Category Archives: General

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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Judy’s—A California Store for Young (and a few Older) Women

Inspired by Jen Orsini of the blog Pintucks, I checked out the memoir of Marcia Israel-Curly (1920-2004), founder of a chain of California fashion stores called Judy’s. Her book, Defying the Odds: Sharing the Lessons I learned as a Pioneer … Continue reading

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The Cheerful Granny Keeps Cool, 1956

Since the weather is still hot, it’s a good time to share this ad for the Frigidaire “full house” air conditioning system featuring a cheerful granny. The text sells the central forced air system as a boon for family life, … Continue reading

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Bonnie Cashin’s Timeless Style

Some designers change their source of inspiration all the time, looking to Russia one year and Africa the next.  Others spend their lives refining basic shapes. The American designer Bonnie Cashin (1908-2000) belonged to the latter camp.  Sometimes is it … Continue reading

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Checkered Past, 1982

Native New Yorker Helen Levitt (1913-2009) made her reputation by capturing candid moments on the streets of her city. Today she is regarded as one of the forerunners of modern street photography. Take a look at the large collection of … Continue reading

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Three Women at Mount Rushmore, 1953

This photo comes from my father’s side of the family.  In the middle is my paternal grandmother, Helen; on the left is her sister, my great aunt Norah; the woman on the right is a mystery.  Helen and Norah lived … Continue reading

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