Category Archives: Hosiery

Hosiery Ads with a Bit of Wit

My favorite series of ads for stockings came from the McCullum Company in 1927.

A wonderfully stylized illustration of short skirts and stockings under the bridge table. Ad for McCallum silk stockings, Delineator, March 1927. (Shades of John Held, Jr….)

Illustration for McCullum silk stockings for everyday wear, Delineator, April 1927.

Text of McCullum Hosiery ad, April 1927.

Extra-long silk stockings to wear with a bathing suit, August 1927. Ad for McCullum’s hosiery, Delineator magazine. Note her bathing shoes and the seams up the back of the stockings.

About stockings with bathing suits:

Text of McCullum ad for hosiery to wear while swimming. August 1927.

“In the water, or just out, silk hose have the smooth gloss of a wet seal.” Stockings were usually worn with bathing suits in the nineteen teens and early twenties.

This 1917 ad for Luxite soap shows long stockings worn with a bathing suit.

A bathing suit illustration from 1924 shows both swimmers wearing rolled stockings. Delineator, July 1917, p. 34.

However, in this photo from the late twenties, you can clearly see the marks left by my mother’s rolled stockings.

Late 1920’s swim suit; you can see the marks left on her legs by rolled stockings, which she had removed.

She took them off when she put on her bathing suit. That McCullum “opera length” ad from 1927 seems to be trying to revive a disappearing custom.

Back to more wonderful McCallum illustrations:

Playing footsie? A couple dressed for a big date plays footsie in this McCallum hosiery ad. Notice how tense the man is, balancing a corsage box on his knees, and how relaxed the woman is as she stretches out her long legs to brush his ankle. December 1927.

Each ad had a border to match — waves for swimming, music for dancing….

“Sheer audacit” describes the short-skirted woman blowing smoke rings in this ad for McCallum hosiery, Dec. 1927. “The beauty of silken sheerness on slender, shapely legs . . is it this that gives the owner such assurance, such audacity . . is it this that fills even the timid man with admiration . .”

I do not know the illustrator — only that these eye-catching drawings are signed H on their left side and M on the right side.

The Onyx Hosiery company also used humor to sell stockings, but the illustrations in this series which referred to classical statues lacked the Art Deco dash of the McCallum ads.

The stature of the goddess Diana is implied to have thick ankles in this ad for Onyx Hosiery.  Onyx ad, November 1926, Delineator.

Onyx Pointex stockings had a pointed heel which, their ads claimed, made ankles look slender.

Venus had thick ankles compared to women who wore Onyx stockings. Onyx ad, March 1927. That dark triangle at the heel was advertised as slenderizing.

Onyx stockings, with their pointed heel, were supposed to make wearers’ ankles look thinner. (The darker heel area showed above the shoe.) Onyx ad, December 1926.

Other stocking ads illustrated the product itself — with elegance, but not many laughs.

The heels of Gordon stockings came in many shapes; left, a V-shape; right, a rectangle. Gordon Hosiery ad, Dec. 1928. Delineator.

As skirts got shorter, stockings got sheerer and more elaborate.

Ad for Gordon Hosiery to wear to the racetrack, September 1928. Delineator. The stockings at left have clocks (a vertical design,) which remained a feature of dressy men’s hose for decades.

Gordon Hosiery ad, May, 1928. Delineator. A different clock pattern.

Gordon hosiery with V-shaped or rectangular heels. Gordon ad, Delineator, October 1928. In the background, a stylized airplane takes off.

Anther stocking company just used celebrity endorsements. The extraordinary dress in this ad is worn by Mary Astor, best known nowadays for her role in The Maltese Falcon. In the 1920’s, she made five or six films a year.

Actress Mary Astor in an ad for Allen-A hosiery. April 1928, Delineator.

For me, none of those ads has the 1920’s zest of this one:

A wonderfully stylized illustration of short skirts and stockings under the bridge table. Ad for McCallum silk stockings, Delineator, March 1927.

“A length of flawless silk stockings to above the knee . . meets the brevity in skirts.” McCallum hosiery ad, March 1927.

“Full-fashioned” means the stockings were shaped like a leg, instead of like a tube. Full-fashioned stockings cost more, but before stretch knit fabrics, stockings that were not full-fashioned tended to wrinkle at the ankles. Like McCallum stockings, the other silk stockings in these ads cost two dollars a pair, more or less, a luxury item for the twenties’  working woman.

Prices from an ad for Onyx Pointex stockings, Dec. 1926.

Cotton lisle was longer wearing than silk, so it was often used at toes and heels and the band where the garter attached to the stocking. Less practical and more fragile, all-silk stockings cost more.

Prices from ad for Allen-A hosiery, April 1928.

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Filed under 1920s, evening and afternoon clothes, Hosiery, Hosiery, Hosiery & Stockings, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Underthings, Hosiery, Corsets, etc

House Dresses from Ads, 1930s

Housewife in an ad for Cocomalt, Woman’s Home Companion, September 1936.

Possibly the best costume research advice I ever got was to read old magazines and pay attention to the ads. Fashion coverage rarely goes into the kitchen, but ads for soap, appliances, foods and other homely products will show you images that were credible to their readers. They’re not any more realistic than our TV ads with perfectly maintained kitchens and gardens, but they presented an ideal of normal life.

Did most housewives dress like this in the evening? I doubt it. Koehler furniture ad, WHC, Oct. 1936.

Ads are aspirational. They hold out the dream that, if you buy this product, your life will be transformed. So, for a view of everyday clothing, they aren’t perfect; they show the way people wanted to look. But they’ll help you to get into the mindset of the period.

Most women wore an apron while washing dishes. However, this wrap dress with its two sizes of polka dots and sheer ruffles might give you some good design ideas. S.O.S. Ad, March 1935. Delineator.

O.K., that’s more realistic. Under that clean apron, she’s wearing a dress with sheer ruffles on the sleeves. S.O.S. ad, Feb. 1935. Delineator.

Using an electric floor polisher. Appliance ad, Oct. 1934. Delineator.

Hmmm. White collars and cuffs seem to be a theme.

The next three housewives come from a series of Depression Era ads for Royal Baking Powder, in which their tight family budgets are given; the women may be wearing their best house dresses, freshly washed and ironed for the photographer, but the ads had to be believable to readers on tight budgets themselves:

This young housewife is living on $900 a year (about $17 per week.) Royal Baking Powder ad, March 1934. Delineator.

The housewife at right prides herself on spending just a dollar a day for her family’s food, but she manages to look neat and clean. Royal Baking Powder ad, January 1935.

She married on $20 per week. Interesting dress, with sheer white ruffles. It looks like her coordinating apron is pinned to her dress. Royal Baking Powder ad, February 1934. Delineator.

I was interested to see that some women sensibly adopted the sleeveless dress for housework:

Doing housework in a chic sleeveless dress. S.O.S. ad, May 1934. Delineator.

Sleeveless dress in an ad for Gerber’s baby food. August 1937. Delineator.

Mother in sleeveless dress with her children. Illustration for an article on child rearing, 1935. Delineator.

Ads for Scot paper towels show many pretty but credible house dresses. [It’s hard to imagine a time when we had to be taught what to do with a paper towel, but that is the purpose of this thirties’ ad campaign.]

Ad for Scot paper towels, March 1935. House dresses were often made of lively, small-scale, floral print fabrics.

Ad for Scot paper towels, July 1937. White collar and cuffs on a plaid dress.

Ad for Scot paper towels, March 1936. Woman’s Home Companion. White collar and cuffs again.

A loose-sleeved plaid house dress. Ad for Scot paper towels, February 1936. WHC.

Wrap dress, in small floral print with sheer ruffled accents. Ad for Scot [bathroom] tissue, Nov. 1936.

After teaching women to use Scot paper towels for drying hands, draining bacon, wiping greasy pans, cleaning glass, et cetera

Scot Paper towel ad, December 1936. New customers, unfamiliar with paper towels, would also need a holder.

… the ad campaign finally got around to a use that didn’t require a verbal description:

Ad for Scot paper towels, December 1936.

Oops! No house dress in that one. (I do get distracted by these little glimpses into the past….)

This woman’s clothing probably emphasizes the ease [no sweat, ladies!] of using this vacuum, rather than her normal working clothes.

A housewife and her Hoover. Nov. 1937, WHC. Women who wear high heels all the time find flat shoes uncomfortable, (my stepmother wore sturdy 2″ heels while cooking and cleaning) but these heels are rather high and thin for doing housework.

Whether women really vacuumed the house dressed like this is questionable. But I think that the dress worn by this woman demonstrating a washing machine is probably very close to realistic.

It was hard to use a mangle machine like this without getting wet. From an article about laundry, WHC, March 1936. That’s what I call a “wash dress.”

This isn’t.

From an ad for laundry soap — Fels Naptha. WHC, Sept. 1936. This woman’s dress says her laundry is done. It’s not the “wash day” dress she wears in the drawing.

This ad reminds us that work dresses were still very long in 1936. Large-scale plaid dress in an ad for Sun-Maid Raisins. WHC, March 1936.

Print dresses featured in many ads between 1934 and 1937:

An ad for Lux laundry soap shows a flowered print dress with sheer collar. August 1934, Delineator.

Lux laundry soap claimed to be easy on stockings. Lux ad, Oct. 1937. I can imagine this dress, with its cool neckline, becoming a house dress as it aged.

A crisp floral print dress in an ad for S.O.S. pads. December 1936. This dress could certainly leave the house.

That print dress resembles a “sport dress” available from Tom Boys:

This sport dress could be ordered for $3.95 in February 1937. Ad for Tom Boys; WHC. Hemlines are rising.

Life experience leads me to think that many comfortable, washable sports dresses began as “good” casual clothes but eventually became only “good enough for housework” when they were damaged or out of style.

Perhaps the most truthful ad showing what many women wore during the Depression is this one:

Photo of a healthy farm family, thanks to Nujol laxative. From a Nujol ad, April 1934, Delineator.

 

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Filed under 1930s, Hairstyles, Hosiery, Hosiery, Musings, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Resources for Costumers, Sportswear, Uniforms and Work Clothes, vintage photographs, Women in Trousers

Twenties’ Fashions for Larger Women, September 1928

One of these dresses was available in size 52. Butterick patterns in Delineator, September 1928, p. 36.

The fashion editors at Delineator magazine often grouped patterns for larger or more “mature” women together in a one-page article, but in the September 1928 issue, large-sized dresses were shown beside patterns for college girls and women of standard sizes. I’ve long been surprised than in the mid-twenties, when the “Boyish” figure was extolled, the standard Butterick pattern sizes — based on bust measurement — were 33 to 44 inches. But some patterns were issued up to “bust measure 52 inches.”

Left, pattern 2226 for college and career girls; right, pattern 2211, for women with bust sizes up to 52 inches. From 1928.

Details of Butterick 2226, for 15 to 20 years and bust 32 to 40;  and Butterick 2211,  an “all day frock” for sizes 34 to 52. Delineator, Sept. 1928, pg. 35. Are those herringbone stripes in this wool dress?

Top of page 35, which featured wool frocks and coats in sizes from 15 years (bust 32″) to size 52.

Butterick frock 2233 and coat 2230. The coat was sized from bust 32″ to 48″. Delineator, Sept. 1928, p. 35. Note the coat’s triangular pockets, which “merge” into a belt. And what was going on with that dress front? Over? Under?

Butterick 2209 and 2217. To me, the dress on the right, with its little “lingerie finish” ruffles and conservatively feminine qualities, looks like something aimed at mature women, but it is only offered in smaller sizes: age 15 to 20 years and 38, 40 [bust].

The unusual front tabs and sleeves on Butterick 2209 are worth a closer look:

Detail of Butterick 2209 and 2217, Sept. 1928. No. 2209 (left) was available for bust sizes 32 to 44.

“Sport Clothes” to wear to the “big games.” Delineator, Sept. 1928, top of pg. 34.

The second dress from the left looks rather fancy for watching football; the dress on the top left was suggested for larger-than-average women.

Butterick 2231 and 2221, from 1928. No. 2231 was available up to bust size 52 inches.

A vestee is a kind of dickey — a partial blouse.

Some of these dresses have skirts that are plain in the back, with all the fullness, pleats, etc., in the front. This was common in early twenties’ dresses, and still seen here, on some dresses, in 1928. (Patterns 2226 and 2211 show pleats in back, too.)

The back views of Nos. 2226 and 2211 show pleats in the skirt back, too.

Nos. 2193 and 2180 (plaid) have plain skirts in back, with pleats only in the front.

Butterick wool sports frock 2193 and coat pattern 2151. September 1928. Only the front of 2193 is pleated. Both dress and coat are in the average pattern size range. For a dressier version of the same coat, click here. 

This jaunty plaid coat and dress were not limited to slender women:

Butterick two-piece dress 2180 coordinated with coat 2222. September 1928. This “youthful and becoming dress was for bust 32 to [a bigger than average] 46. The coat pattern came in a standard range of sizes, 32 to 44 (with a 47.5″ hip.) I love the diamond shaped “belt encrustation.”

As for evening gowns, the pattern on the left was available up to size 52.

Butterick evening dresses from 1928. Left, no. 2131, with a long side drape, for sizes from 34 to 52; right, Butterick 2125 in sizes from 32 to 44 bust.

Here are some advertisements from the same issue of the magazine. For “the larger woman,” hosiery manufacturers offered slenderizing styles like this one:

From an ad for Allen-A hosiery, Delineator, Sept. 1928. “Note the slenderizing effect this new, longer point Allen-A Heel gives to the ankle.”

Shoe advertisements show that even brands which promised comfort to mature women offered some very high, narrow heels.

Top of Dorothy Dodd shoe ad, Delineator, Sept. 1928.  “Dorothy Dodd shoes are designed to make the foot look youthful.”

Ad for Dorothy Dodd shoes (this image is slightly skewed at the bottom.) Delineator, Sept. 1928.

Queen Quality shoe ad, Delineator, September 1928. The “Sherwood” and “Tiffany” models look like somewhat practical walking shoes, but the “Trickie” (lower left) seems aptly named.

“And Queen Quality keeps the cost of all four pairs less than the cost of a single frock.” They total $37.00 — not an inexpensive frock! (They are not cheap shoes.)

This jersey dress could be ordered for $8:

Ad for a Hubrite wool jersey dress, Delineator, September 1928, p. 101.

Hubrite dress in sizes 16-20 — 36-46. Ad in Delineator, Sept. 1928.

 

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100 Years Ago: Women’s Bathing Suits for 1917

The knit bathing suit illustrated in this ad for Luxite Hose is considerably more revealing than the suits that could be made from Butterick patterns in 1917. Delineator, June 1917, page 50.

A friend once gave me a bathing suit as a birthday gift, with the explanation, “The swimsuit isn’t the real present. The real present is that now you don’t have to go through the agony of shopping for a swimsuit.” She was right. Getting a glimpse of my aged,  fish-belly white thighs in a department store’s three-way mirror is never the highlight of my summer.

Butterick bathing suits for June, 1917. Top of page 64, Delineator magazine.

On the other hand, even though these bathing suits from one hundred years ago would cover my thighs, I doubt that they would be flattering in any other way.

Butterick bathing suit patterns from Delineator, July 1917, p. 53.

I always enjoy seeing multiple versions of a pattern; most of these suits were illustrated in two ways in June of 1917 and in another two ways in July. They are all Butterick patterns from Delineator magazine. It’s also interesting to see the line drawings that show alternate views and the under-layer, which is often lost in vintage bathing suits.

Butterick 9201, a bathing suit for 1917

One version of Butterick 9201 from June 1917.

A sleeveless version of Butterick bathing suit 9201. Delineator, June 1917, p. 64.

A third version of Butterick 9201, July 1917, Delineator, page 53.

A fourth, striped, version of Butterick 9201, from Delineator, July 1917, p. 53.

This view from June 1917 shows the bloomers attached to an underbodice, or underbody,  which was worn under the “blouse” of Butterick 9201.

All four versions have ruffled pockets. I won’t show descriptions of all four versions, but the basic information is contained in this one.

The fabrics and colors only apply to the sleeveless, square-necked version. Other versions suggested were purple, navy, scarlet, or green, in wool jersey, satin, or taffeta. The pattern was available in sizes 30 to 44 inches bust measure.

Butterick 9219, a bathing suit from 1917

The striped bathing outfit is Butterick pattern 9219 as shown in Delineator, June 1917, p. 64.

A sleeveless version of Butterick 9219. “You can have it show jaunty bloomers underneath or have it cover them…. The bloomers are sewed to an underbody so there is no danger of accidents.”

Butterick 9291 pictured in Delineator, July 1917, p. 53.

Another version of Butterick 9219, July 1917. She wears black stockings and bathing shoes; the “unusual and becoming cap” was included.

Other views of Butterick 9219.

This view of Butterick 9219 shows the yoked bloomers attached to an underbody.

Various wool or silk fabrics were suggested. Although serge and silk poplin are mentioned, cotton is not, with the exception of “brilliantine,” a wool-and-cotton or mohair-and-cotton blend.

Butterick 9237, a “bathing-suit” from 1917

Butterick bathing suit pattern 9237, June 1917. This is the shorter version. Note her rolled stockings.

Butterick 9237 shown with a striped skirt long enough to cover the bloomers, Delineator, June 1917, p. 64.

Coin-sized dots and white lattice on the sleeves are unique details for this blue and white version of No. 9237. Butterick pattern from 1917. Cap pattern included.

Alternate views of Butterick 9237.

Girls’ bathing costume,  Butterick 9240, from 1917.

This bathing suit pattern, Butterick 9240, was available for girls 2 to 14 years old. Delineator, June 1917.

“If the child is very small the gathered or plaited straight skirt need not be worn.”

Butterick 9240 illustrated on an older girl. Delineator, July, 1917, p. 53.

Bathing suit for girls 2 to 14, Butterick 9240, from 1917.

Description of Butterick child’s bathing suit No. 9240, July 1917. Delineator.

How anyone, much less a child, was expected to swim in one of these bathing suits once it was wet and waterlogged is a mystery to me. The pockets must have been great for collecting seashells — or filling with sand and water and dragging you down ….

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, Bathing Suits, Children's Vintage styles, Hosiery, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Shoes, Sportswear, Swimsuits, Vintage patterns, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes, World War I

Ski Clothes for Women, January 1927

Eighty years ago, Delineator magazine showed the latest styles seen at Lake Placid, NY, and offered Butterick patterns for skiers and skaters. (Lake Placid hosted the winter Olympics in 1932.)

Skiers at Lake Placid, January 1927. Leslie Saalburg illustration for Delineator, p. 15.

Skiers at Lake Placid, January 1927. Leslie Saalburg illustration for Delineator, p. 15.

The woman at left wears a beret, long trousers, and a heavy jacket with big pockets:

Woman skier in heavy jacket, January 1927, Delineator.

Woman skier in belted jacket, January 1927, Delineator.

In spite of twenties fashions, the belt must have “ridden up” to her natural waistline with movement.

Behind her, a woman wears a matching checked top and knickers:

Detail, Ski Resort, January 1927. Delneator, p. 15.

Detail, Ski Resort, January 1927. Delineator, p. 15. I’m curious; was that outfit true-to-life or artistic license?

A few pages later, Butterick patterns for winter sports were featured.

Costumes for Winter Sports: Butterick patterns for skiing and skating, January 1927.

Costumes for Winter Sports: Butterick patterns for skiing and skating, January 1927.

“7062 — 4147 — Back of the north wind is the windbreaker with knitted or fabric collar and cuffs and a hip band that buttons snugly. For skis with their horrid trick of doing a treacherous double cross reinforced knickers fitted at the knee are worn with wool hose and socks.” The knickers button tightly at the knee and were available up to waist size 38 inches. It looks like she is wearing two pairs of socks, one rolled at the ankle.

Butterick ski jacket pattern 7062 with heavy wool knickers, pattern 4147. Delineator, Jan. 1927, p. 22.

Butterick windbreaker ski jacket pattern 7062 with heavy wool knickers, pattern 4147. Delineator, Jan. 1927, p. 22.

Butterick windbreaker pattern 6991 and pleated skirt 1175 from Delineator, January 1927, p. 22.

Butterick windbreaker pattern 6991 and pleated skirt 1175 from Delineator, January 1927, p. 22.

Duvetyn was a brushed fabric, usually wool; suede was also suggested for the jacket. The skirt, with its top-stitched pleats, would have been too tight for some skaters’ moves, but “contrives to be both slim and roomy.” This being the twenties, when some skirts hung from the shoulders on an underbodice,  the skirt was sold by hip size. Does “waistcoat style” mean the belt was adjustable, like the back of a vest? Her striped stockings are probably wool. Textured and patterned stockings were popular for casual winter wear.

Textured stockings in an editorial article about rainwear. Delineator, April 1929, p. 85.

Textured stockings in an editorial article about rainwear. Delineator, April 1929, p. 85.

For more illustrations of colorful stockings in the 1920’s, click here.

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Fringe Fashions, December 1918

Old copies of Delineator magazine always have surprises that catch my eye.

December fashions, Delineator, 1918, top of p. 64

December fashions, Delineator magazine, 1918, top of p. 64. Butterick patterns 1276, 1260, 1255, and 1243.

Parts of the December 1918 issue were probably ready to print before the Armistice was announced on November 11, and the magazine contains many references to World War I.

Butterick doll clothing for a soldier, 402, and a sailor, 403. Delineator, December 1918.

Butterick doll clothing: “boy doll’s military suit,” pattern 402, and “boy doll’s sailor suit,” 403. Delineator, December 1918. This woman’s “one-piece dress” pattern was available up to size 44.

text-patterns-1276-402-403-1918-dec-p-65-dec-1918-btm-text

But the “theme” of the month seems to be fringe. Here is the bottom of the same page:

Butterick patterns for women, December 1918. Two are fringed, and the gold dress is trimmed with black monkey fur. Delineator, p. 64.

Butterick patterns for women, 1283, 1294, and 1305. December 1918. Two are fringed, and the gold dress is trimmed with black monkey fur. Delineator, p. 64.

Pattern descriptions for Butterick 1283, 1294 and 1305, December 1918. Delineator.

Pattern descriptions for Butterick 1283, 1294 and 1305, December 1918. Delineator.

Fringe could be light-weight, like chenille, or made from heavier silk or cotton. I have encountered monkey fur coats in costume storage. [Eeeeeek. Just as unpleasant as having the paw fall off a vintage fox fur stole.]

More fashions with fringe appeared on page 63:

The blue dress is fringed; the other is trimmed with fur. Delineator, Dec. 1918,. p 63

The blue dress (1278) is trimmed with fringe; the other outfit (blouse 1259 and skirt 1105) is trimmed with fur and decorative buttons. Delineator, Dec. 1918, p 63. Two different muff patterns were illustrated, 1190 and 9517.

In addition to keeping your hands warm, a muff often had an interior pocket that functioned as a purse.

Two more fringed day dresses, Dec. 1918. Delineator, p 63.

Two more fringed day dresses, Dec. 1918. Delineator, p 63. Butterick 1253 and waist/blouse 1263 with skirt 9865. No. 1253 is illustrated in satin; waist 1263 is in velvet, worn over a satin skirt.

More fringe from December 1918:

Butterick patterns illustrated in Delineator. Dec. 1918, page 65.

Butterick patterns illustrated in Delineator. Dec. 1918, page 65. Fringe trims the center two.

Butterick patterns in Delineator, page 71, December 1918.

Fur or fringe trims these Butterick patterns in Delineator, page 71, December 1918.  Women’s dresses No. 1294, 1309, and 1285.

Butterick patterns, Delineator, Dec. 1918, p. 68.

Butterick patterns, Delineator, Dec. 1918, p. 68. The shape of the skirt is determined by the high-waisted, curve-flattening corset of the era.

Fringe hangs from the pockets of a skirt, Delineator, Dec. 1918, p. 68.

Fringe hangs from the pockets of a skirt, Delineator, Dec. 1918, p. 68. Butterick blouse 1306 with skirt 1226. Shirt-waist pattern 1279 with skirt of suit 1101.

In October, Butterick suggested a fringed wedding gown, pattern 1169, shown again in November in a dark, velvet version:

Left, wedding gown 1169, Butterick pattern from October 1918; right, the same pattern in velvet, worn for a formal occasion. (November, 1918.)

Left, wedding gown 1169, Butterick pattern from October 1918; right, the same pattern in velvet, worn for a formal daytime occasion. (November, 1918.)

If you weren’t ready to go wild with fringe, you could carry a subtle fringed handbag instead of a muff.

Winter coats from Butterick December 1918. The woman in the center carries a matching striped muff; the woman on the right carries a fringed handbag. Delineator, December 1918, p. 66.

Winter coats from Butterick December 1918. The woman in the center carries a striped muff (Butterick 1266) to match her coat; the woman on the right carries a fringed handbag (Butterick pattern 10720.) Delineator, December 1918, p. 66.

The coat on the right is a reminder that the “Barrel skirt” or “tonneau” was [to me, inexplicably] in fashion for a while.

 

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, Accessory Patterns, bags, Hairstyles, handbags, Hats, Hosiery, Purses, Vintage patterns, Wedding Clothes, World War I

Sock Suspenders: Garters for Men

Ad for men's stocking garters made by Hickok, Esquire, August 1934.

Ad for men’s stocking garters made by Hickok, Esquire, August 1934.

This garter ad is from 1917:

https://witness2fashion.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/1917-jan-p-30-boston-garter-for-men-ad.jpg?w=500

Knitted stockings have been around for centuries. (Queen Elizabeth I liked the silk stockings she was given as a Christmas gift in 1561.) The Bata Shoe museum has a lovely pair of embroidered stockings for a lady which date to the early 1700s. But until the invention of Lastex elastic thread, around 1931, stockings tended to fall down without a garter or suspender to hold them up. (Men’s socks with “elastic ribbed tops” were available before that, although it’s not always easy to tell if the word “elastic” means “stretchy” or “made with latex/rubber.”)

Ad for Esquire silk stockings for men, Esquire magazine, June 1934.

Ad for Esquire Hose silk stockings for men, Esquire magazine, June 1934. These pure-silk-top hose would stay up better with a garter.

Before Lastex, exasperated mothers would yell, “Pull up your socks!” — sometimes, just to get their offspring to stop whatever else they were doing.Boy's patterns, Delineator, July 1917. Two of these children have sagging socks.
When an impeccably dressed gentleman undressed, however elegant his clothing, he eventually revealed his stocking garters. I’ve rarely seen a full illustration of a man wearing underwear, socks, and garters — perhaps because the result is faintly comical.

Men's underwear in an ad for Celanese, a plant-based synthetic fiber. 1934.

Men’s underwear in an ad for Celanese, a plant-based synthetic fiber. 1934.

I was surprised that men’s garters came in a riot of colors.

Men's stocking garters. Detail of Esquire illustration, March 1934.

Men’s stocking garters. Detail of Esquire illustration, March 1934.

Stocking garters for the college man. Esquire, March 1934.

Stocking garters for the college man. Esquire, March 1934. Illustration by Hurd.

Esquire, March 1934.

Esquire, March 1934. [Ripley’s Believe It or Not was a popular newspaper feature.]

A glimpse of stocking was a good thing, but a glimpse of hairy shins was not.

Socks were always on display when a man crossed his legs. Esquire, July 1934. Illustration by L. Fellows.

Socks were always on display when a man crossed his legs. Esquire, July 1934. Illustration by L. Fellows.

The well-dressed businessman wore sock garters to keep his socks from falling down around his ankles, or revealing skin when he sat with his legs crossed.

Distinguished suits for men, February 1934. Accessories include stocking garters, a pocket square, and men's jewelry. Esquire magazine illustration by Oxner.

Distinguished suits for men, February 1934. Accessories include stocking garters, a pocket square, a cuff link,  and a gold collar pin. Esquire magazine illustration by Oxner.

Some stocking garters had one fastener, in center front, but others had a garter on either side of the shin.

Men's sock garters from Sears catalog, circa 1930.

Men’s sock garters from Sears catalog, circa 1930. “Come in the color combinations men prefer.” “Neatly boxed,” because garters were a useful gift.

Ad for Paris Men's Garters. This ad appeared in the January issue, which was on news stands in time for Christmas shopping. Esquire, Jan. 1934

Ad for Paris Men’s Garters. This ad appeared in the January issue, which was on news stands in time for Christmas shopping. Esquire, Jan. 1934.

Judging from the men’s magazines and pin-up illustrations of my teen years, many men enjoy looking at a woman who is wearing a garter belt and stockings. I personally can’t imagine getting a similar erotic charge from the sight of a man wearing stocking garters — even in brilliant blue:

Hickok garters, 1934 ad. Esquire.

Hickok garters, 1934 ad. Esquire.

Fortunately for costumers, you can still buy sock garters — there are plenty listed on Amazon.

 

 

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, 1920s, 1920s-1930s, 1930s, 1930s-1940s, Hosiery, Men's Haberdashery & Accessories, Menswear, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Underthings