Tag Archives: 1953

Charm, December 1953

Too marvelous for words: What every working woman wants for Christmas


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Charm, November 1953

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Charm, June, 1953

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Charm, May, 1953


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In Praise of Summer(ettes)

If you are a vintage shoe fanatic like you should be, then you know of Summerettes.  Summerettes were canvas shoes and sandals made by the Mishawaka Rubber & Woolen Mag. Co under their Ball Band trademark. According to the US trademark site, the Summerettes name dates from 1934,  but their heyday was the 50s.  During that decade they made what really might have the the most comfortable (while still looking cute) shoes of all time.  These:

I was lucky enough to buy these several years ago along with the original box and advertising insert.  They actually are a size too big for me, which is a good thing because it they fit they would have been worn out by now.

The reason I’m so convinced these are the world’s most comfortable cute shoes is that in 1973  I found a pair in an old shoe store and they were my favorite sandals until they fell off my feet several years later.  By that time the old store had closed and I couldn’t get a replacement pair, but I have many memories of many interesting things I did while wearing those shoes.  Not that I’d tell those stories because I happen to know that my brother reads my blog.

Here is an ad for the shoes, which dates from 1953.  I need to find a better copy.  This one was sent to me by the gal who sold the shoes to me.  I looked on eBay and if I were desperate enough to buy from the magazine rippers I could buy the ad for $3.99.  But I do not like to buy from people who tear perfectly old magazines apart.  Maybe if I found one who promised that they only deconstructed magazines that were cut up anyway…

I have another pair of Summerettes, which are a bit later, late 50s maybe.  I had a photo but deleted it by mistake.  Anyway, they are cute yellow flats, very similar to the ones in this great store display:

Ah, Summerettes!


Posted by Pallas:

OMG! Summerettes! I had a similar experience purchasing a pair at a Ma & Pa drugstore when I was a teen. I wore them until they fell apart. I wish I could find a pair that I wouldn’t feel guilty about wearing…

Friday, August 14th 2009 @ 9:35 AM

Posted by Gail:

I am sure that I had a pair of these shoes when I was about 12. I remember a pair of green canvas sandals that looked liked the beige pair in the ad. I don’t remember much about them, but I must of liked them since I have remembered them for so long.

Monday, August 17th 2009 @ 3:02 PM

Posted by Cathy:

I used to buy those at Woolworths and other 5&10’s in the early 1970’s. I used to buy vintage dresses and get totally gigged out everyday for school (jr. high/high school). I would love to find some for me and my daughter. s
So super comfy and retro-sylish! 

Thursday, August 5th 2010 @ 7:55 PM

Posted by Lizzie:

Cathy, I found a pair on ebay about a year or so ago – new in the box, from the 1970s.


The ones from the 50s were made in the USA, and the 70s versions were usually made in Taiwan.

Friday, August 6th 2010 @ 4:55 PM


Filed under Collecting, Shoes

1953 Masterpiece Prints Artist’s Design Fabric

Here’s the find of the week, sure to make lover of mid- century design very happy.  I picked this up in an antique store this week, being attracted to artistic look of it.  It did, in fact, remind me of a Fernand Leger print that was used in the Modern Masters line of fabrics in 1955.  These fabrics were used by fashion designers such as Claire McCardell.  There is a dress of hers made from Leger fabric in the FIT collection.

But as it turns out, this fabric is not from the Modern Masters series; it is from a line made esclusively for JC Penney.  When I got the fabric home, I took out a line of stitching which concealed the selvedge.  Printed in the selvedge is “Masterpiece Prints C 1953 Original Artist’s Design “The Boat Races””

Some masterful research from a vintage friend uncovered some 1953 and 54 ads from JC Penney.  These ads tell much of the story:

“A New Fabric, Masterpiece Prints.  Exclusive with Penney’s are these better quality cottons in breathtaking exclusive patterns.  Original artists designs created for Penney’s by famous American artists.”

And in another ad there is an illustration of my fabric.  Unfortunately, there is no indication of who the “famous American artist” might be,  either in the ads or on the fabric itself.  I’d appreciate any additional information about these prints.  Anyone out there with a 1953 or 54 Penney’s catalog?  I’d sure love to know if these were pictured in their big book!


Posted by Anonymous:

This fabric is wonderful even if isn’t printed/documented anywhere. An ode to the masters. It’s a beauty! 

Thursday, December 17th 2009 @ 8:06 PM

Posted by Holly @ Lucitebox:

Wow! What a find. I’m wracking my brain trying to figure out who this artist is. The fact that it’s an American throws me. My art history education fails me entirely. (What a bummer.) 

I’m going to be thinking about this for some time to come. So fabulous!

Friday, December 25th 2009 @ 8:22 AM


Filed under Collecting, Curiosities