Tag Archives: 1952

Souvenir from the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki

The 1940 Olympics were to have been held in Helsinki, but were cancelled due to the war in Europe.  After the war ended, Helsinki was chosen to host the 1952 summer games.  These games are notable because it was the first time that the Soviet Union, The People’s Republic of China, and Israel competed.  The Republic of China (Taiwan) boycotted the games as a result of the Olympic Committee allowing the People’s Republic to compete.  Politics has always been a part of the Olympics, so it seems.

I love how the design of this scarf uses only the Olympic colors of blue, yellow, black, green, and red. Printed on rayon, it shows some of the more colorful and popular Olympic events.  I don’t seek out Olympic artifacts, but I had to have this one because of the representation of women athletes – the diver, the gymnast, and the equestrienne.

If you follow my Instagram account you might have seen this photo last week.  It was taken at the Charlotte Metrolina flea market/antiques show.  There were five or six huge tubs of vintage scarves, all priced at one dollar.  I stood with my friend Marge and we plowed through the piles of scarves, looking for treasure.  I found it in the form of this scarf and one from Liberty of London.  Two dollars very well spent!

I got to talking with the vendor and she told me she bought 20,000 scarves from a vintage seller who was going out of business.  There were so many that she had to take them to a cloth baler just so she could get them home.  She is now selling them at vintage shows like Metrolina.  The best ones start out at $5, and if they don’t sell they go to Metrolina for $1 each.  Even better, every month the scarves are different.  So if you attend Metrolina or Scott’s in Atlanta, look for the textile woman with the tubs of vintage scarf heaven.



Filed under Shopping, Summer Sports, Vintage Clothing

Ad Campaign – Fuller Fabrics Playtone, 1952

Playtone is color.  Playtone is texture. Playtone is Fuller Fabrics brilliant cotton with the crinkle that never needs ironing – and America’s playtime favorite.  In playclothes and by the yard in leading stores.  Beachcoat by Claire McCardell.

Crinkled cotton, and later crinkled synthetics, have gone in and out of fashion over the years.  I can remember a heavy crinkled cotton that was popular in the late 1970s.  I made a safari style suit of it and wore it for years and years until my sister shamed me into retiring it. (Something about the only people still using that fabric was the old ladies’ department at Walmart.)

I’m not really seeing the crinkle in that wonderful Claire McCardell beachcoat.  It looks like a smooth broadcloth to me.  But isn’t the coat great with the diagonal pockets and all that contrasting top-stitching?


Filed under Advertisements

Charm – December 1952

Could a Christmas look be any more festive?  Here’s proof that one does not have to be wearing a big gaudy red sweater decorated with Santa’s sleigh complete with reindeer, including Rudolph with light-up nose.

No, all it takes is a softly structured coat in a soft dove grey, sparkly earrings, bright red lipstick, and a gloved hand full of carefully chosen and wrapped gifts.


Filed under Fashion Magazines, Holidays

Why I Love the Internet

I posted this great cover last month, as some of you will remember.  Earlier this week I got an email from a nice woman in California who had been looking for this particular issue of Charm.  As it happens, her mother worked for the magazine in the early 1950s, and in some correspondence she mentioned this particular issue.  She was an editorial assistant, and she helped write the articles that appeared.   In particular she mentioned ghost-writing a “beauty bath article by Kay Torrey.”

Well, I got the magazine and quickly found the article in question:

The assistant’s name was Lois Isde.  According to her daughter:

“After graduating from Valparaiso University (Indiana) in the early 1950s (with a degree in geography), my mother moved to NYC to pursue a career in publishing. She had brief stints at Charm magazine and Women’s Wear Daily, before meeting my father who was a graduate student at Columbia University. They eventually moved to Madison, Wis., and then Chicago and she stopped working to raise my 2 brothers and me. After we were grown, she worked for a medical publishing company in St. Louis. She always loved those years in the 1950s when she wrote about  fashion, beauty, women’s issues, etc, in New York City.”

Rarely am I persuaded to sell things that I post about here, but this was just too special not to pass along to Lois’s daughter.  The internet has been with us for quite a few years now, and sometimes we take it for granted.  But when I’m able to connect with a reader in this way, I remember just how great the power of google is.



Filed under Fashion Magazines

Ad Campaign: Kleinert’s Sava-Wave, 1952

Only Kleinert’s SAVA-WAVE Swim Cap has the Magic Inner Rim!  Guaranteed to keep your hair dry

I get something on my mind, and it becomes the latest vintage obsession.  Lately it has been swim caps.  I have a few of them, but lately I’ve been looking to fill in a few gaps in my collection.  So expect to see more on this theme in the next few days.

 This week’s ad is from Kleinert’s, which specialized in rubber goods of all sorts.  Or I should say specialize, as they are still in business.   A couple of years ago I wrote a little history of the company.  You can read it, and view a 1930s Kleinert’s brochure, if you so wish.


Filed under Advertisements

Charm, April, 1952

It’s that time of year when spring is still trying to decide if it wants to come out and play, and people look at their closets and scratch their heads.  If you are like me, you are desperately wanting to lighten up the wardrobe, but I’m afraid that if I get too optimistic then winter will return and I’ll be caught out in the cold unprepared.

It’s an old problem, and I imagine that in 1952 it was even harder to cope with a changing season as most people did not have the extensive wardrobes that we do today.  The model above has put away the heavy woolens, and has opted for a “three season” suit – one made of lightweight wool or heavy cotton in a neutral color.  Just add season appropriate accessories and the look is complete.  (20 inch waist, optional)


Photographer:  Serge Balkin

Model: Not credited

Copyright: Condé Nast


Filed under Fashion Magazines

Cottons for Spring 1952 from South Carolina Mills

I was interested in this little catalog because I’d never heard of the company, South Carolina Mills, located in Spartanburg, South Carolina.  Spartanburg is a quick trip down the mountain, in the SC Upstate, or piedmont.  It was at the beginning of cotton country, and a lot of cotton is still grown in the region today.

Unfortunately the generic name of the company brought up every mill that ever existed in South Carolina in a google search.  But after a careful consideration of the contents of the catalog, I’ve pretty much decided that there was not a “South Carolina Mill,”  but that the company was a sales outlet for many of the region’s textile and garment factories.

In the catalog there is a wide variety of cotton-based products – clothing for the entire family, towels, carpets, blankets, curtains, and fabrics.   All of these are products that were made throughout the Carolinas.

One of the few brand names mentioned in the catalog was Startex.  Startex was located just west of Spartanburg, and made printed cotton towels and tablecloths.   Today the factory is gone, but there is still a village remaining by the name of Startex.

The catalog does not give us the brand name, but these sure look like Beacon blankets to me.  It could be that because that mill is in North Carolina, they did not want to mention it.  Or it could be that they were made by another company.  There were lots of small blanket makers in the area.

There were several pages of fabrics for the home sewer.  A few of them are labeled as being from Springs, which was a large mill in Lancaster, South Carolina.  They are the makers of Springmaid.

The catalog clearly shows the diversity of products that were being produced from cotton.  And here is a look at some of the clothing:

Probably my favorite page from the catalog was this one showing clothes for boys.  Is that argyle shirt nifty or what?

I did a Google maps search for the address given in the catalog of where to send the order.  Today it is an empty lot.


Filed under Collecting, Textiles