Back in Time: In 1923, stores brought out colorful hats, suits

The Carl Co., Barney's and other stores trotted out spring fashions in April of 1923.

The snows were finally gone on Saturday, April 14, 1923. Women were once again looking forward to showing off their ankles.

Stores all over Schenectady offered spring fashions for sale, and Saturday was one of the busiest days of the week downtown. People checked the newspaper ads, checked their purses and wallets and then checked the racks for colors and sizes.

The Carl Co. on State Street seemed especially well-stocked. New spring suits featured dresses that covered just about the entire length of a lady’s leg. Five hundred new spring hats were on the shelves, priced at $2.98 to $7.98. They were trimmed with ribbons, flowers, ostrich feathers and fruit. Capes and wraps also were in vogue, for $32.


For more tidbits from the Gazette’s time tunnel, visit Jeff Wilkin’s blog, “Type A to Z”, by clicking here.

Clothing experts at Barney’s Department Store took cues from Easter, which had been celebrated April 1. “The Easter displays of millinery were rampant with brilliant color and since then the color note has grown more and more prominent,” read the store’s advertisement in the Schenectady Gazette. “Dainty orchids, the fuchsia shades, scarlets, Chinese blue, nasturtium greens and like colors dominate the displays.”

The Boston Store, at Broadway and Smith Street, was running its annual sock sale. Women could pick up pure silk hosiery for $1.87; guys needed 69 cents for a pair of high-grade cotton foot-warmers.

Not everything was color and comfort. In 1923, women were still wearing corsets — close-fitting underwear tightened with laces — but at least the gripping garments were getting better.

“The corset question is perhaps more important than for several seasons past,” read a promotion for Wallace’s, “for this season one must achieve the straight-line and flat-back silhouette without the appearance of being corseted. “Our American Lady Corsetieres consider carefully your figure measurements and fit you to a corset that will provide the correct foundation for the successful wearing of fashionable apparel. Your individual corset problem will be solved.”

Al customers needed was patience for a fitting — and $6 at the cash register for the top model.

Furs, out of fashion for many people today, were a big part of the closet in 1923. Carl’s was selling gray squirrel chokers for $7.32. Women who didn’t want to spring for squirrel settled for possum chokers, less expensive at $2.98.

Categories: Life and Arts

Leave a Reply