Fashion Treasure in New York’s Golden Anniversary

22 May

I’m a history lover and an aesthete, so when I came across an official Golden Anniversary Jubilee book, I found myself in heaven.

{Fashion Treasure in New York’s Golden Anniversary}

At first I was just lost in this time capsule of a book — each page a key-hole into the past — but then I realized the theme was the “Golden Anniversary” of New York. So what did that mean?

City of New York Golden Anniversary of Fashion 1898-1948The book, titled: “Official Jubilee Edition, City of New York Golden Anniversary of Fashion 1898-1948”, is a momento from a three-month-long celebration of New York’s 50th anniversary as incorporated city in Summer 1948.

Yes, New York was settled in the colonial era — first claimed by the Dutch in 1609 as “New Amsterdam”, so why in 1948 was the Mayor’s Committee celebrating 50 years?

The answer lies in another brief tidbit of historical trivia. The city was not officially incorporated until 1898, when Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Richmond (aka Staten Island) were consolidated into one city.

I can only imagine the gaiety and exuberant private parties that were held in the summer of 1948. It was three years after the end of World War II and the final troops were arriving home, as America, and New York, began marching proudly into the future.

Opening Advert - classic late 1940s style

An advert on the opening title page showing a classic late 1940s style. Still showing military design influences, the clean lines are strong yet equally feminine.

New York’s skyline in the 1940s: Surprisingly, the brilliance of what it was and what it is today hasn’t much changed!

The New York Skyline in the 1940s

Old New York

The "old" New York.

New York: Through the Eyes of a Child

New York: "Through the Eyes of a Child"

New York: Through the Eyes of a Woman

New York: "Through the Eyes of a Woman"

New York: Through the Eyes of a Man

New York: "Through the Eyes of a Man"

But What About the Fashion?

According to New York Historical Society, “the Golden Jubilee festivities began in June on Fifth Avenue when the 75,000 multi-ethnic city employees and students — many in history-themed floats and costumes — marched in a ‘New York at Work’ parade”.

Later in the summer, at Grand Central Palace (the city’s now-defunct exposition hall), visitors “could coo over the latest offerings from the garment district at one of the Jubilee’s many fashion shows; marvel at a scale model of the city’s water system or ‘Man and the Atom,’ described as ‘the most comprehensive and educational atomic energy exhibit ever assembled.’ “

As for the “Official Jubilee Edition”, the book went into pages of sketches outlining the notable style trends of each era. Here’s a brief sampling of the pearls …

1945: During World War II "being sloppy" was very stylish ...

“1945: During World War II “being sloppy” was very stylish …”

the hairstyles of the 1920s

“1930: American girls just arrive in France are making sensation with their hats pushed backwards. It is the first time that American has her word in fashion …”

“1928: A little bit more hair … bangs are a great success …”

The Glamour of the 1940s

“1940: My little hat isn’t funny anymore,” (Clown says).

1944-1946: “The padded shoulders had a very long life … the “new look” finished them.”

1937: “Just before World War II, a French modiste is launching a little doll hat — which women love the world over. Grandmothers are wearing as well or not as well as young girls.”

1943: “The first pictures are coming out of Paris during the German occupation showing outgrown hats and turbans — large enough to make the victor nervous.”

What’s the Take-Away?

Advert: Count on Muse for Inspiration

Advert: "Count on Muse for Inspiration"

Context is decisive.

And, without the context of history, the meaning of culture and where we are today has nary a foundation.

Understanding the historical events which influenced fashion of vintage eras gone by gives us a deeper appreciation for our modern designers borrowing styles and lines from such original trendsetters.

For many eras, fashion wasn’t just a creative whim rather an outward “sign of the times.”

Dandy Wellington

Special thanks to Dandy Wellington for this extraordinary peak into vintage fashion! Visit Dandy at:

For more information on New York’s Golden Anniversary, visit New-York Historical Society at 170 Central Park West, New York, or call: 212-873-3400.

What “original” designers and trendsetters of by-gone eras inspire you?

Discuss now on Thrifty Vintage Chic’s Facebook page.

5 Responses to “Fashion Treasure in New York’s Golden Anniversary”

  1. John Ulysses March 31, 2012 at 11:41 AM #

    I found a copy of this while cleaning out our house. The covers are a little dirty and the upper edge binding is worn away a little. Otherwise every page is there. Any idea if I can sell this?


    • Thrifty Vintage Chic April 4, 2012 at 12:46 PM #

      John, when I did my research on it a little while ago, it seems that it was on eBay for around $15-30. Does that help? Let me know if you’d be interested in a private sale … because I am! 😀


    • Thrifty Vintage Chic June 4, 2012 at 3:51 PM #

      John, lucky you! I am certain you could probably sell it … and, I would be interested if you are parting with it! 😀


      • Barbara June 2, 2015 at 10:56 AM #

        Would you like a copy of this book?


  2. carole debeer August 15, 2015 at 4:39 AM #

    I have a copy


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