Friday, May 20, 2011

McCall's, 1942

By the time I discovered that my school has quite an extensive array of archived women’s interest and fashion magazines, the school year was weeks away from being over. Nevertheless, I spent quite a few afternoons holed up at the most private nook of the library I could find, flipping through pages of the past that delighted my history fascination and agonized my shallower fancies with longing. Reading articles such as “If You Say, ‘I’m Just Too Thin!’” and “The Inconstancy of Beauty” (both of which I will upload in later posts), and others relating to current events of the era, I found this treasure trove literally endlessly fascinating - my second day there I had this horrifying but morbidly amusing image of me spending the rest of my days there in an insane obsession, relentlessly trying to document every page and sigh over every fashion illustration, until I created my own tomb of magazines. I think many people are interested or amused by seeing examples of how ideas and events were perceived and written about in the past.
And although the writings were fun to look through, still my favorite part was the fashion illustration, especially in McCall’s Magazine. I started out looking though Vogue, but I found that the way they presented clothing (more artistically, either through fashion photography that was beginning to be experimented with, or with wispy and abstract illustrations) made it harder to see the clothing plainly and clearly. McCall’s was less fancy, and I liked their pages of straightforward color illustrations.
Below I’ve uploaded the few images I managed to get from a McCall’s Magazine in 1942. I mostly looked at archives from the 30s, but I picked up one from the 40s, and only got a few pages photographed before my camera’s battery got too low to take pictures. Also, please forgive the annoyance of a photographed page instead of a photocopied page – the copiers were not readily available for the amount of picture-grabbing I wanted to do. So I figured I’d show the 40s images first, and then work through the ones I got from 30s magazines. I hope you enjoy!

- Emily

I wish I could've gotten a better image of this. I just think its charming, the girls' patriotic color scheme and the cute GI in the reflection!

Don't you think the girl at the top looks a bit like a young Lana Turner? Anyway, I thought some other vintage gals might like to see some hair advice straight from the era-horse's mouth.

Click on the image to enlarge if you'd like to read this. An account of how to deal with the shift from the glamourous 30s wardrobe to the necessary practicality of a wartime 40s wardrobe. I am very modern in my desire for a large wardrobe; I am astounded but impressed with their statement that a basic wardrobe of 4 dresses and a coat could suffice! I think most vintage dressers have a very un-vintage problem with clothing accumulation, but I don't mind - while I find this simplicity admirable, I won't kid myself that I am at all interested in emulating it. I do, however, agree that quality is more important than quantity - I just would prefer to have both, ha! Anyway, I found the part about the defense factory girl's earning power very amusing - "think of all the War Bonds she can buy!". 

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