Category Archives: 1920s

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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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

Posted in 1900s, 1910s, 1920s | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

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

Does this Hat Make my Head Look Big?

Staring in 1900, almost every Montgomery Ward catalog I paged through offered hats designed specifically for older women.  At first I noticed only the random hat, when words like “mature” or “elderly” caught my eye.  But by the 1910s catalogs … Continue reading

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Older Women in Pants—Photos from the Teens and Twenties

My favorite topic of all time is tracing the history of older American women in pants.  It was only in the 1970s that older women adopted pants in great numbers, but that does not mean that some didn’t try the … Continue reading

Posted in 1910s, 1920s | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Pajama Party

Two of my favorite blogs, The Vintage Traveler and Witness2fashion, have been investigating the pajama craze in the 1920s recently. I thought it would be interesting to examine the record in the world of down market catalogs The fashion forward woman … Continue reading

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Colors for the Mature Woman, 1920s

This small pamphlet comes from the Women’s Institute, a correspondent school for sewing, millinery, and cooking, run by the famous Mary Brooks Picken.  Thanks to Lizzie Bramlett for sending it on from her large collection.  On one side it offers … Continue reading

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Half Sizes Part 5: The Record in Montgomery Ward Catalogs

I’ve long been fascinated by the category of “half-sizes,” a term now associated with clothing for shorter and wider women.  But until the US government issued standardized sizing guidelines in the 1950s, the term “half size” could mean just about … Continue reading

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Pants for Women in Montgomery Ward Catalogs, 1907-1924

When did Montgomery Ward begin offering pants designed for women?  The first mention I found (and I could have easily missed some) had to do with horseback riding.  In 1907, you could buy a custom made divided skirt “for cross … Continue reading

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Gertrude Atherton’s Fountain of Youth

What lengths would you go to in order to stay young?  In 1922, the then famous California novelist Gertrude Atherton (1857-1948) underwent an experimental x-ray treatment to her ovaries that was believed to stimulate estrogen production.  She pronounced the process … Continue reading

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