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Advertising Whimsy, Part 2

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 825362. New York Public Library These hosiery ads take a slightly different approach. Here, the modish subject is still involved with a mischievous small animal, but now she is engaged in braving the elements. What does this say about the product being advertised? Yes, their stockings are reliable; they’ll hold up in the most difficult of conditions! Selling intimate apparel in early twentieth century America required practical social imperatives. In a time when stockings had to be moved from luxury to necessary goods, consumers needed to be convinced. 1921 is still a long way from the time of Victoria’s Secret.  825361. New York Public Library

But the story of women’s liberation could never have happened without the development of undergarments, including stockings, which allowed the wearer more physical freedom. The 1920s woman is the start of the march towards the feminine cigarette slogan coined in the 1970s: “you’ve come a long way, baby.” Fashion as a social force is the subject of an excellent study, An intimate affair: women, lingerie, and sexuality. And the turn away from the McCallum Company’s type of fashion merchandising to newer imperatives is best documented in Fashion brands: branding style from Armani to Zara.

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