Category Archives: 1940s

Department Store Halloween Party, 1946

Halloween high jinks by adults is nothing new, as we can see in this photo of the Paris Company Department Store staff in 1946.  However, this fun snapshot does give us a fairly rare chance to see older women dressed … Continue reading

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Anna May Wong, Aging

By now, everyone must have heard that Chinese American actress Anna May Wong has earned a place on American quarters.  Key elements of her famous look, including the bangs and high eyebrows, remained with her as she aged.  The photo … Continue reading

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Mutton Dressed as Lamb–Helen Hokinson’s View

According to Alison Lurie’s inventive book about fashion, The Language of Clothes, trying to dress younger than you are has long been regarded as a bad fashion move.  “Since classical times, literature has been full of elderly and not-so-elderly comic … Continue reading

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Hope Skillman Fabrics

I’ve been wanting to write about textile designer and manufacturer Hope Skillman (1908-1981) for a long time, but pictures of her—especially with any sense of what she wore—are hard to find.  This Vogue advertisement, featuring her fabric on a dress … Continue reading

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Time Stands Still

How do we pick our favorite styles?  For some older women, it may have more to do with our past than our present.  At least that is a conclusion reached in Karol Blaylock’s 1999 dissertation, “Determining Apparel Style Preferences of … Continue reading

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The Navy Blue Suit

Reader and contributor Nann Hilyard recently sent me a page from the humorous book Going, Going, Gone: Vanishing Americana by Susan Jonas and Marilyn Nissenson.  Among their list of things gone the way of the milkman is the navy blue … Continue reading

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Girl Group Mystery Story, mid 1940s

Who are these women gathered together on a fairly chilly day?  Members of a women’s club? Girl scout leaders? A quilting circle?  My guess is that they are teachers, which would explain the wide range of ages and also the … Continue reading

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New Year’s Eve, 1948

As much as I love New Year’s Eve, I don’t think I’ve ever had a much fun as gossip columnist Hedda Hopper was having at this 1948 party. Now there is a big laugh!  This photo is part of a … Continue reading

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Hatless in a Hat Shop, 1942

The photos taken by the Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information during the Great Depression and Second World War offer many insights into how ordinary Americans survived hard times. One small slice of history was recorded by photographer … Continue reading

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Golfing in Costume, 1947

This might or might not be a Halloween photo.  The archivists guessed yes, and on what other occasions do grown women dress up in silly outfits?  I think I recognize most of the looks here.  Starting from the right we … Continue reading

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