Posts tagged ‘catalog’

`61 Style – Courtesy of Montgomery Ward

Montgomery Ward Collage 1961 Lileks 2

Scans courtesy of James Lileks

Before the Intertubes took over our buying habits, there was Sears and Wards.

These images are from the 1961 Montgomery Ward catalog, “Your Store At Home!”  Order over the telephone and like magic you have a new wardrobe (Just say “Charge It”).  Just look at the wasp wastes, the fitted cuts, and the hair.  And the hats.  Wow.  Every picture looks like the model is on the way to some kind of social function, or at least dressing for the unexpected fortune which might be walking their way.  With the recent appearance of shows like Mad Men, Vegas, and the short-lived Pan Am, styles from the early 1960s have gotten a lot of attention.

And in my mind, it’s for good reason.

I have some respect for the amount of effort it took to be in style back then.  The fashion of the era had a certain way of drawing a line between genders, something which has become more blurred with time.  Catalogs from any decade serve as a time capsule, and this one from fifty-plus years ago captures much.

The scans above were done by James Lileks, a Midwestern blogger and writer.  He is also immensely funny, and his descriptions of pictures he posts on his personal blog have – in the past – made me purple from laughing.  To see this entire scan collection – page by page – click HERE.  Make sure to read his commentary!

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Afghan Awesomeness [1966]

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A thrift store treasure, beyond measure 🙂

I found this brief catalog – Bernat Afghans’ Contemporary and Traditional Styles, Book no. 132 – in a Long Beach WA shop for a whopping 25-cents. Initially I thought it would be a nice addition to Wall Of Retro – one which could dish out some of the cheesiness that only the mid-1960s could provide. Yet, as I began looking through the publication, I discovered that the pictures were just short of amazing. Staged without looking staged. Telling multiple stories, while giving focus to the subject of the catalog. The photographer employed a delicate depth of field in the work, and a film used duplicated the subject’s colors at an amazing level.

In short, I was duped by 25-cents worth of awesomeness.

While I was taken in by the quality of the photography, the stunning Mrs. BelRedRoad was smitten with the afghans themselves. “That’s beautiful work,” she said of the first one she saw, “and expensive.”

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The stories depicted in these pictures are ones of relaxation, wonder, longing, and tranquility. In a sense, a warm afghan should be providing at least a couple of those – even ones that don’t cost big bucks. Check out these pictures; aside from being a warm time capsule of the Sixties, they also embody the feelings and softness in life which many of us want.

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I always make sure my chauffeur has an afghan handy…

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Raglan For Boys And Girls [1964]

One can find all sorts of fun things at a thrift store. In my case, I found a coverless Bear Brand pattern book called Raglans for Boys and Girls – Sizes 4 to 14. It was Volume #80 from 1964, and sold for a whopping 85 cents new. Not only were there pictures of the products, but also instructions on how to make them.

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“X+Y…Girl+Boy…Huh huh huh heheheh,,,”

I was immediately taken by the fact that these kid models were super-clean cut and not-cheesy.  Oddly, some of the styles from nearly fifty years ago would go over well even now, in an environment where conservative dress is required.

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Others aren’t so fortunate:

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“Suzy? Can I have the rest of my dress now?”

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The next picture shows how photo editing was done prior to have computers:

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The boy was not part of the original picture; he was taped in behind the dog and next to the girl.  If you look closely above her, you’ll see the cut line in a zig zag pattern with the bricks.

No photo editors required 🙂

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“But Jenny, their tentacles are starting to push through my scalp and they burn…”

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“Mom was right. It did shoot my eye out.”

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As dawn breaks, she sings the praises of the Motherland…

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“So…your sister’s ball is kinda bouncy…”

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“But my gym teacher says I’ll be taller than you in six months…”

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She has two weeks worth of her wardrobe lined up in an orderly fashion.

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“Maggie, I spit on my hand…”

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