Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mail order inspiration

A frequent source of inspiration for me is mail order catalogs - I especially like the ones from Boden, Toast and Anthropologie. But what I enjoy even more are Dover's reproductions of vintage American mail order catalogs. I especially like the Everyday fashions series, since they portrait just that - everyday fashion, which I find more adaptable to modern life than the haute couture and high end fashion that tends to dominate 20th century fashion history books.

I've got four books so far, and I plan to buy the 60's book next. The books are also a great source for understanding what people actually wore back in the days and I suspect that costume designers frequently consult these books when making clothes for period productions.

Sears dresses from 1955.

Leasure wear in 1943.

Some things never change, sweaters from 1937.


  1. I thought I was the only person on the planet who looked at old advertisements. Yes, you get great insight into how people thought 50 years ago. I pursue it from an historian's point of view - that was my major concentration at university. If I had to pursue a field of study today, it would be behavioral economics - and a study of advertisements fits right in.

    Thanks for bringing these to my attention.

  2. >> Luckylibbet: Yes I find behavioral economics very fascinating too, and I'd say a very current topic in the face of the recent financial turbulences.

    The copy text in the books is also a joy to read, they definitely are product of their times.