My Ladies Fashions 1914 – 1915

I bought this little catalog recently because it has a sort of local connection.  It is imprinted with the name of the Hobbs-Henderson Company in Greenville, South Carolina.  Hobbs-Henderson was owned by WT Henderson and CO Hobbs, and the business was both retail and wholesale dry goods and clothing.  In 1904 Henderson retired and sold his part in the company to Hobbs.  The last reference I could find to the company was from 1920.

I’ve got to wonder about what happened to the apostrophe in the title on the cover.  Actually, I was thinking it should read “My Lady’s Fashions” but perhaps the writer had more than one lady.

Even though the catalog was distributed at Hobbs-Henderson, the clothing seems to have been made by a company called Peck’s Garments.  It will take a better web searcher than me to come up with information on Peck’s Garments.  All I could find was information on the clothing of Gregory Peck!  I’m assuming there is no connection with Peck & Peck, a New York department store, but I could be wrong.

I’m also posting an enlargement of the artist’s signature in the hopes that one of you can identify it.

But what about the clothes?  You can see quite a bit of the influence of Paul Poiret’s hobble skirt, which had been introduced a few years earlier.  And skirts were still long, but no longer brushing the floor so the shoes and stockings were easily seen.

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There was also a big trend of tunics over the skirts.  Within a few years skirts would be as short as the tunics seen in these drawings.  Maybe it was a way of getting women used to skirts that were obviously rising.

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The hair styles also foreshadow styles to come.  As you might remember from Downton Abbey, for several years before most women were brave enough to bob their hair, they were wearing it in styles that gave the appearance of short hair, at least from the front.

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As hair got closer to the head, hats soared.  These models are classified as afternoon frocks, and are considerably more fussy than the tailored suits seen above.

Is it just me, or are these clothes a bit hard to warm to?  I love the shorter dresses and suits that came along just a couple of years later as the world stumbled toward WWI.  But these just have an awkwardness, maybe due to the very narrow skirt hems.  Women must have been quite relieved to be rid of them as skirts shortened and widened.

16 Comments

Filed under Collecting, Proper Clothing

16 responses to “My Ladies Fashions 1914 – 1915

  1. Reba Worth

    http://www.postandcourier.com/archives/knitting-together-greenville-s-rich-textile-heritage-the-true-fabric/article_02e1da26-587a-5517-992c-5beb24c43d0d.html

    This article has some names that you might could contact about the Peck Company. Someone at the Historical Society should be of some help, if only to refer you to someone else who might have “the goods.”

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  2. NICE LITTLE FIND! So interesting to see a forerunner of the direct mail fashion catalogs! Having worked on/in that specific area of the fashion industry for many years in advertising I have great appreciation for this . The time frame also is of particular interest as not much surfaces representing it! The 20’s in abundance -not the teens especially for that region. You have a valuable gem!?

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  3. Astral Marc

    I just love that phase in fashion, actually. It’s probably a result of watching too many diva films, but I think it looks great. I can never watch a film from 1911-1914 without wanting to wear a hobble skirt. Probably highly impractical, and I’ve never found one in a shop to see what one’ld look like on me, but the sillhouette is beautiful to me. Alien to modern ideals though, I think, and it did take getting used to.

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    • I don’t know, but it always reminds me of Morticia Addams! But look how glamorous she always looked. Now that you mention it, I don’t think I’ve ever run across a hobble skirt in a shop either.

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      • Astral Marc

        lol, exactly! I think Morticia Addams looks great. But then, I would.

        I’ve found fair amounts of clothes from the time periods around the hobble skirt and never a hobble skirt. It’s odd, isn’t it? Maybe they were all reworked during WW1. But then, why weren’t the earlier dresses i’ve found reworked?

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  4. Ruth

    I remember reading a bit in Eight Little Cousins where one of the girls wanted a Hobble Skirt desperately. When she finally got one, don’t remember if she saved for it or what, she had a horrible time walking and was chased by a vicious dog. Thereby serving as a moral story for young girls about the folly of wanting impractical fashion and what might happen, cue melodramatic music. I think that was the first time I ever heard mention of that particular style, though I’ve seen more because of reading about the era. Seems horridly impractical in any era, says the woman who grew up in the free and easy world of today.

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  5. Ruth

    I suspect they were all cut up and reworked, also. Those who could afford to not walk much would go on to the next fashion, and those who wore them and had to move around would quickly find them impractical. Makes me think of pencil skirts. Great if you have the figure, which the majority of us don’t, and just silly otherwise. Who wants something you’re afraid to bend over or sit down in! (We can all imagine the sound that would happen if you did…) I wore A-Lines when I was younger, flatter and skinnier, but even those were never really comfortable if you didn’t get the shape or darts just right, and forget bloaty days.

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