talking in sports history.  Much of it stemming from the young and cocky Ali, who referred to Frazier as a “gorilla” on a regular schedule, usually following his daily bowl of Wheaties.  He also called Frazier ignorant, ugly, and an Uncle Tom. Rest assured, none of that went over well with the mild mannered Frazier.

When the two finally met for their first match, dubbed “The Match of the Century,”  in 1971, it was as climactic and ridiculous as was predicted.  Frazier barely won in a split decision.  But Ali won their second match, in what was by all accounts considered to be sort of lame, BUT they made up for it with their third and final tie breaking match; “The Thrilla in Manila.”  Both men fought to the brink of death and back again and then turned around and did it again.  It was a glorious sight to be seen.  A sight now only available to the lucky few who have the patience to search for it on YouTube.  It was bigger than the Jersey Shore. Bigger than Shawn White.  Bigger than those mini burgers they serve at bars that are so overpriced.  It was the stuff of legend.  The stuff you could only understand if you’d lived it yourself.  But you know what they say;

Those who can. Do.

Those who can’t. Teach.

And those who can, but just don’t really feel like it right now. Wear the awesome T-Shirt.

1970’s Muhammad vs. Frazier Tee, Monster Vintage

Good Sport

Anybody with style, stands out because of their own personal touches.  To create a unique style you draw from your hobbies, your experiences, your personality, and your life in general.  So what has been happening recently in the world in general and in millions of lives in particular? Soccer. Soccer. And more Soccer.  The Women’s World Cup has consumed the time of millions around the globe as of late, and there’s no better way to show your soccer savvy with some slick vintage sports wear.

Vintage US Soccer Federation Shirt, Monster Vintage

 1970’s Adidas Soccer Shirt, Monster Vintage 


70’s Mickey Mouse Soccer Shirt, Monster Vintage

The US Women’s team had not been in a World Cup Final since they beat China in shootouts 12 long years ago.  The chaos following the US victory that summer was a first for women’s sports.  The year was 1999, and the entire US proceeded to party as such.  Anyone who remembers that glorious match, would love to display their American pride in something a little more patriotic.

Original Spirit of 76 Jersey, Monster Vintage

Retro Americana Striped Suspenders, Monster Vintage

70’s Cherry Knit Doe-lon Varsity Jacket, Monster Vintage

Yesterday afternoon, millions of American hearts broke however, when Japan triumphed in a gut wrenching World Cup Final game. It is surprisingly difficult, however, to remain angry at a team nicknamed the “Nadeshiko,” which translates to beautiful flower.  We could not have lost to a more deserving opponent.  Well played Japan. Well played.

Vintage Pink Cheongsam Dress, Monster Vintage

1950’s Japanese Embroidered Silk Jacket, Monster Vintage

1960’s Emerald Japanese Robe, Monster Vintage


I still remember my first pair of Nike sneakers. When I was seven years old, my family took a day trip to the Oregon coast.  In my haste to run through the freezing cold tide, I left my sneakers too close to the surf and by they time I was looking for them, they had been swept out to the Pacific, never to be seen again.  After a lengthy scolding from my mother, and a painful barefooted hike back to the car, we drove to the nearest Fred Meyer to buy me some replacement shoes. I vividly remember the feeling of shame and humiliation I felt, even as a seven year old, walking through the store on the cold scuffed tile floor with no shoes.  Soon, however,  my embarrassment was quickly replaced with sheer joy when my mother told me I could get the black and white Nike sneakers. Looking back on the situation now, I’m not even sure why I was so excited to get Nikes.  I don’t remember how or why I even knew what Nikes were. But that is exactly what defines the Nike brand. The Nike brand has permeated the very psyche of our culture without us even being aware.

The Nike brand is like no other.  Its reach is international and cross cultural and its revenue is unmatched.  Having been born right here in the United States, the Nike brand is as American as apple pie; its history, however, is a tad more bittersweet.

Rare Pinwheel Nike Windbreaker, Monster Vintage

In 1962 Philip Knight saw the need for an American competitor in the mostly German dominated athletic shoe market. The Oregon University undergraduate track star knew from personal experience that current athletic shoes lacked two things: the comfort and increased performance standard needed for athletic activity.  He soon created his own company, which employed only himself, and named it Blue Ribbon Sports to satiate the concerns of his Japanese suppliers.  Like most men of genius, Knight spent an abnormal amount of time in his father’s basement for the next few months, tweaking the Japanese sneakers. The following year right around the same time his parents began thinking he might have turned into some weird cellar dwelling loser, Knight began peddling the Japanese shoes out of the back of his car at track meets in the area.  Bowerman, a former track coach of his, saw potential in Knight’s vision and invested $500 dollars in Blue Ribbon Sports.  These days, $500 wouldn’t even be enough to upgrade your hella sweet sound system, but it was all Knight needed to continue and grow his hobby, turned obsession, turned career, and eventually, turned brand superhero.

Super Rare NIKEMAN Tee, Monster Vintage

The Blue Ribbons Sports brand grew successfully over the next few years and was almost as popular as its fellow Oregon basement-born product, desoxyephedrine (more commonly known as crystal meth).  Fortunately, Knight’s shoes were much less detrimental to your health and a bit less expensive.  In 1966 he opened up the first retail location in the promise land of materialist America, Santa Monica, California.  Fueled by relatively small but healthy sales, Blue Ribbon Sports severed it’s connection with the Japanese supplier and was about to retail its first exclusive shoe. The product was a soccer shoe, dubbed, quite unceremoniously at the time, Nike.  It would be the first to bear the now famous Nike swoosh.  The swoosh was designed by a young Portland State University student and sold to Knight for a measly $35, in what would later be called the steal of the millennia.  In 1972, Bowman would create the first original Nike design. The legendary “waffle” shoe which was made by pouring rubber into a waffle iron.  The shoe was so revolutionary, no one bothered to ask why exactly Bowman was eating rubber waffles for breakfast.  Instead, they were mesmerized by the textured sole that provided flexibility while simultaneously offering a previously unrivaled level of traction. The “waffle” shoe was released as the Moon Shoe, and set Nike apart as THE innovators and designers for athletes.  The brand continued to expand, create, and excel throughout the 70’s, and a jogging craze late in the decade gave the company the boost needed to establish themselves as a prominent US brand.

80’s Vintage Nike Waffle Runners, Monster Vintage

In 1979, the newly anointed Nike Inc moved to its headquarters in our very own Portland, Oregon and three years later, would hire the then-fledging Portland ad agency Wieden+Kennedy as their main marketing squeeze. The relationship between these two Portland power mavens would prove to be like any other passionate romance: fun, creative, historical, and almost indecently fruitful.

Wieden+Kennedy developed Nike into the superstar brand that it is today through ingenious and original marketing strategies.  For example, Wieden is credited with coining the slogan “Just Do It,” but the exact origin of the phrase is slightly hazy.  Some insist it was in an 1988 meeting that Wieden almost absently mindedly said of the Nike exec’s business sense, “You Nike guys, you just ‘do it.’”  The slogan is also rumored, however, to have a more morbid origin. And according to some, Wieden modeled it after the last words spoken by a convicted murderer moments before his execution by firing squad.  The murderer’s name was Gary Gilmore, a Portland native, who when asked for any last words exclaimed, “Let’s do it!” No doubt, with all the fervor and determination of a seasoned athlete.  Nike neither confirms nor denies these rumors, with all the coyness of a secretive school girl.

80’s Nike Runner Silver Tag Tee, Monster Vintage

Wieden+Kennedy also influenced Nike to be the first sports brand to sign and advertise with major athletes. From Olympic runners to Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and later the U.S. Women’s Soccer team, Nike would transcend all athletic arenas and were incredibly successful at reaching young people through their sports idols. So successful in fact, that in the 1990’s, following an incredibly successful ad featuring Michael Jordan and director/actor Spike Lee in which Lee declared, “It’s gotta be the shoes,” young people all over the country were getting mugged and even murdered for their $115 Air Jordans, giving the term “I’d kill for those,” frightening undertones. Even more shocking, was that these occurrences were not limited to just the United States, with muggings and violence happening in South America, Europe, and Japan.  The backlash over the violence was swift and hefty, with some critics focusing the blame on brand powerhouse Nike, and even celebrities Jordan and Lee.  Whether or not Nike and its affiliates shared any of the blame in these horrific incidents was a matter of opinion.  What wasn’t opinion, however, was the reach and irreversible permeation of the Nike brand across the globe.  It was officially fact: Nike had arrived with all the pomp and circumstance of the NCAA in March.

Nike 1980’s Work Blue Tag Nike Tee, Monster Vintage

While Nike never condoned violence, the Air Jordan controversy would not be the first controversial marketing strategy the company would employ. Nike signed athletes for what some people claimed were egregious amounts of money, and in turn, the athlete turned over his or her decision making abilities. In some circumstances, Nike decided where they lived, what they ate, what they wore, who they dated and probably what Saturday morning cartoons they watched.  Signing with Nike was like dating the hottest girl in school, emasculating and controlling, but what happened in the chemistry supply closet made it soooo worthwhile. Some were shocked at the level of control Nike exercised over their athletes, but the company argued that it was more than a brand; Nike was a lifestyle, an attitude.  The attitude being young, hip, cool, determined, and constantly pushing boundaries.  When Nike launched it’s “Just Do It” slogan, it came out with a series of sexually suggestive ads geared towards women that outraged some more conservative critics. More recently Nike released several commercials that were banned in various countries. And in the wake of the Tiger Woods scandal, Nike was one of his only sponsors that remained loyal, a controversial decision.  But in all honesty, Tiger Woods did “Just Do It,” better than anyone.  Even as recently as 2011, Nike came out with a series of tee shirts that they claimed featured popular extreme sports phrases such as “Dope,” “Get High,” and “Ride the Pipe.” After sharp criticism that the shirts promoted drug use, Nike pulled them from production and sale, but left behind a residue of discussion and interest in it’s wake–typical of the Nike brand and attitude.

80’s Rare Rough Front Nike Hoodie, Monster Vintage

Nike has not just lit up in popularity in America; the brand has achieved incredible success in Japan, where any recognizable American label is considered exceptionally hip.  In the mid 90’s, for example, year old Nike designs which originally sell for around $120, were being sold for as much as $1,400.  This trend of being “unique,” has since crossed over to the United States, and Nike has done a brilliant job capitalizing on it.  They are continually releasing limited editions resulting in huge lines on release days and inflated eBay prices for years afterwards.  Today, 80% of the athletic shoes purchased are not actually used for athletic activity, and there is no doubt Nike had a strong hand in creating this aesthetic.

Nike continues their magnificent marketing strategy today and has advertisements that cover the scope of society and life.  Their commercials have become world famous for leaving even the most seasoned, self-actualized consumer with tingling in their toes.  Seeing Nike as the primed and mature company today, it’s hard to imagine what a young Nike brand looked like. With these vintage Nike products, it’s your chance to own a piece of raw, unrefined Nike.

Very Rare 78-79 HIKE NIKE Tee, Monster Vintage

Very Rare 1979 FLY NIKE Tee, Monster Vintage