FrouFrou 4 YouYou

Chicago Fashion and Millinery History: The Chicagoan Magazine Part III Fashion Columns April 24, 2018

The last issue of The Chicagoan came out in 1935, but the best fashion advice came in July 1933. The article “Budgeting Your Travel Wardrobe with a Thought for the Day After Tomorrow,” by Faye Ford Thompson Carter provides over a half page of copy and six photos.

 

Copyright The Quigley Publishing Company, a Division of QP Media, Inc.

The photos feature the looks from Saks Fifth Ave, opened just months before, Powell (That is Pearlie Powell just south of the bridge on Michigan Av, whose ads gave prices in a range of $89-$125.) Leschin, Blackstone, and Martha Wethered.

At the height of the Depression some readers were still able to travel, and the right look was important. Expensive, but considered worth it. Recommended for this wardrobe were items designed to carry over to regular use afterwards. What an oddly practical suggestion. Even during hard times, the wealthy were making do.

That wardrobe required a travel suit in a light tweed or heavy cotton, as the starting point. That should be supplemented by a sheer suit, a “two or three piece costume of heavy chiffon, or light-weight silk.”

Sport clothes of cotton dresses, “bathing suits and beach or pool suits,” at least two. “And remember that simple beach dresses are smarter, this season, than pajamas…” NO one wore nightwear pajamas the season prior to the beach, in fact nightwear only had gowns; no PJs to mention for women. These beach pajamas were specifically designed top layer outfits just for the beach. Since they were no longer “smart,” no need to clutter up the closet with those.

For evening chiffons or soft crepes and laces are best. Don’t forget evening jackets.

The correct travel wardrobe also needs accessories. Silk or linen pliable crown hats for packing. No mention of bags and shoes! Certainly one did not use the old season ones either, but their reader was left to follow other articles to determine what was best.

What could this new travel wardrobe cost? Let’s compare items from the shops frequently advertising in this publication to the list. These are approximations.

Travel suit in tweed $100

Sheer suit $75

Cotton dresses (2, one for each day of this short vacation) $50 x 2=$100

Bathing suit (2 required at a minimum) $25×2=$50

Beach dress $25

Evening dresses (2 required as one would not re-wear it a second night!) $75-100×2=$175

Evening jacket $50 perhaps this could be acceptable to wear again the second night?

Hat (4= travel, daytime, beach, evening) $30×4- $120

Rounded out to $700 for this five day trip would convert to 2017 dollars as $10,809. Add in shoes and bag for $70, add on another $1080, meaning approx $12K for this trip. Since the Century of Progress was in full swing, one could just by their wardrobe while in town here.

$12,000.00 for five days.

Copyright The Quigley Publishing Company, a Division of QP Media, Inc.

Now back to an assortment of fashion columns over the years. Starting with the third issue in 1926, Aug 1, the column was called “The Boulivardier.” This article was authored by Marjorie Capron. What makes her an authority? One surmises good taste and a life style familiar with at least higher middle class standing. Deep pockets perhaps, and a willingness to shop till she drops in her role of reporter. This is the kind of task one feels could cost more than the projected income from the writing job.

Marjorie did her research on the Boulevard. AKA Michigan Ave, or currently referred to as the Magnificent Mile. Marjorie went south of the mile when visiting Pearlie Powell. Pearlie had started advertising in the third issue of the magazine in Aug 1926, see above. (Another blog article covers some of the Powell enterprise.https://wordpress.com/view/froufrou4youyou.wordpress.com) Since the offices of The Chicagoan were at 154 E. Erie, before an eventual move to Dearborn, this gal got around. It was a good idea to visit the shops who advertised in the magazine.

Pearlie Powell was favoring gowns of crepe, trimmed in velvet for fall. The I. Miller shop favored patent shoes. The article gave short mention for a few other shopping trends, buy luckily an ad from Helen Heffenberg’s Paris-Chez-Vous shop at 111 E. Chicago gave readers a reminder to check there for their latest items.

The Sept 15, 1926 issue has this column written by Paula (no last name). She tells us McAvoy will have new furs. They had been advertising since the first issue came out. Helen Haffenberg’s turn to be acknowledged for costume jewelry and dress flowers.

Copyright The Quigley Publishing Company, a Division of QP Media, Inc.

“At Pearlie Powel’s we are show a rose moire evening dress that made us drop tears of longing.” Perhaps it was the bow back which caused such emotion, or a similar one worn by Elsie Ferguson at the Blackstone. Not only is it important to inform their dear readers of the right style, but also who gets credit for wearing it first.

Coats at The Vogue and Nelle Diamond are in leather, ideal for football games proclaims this column’s writer, Orrea for Sept 1, 1926. Again no last name is provided.

Oct 1, 1926 had Orrea telling readers of clearance items, especially at Peck and Peck. Nightwear gets it’s due at Kermans with a white crepe trimmed with black lace and bl;ack satin mules in red. For black shoes in satin, moire and velvet, I. Miller has the goods. Coats need notice and Rena Hartman has a tan kasha with lynx collar and cuffs. Best of all, Leschin has velvet hats in tan, black, green and a rather new red. “The smaller hats will be needed with the fur collar coats, in velvet or felt.”

http://chicagoan.lib.uchicago.edu/xtf/view?docId=bookreader/mvol-0010-v002-i02/mvol-0010-v002-i02.xml;query=1926;brand=default#page/1/mode/1up

Copyright The Quigley Publishing Company, a Division of QP Media, Inc.

Oct 15, 1926 it is Orrea writing again, but fashion is basically limited to the in thing, the feather boa.

Copyright The Quigley Publishing Company, a Division of QP Media, Inc.

November brings us K. Hullinger writing the column. McAvoy frocks are tops, but one must see the black chiffon velvet wrap in the window. Pearlie Powell has a window with a black velvet gown and wrap. Pearlie and Blums have pretty unmentionables, aptly mentioned.

Nov 15, 1926 and K. Hullinger has outdone herself with the column covering three pages, much of it the holiday and gifts. On the fashion end black hosiery is credited to Irene Castle McLaughlin. Irene was a dancing dervish with her first husband before he was killed in an airplane crash. Remarried, well, she commands attention for her bobbed hair as much as her feet.

Green is a popular color in many things. Hats are mentioned at Blums, for a calf hat, to wear with calf coats. Hodge (G. Howard Hodge) is now at the Allerton building and has “the best display, …with a green felt with black satin turned up brim.”

Another author rounds out the first year with the Dec 1, 1926 issue. Carol McMillan covers much of the pages 25-29 with all sorts of holiday food shopping advice.

For fashion she has been to an unnamed location and talks shoes. “Again I paused before a shoe display in which a pair of slunk (unborn calf) with cherry patent vamps lifted their toes above the others.” The trend had become “a new pair of shoes for every outfit.” “Our customers buy for four to fourteen pairs in one order.” And to think we believe shoe wardrobes are a thing of the twenty first century.

There are columns in all issues beyond 1926, and further coverage will be provided for those in the foreseeable future.

Next up are the Fashion Ads. LOTS of ads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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