Sunday, November 27, 2011

Good Neighbor Club Plan, Spring and Summer 1954

Featured on the cover of this catalogue are some very ladylike outfits available through the "Good Neighbor Club Plan".  The catalogue also contained several pages of "free gifts" that could be selected if one bought more than a certain amount from its pages.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Flair, March 1964

March 1964, and Flair presents an up-to-the-minute ensemble all in white - white cap, white coat, white dress, and white knee length boots.

However, I wonder ... did anyone ever wear clothes like this outside of a fashion shoot?   White is easily soiled, and the outfit is described inside the magazine as being made of pure wool.  One can imagine the poor wearer constantly having to take her coat and dress back and forth to the dry cleaners.  (Imagine the bills!)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Golden Hands Monthly, June 1974

My 100th post!

Golden Hands Monthly was one of many craft and hobby magazines published by Marshall Cavendish in the 1970s and '80s.  It was mostly concerned with fashions and home dressmaking, and included a multi-sized paper pattern with each issue.

As you can see by the clothes worn by the models in the picture above, there was a vogue for retro fashions in the early seventies.  Their outfits (complete with twin-sets and hats!) are a nostalgic take on the 1930s.  The designer uses a muted palette of off-browns and purples - colours popularised by Biba - to achieve a glamorous soft-focus effect.

All this is in great contrast to the 1960s, a decade dominated by bright vibrant colours and crisp futuristic designs!  The backwards-looking fashions of the 1970s clearly signalled disillusion with the modern era and the end of post-war optimism.

Monday, November 14, 2011

McCall Style News, March 1941

For March 1941, McCall Style News features a "Chinese inspired" short evening coat on it's cover.  Available for home dressmakers to sew for 50 (US) cents the pattern.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Photograph, ca. 1895-1896

I can date this to within a couple of years by the sleeves, which were at their fashionable fullest in 1895 and 1896. 

The photographer's label at the bottom of the picture attributes it to "Talma, 119 Swanston St. Melbourne".  Talma & Co. specialised in theatrical portraits, so it is possible that the elegantly dressed young lady in the portrait had a career upon the stage.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Shopping, October 1954

This magazine is an interesting little historical curiosity!

For a start, it was published in Britain where - in 1954 - the postwar period rationing and austerity had barely ended.  (The last remnants of food rationing in fact had only been done away with that year.)  In a sense the consumer society had barely begun - and yet here was a magazine strictly devoted to the consumption of fashion and accessories!

What's more, the numbering of the magazine - this is volume 12, number 12 - implies that Shopping had been existence a number of years already, partly in an era when consumption for the sake of it was considered unpatriotic!

The following issue after this one changed its name to Woman and Shopping.   Clearly the twin ideas of woman as consumer and recreational shopping were well on their way by 1954.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

New Idea, May 1903 (#2)

Here is another plate from New Idea, this one illustrating patterns for lingerie -  Edwardian style.  The patterns on offer included a "dressing sacque", a wrapper and a petticoat.  None of the garments appear particularly sexy or seductive by today's standards - though they are certainly more decorative than the sort of utilitarian undergarments the Victorians liked to wear!

(I'm guessing a "dressing sacque" was a warm and protective over-garment worn by a woman in her bedroom while she was dressing or doing her hair.  They appear to have died out, along with tea gowns, early in the 20th century.)