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1920s Fashions from B.Altman and Company (Dover Fashion and Costumes) Paperback – 24 Apr 1999


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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications Inc. (24 April 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486402932
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486402932
  • Product Dimensions: 28.4 x 21.2 x 0.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 209,165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 Oct. 2005
Format: Paperback
"1920s Fashions from B. Altman & Company" provides over 700 black & white illustrations, detailed descriptions, and prices for clothing for the upper class of the Jazz Age. The focus is primarily on women's clothing and accessories, with everything from sophisticated evening wear to bathing suits, but you will also find a complete array of clothing for men and children as well. Please remember, because they buy directly from the manufacturer, "thus eliminating the no inconsiderable profits of the middleman," B. Altman & Company are able to offer patrons the benefit of the savings. This is a superb record of the styles worn by flappers in the Roaring Twenties; note than this is not simply the reproduction of a catalog from a particular year, but has fashion culled from the B. Altman catalogs of the entire decade. Interesting Footnote: The B. Altman & Company Department Store is now the New York Public Library Science, Industry & Business Library. Dover also has a reprint edition of "Altman's Spring and Summer Fashions Catalog, 1915," which records the fashions worn in the United States in the years before the First World War. This volume will be of interest to the fashion historian and of great use to costume designers working with this period of American History.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 22 reviews
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
A book for 1920's fashion fans! 14 July 2002
By CRK - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a lovely book of a wide variety of catalog drawings and photos from the B. Altman Company which carried higher quality items as compared to the Sears catalog books. There are men's and women's clothes and childrens clothes, hats, undergarments, stockings, shoes...A real treat if you are interested in what the upper middle class might have worn. And everything progresses by the year, so you can see how the fashions developed.
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
What the well dressed Flapper was wearing in the 1920s 21 Dec. 2002
By Lawrance Bernabo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"1920s Fashions from B. Altman & Company" provides over 700 black & white illustrations, detailed descriptions, and prices for clothing for the upper class of the Jazz Age. The focus is primarily on women's clothing and accessories, with everything from sophisticated evening wear to bathing suits, but you will also find a complete array of clothing for men and children as well. Please remember, because they buy directly from the manufacturer, "thus eliminating the no inconsiderable profits of the middleman," B. Altman & Company are able to offer patrons the benefit of the savings. This is a superb record of the styles worn by flappers in the Roaring Twenties; note than this is not simply the reproduction of a catalog from a particular year, but has fashion culled from the B. Altman catalogs of the entire decade. Interesting Footnote: The B. Altman & Company Department Store is now the New York Public Library Science, Industry & Business Library. Dover also has a reprint edition of "Altman's Spring and Summer Fashions Catalog, 1915," which records the fashions worn in the United States in the years before the First World War. This volume will be of interest to the fashion historian and of great use to costume designers working with this period of American History.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Real 1920's fashions 15 Aug. 2008
By B. Weaves - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the real deal. It's what people really wore, not the weird fashion illustrations (although I enjoy looking at those, too). It's interesting to see how modern some of the items are. I'd love to wear the shoes, coats and bags, and a few of the ladies sweater suits today. On the other hand, some of the clothing is incredibly oldfashioned.

The ladies undergarments are a scream. You buy them by your chest size in inches. Notice that there is no "cup size" because these are designed to squash you flat into a tube. See item 4546: "Bust Supporter and Diaphragm Confiner of a strong quality of pick silk tricotine . . . giving a very flat appearance when worn with a very low top corset. Sizes 34 to 46. $5.00

Also, some of the pictures are actually photographs and the models are very "chinny." The models are decidedly shorter and chubbier than today's models, and the flat chests make their chins look even bigger. It's interesting to see how the definition of "pretty" has changed over the decades.

This is great inspiration for anyone interested in vintage clothing or clothing design, or just fun if you love fashion.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Charming reference but Kindle edition is too low res 1 Oct. 2012
By Hyacinth - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As other reviewers have mentioned, this is an interesting (if short) cross-section of clothing for sale from the upscale B. Altman & Company catalogs during the 1920s. As someone researching fashion in the early 1920s, I appreciated the chronological ordering and the original product descriptions detailing price and materials.

There were three problems with this otherwise pleasing collection. The first and biggest is that the graphics for the kindle edition are not high enough resolution. Text is illegible at normal kindle display size, and if you blow it up to a larger size (awkward to do in many kindle applications) the font is extremely fuzzy.

A second, smaller irritation was the fact there are no dates on the illustrations (which would have been easy enough to include).

The third issue I had was the brevity of this collection (128 pp.) Because it contains a little bit of everything, riding outfits, fur coats, undergarments, night-robes, baby accessories, the space devoted to adult clothing of the sort one might see at the theater, dining out, or an informal party ends up being quite small. For the early twenties, there was one illustration of "frocks" one of "skirts" and one of "gowns," which felt unnecessarily skimpy. A few more illustrations of what people wore between the undergarments and fur coats would have been appreciated.

All in all, this is a fun book to browse through and provides a *slightly* better window into 1920s clothing than you can easily find on the internet. In my opinion, a larger selection and higher resolutuion images would have cinched an enthusiastic five stars.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
No flappers here! 31 July 2012
By Chrijeff - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I almost didn't buy this book, but I'm glad I decided to in the end. B. Altman, a department store and New York City landmark 1864-1989, was perhaps at its height during the prosperous "Roaring" '20's. Of course most of what you read about that decade gives you the impression that everyone was guzzling illicit liquor, necking and petting, and dancing the Charleston night and day. Not these models: the shortest skirts in the book hit at just below the knee, and the trio of women on the front cover (their description is found on page 33) look not only well-turned-out but positively elegant. Clothing for women, children, toddlers, and teens is included, with everything from hosiery and skimpy undies (at least in *that* Altman's clientele expected to find "the latest and most modern" styles) through bathing suits and riding clothes to evening gowns and warm coats. The illustrations are a mix of photographs, sketches, and paintings, and while unfortunately in black-and-white they all include full descriptions and prices--no orphan double-spread layouts need apply! The prices are of course higher than you'll find in the corresponding Dover Sears book Everyday Fashions of the Twenties as Pictured in Sears and Other Catalogs (Dover Fashion and Costumes), but the general styles aren't dissimilar, and by averaging out the two you'll probably get a good idea of what most shoppers--not the bargain hunters and not the fashion mavens--would have paid for their clothes at the time.
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