Category Archives: 1910s

Mrs. Ralston’s Fashion Advice for Older Women

In the early years of the twentieth century the Ladies Home Journal fashion expert, Mrs. Ralston, wrote for a wide audience.  On her regular trips to Paris, she brought home news of the latest trends for the stylish set. However, … 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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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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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

“Is the Trousers Skirt So Foolish?”

The question above, posed by the Ladies Home Journal fashion writer Mrs. Ralston, was apparently a controversial one in 1911.  I’ll write more about Ralston later; for now it is enough to know that she was an important arbiter of … 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

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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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Elderly, Matronly, or Mature? Montgomery Ward Experiments with Names

In 1912, the Montgomery Ward catalog went through a major revision that favored women clothing buyers.  Before that year, women’s clothing was scattered throughout the catalog; you had to look through the index to find everything offered to female consumers.  … Continue reading

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“Stout” Sizes at Montgomery Ward

In 1912, the Montgomery Ward catalog launched a new size range for larger women.  Originally called “stout” sizes, the company expanded its standard size range from a 32 inch waist and a 42 inch bust in 1900 to a 40 … Continue reading

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Panta-loons by Jessie Gillespie, 1914

Pants for women were an extremely controversial issue in 1914, as shown in this drawing illustrator Jessie Gillespie made for the Evening Star Sunday magazine in October, 1914. Looking through the Library of Congress’s archive of American newspapers, Chronicling America, … Continue reading

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