Jan 13, 2011

50s Clothing Ideas: Smart Togs for Action

In my January, 1953 issue of Woman's Day (7 cents), I discovered something VERY practical: A multifunctional version of a house dress! A lady named Elizabeth Phelps who designed patterns put this together. I even found the actual pattern for the pictures below (35 cents in 1953) for sale at an Etsy shop HERE. (Now it's $15, though.)

In the article it says:

Mrs. Phelps started it all (her pattern business, that is) by making her own clothes--the kind that would see her through very full days of running a home and assisting her husband in his famous Phelps bag and belt studio. (I looked that up and came up with nothing.) She preferred the practicality of sturdy cottons, colorful, simply cut, and easy to wear. (Most are the wrap-on variety.) Her friends preferred them, too, and in no time Elizabeth Phelps was designing and selling her special kind of clothes to women all over the country.

The coverall shown here is one of her favorites. A wonderful work-a-day coverall, easy to get into, with gripper closings and drop seat. (What is a gripper closing? How do I feel about a drop seat?) Trouser legs can be cut shorter or longer, as desired.


Add a cobbler's apron for a more feminine appearance:



A wrap-on skirt turns coverall into a shirtwaist dress for marketing:


Pretty cool, huh? Even just a neutral wrap-on skirt hanging by the door can turn a summer outfit of shorts and shirt into a more "dressed" up ensemble. I tend to change into jeans when I head out the door, but I may have to consider this when summer finally makes it to our section of the country.

I love my old magazines!

6 comments:

Mrs.Phillips said...

I REALLY like the one with the cobblers apron, maybe someday I'll try and sew one together....

Roxanne said...

It really is cute, isn't it? I wonder if it was a wrap, too?

That Mrs. Phelps knew what she was doing!

weenie_elise said...

that's just fab! where do i get me one?

Roxanne said...

Weenie--If you mean off-the-rack, I don't suppose there's one available.

If you mean the pattern to SEW them, here's the link!

http://www.etsy.com/listing/9550038/vintage-50s-womans-day-mail-order

Mrs Tailleur said...

I remember women wearing things like this into the sixty's and maybe early 1970's . Her Ideas must have went over well. I think they are cute.(farmer's wives)

Roxanne said...

Mrs. Tailleur--I vividly recall my grandmother is like items, too. Simple lines, comfortable and functional, yet definitely pretty and feminine.

It puts the jeans and turtle neck that I'm currently wearing to shame!

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