Real Silk Costume Color Harmony Charts for Spring & Summer 1925


I have gone on and on about color, and finding this 1925 color chart has just made me more determined to learn more about historical colors.  This one was produced by Real Silk Hosiery Mills, which used it to help consumers pick out the correct color of stocking.  Real Silk was like Avon, being sold only through representatives who called on women at home.  Their slogan was “From Mill to Millions.”

The color consultant and fashion director at Real Silk was Miss Katherine Harford.  As you can see, she was formerly with Harper’s Bazar, but it does not tell us what her job there was.  The only references I could find to Miss Harford were in Real Silk ads.

Unfortunately it appears that one/third of this folder is missing.  In other examples I’ve found there was another section labeled “Street”.  Still, there is enough here to give us a good idea of fashionable colors in 1925.

In today’s anything goes world women might find the advice of how to match costume, hose, shoes and accessories to be a bit quaint.  But in 1925, the showing off of one’s legs was a big deal, one that many women were still unaccustomed to doing.

If you are up on internet social causes, you might have noticed the “nude” color.  Today most people have come to recognize that people are not all the same color, and one “nude” does not fit all.  The same thing goes for “flesh.”

Of course, in 1925 it was okay to use such terms as “Indian Skin” and “Mulatto”.  Sometimes when I feel discouraged about the lack of progress in our own society, I can always look to the past to see that in some areas, at least, improvement has been made.

But societal issues aside, we can see on this chart some of the best and most popular colors of the mid 1920s.  Salmon, of course, as orange was so much in favor, but also Bluet, Blush Rose, and Melon.  I find it interesting that black is not in the evening costume category, as it had really gained in favor.

I look for old color charts, and buy any that are dated and reasonably priced.  Thread and needlework companies also did color charts, but I’ve found they are rarely dated.  Maybe they didn’t change the colors so often, as needlework requires a large range of colors, many of them not of the mode.


Filed under Collecting, Curiosities

14 responses to “Real Silk Costume Color Harmony Charts for Spring & Summer 1925

  1. Christine

    Love this post – the photos and your comments. Thank you.


  2. Very interesting info ! Miss Harford certainly was self promoting! In any/all of the 1920’s fashion illustrations I have ever seen- “contrasting” stocking/hose are featured! Very clever way of self creating a trend and creative merchandising? As you point out-the showing of the leg was considered very daring! To wear the contrasting “hose” would have been wonderful free advertising under the guise of new/correct trend! I hope you find more information’. Accessories as well-please let us know!?Thank You!


  3. Thank you for sharing this. The accessory suggestions are as surprising as the range of colors for stockings: green with red, red with jade, blue with yellow or salmon, turquoise with blush rose.


    • I was really surprised by the stocking colors as well. I’m guessing they did not really catch on, as the only color I’ve ever seen in a 1920s silk stocking is navy. But from this and from ads of the day, it is certain they were made.


  4. What a neat find! I like the name of the color Field Mouse. 🙂

    I still see a lot of people who should know better using “nude” and “flesh” to describe pinks and beiges. I suppose they’re just using a traditional term for those colors, but when you think about it for more than a second, it makes no sense.


  5. Fascinating color and social history! Thanks for sharing!


  6. What a treasure! I love those old charts and am still amazed by how many things were sold door to door in the twenties.


  7. Another palette to sample from! I love these, I love seeing what colors were chosen and which were presented as dominant and secondary partner colors for interiors and domestic products. You can tell a lot about a society by its pigment choices, it’s chemical products and the names it gives it’s colors.
    And Atmosphere! There was a school of thought that identified the color of the birthing room as being paramount in a child’s development in later years, and it was roughly that soft peachy pink. And now I’ve got to spend the rest of the day verifying that.


  8. Cyndy

    I love your articles, thanks for all the effort!


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