Category Archives: General

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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Balenciaga and the Older Woman

There are very few couturiers I have heard of who enjoy designing for the older woman.  Famous Spanish designer Cristobal Balenciaga was one of them. In the recent biography The Master of Us All by Mary Blume (2013), the author … Continue reading

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Queen for a Day

But queen of what? I found these prints in a favorite store for old photos, the Broadway Antique Mart in Chicago. Almost every visit to see my daughter includes a trip there. The pictures have been sitting in my files … Continue reading

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Book Review: American Style and Spirit

How do we know what people wore in the past?  There are many places to look—family photographs, letters, receipts, and of course the clothes themselves. Now imagine if you had all of these things and more, including pattern books, tear … Continue reading

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Older Women in Pants–the Research Agenda

This British postcard from around 1910 makes fun of older women, current fashions, and women’s suffrage all at the same time.  But how accurate was it?  Were there older women in harem pants, or other kinds of bifurcated garments, appearing … Continue reading

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Thanksgiving in Milwaukee, 1960

This photo documents a Thanksgiving dinner for 400 put on by the Pioneer Telephone Company in Milwaukee in 1960.  Are the women (and a few men) all telephone workers, or do the guests include needy community members invited for a … Continue reading

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