The Little Lady With The Ladybug: Vera Neumann
Of all the designer vintage clothes we see, some of the cutest (and most affordable!) come from Vera. She created beautifully bright prints most notably in silk scarves, but also on dresses & separates. Most 1960s women in America were on a first-name basis with her designs, oftentimes accented with a spritely ladybug.
Here's a photo archive of the many Vera items we've offered over the years -
Vera sometimes collaborated with other designers and manufacturers, including Anne Klein, Lane Bryant and Formfit Rogers. Beyond the photos shown here, Vera also produced skirts and lingerie, though they are seen less often in vintage clothing.
Vera's 1960s dresses were often cotton sheaths, sometimes with specially printed borders that were more costly to manufacture. Vera's designs were found in better boutiques and generally had prices in the $45 to $75 range when originally sold in the 60s.
The bright printed cottons of the 60s gave way to more abstract, fluid synthetics into the 1970s, like the pink swirl (second from left) and brown "shifting sands" print (second from right). Vera also played with solid terrycloth knit (center photo) for beach wear, and sporty layered looks like the rainbow-striped three-piece ensemble at far right. The red Mod dress is available for sale.
One of our favorite Vera scarf ideas is her scarf-shirt. She took two identical scarves, seamed them at the shoulders and sides, and voila - It's a shirt! The surf 'n sand look is an iconic casual style from the 1960s era of Gidget and Beach Blanket Bingo. Today these are unusual finds in vintage clothing, most likely found in new-old stock.
On the other hand, Vera's tailored shirts are relatively easy to acquire and in a creative array of prints and themes. She's most well-known for butterflies and flowers, but Vera also printed up shirts in seashells, animal motifs, modernist abstracts, and the kitsch veggie pattern at far left.
Vintage shirts by Vera were a range of fibers - pure cotton, polyester blends, soft synthetic jerseys, and more rarely found in silk. It's likely that vintage collectors see the silk Vera shirts less often because they were more expensive when originally sold, so fewer were sold compared to their cotton counterparts. Also, silk generally withstands the test of time relatively poorly, especially the crisply finished silks that Vera was known for. This often leads to fragility or pest damage.
Vera's shirts, like her vintage dresses, are sometimes specially printed to create striped borders or fancy flourishes to necklines and hems. The themes are a delight, from cherry blossoms on pink cotton to modernist "art to wear" motifs on mustard silk.
Sometimes Vera Neumann is confused with other Veras, like Vera Maxwell, Vera Bradley or Vera Whistler. They are each unique designers with independent companies unaffiliated to each other. Here's a glimpse of what each offers in vintage clothing: