Jul 17, 2013

The Wonder of Local Department Stores

As many of you already know, I am very interested in the history of local department stores. Stores that had their own labels sewn into garments. Stores that carried exclusives from big name designers Stores that were locally owned, or at least were founded by residents. And even when they were bought  up, retained their time honored name and specific flavor. At one time, most major American cities, and quite a few small ones, had 'their' store that carried the top of the line available for the area. And when you wanted something with even more cachet, you drove to the next bigger city and when to their department store. The quality in these could be superb. Many prided themselves on offering styles that were from the top lines in the US. I done some research into the stores in my area, and it's one of the most popular pages on pastperfectvintage.com. Here's the link:   Louisville Department Stores: a Short History

If you are into history, I highly recommend researching the shops of your own area. Because most of these are gone; they largely closed by the 1980s. And the people that remember them are getting on. 

You can imagine my pleasure when I found these two ads from a national magazine available on ebay. Selmans' was a great ladies clothing store and a favorite of my grandmother's. And that's Ben Reig printed crepe from 1944.    

This one for Stewart's is a killer Adrian from 1947. The only Adrian I have ever found locally was from Stewart's. It gives me hope they are more out there yet!  Stewart's had an exclusive agreement in Ky., plus legions of loyal shoppers. They carried everything - furniture, linens, children's clothing and menswear. Lunch was in the Orchid Room. And they labeled almost all of it. I eat three meals a day at a 1930s Stewart's dining table. This is one of the labels I see most frequently when on the hunt. Now to find this suit.  

1 comment:

Julia C said...

I just enjoyed your article on Louisville department stores. I have a distant connection there because my father's family was from New Albany. However, I also worked as a copywriter, just at the end of what I think of as the golden age of retail advertising. And the places where I worked, gone: Rich's in Atlanta, Sanger Harris in Dallas, among others. Bittersweet to think back about all those wonderful stores.