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Lana Lobell catalog featured 1950s fashion

When it came to 1950s fashion, Lana Lobell dress catalogs marketed the latest fads. Here we spotlight fashion trends from the summer catalog of 1955.

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Lana Lobell sold the latest in 1950s fashions

The belted waistlines, cheerful patterns and full skirts featured throughout the Lana Lobell catalogs showed 1950s fashion at its finest. The pages featured in the gallery above came from a 1955 edition of the fashion clothing catalog, called “Summer Symphony of Fashions.”

The Lana Lobell catalog was first launched by Hanover House in 1950. Dress store owner Boris Leavitt started the catalogs as the mail-order arm of his shop, naming them after his daughter, Lana Lobell.

Catalog submitted by Lorine Petty of Placerville, California

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Dee Marshall May 7, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Being a sewer, I really enjoyed this blast from the past. I started sewing at a young age and made my first dress for myself when I was 10 years old. My next project was a dress for my grandmother for Mother’s Day. Grandma was a very large woman (over 300 lbs) I remember fighting all that fabric, but I ended up with a beautiful green print dress for her with a matching covered belt. She wore it everywhere bragging that her 10 year old grandaughter made it. I made all of my childrens school clothing. I would get the catalogs and copy the new styles for a fraction of the cost

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Lorraine Williams May 7, 2012 at 9:48 pm

I love these dresses! Women really knew how to dress then. Very feminine.

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joyce fleming May 12, 2012 at 11:50 am

i loved all the styles back then. you never saw yourself coming and going. fashion said something back then. i’m 73 but in the 50′s when my sister and i went anywhere, even to the movies we dressed up. ahhhhhhhhhhh memories

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Donna May 8, 2012 at 9:39 am

I adored those dresses. Wish the style would come back. They were so feminine,

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Lana Riggs September 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm

I wish they would too but my waist is too big for them.. I did wear them in the late 50′s and 60′s…

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Donna Kepler February 10, 2014 at 12:30 pm

I love them too. I wish it was easier to find cotton or linen dresses for everyday/office wear. Too many of the dresses that are available today are made of artificial fabric which doesn’t breathe. I want to wear clothes that look cute and don’t make me sweat.

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Connie Mays May 10, 2012 at 1:45 pm

I miss people actually taking pride in how they dressed. Everyone came to town on Saturday, dressed for shopping or eating in a restaurant (what a treat!) Women wore dresses, gloves and sometimes a hat. The men were dressed in slacks and shirts and could get their shoes shined on the courthouse steps. Now, people dress so slovenly, it’s disgusting.

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LaNell March 11, 2013 at 12:53 am

I agree. I grew up in the ’50′s and loved the clothes we wore back then. And I’m always disgusted with the way a lot of people dress today.

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Donna Kepler February 10, 2014 at 12:32 pm

I wish hats were back in style. They would make hair a lot easier to deal with. I’ll never forget that scene in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, where Audrey Hepburn overslept and had almost no time to get ready, so she twisted her hair up on her head, put on a hat, and looked breathtakingly elegant!

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Mary May 10, 2012 at 3:00 pm

How totally wild is it to see these styles again. I love the gloves & hats as accessories. What wistful memories it brings to mind. The full skirts & bobby sox I wore in grade school. How fun to remember!!

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Judy May 10, 2012 at 6:03 pm

I agree! Men cannot seem to even remove their silly baseball caps while eating in a nice restaurant! Disgusting. And…where has simple etiquette gone?

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saira rizwan September 11, 2012 at 11:22 am

Simple etiquette has become extinct like so many other things on the planet. Sad.

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Michelle May 10, 2012 at 3:10 pm

I love the fashions of the 40′s and 50′s! These dresses are beautiful, and I so wish they would come back in style. I know I’d wear them!

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Holly May 11, 2012 at 12:39 am

Wear them anyway! They are so lovely.

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Marsha September 24, 2013 at 4:05 pm

The pattern books (especially Butterick) are full of the old vintage styles! Make them up and wear them today!

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Pat Lovell May 10, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Love it! : ) thanks for sharing.

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Carolyn May 10, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Connie, I could not agree with you more. People behave in direct relation to how they are dressed. We need only look at today’s schools to see evidence of that.

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CJ Woodring July 16, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Carolyn,
You are so right. Somehow, people don’t seem to understand the correlation between dressing well and acting well. But even at our ages, don’t we feel better when we know we look nice? It’s about self-respect, which can’t be found on a basketball court, among other places. America truly has become the home of the free and the land of the slobs. And I don’t think it’s about nostalgia from the older generation…

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Mary Campbell May 10, 2012 at 3:47 pm

I loved the Lana Lobell dresses. They bring back good memories when I was a teen. Everything was so pretty and feminine. Full skirts and pony tails. What fun to reminisce.

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Norma Berghs May 10, 2012 at 5:03 pm

I agree that those fashions were very feminine. Also flattering to the figure. Look at the tiny waists.

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beatrice miller May 10, 2012 at 5:22 pm

I remember these dresses. I sewed lots of the styles for my wardrobe in the 50′s.

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Joyce McGhee May 10, 2012 at 5:30 pm

I adored the Lana Lobell catalog! It really was a Wish Book for me. My family was too poor to order clothes from it, though. Lucky for me I learned how to make clothes for myself in Home Ec(onomics). As a mother myself I also made clothes for my 2 girls and 1 boy.

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Robin Witherspoon May 11, 2012 at 8:08 am

I remember my mother and grandmother wearing these styles when I was a little girl in the late fifties and early sixties. It would be nice to have pretty clothes again – except for the gloves.

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Winnie Schonning May 11, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Because I was so tall, 5″ 11″” — which in 1950 was very tall — I made most of my
own clothes but they were so similar to those from Lana Lobell. I was a young
mom then with two young sons, and the styles always made me feel like a “lady”.
Wouldn’t it be nice for that feminine look to return? Along with gloves and a hat!

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pat milo May 11, 2012 at 3:20 pm

They are lovely and feminine. I remember my aunt in a very full skirted dress with my father, mother, my grandmother, and I on a couch for a photo. I was really young at the time and it had to be early 50′s. Grandma made most of my aunt’s clothes and she had some very beautiful ones. Dresses seem to be coming back. But those very full skirted ones are not practical I think for everyday. Those skirts could be a hinderance in office work or active up and down jobs. I do agree people dress very sloppily these days.

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Norma Ventre May 11, 2012 at 5:31 pm

It’s refreshing to see the “old” styles of 50s- We dressed carefully to look our best.

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Pam May 12, 2012 at 3:36 pm

They look like the first dresses I had with the my very first Barbie Doll that came with the black and white striped strapless bathing suit.

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Marsha September 24, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Me too!

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Patricia Tocci May 12, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Ah! I remember the dresses and the slips we wore under them to poof them out; I wore a straight silk or cotton slip that protected my legs from the stiffer slips. Oh, I wish that I still had my 17in. waist!!! a slim waistline and one of these feminine fashions and you felt like a Lady! But do you remember that we had to starch and iron the dresses? The carefree fabrics of today were not in our closets! I still iron once in a while, but prefer the wash and wear materials of today. I do not appreciate wrinkles, so I guess that I will always own a iron and give our clothes a finishing touch. I love to Reminisce and I Thank You for the chance to relax and relive my youth. Happy Mother’s Day!

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Tina May 13, 2012 at 9:59 am

I feel I was born in the wrong era as I have always loved the demure and feminine styles of the 40′s and 50′s. So I spend a lot of time on ebay looking at the vintage ladies patterns and have now gotten a large collection to choose from. I shall bring back for myself these lovely fashions when women knew how to dress like a lady. PS. Last time I wore a hat out for a meal after Sunday worship, I was treated differently by the wait staff and even other patrons of the restaurant. Though they may not say it, when one dresses properly, it automatically elicites a positive response from others!!!

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Sidney Crowe Walker May 13, 2012 at 6:49 pm

I suppose we had to struggle a little more than some of the people who have written so far. We lived in the country and I was born in 1946. I remember mother having daddy get feed in matching sacks so she could use them to make our clothes. I always was proud of the dresses that mother made for me. I do remember mother taking me and my sister to Atlanta on the bus one day to buy me a bought dress to start first grade in. She wanted me to have a purple plaid one but I insisted on the red one since red was my favorite color. Mother always wore dresses that buttoned down the front and a apron over them. When she was pregnant with my younger sisters, she just left the middle buttons open and the apron covered her stomach. Most people just thought she was fat, at least until the baby was born. When I got older and had a job, I bought store bought fabrics and mother made the four of us children beautiful dresses. We always teased our mother that she could throw her pattern into the air and cut the fabric out as it fell because she had so few straight pins. The patterns were usually the same ones that she just altered to look a little different or altered to fit whichever one she was making the dress for. Mother is gone now but I know how hard she worked to keep house, raise four girls, help our dad who was a farmer and do all the other things she did to make our life a wonderful one.

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Violet May 14, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Last year I bought a treadle sewing machine. It reminded me of my paternal grandmother who I never saw again after I was just a toddler. Still, I have very vivid memories of her cooking, sewing, cleaning, killing chickens and making a huge feast after church on Sundays.
I sew for pleasure. As I recall my grandmother at her sewing machine, I hope she had pleasure in the work she did. I’m sure she did her sewing on a “need to do” basis.
I know that she and other women got together for quilting.
I know she fed her household from the garden that she grew.
I know she helped in every way around the farm, including picking cotton and tending the cows and pigs.
I don’t know how the women of that era did so much.
She did not have lots of people helping like sisters or other relatives.
All I remember being at the farm were her and my grandfather.
How did they do it?

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kim May 16, 2012 at 1:27 am

These were the styles of the paper dolls dresses I played with when I was a kid. I had hours of fun dressing them up glamorously to go “downtown”. I remember one of my paper dolls was Lucille Ball and my friend had a paper doll with a white fur coat among the collection of paper dresses. Though I never own such elegant dresses for real but I owned paper dresses of them.

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shirley May 17, 2012 at 7:03 pm

I cannot find the price of the blue dress in the May 2012. Help!

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john May 21, 2012 at 8:55 am

If it’s the one I think you mean, it was $5.98 back in 1955.

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Kathryn May 20, 2012 at 3:00 pm

I was born in the “wrong” era too. I dressed in the big poofy dresses when I was a little girl and remember my Mom and Aunts dressing like the catalog. Alas, when I grew up dressing like a “hippie” was cool! Now I am appalled by what I see out in public, and often wonder if anyone owns a mirror these days and do they consult it before going to the store?? If we want the “look” to come back then WE need to make it happen! If enough women dressed like this then maybe we could start a trend. I remember wearing hats to church in the early 80′s, I was the only one doing so. Gradually I started seeing a few more hats on other heads, finally within a season there was about a dozen or so. It can be done girls!! Get out those old patterns and lets bring back the crinoline (well OK, maybe not those scratchy old things)!

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Eriadna Blumenfeld May 23, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Growing up in the 40′s in the Dominican Rep. all the clothes were sewn by Mom (many friends whose moms did not sew, send it to the seamstress). I remember the Lana Lobell catalogs. Mom would do dresses for me and my three sisters by looking at the catalog and cut from an old newspapers the pattern. We were the best dressed girls in church every Sabbath (although I did not know that until one of the other girls of the church told me that in the 1970′s). We wore crinolines. Mom made them with sheet material and starched them. We looked glamorous. When the crinolines died in the early 60′s, my youngest sister and I kept them for years thinking they will return. To this day, never returned. My now late sister one day told, “do not expect them to return, girls now don’t want all that clothing, on the contrary, for them, the less the best”.

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Anna May 24, 2012 at 4:16 pm

What a treasure. I will take my time to properly absorb each page. I was born in the fifties but wish I had been old enough to wear these.

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Donna July 1, 2012 at 9:38 am

I loved getting dressed up. The dresses bring back many happy memories of how I once looked. We got dressed up to go to the store, we didn’t look like bums. Oh well time does change.

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Donna July 1, 2012 at 9:44 am

One more comment: I loved the bolario sweaters and/or tops. And especially wearing belts. There were many styles that I copied when I was making my own clothes. Sorry about not being together on my comments.

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Katrina @ Edelweiss Patterns July 1, 2012 at 2:23 pm

How gorgeous! I sew lots of vintage 1950s dresses like this, and get a huge number of compliments from women who wore these styles when they were in highschool. There’s nothing like the elegance of the 1950s! (You can see some of my 1950s reproductions on this page: http://www.edelweisspatterns.com/blog/?page_id=2598

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Karlene Scheel July 1, 2012 at 5:23 pm

I was in High School in the 50,s and remember wearing some dresses like these. wish they still sold them. thanks for the memories.

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LINDA REEVES July 10, 2012 at 4:41 pm

I too, remember my mother going to town to shop wearing a dress. When I went to school I always wore dresses and loved the full skirts, twirling around. What good days those were. We lived on a farm and I had chores to do, but when they were finished, I would play with my paper dolls for hours. There were so many beautiful outfits. I had Loretta Young and many others including Dale Evans with western style outfits. Our house burned and I lost those paper dolls and the clothes, but these pictures take me back to a time when women were ladies and dress with respect for themselves. It would never be considered to dress as women do today. We have lost our pride and beauty.

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Corrine Opel September 28, 2012 at 12:25 pm

My husband and I were dating in the 50′s and got married in 1958. My dresses I wore to my two bridal showers were similar to this and my wedding dress was of a similar style as these …. evening length and full skirt. Very flattering and I wouldn’t have wanted it any ohter way.

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Paige April 5, 2013 at 7:09 pm

i’m 14 and i would have loved to grow up in the 50′s just because of the style

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carole Black MacKinley November 3, 2013 at 11:12 am

when I was very young teenager I sold dress for Lana Lobell. Mostly tpo my relatives and friends..

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Annamay Olsen February 14, 2014 at 2:09 pm

What about the waistlines of the 1950′s? The majority of the women today would have a problem…

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