Tag Archives: Ski

1940s White Stag Belt with Pouch

I just could not bring myself to call this a fanny pack, and it would have been wrong of me to do so.  The pouch on a belt concept really caught on sometime in the late 1980s (if memory serves me correctly) but this pouch on a belt dates to probably the early 1940s.  It’s a great example of a find that I didn’t know I needed until I spotted it on Etsy.



I’ve based my dating on two things.  First, the label is very similar to one I found as part of a 1941 White Stag ad for ski clothing.  After WWII, the White Stag label in ski togs was red with white lettering.  The only time I’ve seen the above logo which is so similar to my label is in that 1941 ad.

Just as important is the Alpine folkloric motif embroidered on the belt.  I’ve written about this in the past, and the next few paragraphs are adapted from an old blog post.

Even though the US was inching toward war with Germany in 1941, there was a vogue for clothing decoration that was similar to that of German, Bavarian, Tyrolean or Swiss motifs. This has always struck me as being a bit odd, especially after it was clear that the US was going to war with Germany, and these clothes were so reminiscent of German folk dress.

In his book Forties Fashion, Jonathan Walford explains that in the 1930s, the Nazi German leadership actively encouraged the wearing of  Germanic folk costume, and the dirndl-wearing blonde German ideal commonly appeared in German propaganda images.  The use of Alpine-inspired details even appeared in Paris in 1936.

In looking at American fashion magazines, I’ve seen Alpine fashions featured as early as 1935.  Most often I’ve seen clothing from the Austrian firm, Lanz of Salzburg, used. Lanz was started as a maker of traditional Austrian folk costumes  in Austria in 1922 by Josef Lanz and Fritz Mahler.  By the mid 1930s they were exporting clothing to the  US, and in 1936 Josef Lanz opened a branch of Lanz, Lanz Originals, in New York.

As  the US moved toward war with Germany, these clothes continued to be popular.  Interesting, Lanz advertised in magazines such as Vogue and Glamour throughout the war, but in their ad copy, there is never any reference to the fact that the clothes are so similar to German folk dress.

But why did this style continue to be so popular in the US?  I  have some theories.  First, “ethnic” fashions of all kinds were gaining in favor in the late 1930s.  Magazines did features on South American clothes, and Mexican and tropical prints were popular.  The dirndl skirt was used with lots of prints, not just with Alpine embroidery.

Also, these fashions were already in women’s and girl’s closets.  It stands to reason that in a time of shortages that a garment that would “go with” what the shopper already had would be desired.

If you want a deeper explanation, then you might consider the theory that enemies tend to copy their foes in dress, a form of cultural imperialism.

But all historic and cultural explanation aside, I wanted this because I have a small capsule collection of the Alpine motif garments, and this was a nice addition to that group.  I also have a 1940s gray with red trim ski suit.  What luck!

Thanks to IKnowWhatImWearing on etsy for such a great addition to my collection.


Filed under Collecting, Curiosities, Winter Sports, World War II

1930s Northbilt Ski Pants

In the 1930s skiing was a relatively new spot in the US, having become popular only in the 1920s.  After winter resorts and ski slopes were developed it became obvious that women especially were going to need clothing specifically for the sport.  It just was not practical to try to make one’s way down a mountain wearing a 1920s skirt, or even knickers that ended at the knee.  By the early 1930s companies were making full length wool ski pants for women, another great example of how active sportswear led to women adopting the wearing of pants.

Even though these ski pants were made to be functional in the snow, a woman wearing them would still want to look her best.  The waist and hip area is slim and quite fitted, with little extra bulk.

And what a nice curve there is to the side button opening.

The leg cuffs are made of a knit wool for a close fit.

And for the key to your room at the lodge, a little patch pocket was included.

These ski pants were made by the Northbilt company in Minneapolis.  According to the US Trademark site, Northbilt was first used as a brand name in 1919.  The last reference I can find to the company was in 1962.  As always, additional information about this company would be appreciated.

Here is a page from a 1936 Montgomery Ward catalog showing their selection of women’s ski pants, which are very similar to my pair.  Note that one pair has  “slide fasteners” – zippers – at the cuffs and the waist.  Button closings were slowly being replaced.


Filed under Proper Clothing, Sportswear, Winter Sports

Balmoral Knitwear Ski Themed Vest

This great vintage vest can be filed under “great things found while looking for something else.”  I spotted an incredible vintage travel print on Pinterest and then realized that the photo links led to a dead end.  But there is that miracle called Google image search, and so I was able to locate the wonderful print on a website, and it was actually for sale, and not a photo from etsy from two years ago like so much of Pinterest consists of.

While contemplating the purchase, I decided to look at the other seller’s offerings and just fell in love with this wool embroidered vest.  All reason was lost at that point, and the vest and the travel print dress were soon safely tucked in my shopping cart.

The seller listed it as a 1940s sweater, and I’m pretty much inclined to agree.  I’d never heard of the Balmoral brand, but a quick search revealed that the company is still in business, making knitwear in  Galston, Ayrshire, Scotland.  They have been in business for over 100 years, and it looks as if today they mainly survive by selling to the private school and corporatewear trade.  And they still specialize in embroideries.

I found a few more, very similar Balmoral vests online, but all have been sold.  There is another ski themed one, but there is also a sailor themed one that I truly love.

Can you tell that the buttons are covered with the knit fabric?  The centers are covered with red fabric.  It’s a great little detail, the type of thing that makes vintage garments so special.


Filed under Collecting, Vintage Clothing, Winter Sports

Ad Campaign: Ski-O-Twill, 1937

Salute to “Lastex” for Ski-O-Twill special ski fabric that stretches… for fit, comfort and freedom

A chorus of ohs and ahs greeted this charming ski costume at the designer’s fashion shows, held while you were romping in the surf.  Where well-dressed skiers congregate this winter this suit will be seen – the last word in the prettification of the ski.  And you might as well be seen in it.

A lot has been written about how the invention of Lastex revolutionized the knit swimsuit, but here it is in a ski suit.  At the time most ski wear was being made from thick wool melton so this must have seemed to be a huge improvement.  But I’m not so sure that it caught on.  I’ve seen quite a few ski sets from the 1930s, 40s and 50s, and none had any degree of stretchiness.  I’d be interested in more information about Ski-O-Twill.


Filed under Advertisements, Winter Sports

Vintage White Stag Ski Gloves

The USA is in the grip of an arctic air mass, so I thought some nice, warm vintage ski gloves would be in order.  These gloves (or are they mittens?)  from White Stag feature a zipper on the back of the hand, and probably date from the 1940s or early 50s.

White Stag was originally a tent manufacturer, and through the 1960s canvas continued to be a favored material.  The outside of these gloves are a fine gauge canvas, and they are lined with cotton flannel.  The palms are a light blue leather.  There is elastic at the wrist and again at the end of the glove.

You might think that the metal zipper would be cold against the back of the hand, but these are crafted so that the flannel overlaps the zipper completely, and so it does not come in contact with the skin.

It’s an interesting design, similar in concept to hunter’s gloves, except that on them the opening is on the palm side and is across the bottom of the fingers.

After I bought these last summer I started looking at White Stag ads from the 1940s, hoping to get a glimpse of gloves with a zipper.  I found plenty of their gloves that have a similar shape, and several with what appear to be a leather palm, but none had the zipper.  I’ll continue looking, and would appreciate any of you skiers and sportswear collectors out there providing me with any information you might have about this type of glove.

This label is very similar to the one from the 1940s and early 50s.


Filed under Proper Clothing, Vintage Clothing, Winter Sports

Collier’s March 7, 1942

Such a pretty skier!  And how about those sunglasses?  I’m drawn to the glove, as it looks like there is a zipper at the wrist.  Next week I’ll be showing a pair of vintage ski gloves that has a zipper on the back of the hand.

I haven’t read the article by Quentin Reynolds.  I just don’t think I can relate.


Filed under Fashion Magazines, Winter Sports

Bonne Annee

Enjoy this first day of a new year!

Thanks to Poppy’s Vintage Clothing for the great postcard!


Filed under Holidays, Winter Sports