Tuesday, July 06, 2010

1920s Mail Order Catalogs

More from the 1923 issue of Needlecraft Magazine that mom sent me. The magazine is loaded with full page ads for mail order companies. Mail order had reached it's height from the 1890s to the 1910s, led by Sears and Montgomery Ward, but in 1923 there were still hundreds of mail order companies that served millions of rural customers. Mail order offered these customers a wider variety of products at lower prices than they could find at local retailers. And, since most women were home sewers, a free mail order catalog offered a glimpse into the latest fashions from Paris and New York, that could be copied at home. I thought you might enjoy these images and words from those full page advertisements.

"Do not confuse Hamilton Models with the usual 'mail order styles.' The Hamilton catalog for fall and winter includes many original creations and clever adaptations of the smartest Parisian modes, as well as the newest styles from Fifth Avenue." The two styles at the left are adaptations of Paul Poiret designs. This is the only ad with an actual photograph instead of drawings.

Philipsborn's catalog features an image of a woman in an early ski outfit on the cover. "Irene Castle, recognized by style authorities as the best dressed woman in the world says, ' It is the most wonderful book of fashions I have ever seen. Every woman who loves good clothes and wants the most for her money should have a copy'."

The Charles William Stores catalog says, "This book brings New York to your door. Haven't you longed, almost every season, to visit the big metropolis, to review the new styles and to take advantage of the tremendous bargains? No longer is it necessary to make a personal trip to New York, for this surprising book brings New York to you."

Montgomery Ward appeals to the fact that they were the "Trail Blazers" in the mail order business by featuring an image of Lewis and Clark on the cover of the Fall & Winter catalog for 1923-4.

National Cloak & Suit Co. says, "Style has no secret to a woman with taste. For thirty-five years we have been experts in style. No style trend in Paris or New York, no new thing in the realm of Fashion, no good style that New York women adopt, escapes our notice. And all of the best is carefully selected and offered you in the pages of the National Style Book."

The Chicago Mail Order Co. says, "Would you like to have just the information you need to dress in the most becoming fashions? Our Style Catalog will tell you! Would you like to know how to get Marion Davies' Beauty Secrets FREE? Our catalog will tell you!"

All ads from the September 1923 issue of Needlecraft Magazine.