Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Clothes for Girls, c. 1947

I bought this sweet little book on Etsy for $5 recently. This gem was written by Elizabeth Todd, Professor of Home Economics Education, University of Georgia.

It's actually a primer (textbook), for high school girls, on dressing well. It includes a wealth of information on wardrobe-planning and clothing care, and a few sewing projects too.

I love the wonderful period illustrations and photos!

There are a few pattern photos too, provided by Simplicity:

My absolute favorite part of the book is the wardrobe-planning section though. Here is a Fall/Winter wardrobe plan from the book, you can click all of these for a closer peek!

Here's one for Spring/Summer, with prices! The challenge was to spend $35 or less.

And this one must have been very glamorous and exciting for a 1940's era high school girl; it's the clothing budget for an employed girl in San Francisco, age 18-20!

In the planning section, this question is posed:

How can wise decisions and wise purchases be made?

The suggestions given by a mother of two were these:

A fundamental rule of many years is: Never buy any article of clothing just because it is pretty, a bargain, or because somebody else does. Give it these tests:
1. Is it needed?
2. Will it go with your other clothes?
3. Is it your type?
4. Is the material good?
5. Is the garment well styled?
6. What about the upkeep?

Still sound advice, nearly 70 years later! I don't know about all of you, but I would do well to tape this list up somewhere near the laptop for when those impulse shopping urges hit.

I've spent most of the afternoon reading the first several chapters of this book. It's so interesting how relevant the information is, although I could do better about practicing much of it.

Personally, one of my New Years Resolutions is to declutter and simplify my life. I, like so many Americans, have too much "stuff". I find the information in this little book is especially inspiring in light of that!

I hope you're having a fabulous week. I'm stalled on my HP Belle skirt, waiting on a trip to the store for buttons, alas. The upside is, that's sort of permission to go ahead and start one of those Burda magazine patterns, right?


  1. Anonymous5:37 PM

    What an amazing book! I love all the plans and the illustrations are fabulous! It's very interesting how it is still relevant today.

    I'm up for major decluttering this year. Useful, meaningful, joyful are my criteria for keeping things. :)

  2. Oh my gosh, I loooooooove this. You have no idea. I find something so addicting about wardrobe plans and the like. This is mysterious given the haphazard, not-quite-right state of my own wardrobe.

  3. Miriam in KS5:48 PM

    Oh my goodness! I need to go check my library. I think I have a copy of this book...part of mom and dad's legacy. I am pretty sure I recognize the cover. :)

  4. That is an awesome book and it is incredible how timeless many of those pieces are. The amount of inflation in the prices since then is crazy too when you think that was only 63 years ago.

  5. Anonymous5:56 PM

    I love the book. Wish my daughters would wear a cute sailor dress! oh no...I have to look at tshirts and jeggings!

  6. Books like that make me so happy yet sad at the same time. I mean, why can't fashion/life/everything be like that ALWAYS?

    Thanks for sharing, darlin!

  7. Thanks for posting these pages, Angie! They are fascinating. Isn't it amazing to think that none of these wardrobe plans include pants or jeans? I think that jeans are now the staple of the American girl's wardrobe!

  8. No. No it is not. The Pattern Police say that you are NOT allowed to sew more than one garment at a time and ---

    BAHHAHAHAHHAHA. I couldn't say it with a straight face.

    This book is totally awesome. I am totally jealous. You clearly spend way too much time on eBay. Which obviously works out well for the rest of us. Thanks!

  9. You always find the most awesome things!

  10. Oh please post more!! *begs* The late 1940s are my favorite fashion era and I need some ideas for teen garments! I am so envious that you got that book. ;)

  11. What a gem! My brain is swathed in "vintage" thoughts right now, between the vintage patterns I own and trying to choose one to start with for the Sew Along, and then... over xmas, I dug out the family tree for my sister, and started doing some internet research. Images of NY in 1900, Pennsylvania in 1920, and Detroit in 1940 keep floating through my mind...

  12. What a great book! I can imagine pouring over something like this as a teenager. I wonder how it would compare to a modern version- are there modern versions?

  13. What an exciting experience!/Hilarious! Delightful! True!/wonderful stuff! thank you!

    Girl Clothes

  14. I wanted to thank you for this excellent read!! I definitely loved every little bit of it. I have you bookmarked your site to check out the new stuff you post.
    Prom Dresses


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