Bustles, Charmers, and Shorteralls: A Visual Ode to Vintage Fashion Catalogs

Catalogs are still going to inundate your mailbox. They might be smaller now, and they’re expensive to make, but they’re not going anywhere.

The Wall Street Journal reports today that there’s a new interest in catalogs because they supplement online shopping and they’re still a source of inspiration for customers. So even though Bloomingdales and other retailers have dumped their print catalogs, new companies are banking on them. Bonobos, which was founded online, has a catalog now, and L.L. Bean, which has retained its catalog since 1933, is toying with the way they use it to send shoppers to its shopping site online.

We paged through eight vintage catalogs (online of course,) including Montgomery Ward’s, the first American catalog founded in 1872.

Enjoy this tour through the mail-order fashions of yesteryear, when people really dressed up. Click through the slideshow for a glimpse at the hoopskirts, holiday party dresses and clothes for the sportswoman.

[Wall Street Journal]

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23 Vintage Ads That Were Pro-Curves and Weight Gain

Shop Karen Elson’s Vintage Archives, Help Women Around the World

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