As girls they spent time at dressmakers, shoemakers, and milliners, where they acquired day dresses and casual shoes for home life; heels, suits, hats, and gloves for the public sphere; and gowns for special evening events. . . . Alice’s hats, a friend wrote, “were all in perfect condition, kept in their original pretty boxes from the most famous milliners. She had superb examples of inlaid feather work by Paul Poiret, huge black-and-gold birds of paradise. . . .New York Times Style Magazine. Photo: Horst, Stein at Balmain.
Elements of Stein’s style included boxy suits, complete with a bow tie, bowler, and ornate vests. Many photos show her in vests, all of which are clearly custom made and intricately embroidered or knitted. The striking photos by Cecil Beaton show Stein with Alice B. Toklas. In the second photo, Stein’s vest is beautifully woven with flowers and birds. Some of the most vivid portraits her show her in the family’s famous salon in Paris, hailed as the first Museum of Modern Art in a 1968 New Times article and recently celebrated by an exhibition at the Met: The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde.