Saturday, April 11, 2015

A Bit of Trivia


I've seen so many "sanforized" garments over the course of time, but this is the first time I cam across a real explanation of what it was.  I found this in a 1944 Good Housekeeping magazine.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Paper Dolls, anyone?

I loved paper dolls when I was a kid, so imagine my glee when I came across these Tillie the Toiler (and some Etta Kett) paper dolls.  I don't have an exact date on them -- Tillie was around for quite some time, but most of the ones I have are late 30s, early 40s. 
 
Tillie and Etta were fun, because wannabe designers would submit their drawings of outfits for her, and the newspaper would print paper dolls with those outfits next to her full size cartoon in the funny pages.  I have a bunch of these, and they are just amazing.  Here's a sample:
 
 
 
However, in the interest of thinning the herds as far as stuff around here, they're listed on ebay, so if you're interested, click here.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Just Because.........Hats.

I love hats so much.  These are from 1935:
 
 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

When Safety Entered Fashion

Talk about an odd showing:  in 1954, three new developments in fashion were developed. 

Joggers everywhere applauded when "crashproof" raincoats were shown.  Now, they didn't really prevent crashes, but they "lit up like neon signs as soon as the sun went down," in helping to protect pedestrians and bicyclists who were out after dark.  Jogging really wasn't a big thing yet, but I'm sure if Forrest Gump saw it, he would've liked it.  The new product was displayed at the Aqueduct race track, where the audience got a chance to ride around in race cars, whilst models stood in various places around the track, wearing different colors of reflectorized clothing, reportedly "glowing safely in the darkness while cars whizzed by." Hopefully no alcohol was being served.

Next was "worlderized" fabric.  The "worlderizing" process stiffened the fabric, rendering it flameproof."  This was evidenced by a live model standing calmly whilst the demonstrator held a match to her Ceil Chapman nylon net dress.  Thankfully,no one went up in flames, and, though a part of her skirt melted under the heat, it didn't continue once the flame was removed.  Hmmm......... I'm sure this was a precursor to fire retardant kid's jammies.  It supposedly made the fabric water repellant and crush resistant, and it had shrinkage control too.  Pretty sure they figured they had the perfect product there, though melting nylon doesn't have much appeal to me, and I bet it smelt awful.

The third development wasn't a safety feature, but sweater girls were probably quite interested.  The "Tycora" process was unveiled, which supposedly made the yarn pill-proof and helped it keep its shape.  This meant that sweaters would keep their shape and maintain their original smooth texture, even after multiple washings. 

So what's not to love, when you go to a display and get racecars melting dresses, and perfect sweaters?  Who says fashion isn't science?


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Let Me Give You a Hand on Gloves

Let's talk about gloves.  This is adapted from "How to Sew" by Mary Lynch  and Dorothy Sara, copyright 1960.

Glove sizes are measured in inches.  The measurement is taken around the palm of the hand, at the base of the fingers.  If your hand measures 6 1/2 inches, you wear a 6 1/2 glove.  Many women like to buy gloves slightly large.  (I have man hands and long fingers, and wear a 7 1/2.)

String gloves were popular in wool, cotton, nylon or rayon.  Yellow, beige, or any natural color was worn with sports or riding clothes. Alternates for sports clothes are woolen gloves or mittens.  "They are especially smart in black for a woman and in bright colors for teenagers."  Double woven fabric, made from cotton is very thick and smooth and can barely be distinguished from suede leather.  It can be washed, so it is more practical.

Other materials:

  • Chamois can mean either natural creamy yellow color, or the actual chamois leather.  
  • Kid, glace kid, and glace are thin, smooth surfaced leather gloves.  Fine kid has a gloss but is not usually so rich and luxurious looking.
  • Pigskin is exactly what it says.  Pigskin gloves are worn with sports, tailored and casual clothes.
  • Ostrich, reindeer, and capeskin are also used for everyday wear.
  • Suede and mocha are soft, velvety leather. 
  •  Doeskin is similar to suede and mocha, but of lesser quality. Some doeskin gloves can be washed, but white doeskin will yellow after a few washings.  Most leathers tend to stiffen with washing.
  • Black sueded is lovely, but prone to "cracking" (rubbing off on your clothes).


For petite women, "shorties" (gloves that come just above the wrist) are the perfect length, in slip on, or one button style.  Wear them to match your outfit, or as the only contrasting accessory - don't match gloves to purse to hat.


"If You Are a Tall One": "your gloves- on the street -- fabric or leather gloves in slip-on or gauntlet (wide flared top) style are best for you.  If you like sports clothes, tweed suits, or loose swinging topcoats, you may wear your gloves in a half size larger than your wee bit sister.  If you like your gloves, bags and other accessories a bit large, why not wear them that way?  This will give you a casual and comfortable air." Correctly shown in the illustrations on the left.  If you are tall, you should apparently not go gloveless, as the "wrong" illustrations on the right show no gloves.

Perhaps flu season would go better for us if we went back to wearing gloves?  I'd be ok with this, as I love gloves.  All in favor, raise your (properly gloved) hand.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Underneath it all

I did not realize -- though I should have -- that there is, indeed, a science to girdles.  I came across an article in a 1959 Co-ed magazine, that explains how to choose your girdle.  Here goes:


  • Those with larger tummies should wear a girdle with a non-stretch front panel, to keep the area "controlled firmly."  Light boning will also add some control.
  • For hippy girls, wear a girdle with double elastic or non-stretch panels on the sides.
  • If you want a more flattering back view, the non-stretch panel should be in back, or try a "down-stretch" back panel.
  • If you are a girl who is trying to create curves from a straight up and down figure, you want a higher waisted girdle, because it will act as a cincher. 
  • If your hips measure "as much as 12 inches more than your waist,"  a zippered girdle will be easier to get into.
How to get into your girdle:
Turn it partially inside out, waistband folded toward garters.  Step in and pull the folded part up.  Grab the waistband and pull it into place. 


It all sounds so much easier on paper.............


To figure your girdle, panty girdle, or garter belt size:  measure your waist, not too snugly.  That's it. 


To properly don a bra: hold it around your chest, lining up the back fasteners without hooking them.  Lean forward "so the bosom falls into the cups."  Then hook yourself up.  I don't know how this would work if you wear a modern front fastening bra though.


To measure bra size:  Measure around your chest, just under the bust and straight across the back.  Add 5 to this number (for example, if you measure 27 inches, add 5, and the band size will be 32.)  For cup size, measure across the fullest part of the bust and all around the back.  The difference between this number and your band size will give you your cup size:
  • Under 1" = AA cup
  • 1" = A cup
  • 2" = B cup
  • 3" = E cup
  • 4" = D cup
If you are between sizes, try both the larger and smaller sizes to see which one is the best fit. 


Almost every woman will find that she is wearing the wrong bra size, once she gets herself properly measures.  Trust me, it makes all the difference in the world.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Street Style and The Dilley Act

I wonder what teenaged girls thought of Col. John Dilley.  In 1954, he issued orders that female family members of US Army soldiers stationed in Frankfurt, Germany, dress like ladies.  Banned were shorts, bare midriffs, overalls, and bareback sunsuits.  Yikes!

He also outlawed girls showing up on the street in curlers, unless head and curlers were covered with a scarf or headgear.  Gotta say, curlers in public make me crazy, and I'm not sure that even I went out in them back in the day -- and my thick, wavy hair takes forever to dry.  Going out in public in curlers has never been ok in my book.  A girl has to have standards, after all.  And thank God for curling irons.

Designers were elated.  Harvey Berin declared "what a man!"  He complained about seeng girls on Fifth Avenue in dungarees, saying "my first impulse was to whistle for the police and a paddy wagon, "and get those cowgirls off Fifth Avenue and out of town."   Sally Victor, the famed milliner, wanted him to preach his gospel to every city and town stateside as well.  Her exact words were "The bare midriff.  All that meat - and often potatoes too!"  I guess Ms. Victor didn't like a muffin top.  I'm sure that the late 60s and 70s gave her a serious case of the vapors.

Even Ceil Chapman weighed in, saying that strapless and low cut dresses had no place on the streets.  Her feeling about jeans?  "And tight Levi's on large ladies strain more than the seams, obviously.  First, domestic relations, and now international ones!"  Mollie Parnis declared "if this colonel can abolish grown women in shorts approximately the size of a diaper, he will be hailed as a great humanitarian!"  The Syracuse Post-Standard even offered up that he may be considered for Man of the Year.

Celebrity street style is of interest nowadays, with the paparazzi stalking people of note in parking lots, at the gym, and even ice cream shops.  Celebs get huge sums of money to be seen in a designer's fashions, so dresses are being seen more and more on the street, and jeans less so.  Maybe we should all take a hint from them and dress a bit more for our day.  I'm sure Col. Dilley would approve.