Tag Archives: 1951

Charm, October, 1951

Charm, as the subtitle tells us, was a magazine geared toward the young career woman.  In 1951 a career woman was often an office worker or a nurse or a teacher.  Personally, I’d like to see this woman in a classroom.

Teacher fashion gets a very bad rap, often with good reason.  I’ve witnessed too many teachers wearing ill-fitting dowdy denim jumpers and baggy elastic waist knit pants.  And come October, schools are filled with adults wearing heavy orange sweaters liberally decorated with scarecrows, pumpkins, and if the community allows, ghosts and witches.  But that’s only the beginning, as there are sweaters for Thanksgiving and Christmas and Valentine’s Day and so on.

Teachers will tell you that the reason they dress like that is because the job necessitates that they be comfortable and look cheerful.  While that is true, it does not mean that sloppiness is requisite.  Whether or not they like it, teachers are strong sartorial role models.  Children notice what the teacher wears and they get a sense of how a professional  is supposed to dress from the woman or man standing in front of them every day.

It may sound as if I’m being over harsh in my assessment of how many teachers dress.  It’s only fair to point out that for every teacher who looks like a refugee from the Quacker Factory, there is another who dresses simply but professionally, like our cover girl.  A trim and neat sweater topping a pleated skirt or a pair of well fitting slacks with a scarf at the neck (brooch optional) makes a good school uniform for the teacher, and sets a high standard for the children to aim for in the future.

Of course, when I retired there were five black pleated shirts in my closet.


Filed under Fashion Magazines, Viewpoint

Ad Campaign – Pendleton Triplet, 1951

pick a Pendleton triplet

it’s a coat * it’s a robe * it’s a dress

triple triumph to wear free-flowing or belted…your dream duster with 3 lives, done in superlative Pendleton virgin woolens…so richly, softly warm, yet light as a breath.  Tailored with decisive flair, from bold shoulders to skirt sweep, in gorgeous tartans, little checks, nailheads or solid tones…all in the country’s happiest colors.

Okay, I’m sold.  It sure looks like a perfect travel garment.

One question.  What is nailhead?


Filed under Advertisements

Ad Campaign – Universal Motor Luncheon Set, 1951

“Eating Out” becomes real fun with this handy set!

I’ve been wanting a picnic set like this one for a very long time.  I see them from time to time, but they are always incomplete or in terrible condition, or costs more than I want to pay.  But I’ll keep looking.

I could use it this week, as I’m unexpectedly hitting the road tomorrow.  Along with a family visit, I’ll be taking in a few exhibitions in Washington, DC which I’ll be sharing next week.  I’m really excited because the Ballets Russes show has just opened at the National Gallery of Art.   I’ll be spending a few hours in the National Museum of American History and then I’ll be seeing the exhibition I mentioned Sunday that is at the DAR Museum, Fashioning the New Woman: 1890 – 1925.  And then on the way home, I’ll be doing a bit of vintage shopping.  Wish me luck!


Filed under Advertisements

Charm, January 1951

I’m just home from my trip to the Land of Black, otherwise known as New York City.  Not that I don’t like black; I do.  But it was always refreshing to see someone on the street who knows, like the stylist for this photo knew, that a bit of color makes one stand out in a sea of black and grey.

New York always amazes me.  I don’t visit very often, and there is enough time between visits for me to forget just how big the place is.  I’d like to remind those of you who live there or within a short train ride how lucky you are to have such amazing resources so close at hand.  I hope you are taking advantage of them because the rest of us muddle about looking for the types of opportunities that you encounter every day.

One such opportunity I missed due to lack of time was the Fortuny exhibition at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute.  I was happy to see that Monica Murgia took this exhibit in last week, and she wrote an excellent review of it.  Of course, seeing her photos of it made me even sadder that I had not tried harder to fit it in.

But I’ll not dwell on the past, but instead I’ll be bombarding you with what I did observe and encounter.

And just to prove that I practice what I preach, here is a photo of me with my friends Linda and Carole.  I hate that you can’t see Linda’s red shoes! (No, we did not plan it that way, and I only noticed all the grey with touches of red after going back through my photos.)

Photographer:  Carmen Schiavone
Model:  Not credited
Copyright:   Condé Nast


Filed under Fashion Magazines, Proper Clothing

Ad Campaign – 20th Century Limited, 1951

The Time: 6 P.M., any night.  The Place: Grand Central Terminal, New York. The Star: you, stepping from the crimson carpet to the magic carpet that is the famous 20th Century Limited.  It’s the New York Central’s luxury hotel on wheels, your overnight vacation between New York and Chicago, first night on your coast-to-coast week end.

If you love old magazines, then I bet you are like me, always lamenting the total lack of glamour in travel today.  I don’t think it would be so bad if not for these reminders of how travel itself was once an experience to be savored.  Unfortunately, travel today is more likely to just be endured, especially travel by plane.  But even trains are not the luxurious and relaxing places they once were.  But in our busy lives, it is often time that is the luxury, and the speed of modern travel does allow us more time when on a trip.

I’m writing this several days in advance, because when it is published I’ll be on a trip, with two of my dearest friends who knew I needed a change of scenery.  Maybe this post should have been about friendship instead of travel.

I bet you can guess where I am!



Filed under Advertisements, Proper Clothing, Vintage Travel

Ad Campaign: Matson to Hawaii, 1951

Forgive me for a moment so I can indulge in a little wintertime fantasy.  It’s a cold, rainy, gloomy day, but on the seas to Hawaii all is sunny and bright.

It took the cruise lines a few years to get back up to speed after WWII, as most of the ships had been used in the war effort.  Matson was operating four luxury liners in the Pacific before December 7, 1941, and all were converted into troop carriers.  Together, the four Matson liners carried a total of 736,000 troops and covered one and a half million miles before the war ended in 1945.

The transition back to cruise service was difficult and costly for Matson.  They ended up selling two of their liners so that the S.S. Lurline could be remodeled and relaunched in 1948.  By the late 1950s Matson had four liners making the route between California and Hawaii.  Today Matson is still in business as a container ship operator on the Pacific.  I’m sure it is more profitable than running cruise ships, but it could not be as romantic.


Filed under Advertisements, Travel, Vintage Travel, World War II

Ad Campaign – TWA, 1951

I was lucky enough to attend elementary school during a time when a music education was more than 55 minutes once a week.  No, our teachers were serious about music, and determined that we would learn and sing every old American song ever written.  (That included the horrendously morbid, Tramp, Tramp, Tramp.)

I especially loved Thanksgiving, because that meant “Over the River and Through the Woods”.  I was always confused by the reference to the sleigh going over the white and drifted snow.   Wasn’t snow more of a Christmas thing?  As it turns out, the song was written in 1844 by Massachusetts abolitionist Lydia Maria Child, and Massachusetts in 1844 was enduring what has been referred to as the Little Ice Age.

During my own childhood, Thanksgiving was a short car ride, over a few creeks and through the woods, because I was lucky enough to live a few short miles from my grandparents.   So my own experience was actually closer to that of the 1844 song than that of this 1951 advertisement!


Filed under Advertisements