Hello and Happy Thursday, everyone!
When envisioning my “dream home,” (or per NYC standards … apartment!) I imagine a great wooden bookshelf built into the wall just filled to the edges with vintage fashion magazines. I think I’d even frame some of the covers as wall art, especially the oversize ones like McCall’s which measure about a few inches taller and wider than the standard modern-day magazine.
I got my professional start in the magazine industry (working at SELF, Glamour and Esquire.com), so the blood, sweat and tears required to build a monthly ‘zine is familiar to me.
I appreciate vintage magazines not only for their glimpse into another era and how the authoritative voices of ‘zines shared lifestyle tips, news and advices to its readers, but also because the technology of yesterday was so different (and cumbersome!) compared to today.
Imagine opening a magazine with limited touch-ups and photo editing! Fashion magazines pre-Adobe Photoshop were more likely to show the true beauty & health of its models because there were limited touch ups and “slim downs” that could be made. When admiring the models in McCall’s (which you’ll get a great look at after the jump) I noticed that while they had model-esque bodies, they looked REAL in both body and in mind.
The female figure was embraced and dressed to show wearable fashion; not outrageous artistic displays of textiles and colors and design, which we so often see in high-end magazines like Vogue. But if you’re anything like me, you find yourself wondering why you even bothering looking at the pictures when the model is half the size of you and wearing unattainable designer couture?
I’ll get off my soapbox now, but I think you ladies can agree when I say that absorbing vintage fashion magazines is a welcome change from what’s available on newsstands today.
<< SHOP NOW: Authentic & awesome 1960s vintage clothing from eBay!
Keep reading after the jump to see photos I scanned from the April 1964 issue of McCall’s Magazine, and for my vintage & modern fashion picks of fantastic ’60s dresses to buy online now that resemble looks from the spread!
In the history books, 1964 is most remembered as the year the US declared war on North Vietnam, the Civil Rights act was signed by President Johnson, the Beatles debut album “The Beatles” captured 13 top 100 hits at once, Martin Luther King, Jr. receives the Noble Peace Prize, a 9.2 magnitude earthquake hits Alaska and yes … the “buffalo wing” was invented at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York. Woah!
History is rich and history, no matter we lived it or not, represents us because without it we wouldn’t be where we are today. I love the history of fashion because without it … we wouldn’t have the pieces we wear today, either!
Let me know what you think of today’s post by leaving a comment below. I’m considering posting a weekly “look back at fashion by year” on the site, beginning with today’s look at this McCall’s fashion spread from a 1964 issue.
STATS of 1964
Average Cost of new house // $13,050
Average Income per year // $6,000
Gas per Gallon //30 cents
Average Cost of a new car// $3,500
Loaf of bread //21 cents
United States Postage Stamp// 5 cents
Average Monthly Rent// $115
Ticket to the movies //$1.25
**Today’s comparable prices calculated & included in text below using this inflation calculator**
FASHION OF ’64: CHEVRON STRIPES
From the magazine: “The versatility of stripes is almost endless. Place on the diagonal, they for an eye-catching chevron pattern to dramatize your figure. Here to add excitement to any wardrobe, a beautiful bold Roman-stripe cotton in clear, strong colors is fashioned into an exotic Kabuki shift, with loose, easy lines, a high, slash neckline and wide, silhouette-making, elbow-length sleeves. The slender skirt is belted above the natural waistline with a front-tying sash cut from the red stripe of the fabric. About $30. Stanley Herman for Mr. Mort.”
TODAY’S PRICE: $30 = $208.58 or this dress today
BUY IT NOW: On Etsy by ZouZouArmoire, $59
BUY IT NOW: On Modcloth, $49.99
FASHION OF ’64: STRIPES & POLKA DOT SHIRT DRESS
From the magazine: “Vertical and horizontal, broad and narrow — never before so many stripes. Here, a daring color combination of pumpkin and plum couples stripes with polka dots in a little shirt shift, a favorite silhouette of the season that modestly covers the arms while it boldly bares the legs. It’s in Swiss cotton. About $55. Deanna Littell for Harold Goldstein.”
TODAY’S PRICE: $382.40 for this dress today
BUY IT NOW: On Etsy by KMalinka, $72
BUY IT NOW: On Modcloth, $119.99
FASHION OF ’64: PATRIOTIC PALAZZO PANTS
From the magazine: “Delightful revival: the billowing beach pajamas of the early thirties are back again now in such luxurious, artfully cut versions that they make wonderful at home or informal evening “skirts.” And our favorites, naturally, are striped, like the opulent red-white-and-navy pair, right, in Avril rayon and cotton. The attached spare little top is of navy cotton, with a halter neckline, and the costume is romantically finished with a bow-tied sash of red cotton. About $18. Leo Narducci for Loomtogs.”
TODAY’S PRICE: $125.15 for these pants today
BUY IT NOW: On Etsy by pspecial5, $85
BUY IT NOW: On ASOS, $55.40
FASHION OF ’64: PRETTY PINSTRIPE PIECES
From the magazine: “Pinstripes, once a masculine prerogative, take on elegant feminine airs. Witness this delightfully dandified three-piece ensemble. The straight, slim skirt and long, sleeveless jacket, fitted ever so slightly at the waistline, are of dapper banker’s gray-and-white linen. The white linen blouse has organdy cuffs and jabot. The jacket is about $25; the skirt, about $23; blouse, about $25. Sylvia de Gay for Robert Sloan. More man-borrowed fashion news: marvelous spat shoes of black-and-white linen and shiny black patent leather.”
TODAY’S PRICE: $173.82 for jacket, $159.91 for skirt, $173.82 for blouse = $507.55 for entire outfit today
BUY IT NOW: On Ebay, starting bid $19.99
BUY IT NOW: On ASOS, $34.16
FASHION OF ’64: VIBRANT VERTICALS
From the magazine: “Stripes of many colors, often in varying widths, give a wonderful rainbow effect. And they’re especially striking, we think, coupled with solid black or white. Here, a trim shirt in stripes of bright pink, orange, yellow, and green, alternating with bands of black and white, has long sleeves with cuffs and collar in spanking white. The shirt is cotton broadcloth; collar and cuffs, pique. About $8. Lady Van Heusen. A perfect running mate for this gay top, figure-hugging pants of smart white stretch denim. About $9. Jack Winter.”
TODAY’S PRICE: $55.62 for top and $62.57 for pants = $118.19 for outfit today
BUY IT NOW: On Etsy by BohemianSeed, $19
BUY IT NOW: On Modcloth, $29.99
MORE ’60s FASHION HISTORY
Everything you need to know about 1960s fashion
TRENDS: How Trends of Today Were Influenced by the ‘60s
HOW-TO: Style a Drop Waist Dress from the 1960s
SPRING: The Perfect Polka Dot ’60s Dress
STYLE: Your Easy Guide to ‘60s Bathing Suits
HISTORY: More on the ’60s from Paperpast
THE MINISKIRT: Its Complete History from Fashion-Era