Category Archives: General

Ann Lowe, Custom Designer for the Upper Crust

Ann Lowe (1898-1981) was the first African American to open a custom dress studio on Madison Avenue in Manhattan. During the fifties and sixties, she was a favorite designer for the moneyed elite, creating debutante and wedding dresses. Perhaps her … Continue reading

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Tobé Coller Davis–the First Lady of Fashion Forecasting

If you read about the history of the American garment industry, it doesn’t take long to come across the name Tobé Coller Davis (1888-1962).  After a varied career in clothing companies and department stores, she opened a fashion forecasting company … Continue reading

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Considering the Matron

You don’t see the word matron much anymore, but it was an important term of reference in fashion writing in the early twentieth century.  Since I’m fascinated by synonyms (and euphemisms) for “old,” I used the search engines for women’s … Continue reading

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Do you look ageless?  I do not. In fact, I look every one of my sixty-seven years. That is not for lack of trying, as I am very susceptible to the siren song of skin care companies.  But upon seeing … Continue reading

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The Jumpsuit—A Style that Will Not Die

You might have noticed that the jump suit, a one piece long armed garment with pants, is back in style.  An older fashion blogger I follow, Alyson Walsh, has declared it her favorite look.  Sewing patterns for jumpsuits abound. I … Continue reading

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Miss Allen in 1955

Although I know nothing about the woman depicted in this photo, beyond her name and the date noted on the back, I am quite certain that she was a free spirit.  Her dress is a very interesting shape, fitted through … Continue reading

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The Height of Chic—Sewing Patterns for Older Women, 1938

While leafing through the 16 page brochure, Butterick Fashion News from April 1938, I knew right away that this page was dedicated to patterns for older women.  What were the clues? First of all, the drawings were different.  While other … Continue reading

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Home Sewing and Fast Fashion–Thinking about Waste

On the face of it, home sewing is the opposite of fast fashion.  It can take mere minutes to make a jacket in a factory; a homemade jacket takes hours if not days.  In the eighties, McCalls advertised an “eight … Continue reading

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Book Review: Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney

What would you do if you discovered a large stash of material about a once-famous, now-forgotten woman?  Kathleen Rooney wrote a novel.  A librarian friend was one of the first to process a donated archive about the life of poet … Continue reading

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Mother’s Day in Milwaukee, 1963

  I love geometrics—give me a stripe over a flower any day. Mother’s Day is a flowery holiday, and the grandmother’s and granddaughter’s head gear give nod in this direction. However, the clothes in this three generation composition have the … Continue reading

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