Transcending 2 centuries this iconic piece is still turning heads..

I only have a couple of original pieces from our Mum from the 60’s and 70’s and all pieces are exceptional in their style and quality and mostly home made.. except fo this beauty….
My Mum bought this outfit I am wearing below in about 1972 at the age of 27 and having already had 3 kids…  Mum was tall and lean and stylish.  I probably do have a picture of her in this somewhere in the vaults and endless family albums in storage but to find that would be an overwhelming task at this point so I’m going to imagine.

I wanted to share a little of the history of this 1970’s Katies original with you that, you will all agree, is quintessentially 1940’s in style, cut. shape etc and I think there was a reason it landed in my wardrobe and not that of my other siblings who are not into Vintage like I am.

Katies clothing opened its first store in Rundle Street Adelaide in 1956, offering good quality women’s fashion at a very affordable price. In 1984 the retail operation was acquired by G J Coles Ltd as part of the Coles Myer Specialty Retail Group.

In the early 1970’s Katies digressed from its normal black and white block brand label to encompass the 70’s psychedelic vibes of the day and you can see a pictures of this below.

It’s interesting to note the sizing on the label. Size 12 in the 1970’s is equivalent to size 8 now (In Australia – less if using USA sizing). Yes, they reduced the size number over time to trick us into thinking we were smaller therefore more desirable. The sizing as we know it now didn’t come into play until the early 70’s (so this would her been one of the earliest of sizing labels used)

True sizing standards didn’t develop until the 1940’s,  Before then sizes for young ladies and children were all based on age — so a size 16 would be for a 16-year-old — and for women it was about bust measurement.  Before then in the 30’s would have been XSSW, SSW & SW etc, Obviously that only worked if all ages and sizes of Women were created equal which we know isn’t the case.

Here is a sizing chart through the ages from Nicole Jenkins, Author of the great reference bible called “Love Vintage”

As our girths increased so did egos, OK well thats a bit harsh, as we know that we as humans have increased in size over the generations slightly as well, but nonetheless, the fashion industry were selling to those egos and the new “ It” girl looks of today so the marketing was targeted and powerful and thus began the practice of vanity sizing.

EG:  We went from size 16 being a model in the ’40s to 12 in the ’60s. Marilyn Monroe was a 12 in the ’60s, which would now be a size 6.”  The US sizing (in my opinion) has gone so far I don’t think they have anywhere to go with true sizing.  The now have 0, 2, 4,6 as the normal, what?  will they regress back into 00 and 000 like we have for new born baby clothes.

Mum made most of her’s and our clothes so this shop bought 2 piece must have been for a special occasion.  We were living in Brisbane at the time just having returned from an Army Posting in Malaysia and after Dad had served his time in Vietnam. Maybe a celebration of surviving the war and now having 3 healthy babies (2 more to come) called for a special impression outfit? I will never know.

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Welcome to The Lindy Charm School where we offer a wide range of styling, costuming, workshopping and corporate services. Headed by the ever-vivacious Mistress Chrissy, The Lindy Charm School is a multi-disciplinary creative events and vintage styling business driven by a rich affinity with a time before now.

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