July 31, 2013

Vintage Clothing Catalog

We write a lot here at Vintage Vixen.  Not only do we write up descriptions about the vintage clothes we sell, we also write for this blog and other online venues.  So when we ran across this page from a classic 1910s vintage fashion catalog, I thought the verbiage was just as interesting as the graphics.

Catalog writers tend to be pretty observant about other catalog writers' techniques.  Writing style, sentence structure, word choice... everything's noted when you write for a living.  The intriguing aspect of this caption is that it really was meant for the average female shopper.  And the word choice:
Artistic Applications Of Prevailing Lines In Dress
That's a lot different than Sexy Silhouettes For Summer or Hot Looks Now.  Which grabs you?  It's no contest, though of course in 1915 or so (when this fashion plate was printed) "sexy silhouettes" weren't exactly printable text.  Yet the phrase chosen a hundred years ago feels like a textbook descriptor more than a fashion magazine caption.
Notice too that this illustration refers to "the mills".  Even through the 1950s & 60s, fashion magazines regularly incorporated information about the fabric mills that created the raw materials for advertised fashions. 
This is an interesting example of two points - firstly, that most women in this era sewed for their family and thus were familiar with shopping for raw fabric, and secondly, that these ladies expected to hear about their clothing makers' fabric choices to ensure they were buying "choice goods" from a quality mill.

And here's some frocks that are apparently "envoys of a new era in fashion".  As "severity [tempers] the mode" these ladies are enjoying "plainer, saner" styles for summer.  What a way to shop!