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~The Glambassador~
Lane Bryant Catalog – Spring/Summer 1956

Lane Bryant Catalog – Spring/Summer 1956

To say that I was thrilled to find this Lane Bryant catalog from 1956 in perfect condition would be an absolute understatement. I’ve been curating a Pinterest board of Lane Bryant catalog pages for years. While I was shopping on Etsy the other night, I came across this complete catalog and grabbed it up in a heartbeat.

Now, if you know me, you know that I don’t gravitate to the 1950s for outfit inspiration much. But seeing this catalog has really opened my eyes to the fashions and styles of that era. And I am in love with each one of these styles.

A few years back, I was fortunate to find a 1950s Lane Bryant dress, and I was soooo hoping to see this dress in the catalog, but alas, it was not. I do, however, have a hat very similar to one featured in the catalog.

Here’s the hat in the catalog
And here is my hat

The neckline and little attached pins are just darling

Lane Bryant Catalog – Spring/Summer 1956

 

Here’s a little bit of information for those who don’t know about the amazing woman who created Lane Bryant.

In 1895, a 16-year-old immigrant named Lena Himmelstein arrived in New York, having traveled alone from her native Lithuania. Without family, she supported herself by working as a seamstress, earning a dollar a week. A gifted dressmaker, Lena quickly became skilled at her craft. Within a year, she was making the extraordinary wage of fifteen dollars per week. Before the age of 20, Lena married a Jewish immigrant jeweler from Russia named David Bryant. Soon after their son, Raphael, was born, David Bryant died. The widowed Lena Bryant, thrown back on her own devices, supported Raphael and herself by returning to dressmaking in their cramped apartment.

By 1904, Bryant’s business was so successful that she opened a shop with living quarters in the rear. A bank officer misspelled her name on a business account application, and Lena’s first name became Lane. Thus began the pioneering women’s clothing enterprise known as Lane Bryant.

Her designs began with maternity wear. With an innovative elasticized waistband and accordion-pleated skirt, this garment helped liberate middle-class pregnant women who wanted to break with Victorian Tradition. It also helped poorer pregnant women who had no choice but to go to work. The maternity dress soon became the best-selling item in Bryant’s shop.

In 1909, Bryant married Albert Malsin, who became her business partner. Lane Bryant Malsin continued as chief designer, and Albert Malsin concentrated on the firm’s business operations. By 1911, Lane Bryant’s shop was grossing $50,000 per year. However, its great potential was limited because none of New York’s newspapers would accept advertising for maternity clothes. Tradition still dictated that such topics were not discussed in the press. It took the Malsins until 1911 to convince the New York Herald to accept an advertisement. When the paper finally did, Lane Bryant’s entire stock was sold out the next day. The company’s success was now assured.

After WWI, Lane Bryant, Incorporated, introduced clothing for the “stout figure.” As there were no ready-made garments on the market for this customer, Lane Bryant Malsin and her husband decided to measure some 4,500 customers in the store and then utilized other statistics from about 200,000 women to determine three general types of stoutness, then designed clothes to fit them. By 1923, the large-size business had surpassed the maternity wear, accounting for more than half of the annual five million dollars in sales.


Here’s a great article by Louise Klaber about this innovative woman: https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/malsin-lane-bryant

 

5 Comments

    samanthatomczak

    3rd Dec 2020 - 2:57 pm

    beautiful dresses. loved article

    Tandi Sypolt

    5th Dec 2020 - 6:46 pm

    Thanks so much for this post, very informative. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if today’s Lane Bryant carried dresses and suits with the 40s and 50s styles!

      The Glambassador

      7th Dec 2020 - 5:21 pm

      It sure would! I’ve actually e-mailed them several times asking for this very thing. Or even if they had the patterns to sell. But I’ve yet to get a response. A gal can dream.

    samati17

    11th Dec 2020 - 3:32 am

    Oh, I want it all! I always wish it is still possible to order from such catalogues. I am sure nylobn was a miracle to housewives back then. And very interesting story about the brand. Have a lovely weekend. 🙂

    The Eyre Effect

    23rd Dec 2020 - 6:37 am

    Haha I love that we both wore/talked about Lane Bryant this month OH what I wouldn’t give for all the dresses in that catalogue. I adore your whole look!
    xo
    Kristina
    eyreeffect.com

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Hi! I’m Christine ~The Glambassador. Welcome to my collection of musings about glamour, fashion, beauty, and travel ~ all with a vintage flair. I hope you find inspiration to add a little bit of glamour into your everyday life.

 

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