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Everyday Fashions of the Twenties: As Pictured in Sears and Other Catalogs

Everyday Fashions of the Twenties: As Pictured in Sears and Other Catalogs
Your Price: $30.95 CDN
Edited by: Stella Blum
Publisher: Dover Publications Inc.
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 152
Pub. Date: 1981
ISBN-10: 0486241343
ISBN-13: 9780486241340

About the Book:

Everyday Fashions of the Twenties: As Pictured in Sears and Other Catalogs contains an accurate record of actual dress of the Roaring Twenties in more than 150 pages of mail-order catalogs, selected and with text by Stella Blum. Over 750 illustrations and captions.

The Roaring Twenties, age of jazz and flappers, Model T Fords and Hollywood movie stars, was also a time when for millions the bulky catalogs of Montgomery Ward or Sears, Roebuck were a substitute for the window displays of Paris or New York fashion shops. Buying clothing through the mails had become an American institution, and entire families were often dressed via the U.S. Post Office. More conservative than the up-to-the-minute fashion shops, mail-order catalogs nevertheless offered surprisingly much of the haute couture. But, above all, they accurately record what men, women, and children were actually wearing in the 1920s.

Stella Blum, former Curator of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, has distilled into this volume the essence of the fashion pages of the Sears, Roebuck and other mail-order catalogs of the Twenties. Her informative text and selection of over 150 representative catalog pages – comprising over 750 illustrations with original captions – gradually trace the evolution of dress modes from the vogue of stodgy postwar fashions to the impact on costume of the crash of 1929. In a year-by-year survey, Stella Blum's texts relate the trends in fashion to the social changes of the dynamic and restless era, assessing the influence of war and technological developments on the high hemlines, flattened busts and hips, geometric patterns and bobbed hairstyles of the boyish flapper look. And as she notes, it was through the Sears catalogs that Parisian designers like Coco Chanel, Jeanne Lanvin, and Madeleine Vionnet made their influence felt on Midwestern farms and in urban ghettos.

You'll find here a marvellous panorama of smart, modish, chic, stylish, and ultra fashionable apparel, as well as more traditional garments: for women and misses there are Middy blouses, Russian boots modelled by Gloria Swanson, Bob hats modelled by Clara Bow and Joan Crawford; coats, suits, dresses (including the first maternity dresses), sweaters, capes; silk and rayon stockings, corsets, chemises, camisoles, negligees; and accessories like necklaces, belts, combs, headbands, umbrellas, gloves, compacts, hand bags, wristwatches, and powderpuff cases. You'll see slower-to-change men's fashions – shirts, ties, suits, sweaters, and sports clothes – become trimmer, brighter, smarter. And you can follow the trends in children's fashions as well.

For historians of costume, nostalgia buffs, and casual browsers, Everyday Fashions of the Twenties: As Pictured in Sears and Other Catalogs affords a rare picture – unspoiled by recent myths about the Roaring Twenties – of how average people really dressed in the jazz age.

About the Author:

Stella Blum (1916-1985) was an American costume curator, educator, writer, scholar, and founding member and Fellow of the Costume Society of America. Affiliated with the Costume Institute of The Metropolitan Museum of Art since 1940, she became its first curator in 1970, and helped to develop costume as an area of serious study.

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