Ad Campaign – Aileen, 1957 UPDATE

The best suggestion of all? – Aileen’s mix-or-match cotton knit coordinates for career or campus…

In 1957 Aileen was the new brand in town.  The company was formed in 1956 as Aileen Knitwear.  In the early Sixties the company branched out with Aileen Girl and Aileen Teen, but my recollection of the brand starts with their junior line, The Red Eye.  It was my favorite brand in my high school years, and I spent my entire first paycheck at age sixteen on three matching knit pieces.

I think the best advice I ever gave my ten and eleven year old students was to never put to paper anything that they would not want the whole world (meaning their parents and friends) to know. I’m afraid these two young career women didn’t get such good advice!

I’ve been thinking a lot about communication over the past few days.  If I were to give the same advice to students today, I’d have to go beyond passing notes to include emails and texts and facebook posts.  For better or for worse, the way we communicate has changed.

One of the joys of writing The Vintage Traveler is all the communication I have with readers.  Whether it is comments here on the blog, emails, or comments on twitter or instagram, I’m always learning from the smart people who check in here.  And I’m appreciative of all the great ideas and suggestions I’ve received over the years. I consider The Vintage Traveler to truly be a group project.

I do need to remind readers that I do have a posting policy.  It is very rarely that I feel the need to remove a comment, but I will do so to maintain the positive atmosphere of The Vintage Traveler.  Most of the few comments that I’ve removed are on an old post about the American Pickers television program.   I understand people hating that show, but I still can’t allow comments that might be slanderous.

I get several emails a day from people wanting help with this or that label, or asking about something they have in their collection or for sale.  I welcome these questions, especially when a dialogue about the object results.

But lately I’m getting lots of question emails, and after I take the time to answer, I never hear another word from the questioner.  This is usually from an emailer who has stumbled on The Vintage Traveler through a google search of their item.  If a person can’t be bothered to take ten minutes to explore the site and try to figure who the human being behind it is, then that’s a pretty good indication that my answer to them will not be acknowledged.  

But then, there are those of you who have emailed me out of the blue, a conversation ensued, and I now count you among my true friends.  It’s all about the conversation.


In a world where so many clothing and textile businesses have closed, it’s nice that there are a few older businesses that are still alive and well.  Many of these have extensive archives can pretty much identify any of their vintage products.  Unfortunately, in the past year I’ve gotten emails from two of them, asking me not to publicize the existence of their archives due to excessive requests for information.

I’m sure that most of this is due to the fact that many of these archive departments are understaffed, and they simply don’t have the time to do the research.  But I can’t help but wonder if they are just tired of taking the time to answer questions for which they get no return acknowledgment.  I can’t say that I blame them.


Filed under Advertisements, Viewpoint

12 responses to “Ad Campaign – Aileen, 1957 UPDATE

  1. Since those separates would also combine into two looks-like-a-dress outfits, giving you four looks for the price of two, “Aileens” were a smart shopping buy. (Although the combination on the right is not recommended for those of us with wide hips….) I bet that many of these classic skirts were gradually shortened more and more between 1957 and 1965, so that finding one intact must be difficult (?) I like seeing them worn with those relatively sensible heels, too. Great illlustration!


    • More often than not, the 1950s skirts I find have been shortened. Many times the owner must have thought that skirts would soon lengthen because they did not cut the fabric. Instead they left a very deep hem that could be made longer.


    • Your comment about the skirt length reminds me of a long-ago conversation with my mother. She was 13 in 1957, the date of this ad. I was 13 in 1983, when those long, straight skirts were coming back into fashion. I remember so clearly her saying to me, “I’m sorry, those skirts just look so DOWDY to me!” I can clearly see why they felt so hopelessly of-the-past to her, while also clearly remembering just how achingly, enviably hip Molly Ringwald felt to me in the similar skirt she wore a couple of years later in The Breakfast Club.


    • Debbie Evans

      I have not even been looking for them now; yet the John Meyer and Aileen
      knit pants and knitwear should be brought back as their pants were long
      lasting high-quality Aileen pants three times the width of fabric used and
      they surely must have used spandex back then. They never lost their
      shape or had nubbies or all that not so nice stuff that goes with many
      knit pants. I hope to see those brands soon.


  2. Jacq Staubs

    Thank You for this Wonderfullllll   site -really enjoy it – sorry about my messed-up posts…really wanted to get thru re: Key West Hand Print / Vanda -did however contact the Estate gentleman….i have fashion photos to share…Vanda  and Lilly – and articles Miami Herald re: KWPF/Lilly from thevera-etc. etc if you are interested…Sincerely, Jacq


  3. I think it’s awfully kind of you to answer the many queries you must get. It’s bizarre to me that people would treat you as a sort of answer-box or computer and not thank you or follow up. Do they think this site and its content just popped up on its own? Your site and blog are so fantastic; I feel sorry for those who don’t stick around to learn more. I have certainly learned so much here!

    I really love the Aileen pieces I’ve found. And that ad is funny. Isn’t the joke usually that the Suggestion Box is emptied into the garbage?


    • Yes, I loved the turning around of the joke in the ad.

      I really do try to answer any questions that come my way because it may lead to some good history being uncovered. But I’ve gotten pretty good at predicting which queries are just someone wanting a quick blurb for a sales page.


  4. I loved the Red Eye collection in the 60’s and sent for a little bull’s eye lapel pin that they offered (still have it someplace!). Thanks for the memory on that one.
    As for getting questions from ‘readers’: it’s funny that you would mention this topic, as recently I too have noticed that many (most?) who contact me with questions don’t respond with a ‘thank you’ or other cordial reply. When some answers have taken me awhile to compile, it’s really irksome. Maybe we need an outside resource to refer them to (one that charges a fee wouldn’t be a bad idea!)


    • I want to amend this to add that the first contact that I had with you was maybe 8 years ago in response to research I was doing for my master’s thesis that included Jessica McClintock’s Gunne Sax line, and your reply was helpful! (belated thanks for your help on that).


  5. Lorrie

    I love the show “American Pickers.” People need to lighten up.


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