Tag Archives: house dress

Building a Better House Dress, 1952

If you have spent any time bemoaning the fact that ordinary clothes don’t fit older women’s bodies, you are not alone.  I have found complaints stretching back to 1900, the start date of my research, and I am sure that … Continue reading

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Claire McCardell’s Pop-Over in the Montgomery Ward Catalog

If any designer came to embody a streamlined, no fuss “American look” during World War Two, it was Claire McCardell.  She was famous for her innovative designs and inventive use of humble fabrics like gingham and denim. One of her … Continue reading

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A Patented House Dress, 1915

Since I find so many photos of older women in house dresses, I’ve become very interested in their construction. How could I resist this ingenious little flier for a patented version by the M. Alshuler Co., discovered by chance on … Continue reading

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Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom from Want,” 1943

This image by American painter Norman Rockwell appeared in the Saturday Evening Post on March 6, 1943.  It was part of series inspired by President Franklin Roosevelt’s 1941 inaugural address, where he advocated a world based on what he called … Continue reading

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The Woman in the Kerchief

Sometimes found photos are like a little mystery story.  When and where were they taken? Who is in the picture?  What prompted the photo?  I know none of the details here, but my guess is that this is an extended … Continue reading

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Stripes and Solids

It’s cherry season in this 1967 photo showing two women in front of a heavily laden tree.  While it’s difficult to guess their ages, their clothes indicate that they have very different understandings of what to wear in the summer. … Continue reading

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Work Dress, 1930

I’ve been collecting the names that consumers, stores, and manufacturers used for the humble dresses that most American women wore in their daily activities well into the 1960s.  “House dress” is a common one, as are “wash dress” or the … Continue reading

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Party Time, 1962

On the back of this photo, someone has written in green ink “July ’62. Celi’s party. Camp.” At first I thought it might be some kind of amateur theatrical event, with a painted background and the fans as props. But … Continue reading

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Through Thick and Thin, 1966

Here are two body types that I associate with older women.  The one on the left is more common, with a heavy chest, expanding abdomen, and large high hip.  She has cinched her dress in so that she still has … Continue reading

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Home Sewing in Texas, 1955

These days many of us who sew have entire rooms dedicated to the process.  (In my house, I lay claim on parts of many rooms—just ask my husband his opinion of my expanding sewing empire). But here we see that … Continue reading

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