Tag Archives: 1940

White Stag Tyrolean Style Jacket

This great jacket ticked off several boxes on my things to look for when adding to my collection list.  Vintage White Stag – check.  Tryolean inspired garment – check.  Great color combination – check.  Interesting historical detail – check.

It’s not often that I get such a solid confirmation of the date of a garment, but here it is.  And even more interesting is the ability to put this jacket in a specific time and place.  So many times the garments I find have been entirely divorced from their histories.  And while I don’t know the name of the woman who wore the jacket, I do know about its place attachment.

Wheaton College is in Illinois, and it has a long history of supporting social reform.  It was a stop on the Underground Railroad, and enrolled both black students and women in a time when such was rare.  Wheaton was established in a time when many schools of higher learning were founded by religious organizations, and Wheaton retains its Christian focus to this day.

I’ve written before about the interest in Germanic clothing styles in the years leading up to World War II.  I even have another piece from White Stag that shows this trend.

White Stag has its beginnings in a canvas tent company owned by Max and Leopold Hirsch and partner Harry Weis.  When Max’s son Harold Hirsch returned home from Dartmouth College, he brought back his love of skiing, which was just catching on as a recreational sport.  The company began producing ski clothing in 1929, and in 1931 the line was named White Stag, the English translation of Weis Hirsch .

The Germanic roots of this jacket are obvious.  One could wear it to Oktoberfest today and fit right in.

There are several questions I’d like to ask about this piece.  Did White Stag make the jackets specifically for Wheaton college, or was the discovery of the jacket by someone at the college a happy accident.  Are there others, or is this just one girl’s project?  Could these have been for a club?

Here’s one more little special detail.  The pockets are lined in red.  The label is from the United Garment Workers, which was the union for people making ready made tailored products like coats and suits.  I’ve got to wonder if that number can be traced in any way.

I found this great piece through the weekly VFG feature, Fresh Vintage, where members share their latest finds that are for sale.  This jacket came from Amy at Viva Vintage Clothing.


Filed under Collecting, Curiosities, Vintage Clothing, World War II

Ad Campaign – Brigance 1940

Brigance is Tom Brigance, one of the great sportswear and swimwear designers of the mid 20th century. He began his design career in Europe, selling designs in France and England.  In 1939 he returned to the US, where he became a swimwear designer for Lord & Taylor in New York.  He remained there (taking time off to serve in the Army during WWII)  until he left in 1949 to form his own label.

He became famous for his sporty clothing which incorporated lots of wrapping and draping and used interesting combinations of fabrics and clever prints. He designed suits, coats, and dresses, but it was his bathing suits that made him a household name, and it was swimwear that comprises the bulk of his work.

Brigance continued to design swimwear and sportswear through the late 1970s.  He designed both under his own label and for a variety of sportswear makers including Frank Gallant, Sportsmaker, Gabar, Fonde and Sinclair.   When he died in 1990, the owner of Gabar, Gabriel Colasante, remarked that a swimsuit that Brigance designed for his company in the mid 1970s was still a Gabar best-seller.


Filed under Advertisements, Designers

Ad Campaign – Cool-ees by Joyce, 1940

All Cool-ees by Joyce are not carried by all stores, but most good stores carry Cool-ees.

The Joyce Shoe company of Pasadena, California was in business at least from 1940 into the 1980s.  It was founded by William Joyce.  In 1950 the factory suffered a terrific fire which destroyed much of the company’s inventory.  Newspaper reports of the time show employees sifting through the smoldering building looking for things to salvage.  I’ve got to wonder if any of those smoky shoes actually made it onto the market!


Filed under Advertisements, Shoes

Ad Campaign – Chen Yu Nail Polish, 1940

Fourteen mysterious oriental shades…

No mistaking the cultural stereotype in this ad.  The dragon lady nails are straight out of a Charlie Chan movie.


Filed under Advertisements

Vogue, January 1, 1940

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Filed under Fashion Magazines