Tag Archives: clothing advertising

Jantzen Beach Revue ~ 1930

Dear readers, I’m still not able to add new content, so I hope you’ll enjoy this post from five years ago when I had only a few followers.  

Come first to our swimming suit department – then a trip to the crashing waves or placid pool is bound to be successful.  Here assembling your ensemble becomes joy.  We have a complete line of Jantzen sun & swim suit from which to choose the foundation of your costume.  We have the necessary shoes, caps, beach bags, robes, to build a brilliant, stunning outfit.  Won’t you come in and look our things over soon?

This adorable little sales promotion is dated 1930, and it is a great example of the clever way in which Jantzen promoted their products.  Like many of the early swimsuit companies, Jantzen was a knitting mill, and before they started making swimsuits around 1915, they made other woolens such as gloves and sweaters.  But it did not take them long to realize that knit swimsuits were the next best thing, and soon they were concentrating on just swimwear.

The best thing that ever happened to Jantzen was the adoption of the diving girl logo in 1920.  She became an instantly recognized symbol of the company, and though updated, remains on the Jantzen label to this day.

From the 1930s      From the 1950s

Jantzen made sure the diving girl was seen by putting the logo on the outside of the swimsuit, starting in 1923.  They also made promotional giveaways, such as car window decals and hood ornaments.  By 1931, Jantzen was the 7th most recognized trademark in the USA, and it is one of the oldest clothing trademarks in use today.

Notice that in the sales brochure, Jantzen used the words “swimming suit” rather than “bathing suit.”  It is thought that Jantzen was the first company to adopt the term swimming suit, which they first used in 1921.


Posted by sues:

🙂 I am so glad you didn’t resist. I may not have patronized owen moore in 1930, but did shop there in the 1970’s or 1980’s when I was in college. It was a fine store with good quality clothing and accessories. My mom grew up in the Portland, So. Portland area so she would have more info. if you wish. Let me know.

Sunday, August 17th 2008 @ 2:12 PM

Posted by Stacey Brooks Newton:

What a great little advertising piece! I just love the graphics. Very Art Deco.
Went to an estate sale today and thought of you- tons of vintage mod clothing. The girl ahead of me in line bought $500! The dresses were only $10 a piece and the hats were $8. Some real beauties:)
Have a great weekend!

Friday, July 9th 2010 @ 6:52 PM

Posted by Lizzie:

Hi Stacey, I’m glad that vintage clothing reminds you of me! Shop on!

Monday, July 12th 2010 @ 7:14 PM

Posted by Mod Betty / RetroRoadmap.com:

Not sure if you’re a watcher of Mad Men, but in viewing the season premiere tonight they featured Jantzen as one of the clients and I immediately thought of you! Interesting to realize that b/c you know more about their history than I do, you would know before any of us if they decided to use Don Draper’s advertising pitch or not! 🙂

Sunday, July 25th 2010 @ 8:38 PM

Posted by Lizzie:

MB, I actually do have a few thoughts on this subject, so stay tuned for a blog post later today.

Monday, July 26th 2010 @ 7:43 AM

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Filed under Advertisements, Summer Sports

John Meyer of Norwich, 1967 and 1968

If you were around in the 1960s and early 70s, chances are you were in love with the clothes from John Meyer of Norwich.   In my little corner of the world, there were only two shops that carried John Meyer, and both of them were the best stores in town.  Not every girl was lucky enough to own clothes from John Meyer, but the influence of the brand was huge, and one could buy cheaper versions of their beautiful heathery tweeds at places like Sears.  As they say, imitation is the highest praise.

There is currently an exhibition showcasing John Meyer of Norwich at the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury, Connecticut.  Meyer’s daughter Elise’s collection of clothes from the family company along with photos and other items about the company make for a charming display, and a gives a good account of how many girls and young women were actually dressing in the period that is more associated with the mod look and then the hippie look.

You can see a slideshow of the exhibition on Elise’s blog.  And look for an interview with her here in the near future.


The first two ads are from 1967; the last one is 1968.  All can be enlarged by clicking.

And does anyone recognize the famous model?


Filed under Advertisements

Ad Campaign – Lady Alice – 1943

Wear Your Own Secret Heart Code!

Lady Alice International Signal Flag Shirt

Your heart condition will be a secret to your sisters, but every service man will know how he stands, when you wear your Lady Alice code flag shirt.  One glance and the International Flag Code will subtly send your message.

It’s not unusual to see military themed garments and fabrics in ads  from the WWII period, and here is a prime example.   Lady Alice took the plain open neck blouse and added a touch of whimsey.  There was an “authentic colored signal flag” embroidered on the breast pocket.  Each flag had a actual meaning, but it is easy to interpret them in terms of Girl meets Boy: “Man overboard”, “I require a pilot”, and “I require assistance”.

And I find the Lady Alice interpretation of “I require assistance” – “You’re just a helpless little girl who’s looking for a big strong man to protect her”  to be not only grammatically confusing, but really ironic seeing as how  the very helpless little girl this was being marketed to was most likely working in a factory producing weapons for that big strong man to use in fighting the war.

Lady Alice was part of the California garment industry that emerged in the early 20th century.  It was founded in 1925 by an immigrant from Iceland, Krist Gunderson.  He also started the Lil’ Alice label.  Both labels were used until sometime in the 1960s when the company became known as Alice of California.


Filed under Advertisements, World War II

Ad Campaign – Love Set by Shepherd, 1946

For a perfect score on the tennis court or any other playtime places, beloved stripes in Shepherd’s figure-flattering version of the cotton T-shirt… with broad and buttoned shoulders.

I don’t know a thing about Shepherd Knitwear but I’m in love with the ad and the product.  Note how the buttons on the T-shirt are also on the cardigan.  And what about that label?

I’ve been looking for a 1940s or 50s striped T-shirt, but I can tell you they are few and far between, and when they do come up, you can expect to pay a lot more than you would expect.   The last one on ebay went for $202.50!

Maybe it is because stripes are so popular right now, or maybe it is collectors like me looking for an item that was usually worn until it fell apart, and was then discarded.  At any rate, keep your eyes open!



Filed under Advertisements

Ad Campaign – Majestic, 1968

We have to file this ad from 1968 under “Overly Optimistic.”  To think they could market the same outfit to a woman in her twenties and to her grandmother in her sixties was just out of touch.  To paraphrase the old fairy tale, for one it was too old, for one it was too young, but for Mom in the middle it was just right.

One of the current magazines (Southern Living, I think) does a feature where they dress a young woman and her mother in the same clothing, but then they accessorize the two very differently.   The addition of a headband (dumb choice) and a chain was just not enough to distinguish the looks in this ad.

This ad was in Glamour, which is geared toward younger women.  I can’t imagine anyone in that demographic would want to dress in Grandma’s clothes.  But if the situation were reversed – if it were in a magazine for older women –  would the ad be any more effective?  It’s something to think about.

Majestic was a lower mid-priced line of sports separates, so notice the prices.  Adjusted for inflation, the pants and vest were $104.16 each, and the blouse was $78.12.  It helps explain why people in the recent past had more space in their closets than we do today.


Filed under Advertisements

A Winter’s Tale Retold

If you are expecting a rehashing of the old Shakespearean tale, I’m happy to disappoint you.  No, this is A Winter’s Tale from 1964, published by Glen of Michigan.

You might already know that Glen of Michigan a maker of sportswear, and from 1950 through 1970 they made the designs of architect  Bill Atkinson.  Atkinson accidentally found he had a talent for fashion after he designed a square dance skirt for his wife.  Made from eight bandannas, the skirt was a big hit.  Atkinson decided to make them to sell, and found a firm willing to take on his order, Glen Manufacturing, which was a maker of women’s housedresses.  In 1951 he released his first full line of sportswear separates.

This is a promotional piece, probably sent to store buyers in anticipation of the up-coming season.  They rewrote the final scene of A Winter’s Tale, and used illustrations of the clothing line to illustrate it.  It was a very clever idea, and I can’t imagine that many of these little “catalogs” went into the trash.  I do bet that many of them ended up in the homes of buyers, especially those who had little girls.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

In the back of the booklet there is a listing of the garments in the collection, and swatches of the fabrics used.  Note how they named the pieces, in keeping with the theme of the story.  Such a charming idea!

And I found reference to another Bill Atkinson storybook catalog – A Tale of Two Collections, in 1955.  I’m betting there are even more.

Here is a close-up shot of the velveteens used.  And here is a link to the Lady Anne dress, model 536, on sale now at eBay:

The seller, MidMod14, has kindly given his permission to post a photo of the Lady Anne dress.

Anyone know something about the illustrator,  Juliet McKellen?


Filed under Curiosities, Sportswear

Ad Campaign – White Stag Gloves, 1940s and 1950s

I’m pretty sure I’ve already posted all of these great White Stag ads, but I’m re-posting them just to take a close look at the gloves.  In the above add from 1946, the shape and the color are pretty much the same as my pair.

And the same is true of these gloves in a 1945 ad.

This ad from 1944 shows two-tone gloves, but the contrast is much greater, and the palm area, larger.

This ad from 1952 shows two pairs of two-tone gloves.  Unfortunately, the gloves are not mentioned in the ad, and there is no sight of the zippers.

This is a page from a White Stag catalog, not dated, but World War II era.  There are no zippers mentioned, but that is to be expected during a time when metal was going toward the war effort.  My gloves are very similar to the description of No, 80.  My guess is that mine are “natural” or “sand” with aspen blue” or “glacier blue” leather.  I have more pages from the catalog here.


Filed under Advertisements, Proper Clothing, Vintage Clothing, Winter Sports