Have you forgotten Mrs. Exeter, Vogue’s older fashion adviser? I just discovered another way to investigate her influence. A dear friend put me in contact with her uncle who worked in the garment industry all his life, beginning with the firm C. H. D. Robbins. The company’s target audience was older and/or wider women.
Searching through Vogue’s amazing online data base, I discovered that Mrs. Exeter included Robbins’ clothes in her lists of recommendations. She liked their dresses because they were made of good fabrics (silk, wool, velvet); were reasonably priced for a well off woman like herself; and came in a wide range of larger sizes, including half sizes.
Here are four of her choices in Robbins clothes:
“Shirtwaist dress of Stonecutter silk Shantung, touched with tucks. So useful (and pleasantly) priced, Mrs. Exeter might have it twice; in rose, or black, or pale blue, or cocoa. Sizes 12 to 44, 12 ½ to 24 ½. By C. H. D. Robbins, $30.”
“The jacketed dress—a version in tweeded ginger-brown rayon, rimmed with velvet (Dress, cap-sleeved.) By C. H. D. Robbins, in sizes 38 to 42 and 12 ½ to 22 ½. $30.
“At Carnegie Hall, Mrs. Exeter (and equally smart friend) in her box for the Friday Philharmonic. At left, a costume soft as a dress, slim as a suit—made of crisp navy-blue silk with a newly flat wide collar and a polka-dot bow. By C. H. D. Robbins, about $35. Sizes 14 to 40”
“Grey is so good, with Mrs. Exeter’s hair—and this grey wool dress of Security tweed jersey is just about all things to all daytime occasions. The waist is elasticized, for accurate, easy fit; the surplice neckline makes a soft V. By C. H. D. Robbins. Made in many sizes: 38 to 42; 12 ½ to 22 ½; 12 to 20.
I love the details on these clothes, particularly the collar shapes. And what flattering cuts! They put the boxy outfits some firms offer older women these days to shame.