Tag Archives: half sizes

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

Posted in 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, General | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

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

Posted in 1950s, 1960s, General | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Gloria Swanson, Dress Designer

In the 1950s, famous actress Gloria Swanson became involved in the dress business.  It’s not as strange as it sounds, since Swanson had designed some of her own costumes for films and even won a Neiman Marcus Fashion Award in … 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

Posted in 1980s | Tagged , | 4 Comments

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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The Roaman’s Catalog, 1971

While working my way through references to half sizes in Women’s Wear Daily, I discovered a new-to-me source of clothing for larger women, Roaman’s. It is an old company, beginning as a store front in Manhattan.  The first ads I … Continue reading

Posted in 1970s | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

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

Posted in 1960s | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

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

Posted in 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, General | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Me and Molly–A Play about Half Sizes

Gertrude Berg (1899-1966) made a career out of bringing the Jewish-American experience to the nation.  In 1929, she wrote, produced and performed in the radio drama The Rise of the Goldbergs, later renamed simply The Goldbergs. It stayed on the … Continue reading

Posted in 1940s | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Pants (and Other Bifurcations) Go Mainstream, 1971

When did pants become acceptable garb for almost any occasion?  Of course that answer depends on where you look.  However, judging by the International edition of Vogue Pattern Book for August/September 1971, pants had really taken off. I counted nineteen … Continue reading

Posted in 1970s | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments