Tag Archives: 1962

Ad Campaign – James Kenrob, 1962

Here’s that girl again… in “Americana” Double Knit-mates

Best of the new – sleek wool double knits to mate in seventeen plus ways.  Newest of the new – boldly printed fut blend cardigans that top everything.  The whole kitten’ kaboodle from our “Americana” collection priced to please college and career budgets.

As the ad says, James Kenrob was a division of Dalton.  Dalton was one of the major cashmere makers in the US, and they made wool skirts to coordinate with their high quality sweaters.  In 1959 Dalton registered the James Kenrob trademark.  Under that label the company produced double knits in both wool and synthetic fibers.

I really, really do love this sweater.  I have a thing for argyle and harlequin prints, and I think the color combination of green and blue looks so fresh.  And how about that coordinating cushion and headband, not to mention her hair and the apple!

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Early 1960s Gymsuit

I think it is pretty incredible that any vintage gymsuit exists.   Talk to almost any woman who had to wear one and you’ll get a long list of what was wrong with the garment, starting with unflattering and ending with hideous.  It seems to be a universally held memory by women over a certain age that the gymsuit was invented to lower self-esteem and inflict psychological pain.

One would think that on the last day of high school gym class there would have been mass ritual burnings of the garment.  Why would anyone keep such a hated thing?

To be honest, I can’t remember what happened to mine.  I graduated high school just as my sister started junior high, so it is possible that my mother made her wear it.  Not that there could have been much life left in it after I’d been abusing it for six years.  That’s right; I wore the same gymsuit for the entire six years of secondary school.  This was back in the day when mothers bought clothes a bit big so the child would “grow into” them.  Not that I grew much after age twelve.

But people did for one reason or another keep their old gymsuits.  I have fourteen of them, the oldest dating to around 1865 – 1870.  But until recently I did not have one that was similar to the one I wore in the late 1960s and early 70s.   Above you can see the latest addition to my little collection.

Gymsuits can be hard to date, as the styles tended to be used over a long period of time.  I was still wearing in 1973 the suit my parents bought in 1968.  And it was really similar to ones I’ve seen from the 1940s and 50s.    But there are a few things that told me this one was newer.

The button-down collar was the first hint.  According to a 1962 Moore Gymwear catalog I have, a style that was introduced the previous year was very popular partly due to “a sophisticated Ivy League, button-down collar.”   This suit was called the “Matadora”, and it is almost identical to my latest gymsuit even though mine was made by Champion.

In fact, my suit has every single one of the features shown in the diagram.

“Nylon and cotton elastic at waist for slender look”

“Button-down Ivy League Collar” and Snaps

“Princess Styling – Long Lines for Comfort” and “Tucks for Form Fit”  This suit has it all!

As I said, this suit was made by Champion.  The RN number is another big help in dating.  The labeling law changed in 1959, and it is known that the first number under the new law was 13670.  Since my number is 26094, I know the number was issued after 1959.  There is an RN number database, but it is of limited use.  For example, this number is now owned by Hanesbrands, which owns Champion.

I’m sure that this gymsuit was once white and that it has been dyed.  You can’t really tell in my photo, but the label is also green.  And the color is terribly uneven.

I love it when the original owner’s name is embroidered on the gymsuit, but I am so grateful my teachers did not have us do this.  It would have severely limited our ability to borrow a suit from a neat friend on inspection day!

These come up for sale quite often on ebay and etsy, but I don’t know of anyone other than myself who collects them.  They aren’t really “fashion”, but they are an important part of the shared history of women who came of age before the gymsuit was finally eliminated by most schools in the 1980s.

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Currently Reading: You’re Better Off Naked

You know how I love a good dose of fashion advice from the past, so this little book from 1962 was irresistible.  It was written by Wayne Healy, who was actually a woman, and who had worked as a writer and editor for various fashion publications including Glamour and Harper’s Bazaar.  As you might guess from the title, this book was written with a sense of humor, but there is a touch of something else that I can’t quite put my finger on.  Maybe a touch of honesty tinged with sarcasm?

But I’ll let you be the judge.  Here are some of Wayne’s words of wisdom.

The most formidable barrier to good looks on any basis – in or out of clothes – is the load of extra poundage every other woman in the country carries with her.

Fashion magazines are gourmet fare, stuffed from cover to cover with improperly identified goodies.

There are no fashionable or unfashionable colors.

To dress well you must be a sheep.

When color reaches the point of accessories, a number of women turn from gay sports to nitpicking little deacons.  They choose a hat matched to a suit, say – and then drive relentlessly on for matched gloves, jewels, bag and shoes.

Bermuda shorts – with their two-inch-above-the-knee stop – are ghastly on the most beautiful legs in the world.

Fashions that are fundamentally ugly on most women never should be taken seriously, no matter how hard the press and fashion industry try to shove them down your throat.

And most depressingly:

At age thirty-five, nevertheless, a certain amount of physical deterioration has begun in everyone, and will continue till life ends.  The important job of a woman is to hold the deterioration to a minimum, and then recognize  the exact extent of it at all times.

Books like You’re Better Off Naked are important because they give us a glimpse into, if not exactly the way women thought about dressing, then at least about the types of advice they were being given.  Today we’d find a lot to take issue with in Healy’s advice, but it is surprising how much of it stills applies.  Bermuda shorts really are ghastly.

At one point in her career, Healy must have written a fashion advice column, as some of them were added to the back of the book.  One writer asked what were the twenty-five worst fashions.  I’ve edited the list to ten.  Remember, this is 1962.

Cardigans with large fur collars.

Clear plastic or lucite handbags.

Cotton or kid gloves embroidered in rhinestones or sequins.

Small, cheap fur stoles.

The artificial flowers that come with the dress.

Plastic bags stamped to imitate alligator.

Prints with writing – such as Oh, la,la, or L’amour toujours.

Anything decorated with poodles.

Big skirted teen-age taffeta date dresses on ladies past thirty.

Cheap satin.

Clearly, the Fifties were over.

 

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Ad Campaign – Oleg Cassini, 1962 – 1966

This 1962 ad for York cigarettes called Oleg Cassini “the grand-entry newcomer on the fashion scene” even though by that time he had been running his Seventh Avenue business for twelve years.  It is true that it took his association with Mrs. Kennedy to put him on the mainstream fashion radar.

Cassini lost no time in capitalizing on his new-found fame.  He had already been dabbling in licenses and product endorsements, but in the early 1960s he began endorsing everything from lingerie to cigarettes.  Interestingly, he was very often pictured in the ads.

In 1963 and 1964, the “New Oleg Cassini seamless stocking” featured a series of ads with Cassini shown giving fashion advice to various women celebrities.  In addition to Carroll Baker and Carol Channing, there were also ads with Arlene Dahl, Tina Louise, Elizabeth Ashley, Carol Lawrence and Suzy Parker.

One of Cassini’s licenses was with Peter Pan lingerie and swimsuits.  1964

And who wouldn’t want a pair of diamond shaped sunglasses! 1966

 

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Ad Campaign – Hanes Seamless Nylons, 1962

The Perfect Gift!  Irresistible Seamless Nylons * In an Irresistible Christmas Box

I’ve never received hosiery as a gift, but if I did I think I’d feel like all the men and boys over the years who got socks in their Christmas stockings:  let down, disappointed, dejected.  That is, unless they came in this irresistible Christmas box, and in that case, all would be forgiven.

I miss packaging like this.  In 50 years will people look back at ads from 2012 and think they are charming?

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Glamour, March 1962

Polka dots, navy and daisies!  Can summer be far behind?

Too marvelous for words!

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Glamour, November, 1962

Too marvelous for words…

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