Ad Campaign – Lady Alice – 1943

Wear Your Own Secret Heart Code!

Lady Alice International Signal Flag Shirt

Your heart condition will be a secret to your sisters, but every service man will know how he stands, when you wear your Lady Alice code flag shirt.  One glance and the International Flag Code will subtly send your message.

It’s not unusual to see military themed garments and fabrics in ads  from the WWII period, and here is a prime example.   Lady Alice took the plain open neck blouse and added a touch of whimsey.  There was an “authentic colored signal flag” embroidered on the breast pocket.  Each flag had a actual meaning, but it is easy to interpret them in terms of Girl meets Boy: “Man overboard”, “I require a pilot”, and “I require assistance”.

And I find the Lady Alice interpretation of “I require assistance” – “You’re just a helpless little girl who’s looking for a big strong man to protect her”  to be not only grammatically confusing, but really ironic seeing as how  the very helpless little girl this was being marketed to was most likely working in a factory producing weapons for that big strong man to use in fighting the war.

Lady Alice was part of the California garment industry that emerged in the early 20th century.  It was founded in 1925 by an immigrant from Iceland, Krist Gunderson.  He also started the Lil’ Alice label.  Both labels were used until sometime in the 1960s when the company became known as Alice of California.


Filed under Advertisements, World War II

9 responses to “Ad Campaign – Lady Alice – 1943

  1. Wow! That is pretty fantastic. I hear ya though on the underlying tones. Still such a unique piece of fashion history.


  2. Interesting post as always Lizzie. And thank goodness for all those “helpless little girls” during WWII! 😉


  3. I want a crisp white shirt with a secret message monogrammed on the pocket…just because! X


  4. Your blogs make me wonder about some of the vintage pieces in my shop and maybe I should research them a little deeper.


  5. This is wonderful! Hilarious and sad, but also wonderful. (I hasten to add, I think we’re still sending out these messages with some of the stuff I’ve seen on t-shirts for women nowadays…sadly, this kind of stuff still exists.)

    How could you buy anything but the “You are standing into danger” (talk about grammatically weird, though I think I get the message) flag? I mean–come on!


  6. Pingback: Fashion Correspondence, 1940s | The Vintage Traveler

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