In 1973 ‘The News’ Adelaide’s afternoon newspaper, took a look back at Adelaide in 1923 and compared the fashion and shopping in the city fifty years on. After another 40 years it makes fascinating reading to see how things changed and how much they have changed again;
“In 1923 the scene was in and around mainly Rundle Street…..as it is today. There was Birks, Cravens, Marshalls, John Martins, Donaldsons, Fitch’s, Sneyd’s and Miller Andersons. At the other end, there was Foy and Gibsons and James Smith in Hindley Street.
Over in Grote Street there was W H Bruce and Moores were in Victoria Square, as they are today. James Blacks shoe store advertised men’s boots and patent and white buckskin for men at 24/6. After 50 years, the scene is still in Rundle Street.
Some of the old names vanished as Myers and David Jones moved in and Foy and Gibsons became Cox Foys but after half a century, the fashion seekers still head for the same locations. But if the scene hasn’t shifted, the goods have certainly altered and shopping patterns have changed.
What’s the difference in 50 years?
The department stores for one thing. The Girls and Maid’s section and Misses and Matrons departments are gone. Somewhere along the way the Teenager appeared to add a new dimension to fashion. The first juvenile fashion parade was started in John Martins in 1965 to head a new era of teenage fashions for teenage taste, and for teens with money to spend on clothes.
For women, corsets have undergone a drastic change. The bone four suspender rust proof constrictors became corselettes (lightly boned), the featherweight girdles of the fifties, the foam contoured foundations of the sixties to pull-on girdles of the power net nylon-stretch with nylon cups. Brassieres went the same way, through foam contouring attached cups to the strapless and finally to the natural look all ready to burn.
Bloomers stayed bloomers right up to the forties. From bloomers they became Milanese knickers and by the sixties they were panties, gussies and pantettes in every colour imaginable. Now they come in neat Cellophane packets, disposable paper briefs.
Trousers for women were big news in 1933 as the columnist reported, “women are ordering them in linen, flannel and even men’s suiting.” Boudoir went out…..and zip fasteners came in. Men’s wide bottomed trousers became the ‘zoot’ suit of 1943 with trousers only 16″ wide at the ankle.
Skirts ranged through dirndls (in the forties) and peg-tops, through the big letdown with Dior’s new ‘new look’ in 1948 to the shorter look a couple of years later. But from that moment it seemed like only a flash through to the full skirted, petticoated vogue to the mini-skirt, and who needs to say anything about Australian mini-skirts
In 1963 the stores were advertising “revolutionary new ironless cotton shirts for men”, but that was small talk; the sixties saw the men blossom into peacocks with such a devestatingly flamboyant array of fashion that would send the shopper of 50 years ago into a tizzy. The men have the edge on this unisex business; they’ve acqired a taste for the flamboyant and the women are only trotting behind.
The seventies are magnificent for men”. Well that might have been the view in the early 70s. When I look back now on some of the fashion (especially men’s fashion) of the 1970s I cringe…..How about you?