Look for the Union Label across Generations

Although this is an advertisement rather than a real life snapshot, I love the contrast in clothing depicted between the generations.  The Library of Congress gives the date as 1965-1980, a very big range, and I couldn’t find it reproduced in any popular magazines. If you have better luck, let me know.  However, the clothing on all the participants makes me think this was made sometime in the mid to late seventies.  The barely legible subtext—“Anything without it is either non-union or non-American”– points to the seventies as well. That was the decade when off shore manufacturing began in earnest for the US garment industry.

The grandmother figure on the left wears a loosely fitting belted dress with a fairly long hem.  Her long hair is caught up in a bun.  The look is elegant but conservative, and you can certainly tell that she has the wider waistline most women get as they age. 

The daughter/mother depicted next is dressed like a working woman of the late seventies with her blazer and pussy bow blouse.  John Malloy’s influential Dress for Success came out in 1975. Can’t you see her as a school teacher in comfortable shoes for all day wear?  Her daughter wears a jumpsuit and sneakers, an outfit right in style today. The only clothes that defies time are those on the little girl. 

And did someone check the older woman’s label?

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6 Responses to Look for the Union Label across Generations

  1. Judith Rickard says:

    Nope…because the older woman made her (lovely) dress herself!

  2. Nann says:

    ….and now that little girl is about 44….

  3. Bob Moeller says:

    Nope, because the grandmother would never have worn anything that didn’t have a union label. No one had to check.

  4. JS says:

    “Defies time”? Do most parents dress their little girls like that today? It’s a cute coat, but it seems rather short.

    I fondly remember the “Check for the Union label” ads.

  5. Susan says:

    I bought a velvet jacket and bias plaid skirt like that in 1979-80. I remember the date — I was teaching high school) because I bought a new, coordinated wardrobe after losing a lot of weight, and took it with me to grad school in 1980-81. I rarely wore the matching burgundy cotton velvet skirt, (too dressy) but the jacket worked with slacks or skirts and was still with me when I took a teaching job in San Francisco in 1984.

  6. Paula says:

    I’m thinking mid-70s. I wore a blazer/skirt combo very similar to that for my confirmation in 1976, and remember wearing a jumpsuit to school around the same time.

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