Tag Archives: 1940s

Ad Campaign – Hockanum, 1948

TROPIC SEA… the new blue with the sparkle of a holiday mood..by Hockanum, makers of beauty, quality and lasting wear.

If this East Coast weather continues, it looks like it will be coats at the beach this summer.  I love the Tropic Sea color with that touch of green at the neck.  I can’t help but wonder if the “sparkle of a holiday mood” is literal or figurative.

But what I love the most about this ad is how Hockanum bills itself as “makers of beauty…”  They really cut to the heart of the matter, because I think what people really want and need is more beauty in their lives.  And that includes the fabric of one’s coat.


Filed under Ad Campaign

1940s Ski Suit and Caps

If you’ve been reading The Vintage Traveler for a while, you know that I write about my new finds as I investigate them.  But today I have an item that I’ve owned for probably ten years or so.   I had this suit out so I could look at it with some new accessories, and I realized that I’d never written about it.

The suit dates from the late 1940s, while shoulders were still big.  It is made from wool gabardine.  The jacket is actually reversible, though I can’t see why anyone would wear it on the grey side when they could choose this bright red.

The pants are as streamlined as possible considering the fabric, but they are still pretty bulky.  Around the time that this set mas made, Emilio Pucci was revolutionizing ski wear by using a stretch fabric for the pants.  They were cut much closer to the body and gave a slim look to the skier.  No wonder that they were popular.

There are a lot of nice features on the suit, including zippers at every pocket.

The set was made by White Mountain Ski Wear.  I can’t tell you much about the company, but I’ve seen items with the labels on garments from as early as the 1930s, and as recent as the 1970s.

I acquired this cap, even though it was probably intended for wear by men because I have seen photos of women wearing similar hats for winter sports.

And who could resist that button?

I also recently bought this cap.  It was listed by the seller as being from the 1920s, and I can see why she thought that because of the way it fits around the face.  Is is actually a bit later, probably late 1940s.

In 1941 the  Wool Products Labeling Act was implemented in the US, and numbers were given to companies in the order of application.  #7503 was given to Schuessler Knitting Mills of Chicago, sometime in the mid 1940s.  There is a database where these numbers can be looked up, though the number does not give the year of manufacture.  It gives the year the number was issued.  Still, the WPL number is a useful bit of information because it does limit the years that an item could have been made.


Filed under Collecting, Vintage Clothing, Winter Sports

Brownie Gymsuit, 1930s – 40s

I recently added another gymsuit to my little collection of them.  My best guess is that this one is from the late 1930s, or maybe into the early years of the 40s.  In fact I have a 1940 catalog from maker Aldrich & Aldrich that shows a suit that has a lot of the same features.

Gymsuits are not fashion items, but to some extent they did follow fashion, or at least sports clothes fashion.   In the case of my gymsuit, the pleated sleeves were very popular in the mid 1930s.   Maybe some gymsuit maker noted the fashion and realized that this sleeve was a good one for use in a garment that needed to let the wearer move.

Other features that increased mobility were the pleated skirt and the presence of an inverted pleat in the back.

To make it easier to get dressed in the small amount of time that a school schedule allowed, there were snaps instead of buttons, and a metal belt clasp that did not require buckling.

I’m always amazed at how well vintage gymsuits are constructed.  The fabric is usually a cotton; either a broadcloth, poplin or a lightweight duck.   They were made to last through four years of physical education.

There were quite a few gymsuit makers, but Brownie is a new one to me.  It is interesting that the label was based in St. Louis, home to the fashion industry for the teen set.

A brownie is a sort of elf-like creature, similar to Dobby in the Harry Potter series, but cuter.  They were popularized in the late 19th century by illustrator and writer, Palmer Cox.   The Brownie branch of the Girl Scouts was named for them.


Filed under Proper Clothing, Sportswear

Ad Campaign – Dodge, 1947

It’s a Honeymoon

Listen a little and watch a little!

Watch the man or woman, the husband and wife, who have become Dodge owners after years of limousine habit and experience.

They almost lose their dignity in the fun they get and the way they carry on.  You’d think they were getting their first automobile thrill, and in many cases they are.

One thing is certain, – Dodge has a stranglehold on the affection of every owner, and with many of the new ones, it’s a happy honeymoon, nothing less.

What an interesting ad, with the twists and turns of perception!  The original thought of the older couple being newlyweds is soon replaced with the truth, that they are long married, though Dodge virgins.  They carry on and lose their dignity.  What fun!  The Dodge ad men knew that sex sells.

This also makes me wonder when the idea of being retired meant that people became travelers.  I can remember when my grandfather retired in the 1960s.  Everyone  (well, my grandmother’s sister Agnes, actually) kept bugging them to take a trip.  Neither of them had ever traveled, so they decided they should see Florida.  So they drove the almost 500 miles, looked at the Atlantic Ocean, and after a night or two they turned around and came home.  They had traveled.




Filed under Ad Campaign

Ladies’ Home Journal, February, 1949

To celebrate the first snow for many of us in the Northern Hemisphere, I thought a bit of a sledding party was in order.  I love how the mother and children are all dressed alike, right down to the half-belts on the backs of their coats.  And such an effective use of red, seen only on the caps and in their cheeks (and Mom’s lips).  


Filed under Too Marvelous for Words, Winter Sports

Ad Campaign – Cutex Nail Polish, 1943

To Wear in your Country’s Service Cutex Presents “On Duty”

Dedicated to you thousands of WAVES and WAACS, Canteen Workers and War Factory Workers, Ambulance Drivers and Nurse’s Aides who are working for your country…

Is it just me, or do those nails look like weapons?


Filed under Ad Campaign, World War II

Ad Campaign – Koret, 1942

Start a new year on the campus… with a new fashion in your hand! Sophisticated, practical bags, as versatile as a jeep, as flexible as 2-way stretch.

There is one for every hour of the day.  Designed by Koret who knows what you want almost before you do yourself.  Pack all your essentials in these style-wise, price-wise bags by Koret.

I’m not sure that these little clutches caught on.  I don’t recall seeing other ads from the early 1940s with them, and in spite of what the ad is trying to say, a hand-held bag is just not practical.   In many photos I’ve seen of young women and students during the war years, the women are using the much more practical shoulder bag.  You can’t blame Koret for trying, though.

Koret was established in 1929 by Richard Koret.  By the 1940s the company was a leader in the handbag industry.  In 1965 Richard Koret was killed in a plane crash, and the company was eventually acquired by Michael Gordon, who ran it until the late 1990s.  The Koret name was bought by a company in 2009, and Koret was relaunched in 2012.

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing the story of an extraordinary woman who placed a small part in the history of Koret.


Filed under Ad Campaign