Category Archives: 1910s

The Panama-Pacific Exhibition, Part Two: The Shirtwaist

  While some women dressed for the Panama Exhibit as if going to a party, others chose everyday wear. To the left of the fancy matrons in the middle of the photo are three older women wearing shirtwaist and skirt … Continue reading

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The Panama-Pacific International Exhibition, 1915—Part One: The Elegant Matron

This is a reposting from the early years of my blog. This panoramic photo comes from the 1915 San Francisco World’s Fair, known as the Panama Pacific International Exhibition because it celebrated the completion of the Panama Canal.  My resourceful … Continue reading

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At the Overlook, Late 1910s

Tourist photos interest me because they can show a kind of transitional clothing.  Most likely people do not dress in their best clothes, since travel brings challenges.  However, they are also often heading out into public and do not pick … Continue reading

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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

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“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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