Tag Archives: textile patterns

Dots and Flowers, 1930s

When I bought this photo from a favorite ebay dealer, I thought that I would be sharing yet another example of older women’s love of polka dots in the 1930s. But on more careful inspection I discovered that these are … Continue reading

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Older Women in Prints, 1939

This evocative photo of the Finnish War Orphans Sewing Circle of Cleveland, Ohio features mainly older women. For the most part, they are dressed quite conservatively in dark dresses with brooches or lace collars at their necks. Some sport a … Continue reading

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“We Three in our Muumuus”

“We three in our Muumuus. My side yard and my bedroom door in the background.” This seventies era photo cries out for a story, doesn’t it? I suspect that one of these women had retired to Hawaii and invited old … Continue reading

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On the Road, ca. 1942

In my rag tag photo collection, I have many snap shots of older women posing in front of cars. Often they radiate the pride of possession, but these two don’t. They also don’t give the impression of living in the … Continue reading

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The Fashion Lag in Plaid, ca. 1963

Older women often don’t follow the latest styles, a phenomenon fashion historian Joan Severa calls the “fashion lag.” Doubtless there are many explanations—older people get comfortable in a certain style and don’t want to change, or they are reluctant to … Continue reading

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Posing for the Photographer–American Indians, 1940

Photographer Alexander Alland was something of an anthropologist. An immigrant himself, he began to take photographs of “hyphenated” Americans in the late 1930s and early 1940s, at first as part of an assignment for the New York World’s Fair of … Continue reading

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A Granny in a Granny Dress

Do you remember the long dresses of the late 1960s and early 1970s, brought to us courtesy of the hippies? In my circle, they were called granny dresses, especially if they involved any kind of frills or lace. Despite the … Continue reading

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Half Sizes, Part 4: What Not to Wear

Evelyn Veronica Mason had a low opinion of ready to wear clothing for shorter, wider women. In her Master’s thesis “A Study of the Clothing Needs of Women who Wear Half-Size Dresses,” (University of Rhode Island, 1964), she chided clothing … Continue reading

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Marion Dorn—From Stripes to Flowers

One beneficiary of the design classes at the American Museum of Natural History was Marion Dorn (1896-1964), who went on to make a career as a designer of textiles and carpets. She credited the classes with starting her career. By … Continue reading

Posted in 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Book Review—An American Style: Global Sources for New York Fashion and Textile Design, 1915-1928 by Ann Marguerite Tartsinis

When I first discovered the work of Jessie Franklin Turner, I thought she was a fashion original. Imagine having the vision to turn to museum collections as your main source of inspiration. In this short book, a companion volume to … Continue reading

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