Charm after Fifty is illustrated in these three dresses made from one pattern: Companion-Butterick 7458. Woman’s Home Companion, July 1937.
This Companion-Butterick triad dress pattern from the summer of 1937 is illustrated on three mature women, none of whom has a conspicuously middle-aged figure.
This illustration by Ernst shows pattern 7458 as it might look on three tall, slim-hipped women. None of them seems to have a single gray hair, never mind a sagging chin or a “menopot.”
However, the size range went all the way to bust size 52.
The three dresses have similar skirts, but bodice and sleeve variations range from casual to dressy. [I imagine that the floral print version was made more often in navy or brown rayon than in yellow chiffon, but it’s nice that women over fifty were encouraged to wear bright colors.
From simple to fancy: Pattern 7458 in striped cotton with short sleeves, in a turquoise print with broad shoulders and 3/4 sleeves, and in a soft yellow chiffon floral print with a V-neck and flounces cascading down the front. WHC, July 1937.
White, perforated summer shoes were not just for “old ladies,” and the heels at right are certainly high.
Perforated shoes for summer. 1937.
Ad for Walk-Over Shoes, with prices, from WHC, June 1937.
“Puncho” shoes. Walk-Over, June 1937. These are white kid suede, but the same shoe was available in blue, black or gray.
“Cabana” shoes from Walk-Over also came in white calf, tan, blue, black or red earth calf, or gray sueded kid. 1937.
Sporty “Lariat” shoes from Walkover. Also in brown or gray. The heel is stacked leather. 1937.
The “Mohawk” oxford shoe from Walk-Over could be purchased in all white calf, or white suede with tan calf, as pictured. 1937.
Shoes weren’t the only things that were perforated in the 193o’s:
Ad for a Perfolastic reducing girdle, WHC, February 1936. That’s “lastic” as in latex: a rubber garment designed to help you sweat off the pounds and inches. Did women have polka-dotted skin when they took it off?
Perfolastic reducing girdle and brassiere ad; WHC, Nov. 1937.
Text, Perfolastic reducing girdle and brassiere, WHC, Nov. 1937. “You appear inches smaller at once.”
Perhaps that’s how these women over fifty maintained their impossibly tall, willowy shapes.
Women over fifty: WHC, July 1937. Elongated fashion figures with suspiciously rosy cheeks.
Top of ad for Louis Philippe’s Angelus Rouge Incarnat lip and cheek rouge, Delineator, June 1934.
Text of ad for Louis Philippe’s Angelus Rouge Incarnat lip and cheek rouge, Delineator, June 1934. “In its allure, it is typically, wickedly of Paris. In its virginal modesty, as natural as a jeune fille….” “You use either on both the lips and the cheeks.”
These women over fifty may have also used another product: Brownatone. It had been in use since the 1920’s — possibly earlier.
Ad for Brownatone gray hair coloring, WHC, February 1937. There seem to be only two color choices.
For another “After Fifty” triad pattern, click here.