Tag Archives: sizes

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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“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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Made to Measure Clothing from Montgomery Ward

The big American catalog companies that started in the late nineteenth century—1872 for Montgomery Ward and 1888 for Sears—fueled the American ready to wear industry.  In order to supply clothing to far flung parts of the United States without easy … Continue reading

Posted in 1900s | Tagged | 3 Comments

The Height of Chic—Sewing Patterns for Older Women, 1938

While leafing through the 16 page brochure, Butterick Fashion News from April 1938, I knew right away that this page was dedicated to patterns for older women.  What were the clues? First of all, the drawings were different.  While other … Continue reading

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Fashion Advice from a Fashion Photographer, 1967

The Fall/Winter Simplicity pattern book from 1967 contains a ten page spread of fashion advice for older women from the photographer Frances McLaughlin-Gill.  I had never heard the name, but she was well known at the time for her fashion … Continue reading

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Balenciaga and the Older Woman

There are very few couturiers I have heard of who enjoy designing for the older woman.  Famous Spanish designer Cristobal Balenciaga was one of them. In the recent biography The Master of Us All by Mary Blume (2013), the author … Continue reading

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“That Woman” Clothing from Marlo Thomas

Yesterday’s New York Times had a story about a new clothing line started by actress and feminist activist Marlo Thomas.  It was a fun read but I didn’t learn much about the clothes, so I decided to look into it … Continue reading

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Mrs. Exeter in Sews with Vogue Patterns

Since I am interested in all things Mrs. Exeter, I recently contacted Vogue Patterns for permission to track her down in their collection of pattern magazines and catalogs.  Editor Gillian Conahan was nothing but gracious, and I got to spend … Continue reading

Posted in 1950s, 1960s | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Pants for Everywoman, 1966

By the mid 1960s, pants for casual wear had entered the mainstream of American fashion. I distinctly remember buying a pair of fuchsia stirrup pants in 1966, which I wore with a boxy fuchsia top covered with embroidered flowers. Ah … Continue reading

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The New Look and the Older Woman

The October/November issue of the Vogue Pattern Book was all about the New Look. The opening article, “The Changing Silhouette,” listed major shifts in styles: more naturally shaped shoulders with less padding; a nipped waistline; and an emphasis on the … Continue reading

Posted in 1940s | Tagged , , | 2 Comments