Category Archives: 1960s

On the Road with Gloria Swanson for Forever Young

In the 1951 contract that Gloria Swanson signed with Puritan Dress was a clause promising that she would make a month long promotional trip every year to promote her line of Forever Young dresses.  Her archive is filled with documents … Continue reading

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Gloria Swanson and Puritan Dresses

Film star and entrepreneur Gloria Swanson was something of a pack rack, as evidenced by over 620 boxes of materials housed in her archive at the Henry Ransom Center.  Only about twenty boxes—a tiny fraction–have anything to do with her … Continue reading

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Church Sunday, August 1969

It looks like these four have just come out of church services.  Their different styles show how younger and older women adapted to the big fashion shifts of this decade. Even though her hair is still brown, I’m guessing that … Continue reading

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Slim and Full Dresses in the Sears Catalog, 1965

The 1960s saw many fashion battles—pants, pantsuits, miniskirts, etc.  But when I was growing up at the time, I thought the biggest showdown was between the sheath dress (modern) and the shirtwaist (not).  Imagine my surprise to see versions of … 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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Five Generations in the Valley Times

Have you discovered The Library Book by Susan Orlean?  Ostensibly about the Los Angeles Public Library, it is a love letter to libraries and librarians everywhere.  One section of the book reminded me that the LA library held digitized photos … Continue reading

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Vogue Patterns and Half Sizes

Vogue Patterns came late to the half size dress business.  I’ve found offerings from McCall’s, Simplicity, and Butterick from the early fifties, but Vogue only decided to take this step at the beginning of 1960. Moreover, it was a very … Continue reading

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Eat My Words

You might know my love of Mrs. Exeter, Vogue magazine’s effort to reach out to the older woman in the years after World War Two.  She appeared in many places, including the fashion magazine, the Vogue Pattern Book magazine, and … Continue reading

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Life Imitates Art—Molly Goldberg Fashions

Not long ago I wrote about the play Me and Molly, in which the beloved Jewish-American character Molly Goldberg, played by Gertrude Berg, invented the category of half sizes for America’s older and wider women.  Not too long after the … 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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