Tag Archives: Fashion

1968 Sears Spring/Summer Fashions

My dad would never have understood my love for old catalogs. Sears and Montgomery Ward catalogs arrived in our mailbox 3 times a year: Spring/Summer, Fall/Winter and the Christmas catalog with toys, decorations and gifts.

When the new one came, the old one went. Well, I’m just thankful that other families kept theirs, because where would I get one if they weren’t on ebay? I’ve bought very few at antique malls. They’re rarer than hen’s teeth.

Today I’ll post some ladies fashions. Hopefully I can get to the teen fashions, shoes and furnishings later.

Some women still wore hats and gloves to church.

There weren’t any formal fashions for juniors in this catalog. The girls in my 8th grade graduation class wore dresses similar to these.

I loved tent dresses. My mother made one for me in 1967 out of blue lace fabric and I had blue shoes to match. I wore it when we went to Washington, D.C. that summer. At that time, the stairs in the Washington Monument were still open to the public. My brother-in-law and I climbed them clear to the top. The only thing I remember about it was how tired I got and that I took my dress shoes off about half-way up and that we took the elevator down. I don’t even remember the view.

It’s amazing to think that I went up in something of that height. Now I don’t even like going up in tall buildings and certainly didn’t go to the top of the Empire State Building when we were in New York City.

The striped dress in the above photo is similar to one that I had. Instead of blue and green stripes, mine was orange and blue. And something else about those horizontal stripes: when I was 14, there wasn’t an ounce of fat on me and I could pull it off wearing horizontal stripes. I would never do that now.

These models are holding gloves but that seems out of place, because this type of dress is what my mother called a house dress. She wore them daily at home and for short trips to the grocery store or dime store. If we were going to Sears or church or a luncheon, she’d dress up a bit more. I never saw her wear slacks until after I was married. We have photos of her wearing slacks when she lived in California in the late 1930s and 40s, but at some point she went back to wearing only dresses. Possibly because she had put on a bit of weight. I don’t really know because she never talked about it.


Filed under 1960's, Ephemera, Family, Fashion, Hats, Vintage catalogs

The Desire for Style

What is it in human nature that drives the desire for attractive clothes, hair, shoes, jewelry? How innate is this desire?

Proverbs 31 describes the virtuous woman: “She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.” (Thank you, http://www.biblegateway.com)

Silk and purple are far from being simple, plain clothing. Tapestry is labor intensive but stunning.

Then Jesus said in Matthew 6:28 (Amplified):
“And why should you be anxious about clothes? Consider the lilies of the field and [a]learn thoroughly how they grow; they neither toil nor spin.”

What I believe the Lord is teaching us here is that it’s no sin to want or wear beautiful clothes, that it’s actually considered a virtue for a woman to clothe herself thusly.

It becomes sin when we obsess and become anxious about it.

What a relief! Because I do like pretty clothes. I don’t have very many due to … what? Laziness? Lack of planning? The Proverbs 31 woman seeks wool and flax and works them willingly with her hands. I need to do more of that because I can sew. I’d never win a 4-H competition but I can put together a garment. Hopefully I just need more practice.

This line of thinking began today after reading Robert Avrech’s May 10, 2010 post, Friday Fashion. (He doesn’t have a direct link to that post; just go to his website and page down to it.)

Mr. Avrech is a Hollywood screenwriter and he describes the change that comes when a plain looking actress is dressed and coiffed by movie studio professionals. The transformation even changes how the actress feels about herself; she becomes much more self confident.

Freda & Stella Sexton, 1917

And that reminds me of something my mother used to say: casual dress leads to casual behavior. I grew up during the late 1960s – early 1970s and jeans and a t-shirt were fine with me, even for church at a time when that was considered a little too radical.

But now there’s been a lot of water under my bridge and I not only see her point, I agree with it. I’ve noticed that when I dress up, I behave more lady-like. My husband dons a suit and he becomes Mr. Debonair.

This subject fascinates me – in fact, there are 22 entries under Fashion in my Categories list. And as I mentioned before, what someone wore on a particular occasion usually sticks in my memory. On Saturday my sister and I were talking about the Christmas trip back home to Oklahoma that she and her husband made in 1965. I recalled her outfit when we picked them up at Tulsa International Airport: a royal blue suit (skirt and jacket), made of a wool-like fabric.

Dorothy Provine Paper Dolls
The news about Dorothy Provine’s death last week reminded me of her paper doll. Included in the set were some costumes from her television show The Roaring Twenties. I just loved them. Ebay usually has a set of them and you can go here to see them.

Girls just naturally want to have and wear pretty clothes. Paper dolls fulfilled that desire by making it much more affordable to have lots of changes. The creator of the Barbie doll observed her daughter playing with paper dolls and changing their clothes. Her idea was to make a doll with a big wardrobe which could be attained one piece at a time, by marketing them separately from the dolls.

The Thoughtful Dresser

Back to Mr. Avrech’s post: he mentioned a new book by Linda Grant titled “The Thoughtful Dresser“.
If you click on the link, you can read a few pages from the book. I found it very interesting and hope that the rest of it lives up to my expectations because I’ve put it in my cart.

Miss Grant tells of a requisition for lipstick for females liberated from a concentration camp. How puzzling.

Lipstick? They needed so many things!

Why lipstick? It was an attempt to restore their human dignity.

Which reminds me of a documentary, Steal a Pencil for Me
. (Available for free viewing at hulu.com). It’s the story of a man and woman who survived the Holocaust. Of course, the very subject matter is deadly serious. How could it be otherwise? But the featured couple are wonderful, uplifting people and survived with a joy for life.

The tie in to fashion? Manja Polak tells of her style efforts in the camp: she had taken with her a few hair curlers. Even though she was unable to wash her hair, she used the curlers every night. In the midst of the squalid conditions, she did what she could to beautify her appearance.

What a lady!

She’s still lovely.

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Filed under Actresses, Fashion, Holocaust, Paper Dolls

1965 Hats, Shoes, Purses, & Gloves

Here are more photographs from the 1965 Montgomery Ward Fall/Winter catalog.

Gorgeous, but I couldn’t walk in them.  It took a lot of poise. Girls actually practiced back then.

Heels a bit lower, but these are still beautiful shoes.

This is not a great photo, but it was the only page with jewelry.  I thought it might help someone date their mother’s jewelry or something they find at the antique mall.

My mother wore kid gloves like these.  Very elegant.

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Filed under 1960's, Fashion, Hats, Vintage catalogs

1965 Junior Fashions

Montgomery Ward Catalog Fall/Winter 1965

Described on page 7: Frank Saunders of London designs Separates with a British Accent for Wards, Brentshire Designer’s Collection…Zesty, new separates of 100% wool that’s been woven in Scotland and tailored in England with all the care of the meticulous British.

Our Cover Suit
A great new look in sprightly plaid! Hipster jacket puts the accent on a lowered collar and belt in solid color. Sleek pants tapered to the ankle. Hidden side zip, lined waistband. $29.97

A two-eyelet tie that’s a real softie- the unlined vamp does it. Calf uppers. 1 1/4″ heel. Black and red, as shown. $9.97

This suit is influenced by Carnaby street (London) designs. Not long after the beginning after the British Invasion in music, everything British became cool, or hip as the MW blurb termed it. On televison, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. featured a very suave Napoleon Solo and his British sidekick, Illya Kuryakin. David McCallum may have been playing a Russian, but we all knew where he was really from. Another side note, Solo’s Robert Vaughn was a mix of Cary Grant/James Bond – both British.

The pink one is similar to a dress that Haley Mills wore in The Trouble with Angels, which was released in the spring of 1966.

The boarding school uniform influence was also popular. The uniforms in The Trouble with Angels were grey wool sweaters and skirts.
The Trouble with Angels (1966)

My sister had the outfit with the fringe around the hem.

About this time I had a sailor dress like the one pictured above, and also the plaid.

It’s a cold day again today, and I was thinking about coats, and fashions; then I got this catalog down off of the shelf and … well … I was thinking about how differently we dress for the cold now.

So I took another look at Then.

More 1965 to come: shoes, purses, Ladies and children’s clothing.


Filed under 1960's, Fashion, Vintage catalogs

Vintage Christmas – Good Housekeeping 1964

Good Housekeeping, December 1964 front cover

My mother was not much of a keeper , perhaps that came from losing almost everything she had in a severe flood when she was 23.  She didn’t save a lot of the things from our home; I don’t have any old Christmas ornaments or decorations, but I do have 2 issues of old Christmas magazines that she kept. Actually, I think I rescued them in 1976 when we had a joint garage sale.

I remember looking at these magazines through the years and how wonderful I thought the cover was – a Santa Claus sugar cookie all covered in red hot candy and marshmallows dancing on a cake covered in even more candy. Yes, Virginia, I do have a sweet tooth.

Red Skelton

This issue featured a photo essay of Red Skelton, one of the most beloved television stars at that time. Also pictured with him is Chatty Cathy doll, a very popular doll in the early 1960s.

Included in this issue was a celebrity cookbook with recipes from those pictured above.

And lest one think that our society hasn’t changed much in the last 45 years – well, when was the last time there was an article like this in a popular magazine? I picked up a new issue of Good Housekeeping at the dentist’s office last week and would not have recognized it if the name hadn’t been on the cover. Now they are suggesting yoga mats for a Christmas present.

What happened? No more Jesus, but they want you to sort of celebrate His birth by engaging yourself in eastern religion.

Very sad.

This post linked to Vintage Christmas Monday Number 4 at Anything Goes Here.


Filed under 1960's, Ephemera, Fashion, Vintage Christmas, Vintage Magazines

My Sister’s Paper Doll Altered Book

paper doll altered book I Frances coverf

A few years ago my sister was in an altered book Round Robin. She chose paper dolls for her theme and she ended up with the most wonderful book!

Here are some of the pages. Unfortunately, I can’t give credit to the individual artists (because I don’t know them), but some of them initialed their pages. My sister did the cover herself.

paper doll altered book II Frances .jpg

The white cupboard opens and has clothes in it.

paper doll altered book III Frances

Judy Garland paperdolls (I think these are the work of Tom Tierney).


Betsey McCall paper dolls, from McCall’s December 1951


Filed under Altered Books, Childhood pastimes, Fashion, Paper Dolls, Using What You Have

Fashion History Altered Book, work-in-progress

Altered book, 1920s page

Altered book, 1930s page I

Click here for part II.


Filed under Altered Books, Crafts - Paper, Fashion, Free, Fun, Thrift, Using What You Have

Mrs. Miniver Era Hats

Henry Travers, Greer Garson

Henry Travers, Greer Garson

In the opening scenes of the movie, Mrs. Miniver is about to board a London bus. She hesitates, ponders, then boards.  But she can’t get something out of her mind. She asks the conductor to stop the bus, and rushes into a shop and claims the prize for her own. It’s a hat. The corresponding scene in the book concerns an engagement book. Jan Struther describes it charmingly, but a date book just doesn’t carry the same weight as a new hat. The one she’s already wearing is beautiful, in fact the prettiest hat among those on the crowded streets. Clearly, this is a woman of taste and style.

Vogue Magazine, July 1944

Vogue Magazine, July 1944

Hats were an important part of any woman’s wardrobe.  They finished the look and were an expression of her personality. Sophisticated, wholesome, alluring, sensible, old fashioned or modern.  Along with the shoes, gloves and jewelry, they polished the appearance.

Although I love hats, most of the ones from the 1940s look silly to me.  There’s a blog review of Mrs. Miniver, in which I agree with the writer about everything, except her hats. She thought Garson’s hats were silly. I think they were fairly stunning.

Rosalind Russell, His Girl Friday

Rosalind Russell, His Girl Friday

For an example of a really silly hat, how about the one Rosalind Russell wore in His Girl Friday?

So, it’s all a matter of personal preferences, which was one of the creative aspects of dress. As women, we still present ourselves to the world, but much differently. I love pretty clothes, but I dress very casually. It’s seriously doubtful that the Apostle Paul was talking about clothing when he said “…for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.” Romans 7:15. He was writing about spiritual matters. I’m just using it to illustrate how we humans are inconsistent.

Vogue Feb 15, 1940
On the occasions when I dress up, I feel dressed up. My behavior changes, becomes more ladylike. My mother used to say that with the advent of casual clothing, came casual behavior. She did not mean this in a good way, and I agree with her. Our society has not improved in most ways. Thinking that most things don’t really matter has resulted in the loss of the many of the really important things in modern American life. This, I see is a result of the very casual 1960s.

Back to early 1940’s hats. Here are a few more:

February 1940 Home Arts

February 1940 Home Arts

February 1940 Home Arts

February 1940 Home Arts

Vogue Magazine, January 1945

Vogue Magazine, January 1945


Filed under 1940s, Fashion, Hats