The comfortable roomy jacket with the waist hugging hem and versatile function has made yet another comeback in the 2020s. Just check out some of the Best Jackets lists throughout the fashion world. The new Gucci, Paul Smith and John Elliott jackets for 2020 prove the bomber’s appeal is still world-wide. Year after year, decade after decade, the bomber jacket appears at the top of outerwear fashion trends. Widely popular and considered a staple of any fashion closet, this respectable jacket proves anything but staid. So, how did it get to be one of the relatively few fashion elements to remain basically unchanged and yet popular enough to never truly go out of fashion?
This is the first post in a series of rants commentaries on my adventures in dressing people in vintage clothing. Bear with me. Hopefully this will be somewhat humorous and maybe a bit informative. Come into the shop and if it’s not busy, we can amuse ourselves retelling all sorts of fashion adventures. [the first picture is from My Modern Met. The link is at the bottom of this post. The last photo is really old and we’re not sure where it came from. All other photos belong to us.] Continue reading Vintage or Just Old?
Off we go into the hazy grey world of vague historical fashion influenced by who knows what and no one remembers exactly why, where everyone’s opinion is just that, an opinion. I hold no more authority than anyone else but I’ve done a little digging and you can look at my resources then decide for yourself. Today’s feature will be on the bolero jacket. What is a bolero jacket and how does it differ from the Zouave? The terms today, as well in the past, are completely interchangeable. Who cares? Only the extreme fashion snob or historian give a rat’s patootie. There is actually a difference, only mostly because the bolero became redefined in the mid-20th century. Before then, fashion plates almost never show a what we call a bolero but instead show a Zouave and call it a bolero. I’m putting on my fashion snob hat and will help you see the subtle differences. For a little back history, I did a brief post on the Zouave early in the year here .
The Zouave Jacket
From what I’ve casually read on the internet from several sources, the Zouave’s were north Africans living in Morocco and Algeria. I read that after the French invaded north Africa, some of the fighters offered service (or were offered service) with the French in 1830. One article states the French had such poor skirmishing techniques, left over from the dreaded Jacobian influence, that the royal family hired the Zouave’s to teach the French troops how to be successful (1). I don’t know how authentic this is because it was the only article in several claiming this romanticized beginning. The other articles talked about two units of Zouave auxiliary battalions being formed in north Africa by the French from either conquered or soon to be conquered locals (2)(3)(4). Some articles say these fighters became the French Foreign Legion, ooh la la. I suspect the articles all got their initial research from the same point, as they were very similar in their claims to how the Zouave regiments started. Reports vary but in general, after several successes, more units were formed, several other countries liked what they saw and hired experienced fighters to add to their elite forces and voila! we have awesome fighting forces spread out all over the colonies by the mid-1800s.
Tired of tons of dye in your red velvet cake? (Ok, so this particular picture cheats with red dyed decorations, but the CAKE has no dye)
My Adventures in Finding the Perfect No-Dye Red Velvet Cake
No-Dye Red Velvet Cake
- 2 medium beets (make 1 ½ cups puree)
- 3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, almost normal room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 ⅓ cups sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temperature is better
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons natural (not dark or dutch processed) cocoa powder
- Puree your beets with lemon juice (see below), measure out and add vinegar.
- Grease and line 4 8” pans or make a zillion cupcakes.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. You’ll need two racks, space them evenly.
- Cream the butter with the sugar and add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla.
- Whisk the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
- Alternately add dry ingredients and buttermilk to wet mix. Start and end with dry. Mix just until blended.
- Fold in the beets. FOLD in but mix well. You don’t want to break the structure of the cake but you want all the color spread throughout. If you beat the batter at this point, the cake will be flat!
- Pour in pans and bake 35-45 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out dry. Watch this, you may want to check at 30 minutes, I’ve had them cook quick and cook slow. I think it has to do with the water content in the beets.
- Cool for 5 – 10 minutes, turn out on a rack and cool completely. You can wrap and freeze them if you want.
** Pureeing beets: This took me one hour to do, so plan accordingly. If you have a food processor, it will take much less time. I used raw beets. I did not peel them, but you can. I diced them VERY fine and pureed them in a blender with the lemon juice. Make them look like baby food! Because you add the lemon juice to the beets in the blender, the amount of lemon juice is somewhat variable. Strive for 1 ½ cups of pureed beets and 3 tablespoons lemon juice. You can have more lemon juice, it won’t kill the recipe. 2 beets the size of tennis balls makes a bit more than the right amount.
These layers will not turn out very tall. They are low-rise. If you want taller layers, use 3 pans and maybe a few cupcake papers and fill more than 2/3. You’ll have to cook them slightly longer but not much more.
For different flavor you can make substitutions as follows:
- Add more cocoa, up to ¼ cup total.
- Use 8 ounces cream cheese instead of buttermilk
- Roast your beats whole covered with foil and with ½ cup water in pan for 1 hour at 350 degrees and then peel them and puree them.
Why, yes, those are fake dyed red gummy hearts. Sorry, I made this cake for Valentine’s Day as a final tribute to my experiments in finding true red cake. Yes, the cake was that red. I must say, it was quite an adventure!
A bee on a mallow taken at Red Rock in Nevada