Monday, February 18, 2013
This little guide to gentlemen's tailored fashions has been sitting in my collection for years. Since it was published at the very beginning of World War II, it includes pictures of RAF and (British) Army officers' uniforms. Later in the war civilian men's clothing would be strictly regulated and rationed - so these dapper and generously cut outfits would be treasured items in the wardrobes of any men lucky enough to own them.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Next up for my Menswear Month, a page from a late Victorian catalog that includes pretty much everything a 19th century gentleman would want to wear - except evening dress! Outfits include a "sack suit" (figure 2), the ancestor of the modern business suit, a "fancy English house coat" (figure 9), a "Bath Robe" (figure 10) and a "all wool tricot serge and velvet smoking jacket" (figure 11).
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
I don't usually post pictures of men's fashions - but over the years I've accumulated a small stash of them. So I've decided to make February 2013 a "menswear" themed month on my blog. To kick off, I scanned these advertisements from 1974 issues of Punch:
I found a pile of these magazines for sale at a Lifeline Bookfair some years ago and couldn't resist buying them. Not only were they going cheap, but the advertisements were as good as a scholarly thesis on middle-class consumers' desires in the 1970s. They were a real little piece of social history!
And as you can also see from these advertisements I've just posted, they also demonstrate why the 1970s are known as "the decade taste forgot". While not promoting the most extreme of seventies mens' fashions, there's plenty to wince at - from over-loud plaids, to over-wide ties, to ridiculously flared pants!
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Pretty summer dresses in cotton and rayon from National Bellas Hess. Not much has changed, fashion-wise, since World War II ended a year earlier. And as you flick through the catalog you can see evidence of an economy still hiccuping as it struggles to get on a peacetime footing. A couple of pages have been overprinted with notices saying that the goods offered thereon were not available.
Monday, January 28, 2013
Still on the theme of summer...
Look what a difference less than a century makes! Ninety-eight years after Peterson's published their picture of neck-to-ankle bathing gear, Flair featured this lightly clad beauty on its cover. Inside she is described as wearing "an ankle length two-piece of floaty Marchioness voile" priced at $30. Since $30 was a fairly expensive item in 1971, it's safe to say she was more likely to wear it to a party than lying around on the beach.
Saturday, January 19, 2013
Here we have swimming costumes for a woman and child - who, to modern eyes, look somewhat overdressed for a day at the mall! However, in comparison to their everyday costumes they appear positively liberated, with bare arms, free legs and, quite obviously, no corsets!
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Browsing my magazine collection tonight I came across this little beach beauty from 1908. Her knee-length bathing costume is made of mohair (of all things!) trimmed with braid, and comes accessorised with cap, stockings and shoes. Clearly she's not going to be engaged in any strenuous swimming - if she enters the water at all she'll probably stick to bobbing around in the shallows.
Monday, January 7, 2013
While people in the northern hemisphere battle ice and snow, here in Australia I'm sweltering through a heatwave. It seems to be the right time to start looking at swimsuits:
... And here comes "Lana Lobell" to the rescue, with a selection of natty looking swimwear from 1962. These (mostly) one-piece costumes seem fairly conservative by later standards - though even in 1962 bikinis were already being worn on beaches in some parts of the world!
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
My first post for 2013! To kick the year off, I've chosen a couple of pages from a small mail order catalogue almost exactly 80 years old:
In America, home of the Chicago Mail Order Company, the New Deal was coming into effect and the worst of the Depression was over - though by no means ALL over! Chicago Mail Order Co. was clearly hoping its customers were feeling more prosperous and more inclined to spend when it issued this catalogue, though you'll notice items on these pages were being sold at some very low prices indeed.
(Since printing in colour was expensive, the firm printed most of its catalogue in black and white - and tried to cram pictures of as many garments as possible on its colour pages. From my perspective that means we have a lot of delightful examples of summer wear depicted on these two pages!)