Author Archives: Lynn

Atomic Bomb Hat, 1946

What is more amazing, the cake or the hat?  This photo marks a celebration of atomic bomb tests on Bikini Atoll in November, 1946.  In a series of blasts on the tiny Marshall island, the US government aimed to investigate … Continue reading

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Florida Flapper, 1924

This woman isn’t really a flapper, a term most accurately applied only to very young women. However, she has certainly embraced key elements of the 1920s style.  She wears a dropped waist dress decorated with pleats and pintucks to add … Continue reading

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What to Wear on a California Vacation, 1914

Although this group had hiked up a small hill for the photograph, the chauffer-looking fellow in the background makes me think that they were probably traveling by car.  Some had dressed for exercise more than others.  The youngest woman, second … Continue reading

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Amy Vanderbilt on (and in) Pantsuits, 1971

I have always considered Amy Vanderbilt (1908-1974), America’s mid-century manners maven, something of a fussbudget.  Consider her 1952 advice on evening meals: “Every woman should change for dinner, if only into a clean house dress…Fresh clothes and makeup, even if … Continue reading

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Who Was Mrs. Ralston?

If you have ever looked at issues of Ladies Home Journal in the early twentieth century, you probably have come across articles by one Mrs. Ralston.  She gave advice on current fashion trends for all age groups and answered questions … Continue reading

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The Changing Seasons in Iowa, 1953

The contrast of the clothing drew me to this picture.  The family group—mother, two daughters, and son—are dressed up for chilly weather, while the two women on the left are wearing light colored summery clothing.  I’m thinking someone snapped the … Continue reading

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Looking Your Fashionable Age, ca. 1969

Many older women of fashion had a hard time in the 1960s.  Youth was in style and new ideas filtered up from the street rather than down from designers who might have had some sympathy for older shapes. Perhaps to … Continue reading

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Claire McCardell’s Pop-Over in the Montgomery Ward Catalog

If any designer came to embody a streamlined, no fuss “American look” during World War Two, it was Claire McCardell.  She was famous for her innovative designs and inventive use of humble fabrics like gingham and denim. One of her … Continue reading

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On the Ferry, 1943

On a recent visit to relatives in the San Francisco Bay area, I went to the Oakland Museum’s exhibit, Dorothea Lange–The Politics of Seeing.  The museum is the depository of Lange’s archive, so it was a chance to see some … Continue reading

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Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Philosophy of Dress

Feminist philosopher Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935), suffragist, novelist, and economist, spent a lot of her life thinking about clothes.  She considered herself a dress reformer, but was not interested in the extremes of bloomers or pants.  Instead, she followed her … Continue reading

Posted in 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, Pre 1900 | Tagged , | 4 Comments