Bill Atkinson for Glen of Michigan is one of those labels that one has either never heard of, or that brings back fond memories of great sportswear. From 1950 through 1970 architect Bill Atkinson was the designer at Glen of Michigan. Atkinson accidentally found he had a talent for fashion after he designed a square dance skirt for his wife. Made from eight bandannas, the skirt was a big hit. Atkinson decided to make them to sell, and found a company willing to take on his order, Glen Manufacturing, a maker of women’s house dresses. In 1951 he released his first full line of sportswear separates. This set falls in the middle of Atkinson’s career at Glen, sometime in the early 1960s.
Sets like this one are enough to make one long for the days when the American sportswear industry was at its best. Today the cute kite print would be expected to carry the entire design, but a quick look at the details of this blouse show the types of things that made Glen special. It would have been simpler to have all the buttons one color, but there are three different colors used, all pulled from the print.
The buttons on the sleeves are all different, and the other sleeve has a different combination.
I forgot to photograph the outfit with the shirt tucked in, but included is the matching belt.
This looks like a skirt, but it was culottes, and in most places a girl could have worn this set to school without bringing the dress code police running.
The shorts even have side seam pockets.
As I’ve said before, it is always a treat when I find all the components of an outfit. So many times the belts are lost or separated from the set when donated to a thrift store or when an estate is sold. In this case the seller had bought the entire contents of an estate, and all I had to do was wade through the piles of clothes to locate the matching pieces.