Thursday, April 14, 2011

ADVERTISEMENT: Schiaparelli Perfume and Accessories, 1966.

John Plain Catalog, 1966.

BELTS: A Novelty Belt from the 1960s.

Today I was given a mail-order catalog from 1966: John Plain, which has been in business since 1915.

It's a large catalog with items across the board, much like the Sears and Penney's Catalogs:





-Small Appliances



I came across a great novelty Belt; Its called the "Big Timer," with an adjustable chain that converts into a necklace. The Watch is a large 4 inches in diameter.

The John Plain Catalog for 1966, page 46.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Magazines: Modern Miss

New in the Library:

A family member (Thanks, Phyllis) kindly passed on two issues of this magazine titled Modern Miss: the Fashion Magazine for Home Economics and their Students, published by Simplicity Pattern company.

I have two issues, Fall and Winter for the year 1954.

Not only do the magazines advertise fabrics, patterns and various notions, they also include tips for sewing, dressing, grooming, and other things typically found in a Home Economics publication (A"Life Skills" course of today).

The typical confusion among youth regarding menstruation was addressed in small print ads with pamplets available to clear up any misconceptions:

"It's Natural, It's Normal," Being one title.

My memories of Home Economics circa 1984 include the making of iced thumbprint cookies; a green wrap-skirt with the popular preppy alligator pattern, and the day the teacher gathered us in a circle to watch her cover a banana with a flesh-toned latex tube without advanced warning.

"Okay, does everyone understand how to use the condom? "

There were a few heads nodding, and Silence broke by intermittent giggles.

"Okay, back to your desk and open your books...."

ADVERTISEMENT: Kleinert's On and Off Dress Shields

Dress Shields: Have you found or purchased a dress and wish someone had worn them? Modern Miss Magazine. Winter 1954, page 52.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Bill Blass: Ruffles and Bright Colors.

SOLD: 1970s Maxi Dress by Bill Blass for Neiman Marcus.

Orange Plaid halter style top with Crepe Ruffles and Smocked Bodice. Skinny Cinch Belt. Size 8 Bust 34-35 Two Neiman Marcus tags found in skirt hem. This dress could have been created in the early 1980s. I found a photograph of Iman Modeling a similar plaid, though varied design for Bill Blass 1982 Spring Collection via the internet. Check it out...


Where to begin... -Gorgeous Flaming Orange Plaid with blue being the next dominating color. Blue stripe is seen particularly in the back view, drawing the eye vertically. -Lovely Crepe Fabric is semi-sheer with orange satin lining. -Sleeveless halter style top is covered with ruffles of neckline. Straps are hidden and are 2 and 3/4ths wide. -Fitted bodice has a low-cut, plunging V shape neckline. -Neckline is also framed with ruffles. -BEAUTIFUL Smocking detail extends just below the waistline giving just a hint of an hourglass figure. -Matching Skinny Cinch Belt. -Full Maxi Skirt hangs from pleats created by Smocking design. -Crepe Plaid fabric overlay; Orange Satin Skirt underneath.


-Side Nylon Zipper and metal hook. -Shoulder strap (sleeveless dress has halter style straps) on top of shoulder, Left side-fastens with three eyelet hooks. -Ruffle also snaps into place to provide continuous design rather than break. -Threads with snaps to hold bra straps in place. -Bodice fully lined with soft, satin-like fabric. -Pinked seams found on side hems. Bottom hem has sewn hem. -Care tags, Red and Blue Union Label tag found in skirt hem along with Neiman Marcus and Bill Blass Labels. Another Bill Blass Beauty: How about Ruffles at the Pool or Beach? The Bathing Suit is currently for sale in my Etsy Shop:

PREVIEW: 1950s 60s Formal Dress by Seymour Paisin, Chicago


Beatiful Watercolor Floral Print.
Lovely Neckline with Plunging V in back.
Shoulder wrap sleeves.
Drop Waist with wrap style skirt with bow and drape design.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Books: Undergarments and Fashion Observations from the Early 20th Century

Currently, I am reading a small paperback published in the early 1950s titled
I Leap Over the Wall by Monica Baldwin, "the Bestselling Story of a Nun who Returned to the World after 28 Years in a Convent."

I love a good biography, But I knew I would be sharing excerpts here after reading her observations of fashion. She had entered the convent in 1914 and while there- cut off from the world, clothing had made a radical turn by the time she left in the early 1940s:

"The Crescendo of Shocks which awaited me began abruptly with my first introduction to up-to-date underwear. Frankly, I was appauled.

The garments to which I was accustomed had been contrived by thorough-going ascetics in the fourteenth century, who considered that a nice, thick, long-sleeved 'shift' of rough, scratchy serge was the right thing to wear next to your skin. My shifts, when new, had reached almost to my ankles. However, hard washing and much indescriminate patching soon stiffened and shrank them until they all but stood up by themselves. Stays, shoulder-strapped and severely boned, concealed one's outline; over them, two long serge petticoats were lashed securely around one's waist. Last came the ample habit-coat of heavy cloth, topped by a linen rochet and a stiffly starched barbette of cambric, folded into a score of tiny tucks and pleats at the neck.

So when my sister handed me a wisp of gossamer, about the size and substances of a spider's web, I was startled.

She said, "Here's your foundation garment. Actually, most people only wear pants and a brassiere, but its cold to-day so I thought we'd better start you with a vest."

I examined the object, remembering 1914. In those days, a 'nice' girl 'started' with long, woolly combinations, neck-high and elbow-sleeved, decorated with a row of neat pearl buttons dow the front...

Next came the modern version of the corset. It was the merest strip of elastic brocade from which suspenders, in a surprising number, dangled. I thought it a great improvement on the fourteenth century idea. The only drawback was that you had to insert your person into it, serpent-fashion, as it had no fastenings.

What bothered me most were the stockings. The kind I was used to were emormous things, far thicker than those men wear for tramping the moors and shrunk by repeated boiling to the shape and consistency of a Wellington boot. The pair with which Freda had provided me were of silk, skin-coloured and so transparent that I wondered why anyone bothered to wear the things at all.

I said firmly, 'Freda, I can't possibly go out in these, They make my legs look naked.'
She smiled, patiently.
'Nonsense,' she said. 'Everyone wears them. If you went about in anything else you'd collect a crowd.'

By this time it had become clear to me that the generation which affected the transparencies in which I now was shivering must long have scraped the kind of garments I had worn as a girl. I wondered what they had done about the neck-high camisoles with their fussy trimmings of lace and insertion and those incredibly ample, long-legged white cotton drawers. The answer turned out to be an airy nothing called 'camiknickers,' made apparently, of cobweb. I felt my teeth beginning to chatter as I put it- or should one say 'them'?- on.

One further shock awaited me.

An object was handed mto me which I can only descrive as a very realistically modelled bust-bodice.. That its purpose was to emphasize contours which, in my girlhood, were always deocorously concealed was but too evident.
'This,' said my sister cheerfully, 'is a brassiere. And it's no use looking so horrified, because fashions to-day go out of their way to stress that part of one's anatomy. These things are supposed to fix one's chest at the classic angle. Like this--'
She adjusted the object with expert fingers. "There--you see the idea?"

Pages 8-9, Copyright 1950, Signet Books.