Category Archives: 1980s

Lucy’s Navy Blue Polka Dot Dress

In her memoir Don’t Sing at the Table (2010), the best-selling author Adriana Trigiani tells a wonderful fashion anecdote from her childhood.  When she was about eleven, in the late seventies, she noticed that her maternal grandmother, Lucy, only had … Continue reading

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Twins, 1984

The artist and photographer Roz Leibowitz found a treasure trove of photos on ebay documenting the lives of twin sisters from the 1930s to the 1990s.  I found the story of the collection in American Photo Magazine and then discovered … Continue reading

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The End of Half Sizes

The special category of half sizes, designed for shorter women with a “mature figure,” had about a seventy year history in American retail.  Although I’ve seen references in earlier years, it became an established concept in 1910s.  By the 1920s, … Continue reading

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Black Legends in Blackglama

I never understood the wording of these once ubiquitous ads for mink coats.  The people pictured in the ads were contemporary celebrities—legends in their own time.  To underscore that fact, their names were never mentioned in the photo.  Surely they … Continue reading

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Arlene Dahl’s War on Pants, 1967

I wonder if Arlene Dahl, film star of the forties and fifties, was ever embarrassed by her anti-feminist manifesto, Always Ask a Man. Written in 1967, in the early years of second wave feminism, it is all about performing for … Continue reading

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A Public Service Announcement, 1986

Well, it’s voting day in the US.  Inspired by Two Nerdy History Girls, I decided to take a look at the history of the League of Women Voters.  There’s so much to see on the extensive website for the organization.  … Continue reading

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Do You Have a Signature Piece?

Georgia O’Keeffe did.  Part of her self styling for photographs was a whimsical pin made for her by Alexander Calder in 1934.  It spelled out her initials, “OK.” However, she usually wore it vertically so that looked more abstract.  Unless … Continue reading

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Shirley Chisholm–Unbought, Unbossed

Shirley Chisholm (1924-2005) was a trailblazer.  In 1968, she became the first African American woman elected to the House of Representative. Four years later, at the age of 48, she ran for president. Her slogan was “Unbought, Unbossed,” perhaps one … Continue reading

Posted in 1970s, 1980s, 1990 | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Turbans and the Older Woman

Do you associate certain kinds of hats with certain age groups?  At the beginning of the twenty century, the bonnet tied under the chin was linked to older women.  For me, it is the turban that I associate with this … Continue reading

Posted in 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990 | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

The Eight Hour Blazer, 1980

In 1980, McCall’s Patterns introduced a “working wardrobe” designed by Pati Palmer and Susan Pletsch.  It included a blouse with collar variations (M7233), a skirt and pant pattern (M7234), and a blazer (M7263).  The fall 1980 McCall’s pattern magazine claimed: … Continue reading

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