- My Vintage Journey
- By Era:
- 1800s Scans
- Early 1900s – 1920
- 1920s & 1930s
- 1950s & 1960s
- Image Search
- Vintage Shop
The history of some clothing can be most fascinating.
This is what I learned about the history of Kirk’s Suede Life, the maker and label on this vintage leather coat that I just sold:
This next article includes plenty of scantily clad pictures of Lucille Ball and Marie Wilson (as Irma, the dumbest blonde on TV). Irma in the “My Friend Irma” show, especially, is mentioned as stretching television’s strict Code with risque outfits and comedic innuendos. Lucille Ball is mentioned as being the pretty woman with brains and wit behind the top ten rated show “I Love Lucy”.
These photos show the Arch under various stages of construction, from just two legs, to the final keystone about to be placed into the nearly complete monument… fascinating historic slide scans of the Gateway Arch under construction in 1965.
These pictures of a bakery shop had the note “c. 1917 or 1918” and the names of the husband and wife who owned it. I think it’s interesting to see how bakery shops were arranged, and there are pictures of the racks and “behind the counter” at this shop.
What did the St. Louis riverfront look like before the Arch was built? These pictures include riverboats on the Mississippi, the St. Louis skyline and riverfront, and laborers taking breaks from working.
Did you know that the first Miss America was 5 foot 1, weighed 108lbs, had a 30 inch bust, 25 inch waist, 32 inch hips and brown hair with blue eyes? In comparison, Evelyn Ay, the 1954 winner, measured: 5’8, 132lbs, 37-24-36. Here is a chart and a picture to demonstrate the perfect female form of the 1950s, as decided by Vincent Trotta, a Miss Universe judge. He claimed that it was proportion, so a woman could be taller or shorter, just proportional.
This article claims that Annette Kellerman was groundbreaking in making more practical swimwear acceptable… and did you know that shorts for women were invented in the 1930s?
The article covers women’s baseball with interesting pictures showing women’s baseball teams from World War I and the 1950s (including pictures of Ruth Engle and Doris Sams), and also pictures of figure skaters and golfers to contrast fashion trends of the first part of the 20th century.
These next few pages of old pictures are a history of chorus girls and showing skin on stage, from Can Can girls, to to Mae West, to the Zigfield Follies, and the Rockettes.
Here’s an interesting history of pinups in advertising! Showing pictures of billboards from the 1800s-1950s, with a focus on pretty girls in beer advertisements.
The next page shows samples of pretty women used to advertise books and, the latest thing, record album covers. Even classical music “moves off the shelves” faster when an attractive woman is pictured on it!
Here is an interesting history of tobacco advertisements using pretty women and pinups as bait, and to gain broader social acceptance of smoking cigarettes! To explain changes in tobacco advertising, you have to take a historical perspective, which this article explains best. Briefly the history of tobacco ads (according to this 1953 article):
Here are shown some lingerie and shapewear ads from the 1800s-1950s. The chemise replaced the corset cover by 1918, although shape wear was still worn in the 1920s to achieve that stylish “boyish” form. The inflatable bra of the 1950s replaced the “Victoria” bosom pad of 1879… such changes in lingerie styles and advertisements!
These pages from the 1943 St. Louis Municipal Opera program include the Municipal Opera Productions Directory (from 1919-1942), and a brief history and facts about the Muny Association.
These pages of the Municipal Opera Silver Anniversary program contained small ads for local companies that had been in business for 50 years and 75 years or more, as of 1943! This showcased St. Louis businesses that had started before 1869 and 1894. I wonder how many are still in business?
4 more pages of scans from the St. Louis Municipal Opera 1943 season. These include WWII-era ads for Hyde Park Beer, Coca Cola, Tums, and Kieffer Cleaners. The cleaners advertisement has prices listed, which I think is pretty interesting.
Advertising to women, by attractive women! Here are some shapewear and corset ads, with a historical perspective. Gilda Grey and “other famous actresses” endorsing a fat reducing cream in 1923. Gypsy Rose Lee endorsing an electric shaver. Warner Brother’s Coraline Corsets of the 1880s(the corset alone was enough to sell it), versus the more straight fronted corseted shape of 1900 (this advertisement with pretty women) in an ad for Armorside Corsets. Finally, an ad for the “modern” 1950s girdle with stockings and garters which flattened both front and bottom, and could be best illustrated in a photograph.
Pinups thru out history have been used to sell everything from cosmetics to real estate. Sometimes, they had their origins in the scandalous worlds of peepshows and erotica. The scandalous Gilda Grey, famous for popularizing The Shimmy with her signature song The Shimmy Shewabble, helped sell a reducing cream in 1923. In 1925 she did the shimmy after a meeting to interest buyers in buying Coral Gables properties in Florida. The Shimmy, for which Gilda Grey was famous for, reportedly could be danced properly only with great difficulty and was considered primarily an exhibition dance. Similarly, the Cat Dance by Lilly Christine, had its origins in the realms of peepshows, but she crossed over into mainstream pinup model popularity and helped sell products.
“Today’s musical comedy stars replace the Grecian bend of The Florodora Girls with abandon, and little else” reads the headline. It mentioned the famous gals who have come from the anonymity of chorus lines, including: Eva Tanguay, Ann Held, Bebe Daniels, Ruby Keeler, Barbara Stanwyck, and Lucille Ball.
Wow. What an interesting 1950s perspective on the history of nude photography! The accompanying pictures include 3 “unusual photos taken about 80 years ago” (i.e., sexy pictures from c. 1870). The full color photo is a realistic modern figure study by Jules Alexander, of a nude woman posed next to an electric fruit slicer.