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.