Skating Attire

I’ve been holding these skating pictures, hoping to show them on an actual snowy day, but here it is the end of February and we’ve only had a couple of dustings.  (Of course that means everyone is walking around proclaiming that “It’s going to catch up with us,” or “We’ll pay for this later,” which means we are destined to suffer through a late snow like we did in March, 1993 when there was close to three feet in my front yard!)

Don’t you just love those high topped skates on the girl above?  The illustration is an advertising card from Star Brand Shoes.

Into the 1920s, women pretty much wore their warmest sporty attire when skating.  They might have a skirt that was shorter than what would have been worn on the street along with a warm sweater and a knit cap.  Most sources credit Olympic skater  Sonja Henie with the development of the short circular skirt for skating.  I found photos of her wearing that style skirt as early as 1928.

It’s interesting to me to see how this basic style is still the standard for competitive skating.  A very short skirt that moves with the action of the skater is what we expect to see a womam skater wearing.  The big difference is that there is no longer any pretense as to the warmness of the materials used.  The heavy materials of the past – wool and velveteen – have given way to chiffon, sequins and fringe.

Two mid century skating garments from my collection:

This folkloric style skirt is wool, made in Minnesota.

Could it be that this velveteen and felt skating dress was inspired by the decorated skirts of Juli Lynne Charlot?

I’m always looking for both skating clothing and photos of skaters.  Both are relatively hard to find compared to, say, ski clothing.  It could be that because skating never became the huge destination-vacation type sport as skiing, that women were just not as willing to invest the money for special clothing.  Any other thoughts?

And I just could not resist sharing this great roller skater:


Filed under Vintage Clothing, Winter Sports

10 responses to “Skating Attire

  1. What a lovely post. I adore the skating girl from the 1920s. What a sweet little face she has. And don’t get me started on your collection of skating garments – they are soooooooooo adorable!


  2. Beautiful pastel picture in today’s post. Such a fun era.


  3. You always post the loveliest things. I adore the black St. Croix skirt and the roller skater. I particularly like the pom poms on the tips of her skates!


  4. What wonderful skirts! I especially like the trim and label on the St. Croix skirt and the felt trees. I always think of Lake Placid for vintage skating photos… I must have seen some at some point and they’re stuck in the back of my mind.


  5. Manu

    What are doing in Miami?? that seems nostalgic for cold areas.. and cant never use nothing like that there ..


  6. Jan Polizzi

    I have a Sonje Henie Labeled Navy blue attached hood Skating Jacket from my mother’s hope chest. Would you be interested in purchasing.


  7. Pingback: How I Collect – 1940s | The Vintage Traveler

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