The Magazine for Women Who Work-Charm-January 1955

Charm Magazine  started publishing in the 1940s, but gained popularity in the 1950s as being “the magazine for women who work.” Back then most fashion magazines were geared toward homemakers , young adult women or the affluent, Ladies Home Journal, Seventeen or Vogue.

The creators of Charm realized there was a  need for a magazine that addressed the needs of career women, a demographic that was under served, at a time when more and more women were entering the work force.

Naturally, many of their editorial spreads featured clothing for the office. The model below is wearing a tweed suit by Zelinka-Matlick. According to the Vintage Fashion Guild label resource, they were one of the great suit and coat houses on 7th Ave. in New York City.

Zelinka Matlick suit-Charm Magazine-1955

A turquoise cotton knit suit by famous American sportswear designer, Claire McCardell.

You won’t see recipes or food ads in copies of vintage Charm magazines. But there are plenty of ads for office equipment and articles on how to dress for success and get ahead on the job.

Here the ad implies that using the new electric Remington Typewriter frees up more time to enjoy social activities after work.

Remington Typewriter Ad-Charm Magazine January 1955

The below article features recommendations on the best office equipment at the time. Check out those giant copiers!

Office Equipment-Charm Magazine-January 1955

On the left is an ad for the Lana Lobell mail order company, featuring a dress by Kay Windsor, one of my favorite vintage dress labels. You can read about the company in a previous blog post.

To the right, notice the article titled, Equal Pay for Equal Work. What struck me about this title, in a magazine from 1955, is that 65 years later there are still tons of articles about the gender pay gap. Though we’ve come a long way,  American women today still earn, on average, .77 for every 1.00 a man makes. Unfortunate  that  decades  later  this  continues  to  be  an  issue.Kay Windsor-Lana Lobell-Charm Magazine January 1955

Beside career outfits, the magazine featured clothing for leisure, party time and resortwear. All geared to the budget of the “working girl.”

Jonathan Logan was a well known label from the 40s through the 80s. Mostly noted for quality dressy, classic clothing.

Jonathan-logan-dress-ad-charm-magazine-1955

Jonathan Logan checkered acetate taffeta dress. 1955

I featured the history of the  L’Aiglon dress label in a previous blog post.

LAiglon dress ad-Charm Magazine-1955

L’Aiglon dress ad. Charm Magazine, January 1955

 

One of the many reasons I love to read vintage fashion magazines is to discover new vintage clothing labels to look for. These days it is so difficult to search for vintage dresses online without spending hours scrolling through thousands of listings. But if you can include the name of a specific label or designer in your search it helps to narrow down the results. And lesser known labels can reveal some lovely budget friendly options.

Toni Todd is one of those labels.  1950s dresses from this company were stylish and designed for the budget conscious. But every one I’ve seen is of superior quality compared to any of the fast fashion clothing seen today.

Toni Todd ad-Charm Magazine Jan 1955

Toni Todd dress ad-Charm Magazine, January 1955

Toni Todd advertisement-Charm Magazine January 1955

Ton Todd dresses-1955

This is a label most of us are familiar with, since they’re still in business today. Lesley Fay 2 piece silk shantung skirt suit. Love the fitted jacket with the full skirt, reminiscent of the feminine Dior “new look” style.

Leslie Fay ad-Charm Magazine January 1955

Leslie Fay dress ad-Charm Magazine, Jan 1955

This Natlynn ad states this rayon/silk party dress dress is the “Look of the Stars- winsome and glamorous. Its bright future promises many a curtain call.”

Known for their dresses inspired by Hollywood stars, in 1955 they actually contracted with actress Janet Leigh to design for them.

Natlynn dress ad-Charm Magazine-January 1955

Natlynn Dress Ad-Charm Magazine, January 1955

 

Lorch of Dallas was known for it’s cotton sportswear. Wondering why there is a monkey on the model’s shoulder?
Apparently monkeys were a “trendy” pet back in the 1950s and 60s.

Lorch dress ad-Charm Magazine-January 1955

Lorch of Dallas dress ad. Charm Magazine Jan 1955

 

And many a career girl loved pouring through her “Frederick’s of Hollywood” catalog, envisioning themselves in their sexy lingerie
and after five fashions.

Fredericks of Hollywood ad-Charm Magazine-January 1955

Here we go from practical Town and Country shoes for daytime to Mandel’s strappy high heeled mules, with the racy name “Strip Show”. No doubt, perfect to wear with Frederick’s of Hollywood dresses!

At this stage in my life I prefer the former, rather than the latter.

Town and Country shoe ad-Charm Magazine January 1955

Mandel shoe ad-Charm Magazine-1955

No vintage woman’s magazine would be complete without some type of spot reducing or weight loss ad. Wouldn’t it be great if a contraption like this really worked?

“Simple to use. Just plug in,  grab handle and apply to most any part of the body -stomach, hips, neck, chest, thighs, arms, etc.” Hmmm, wonder what they meant by etc?

spot reducer ad-Charm Magazine-January 1955

Of course, career women needed to look fashionable on vacation too.  Here are a couple of pages from the resort fashion spread.  Cole of California lastex swimsuit on the left and a cute sundress by Loomtogs on right Loomtogs was another well known sportswear label.

Resortwear-Charm Magazine-January 1955

Toni Todd-Charm Magazine January 1955

Blouse and skirt set by Toni Todd, Charm Magazine Jan 1955

 

Loomtogs ad-Charm Magazine 1955

Loomtogs ad-Charm Magazine 1955

 

Charm was eventually incorporated into Glamour magazine in 1959. But the original founder, Helen Valentine, and art director, Cipe Pineles, were certainly ahead of their time.

Till next time……

 

By | 2020-01-22T13:59:49-04:00 January 22nd, 2020|Fashion|3 Comments

About the Author:

Theresa
Hi, I'm Theresa, owner and chief classy dame at the Blue Velvet Vintage online boutique. Lover of mid century fashion and home decor, classic films, Old Hollywood, pretty dresses, red lipstick, swing dancing and retro culture in general. Between my ecommere site and vintage style blog my mission is to revive the eras of classy dressing and inspire women to add more glamour to their lives! So don't be shy! I love to hear from others who share my appreciation of the styles of the past.

3 Comments

  1. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell January 24, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    Glad you found me, Mary Beth. Yes, I have been to many 40s themed events. Please don’t hesitate to contact me through my website with any questions you may have about 1940s outfits. https://www.bluevelvetvintage.com/help.php?section=contactus&mode=update

    Thanks for visiting!

    Theresa

  2. Avatar
    MaryBeth Edwards January 24, 2020 at 2:52 pm

    Hi Theresa! It’s my first time here reading your blog and I am absolutely in love with it! I’ve actually been looking for information on the 1940s for a party I’m organizing and your site will be a God-send! Thank you so much for sharing your love of the decades past with us! Have you ever seen or been to a 1940s themed party?

    MaryBeth

  3. Avatar
    Ann January 23, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    Oh, what a treat, Theresa! Thank you so much for sharing the pages of this wonderful magazine. Both the ads and the fashions are seriously drool-worthy, and quite a bit different from the usual women’s magazines at the time. xxx

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