Category Archives: 1910s

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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Mary Colter–Architect of the Southwest

You don’t have to spend much time at the south rim of the Grand Canyon to hear the name Mary Colter (1869-1958).  She designed Bright Angel Lodge, the Hopi House, and the Lookout Studio, which fits into the walls of … Continue reading

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The Easter Parade–A Dressmaker’s View

Do you know the song “In your Easter Bonnet, with all the frills upon it”?  As the song promises, there really were Easter Parades on Fifth Avenue in New York City.  The Library of Congress’s large collection from the Bain … Continue reading

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Women in White

The simple white skirt and blouse of this older woman is probably sending a political message. In the 1910s, the American suffrage movement adopted purple, gold, and white as the colors of their cause.  Wearing white, meant to symbolize the … Continue reading

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Dr. Mary Walker, A Pioneer in Pants

Next time you worry that it might take a long time to reach your goals, consider the case of Dr. Mary Walker (1832-1919)–physician, feminist, and dress reformer. She worked her entire life to gain equal pay and suffrage, along with … 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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You Can Keep Your Hat On

How do women in positions of power establish their authority in a work environment?  These days it is done through clothes, but it used to be done with hats. I’ve read many memoirs about women editors at fashion magazines being … Continue reading

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