Friday, November 13, 2015

Friday Video: Fashion 1949-1980

Friday, November 13, 2015
Image from video
Loretta reports:

At the start of each month, I present fashion plates from a certain year, usually of the 1800s. Thanks to research for my books, I have a mental image of how women's styles evolved from, say 1810 to 1920, although the transitions for the first half of the 19th century are etched more sharply in my mind.

This video, which takes us from 1949 to 1980, does help us follow the changing silhouette of the second half of the 20th century.

One other change in fashion is quite evident in this series of pattern images.

Take a look at the measurements for sizes. True, a pattern size 10 was probably an 8 on the racks in stores. But an 8 then isn't what it is now. The pattern sizing shows how far vanity sizing has gone, in the U.S., at any rate. I don't believe there used to be size 00 in, say, the 1970s.

Readers who receive our blog via email might see a rectangle, square, or nothing where the video ought to be.  To watch the video, please click on the title to this post.


Regencyresearcher said...

One can see , even in this small sample, how fashions cycle back around and how it seems that emphasis is on hips, shoulders, legs, or bosoms. Also, having lived through that time and bought and worn dresses of the day, I know that few people ever achieved the look of those patterns. That is why I refuse to accept that at any period in history, every one was dressed exactly alike.
I do remember that style of 1957- the dresses made like an inverted champagne glass. My one and only purchase of that style was my wedding dress with a crinoline to help the skirt keep its shape. It was a very fashionable mistake. I don't know how the ladies managed in the past with the larger hoops and crinolines but that short one was a pain.

Lillian Marek said...

Those patterns do bring back memories. Back in the days when I sewed, I always used Vogue patterns, which fit me best. The Very Easy Very Vogue ones really were easy, You could whip one up in a day, The designer patterns, however were really complicated. I had a real sense of accomplishment when I completed one of those. And I felt quite glamorous when I wore it!

ilovetrash said...

The patterns are not in chronological order. It's neat—or neato, if you wanna go back that far, and i imagine nobody else is gonna be as picky, or even picayune, as i am about this. But i can name those dates in one note, and these fly all over the map, from its beginning to its end. 1965 - 1975, i think it said? At least one, i think, was later. It's like a game i play in my head, sometimes, fetching up clothing dates from the 60s & 70s within six months or a year. i've spent a lot of ridiculous time doing this, so i'm about 99⁴⁴/₁₀₀% sure.

Susan G. said...

A site that has done a remarkable job of dating patterns -- over 50,000 of them! -- is the Commercial Pattern Archive, or CoPA. You can do a sample search of this site at
Select a year, or a range of years (e.g. 1964 to 1971) and the patterns will appear in chronological order ("archive number"). If you want, you can limit your search to one major pattern company, and to a specific kind of garment -- dress, coat, evening, etc. For research into a specific year (1934, 1928, etc.) it is an amazing resource, hosted by the University of Rhode Island, U.S.A.

Anonymous said...

I made a dress from one of the 1978 patterns. Still have dress and pattern. These styles all look so normal.....guess my age is showing

Anonymous said...

There were some great fashions in these two slide shows.

I'd like to mention this series of articles from someone in the industry regarding vanity sizing.


Anonymous said...

I guess the link wasn't allowed. Anyone who is interested can look at Kathleen Fasanella's fashion-incubator website, and search for vanity sizing. I found the articles very interesting.


Laura Mitchell said...

Oh my, did that take me back, both the music and the clothes. I remember seeing quite a few of them in the BIG pattern books, back in my mis-spent and ill-begotten youth. Thank you.

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