What Not to Wear in 1920: Faculty and Student Fashion

The “Faculty Fashions”  in this diagram include a young woman’s wrap, a wild walking stick, Griffith’s Graceful Glasses, Denkinger’s Dangles, Morgan Model, a Hammond’s Hat (to be worn with academic dresses), crow-shaped slippers (good for leading chapel), The Dyer Dippy Drape, White’s Winter Warmer, and Adam’s Foss Flyer. These items produce a classy, modest, and sophisticated style, which is certainly what the faculty of 1920 aimed for.

The “Student Styles” include a Davis Dash, a Butler’s Blanket, Wickert’s Whitener (makeup powder), Venus Vaze, Coming’s Comforters, Given’s Glory, Sarlsie’s Safe, The “Mary Jane” Simple Smocks and Sandals for Smart Women, and Sutherland’s Slick Slashes. These items all work together to create a fun, sophisticated, and young style that many of the students took on.

During the 1920s, women at Mount Holyoke generally wore clothing like knit dresses, knit sweaters, knit socks, knits gloves, knit skirts… clearly, knit was the fabric of choice for most. It was common for women to change clothes multiple times throughout the day at this time, usually to different styles of dresses, because they “looked fresher” after changing – so mostly for aesthetic purposes. 

Forbes & Wallace was an American department store chain that was based in Springfield, Massachusetts. It was considered Springfield’s leading retail store, consisting of eight floors with varying departments. Advertisements for the store were frequently included in copies of The Mount Holyoke News, and it’s likely that a good portion of the student body had shopped there at one time or another.