As I’ve stated before, How I Collect is a series I’ve been posting on Instagram. I’ve worked my way up to the 1940s, though I haven’t photographed everything in my collection. I have quite a few ensembles from the Forties, so I’ll be showing them in two parts. My apologies if you follow on Instagram, as you have already seen these. And I’ve included links to older posts about some of the garments.
This early 1940s ski suit has a Sonja Henie label. The ice skating star had her name on both skating attire and ski suits in the late 1930s and into the 40. The little pin is a souvenir of a live Sonja Henie skating show.
I wish this were a Sonja Henie ice skating dress, but no, the label is Gail Burke Classics. Still, it’s pretty nifty with the felt appliques and the green taffeta lining. Ice skating enjoyed a surge of popularity in the late 1930s and the 1940s due to the influence of Henie’s movies and live skating extravaganzas.
By the late 1940s, wool gabardine had pretty much replaced heavy, thick wool as the favored fabric for ski attire. This suit has a reversible jacket. The nylon cap has a little skier on the front emblem.
It’s not all sportswear, but I also love the types of clothing that would have appealed to a sportswoman. Claire McCardell fits that bill perfectly. The scarf is a champagne motif, and the shoes are a lucky Ferragamo find from years ago.
I’ve written at length about the curious case of the 1940s Alpine fashion fad. Some trends really do defy understanding, in retrospect.
I’ve also written about this piece, a World War Two era siren suit from England. It was a lucky buy from an auction house that thought it was a ski suit. Here I explain why it’s not appropriate for skiing.
I bought this Gilbert Adrian suit years ago on ebay. I actually wore the jacket when I went to an exhibition on Adrian with friend Liza. I was terrified I’d ruin it, so I had to change before I went out to eat lunch. The shoes are from Swiss maker Bally.
For the most part I do not collect lingerie, but I do love a great pair of pajamas especially when there’s a trio of Scottie dogs embroidered on the pocket. I’ve had these since the 1980s. I bought them back when I actually wore a lot of old clothes. It’s a miracle they aren’t covered in coffee stains.
I love this great bowling dress so much, and so I was thrilled to find the red and white bowling shoes to match. It’s enough to make a collector’s heart sing.
Slacks were already beginning to gain in popularity in the late 1930s, but WWII really made pants-wearers of many American women. The sweater is from Bradley, and is made with a cheap blend of reprocessed wool. The shoes have not a bit of leather, as the uppers are velveteen and the soles are a synthetic rubber.
The handbag is a Chimayo handwoven bag. I found it in the Goodwill bins! That was a very lucky day.
Next will be some nice summery ensembles.