Category Archives: Clothing

How women in 1960 achieved The Look

To achieve the bouffant looking skirt, like this:

$12.98

a girl would have to wear one or more of these:

or these:

However, it took something a bit more stringent for this look:

Sunback Sheath Dress – $7.98

or this one:

3 Piece suit – $22.98, Red Checked Beret – $2.98

One of these was required:

Girdles

The bouffant look was the easiest to achieve – you just needed a really full half slip. More if you could. These slips were called crinolines or, as we called them in Oklahoma: Can-Cans.

They were sold in tubes and would expand like a rubber dinghy when removed.

One girl could fill a whole seat on the schoolbus if she’d really gone all out. A friend of my sister wore a cancan made by her mother which had used 12 yards of netting.

Slips were a lovely, feminine part of a lady’s wardrobe. Montgomery Ward’s 1960 Spring/Summer catalog featured 10 pages of all sorts of slips: half, full, lacy, utilitarian, and maternity in a wide range of colors.

Years ago I bought a very nice half slip with a wide border of lace, but alas, it became as tattered as a flag left out in the wind.

When I went back to Dillard’s to get a replacement – they had one style. One. And it was ugly.

I’m afraid modern women have been sold a bill of goods (taken for a ride; cheated; swindled) by fashion setters. It’s not easy to find feminine designs.

However, a Lady of the Night no longer needs a speciality store. She can get her work clothes anywhere.

Ahem.

Okay, on to the girdles.

Those slender skirts like Audrey Hepburn wore needed something more than just a slip underneath.

A “foundation garment” was used to slim those hips. Smooth out those bumps. Hold in that tummy.

That same MW catalog had 25 pages of girdles and slimming undergarments.

25!

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Filed under 1960, Antiques/Vintage, Clothing, Dresses (Including Formals), Ephemera, Fashion, Femininity, Montgomery Ward, Vintage catalogs

Annotated Progression of Ladies Fashion, 1785 – 1820

Having just read Persuasion by Jane Austen, I’m particularly interested in the details of that era. Today at the library I was able to check out several non-fiction books about her and early 19th century historical details.

However, this post features selections from my own copy of John Peacock’s broad treatise on fashion history.

These illustrations only roughly represent her years. She lived from 1775 to 1817; the pictures are for fashions from 1785 to 1820. Since Miss Austen completed the rough draft of Persuasion in 1817, her stylish characters would’ve worn dresses from the last sketch below.

(Clicking on a picture will enlarge it.)

Also, please note that they are intended to show the progression and details of fashion development. I think it helps to see how styles can sometimes ease from one to another. Other times they change radically.

1785 - 1798

1798 - 1800

1800 - 1811

Regency 1811 - 1820

Sketches are from John Peacock’s book: Costume 1066 – 1966, A Complete Guide to English Costume Design and History (copyrighted 1986). Mr. Peacock was the senior costume designer for BBC Television when the book was printed.

The calligraphy is by Rachel Yallop.

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Filed under 1700s, 1800s, Books, Clothing, Dresses (Including Formals), England, Ephemera, Fashion, Femininity, Hairstyles, Hats, History, Jane Austen, Shoes

Fashion Contrasts: 1770 and 1815

DK Costume Book by Rowland-Warne

Vintage Hats & Bonnets by Langley

Apparently it’s not a particularly modern practice for fashion designers to make yesterday’s clothing look dated and outmoded.

Even though the time gap (from the 1770s – 1815) shown here spans 45 years, the changes were huge. It’s doubtful that many women would be wearing the same apparel for all those years (despite the superior quality of fabric then as opposed to now), but it is possible that women who wore the 18th century styles when they were young may not have wanted to change with the times and would have looked extremely outdated even to a casual observer.

Albeit that we are discussing clothing, a comment about hair styles comes to mind. I read once that a hairdresser said he could tell within 5 years when a woman graduated from high school by her hair and makeup – no matter her age.

The difference in hair styles between 1770 and 1815 were at least as striking as the change in clothing: from massive powdered wigs to ringlets and close to the head buns.

Guild Hall, Windsor


The DK Costume book by L. Rowland-Warne was one that I bought in 1999 in Windsor. Every Sunday morning vendors were set up under the portico at the front of the Guild Hall – built around 1687 under the direction of Sir Thomas Fitz then Sir Christopher Wren. There were a couple of book sellers and I was able to get this costume book from one and a vintage Penguin Agatha Christie novel from another.

Vintage Hats & Bonnets by Susan Langley was bought on a trip to Massachusetts a few years ago. While Joe attended a class for his job, I drove over to Lowell and had an absolutely marvelous time at a hat exhibit at the American Textile Museum. Well worth the time if you’re ever in the area.

Fashion Museum, Bath


V & A


The V&A was the museum which Mr. Thackeray’s (Sidney Poitier) class went to for their field trip in To Sir, With Love. Remember the girls in their mini-skirts looking at the wide-skirted dresses?


At the Museum of Costume in Bath (in 2007 the name was changed to Fashion Museum) and then at the Fashion exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum, we saw the false hips that women wore under their dresses to make their hips so broad.

No, I can’t imagine it either.

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Filed under 1700s, 1800s, Antiques/Vintage, Clothing, Dresses (Including Formals), Ephemera, Events & Museums, Fashion, Femininity, Hairstyles, Hats, History, Jane Austen, Jane Austen, Shoes

1967 Watches

From the May 1967 issue of Seventeen, here are several photos of watches. Mod seems to be a key word and idea from the manufacturers.

Perhaps this will help to fix a date on something you find in your mother’s jewelry box or at the antique mall.


Dresses – Judy Gibbs (a division of Puritan Industries
Watches by Caravelle (a division of Bulova)

White pleated tent dress – $30.00
White wide band watch – $17.95

Tie-dyed-look formal – $36.00
Gold 2 diamond watch – $29.95
(Not fond of the dress, but those are great shoes!)


Dresses – Judy Gibbs
Watches – Caravelle

Roman-style gown – $36.00
Roman numeral watch – $22.95

Mod floral tent dress – $23.00
Roman numeral pendant watch – $22.95


Caravelle (a division of Bulova) targeted the youth market by appealing to the less ordinary minded: “But for the more demanding girl, we offer this selection of, er, rather strange looking timepieces from $17.95 to $29.95 …We also make watches that look like charms, pendants, baubles, bangles and just about every other piece of jewelry you can name. Except, of course, a watch.”
you can name. Except, of course, a watch.”


Caption: “Don’t lose a moment to get with it! The NOW look in Mod…Mr. Taylor’s racy watch faces match the color of their big bands to time your day with dash.” The ad goes on to say that prices start at “a tiny $12.95 and up.” In 2011 dollars that would be about $50, and while it’s true that that isn’t exactly expensive, it’s still a lot for costume jewelry that’s likely to look dated in a year or two.


A little more formal, these watches by Swank include identification styles, which could be engraved with names or initials. Prices in this ad range from $25.00 to $60.00.


25. Waltham -$55.00
26. Vantage – $24.00
27. Caravelle – $20.00
28. Sheffield – $50.00
29. Taylor – $50
30. Croton – $60.00

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Filed under 1960's, 1967, Antiques/Vintage, Clothing, Dresses (Including Formals), Ephemera, Fashion, Femininity, Jewelry, Shoes

1965 Junior Fashions

These are Gidget (the Sally Field television show) era fashions. Chambray and madras were hugely popular fashion fabrics. Also, this was the beginning of both the dropped/belted waist dress and empire waist. Very cool.


Colleen Corby and unknown model wearing outfits by Patty Woodard. Overtop about *$12. Pants about $9. Babushka (kerchief) about $3. Shift about $17.


Andrea Allred modeling the low belted cotton knit dress by Lansford Jr. Petites. About *$18. Echo scarf, Van Eli shoes. Stockings by Archer.


Susan Henning modeling the wool twill coat costume by Hallie Jr. About *$50. Adolfo Realites hat, bag by Lefcort, gloves by Wear-Right. Wools loomed in America.


Nanette Vest wearing a cotton chambray and madras trimmed outfit by Ladybug. Dress about *$18. Madras hat about $5. Sandor bangle, shoes by Bandolinos, stockings by Hanes.


Blue or red bleeding madras with gathered yoke, back zipper, lined, *$9.95. Blue, pink or yellow striped shift with white and ruffled, $8.50.

*Prices are about 5x what they were in 1965.

All photos are from the January 1965 edition of Seventeen magazine.

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Filed under 1960's, 1965, Clothing, Fashion, Femininity, Gloves, Hats, Jewelry, Shoes, Vintage Advertisements, Vintage Magazines

Mod Fashions, 1967

(My apologies for the quality of these photos. I can’t scan them in because the old Seventeen magazines were oversized and the whole page won’t fit on my scanner. Photographing them is not easy because of glare. I’ll try to do these over and substitute better ones at a later time.)

McCall's pattern# 8614, model Candy Slater

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Filed under 1960's, 1967, Boots, Clothing, Fashion, Hats, Vintage Advertisements, Vintage Magazines

The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947 – 1957, Part III

Balenciaga Evening Gown - 1950

Designer: Cristobal Balenciaga
Model: Dovima
Photographer: Richard Avedon
Published: Harper’s Bazaar (British edition), December 1950

Balenciaga Coat - 1950

Designer: Cristobal Balenciaga
Model: Lisa Fonssagrives
Photographer: Irving Penn
Published: Vogue (French edition), 1950

Balenciaga Dress with Scarves- 1951

Designer: Cristobal Balenciaga
Fabric: Satin and Chiffon

Balenciaga Wool Suit - 1954

Designer: Cristobal Balenciaga
Fabric: Wool Tweed
Model: Yvonne
Published: Vogue (French edition), September 1954
Cost: Approximately 110,000 francs

Balenciaga Suit - 1948

Designer – Cristobal Balenciaga
Model: Elise Daniels
Photographer: Richard Avedon
Published: Harper’s Bazaar (American edition), October 1948
(I cropped this photo because the model is surrounded by street performers; it is a wierd and unpleasant photo, but a beautiful suit. Avedon was a talented artist, but this was just too bizarre.)

All photographs and information are from the book “The Golden Age of Couture Paris & London:1947-1957”, edited by Claire Wilcox, for the Victoria & Albert Museum exhibit.

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Filed under 1948, 1950, 1950s, 1951, 1954, Books, Clothing, Fashion, Hats, Vintage Magazines