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December 17, 2013

Holiday Shopping At Sears – 1959 Edition

By Eartha Kitsch

I don’t know if you’re like me but when I go out shopping for holiday gifts and ensembles, I am often left feeling kind of well, “Meh”.  I have a hard time finding much razzle-dazzle and excitement in many of the newer goods of today. Call me “a dreamer” or “old fashioned” but so be it. They bore me. I started thinking about what it would be like to be able to go back in time and shop and well, THAT got me pretty excited! I had to look no further than my shelf of old department store catalogs to find inspiration. This post will be sponsored retrospectively by the Sears Fall and Winter catalog from 1959!

In today’s post you’ll see some items that I had a good time imagining coming home with me in cute shopping bags and brown paper parcels. Oh, if only! First up, my dream wardrobe for holiday parties:



The red one! YES…


We’d better get some frilly-frill crinolines to go under those full skirts!


That page gives me SO much joy. Swish! Swish!



I can’t decide between the polka dot number with the awesome kimono belt…. or the chic blue sheath dress. Which one would you choose?


Now for some daytime wear – you know luncheons with the ladies and shopping!


Wow, don’t you just love how sophisticated and pulled together these ladies look? I’m kind of over the moon for that blue ensemble!



I love the large rhinestone “B” necklace and the brunette’s cute flip hairdo. And the green velvet headband.


Next up, a wardrobe for the Mister!


I like these handsome wash and wear shirts.



Here are some guys just hanging out in their pajamas….like guys do.  Hmm…. Apparently, there is some kind of pajama contest because there seems to be a trophy involved. Or maybe they’re at a soapbox derby. I’ll never claim to understand the underground world of men. Look at those blue pajamas that are made to look like a sporty outfit!



Some kind of Don Draper moment going on here. Nice suit!


And how about a couple’s outfit?


Okay, that one makes me giggle a little. His pajamas have an ascot and knitted moccasins. Hands up if your spouse would even remotely consider this idea!


How about a family ensemble?


Okay, I will openly love these outfits. LOVE.


Ooh! We need cute shoes!


With. A. Poodle. Well, hello there 1959. I want to hug you.


How about a little something dramatic?


Magnum Sleeves! Oooooh!


And finally, some goodies for my imaginary Christmas kids:


I don’t know if you’re fully taking in the wonder here but that red outfit? She’s a kangaroo. See that little joey in her pouch?  The bunny! The leopard! Oh gosh!



These are all my imaginary buckaroo sons. The Duggars have got nothin’ on us and soon, we’re going to start our own singing group!



Squeaking Kitten Mittens! Oh wow, y’all. Seriously.



Look at these dear little hats! I’m not sure that I can pick a favorite.



These slippers are amazing!  You’ve got Roy Rogers. You’ve got tartan wearing dogs and kittens with whiskers. Did I tell you how modern wares bore me? I think I did.



Though, I love a good bulky sweater, I included this one just for the neat bangs alone.


What about you? Did you see anything here that you’d pack up in your time machine if we could go back? You know, there is an order card still in the catalog. What if we filled it out and sent it off and something magical happened? Sigh.


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21 Responses to Holiday Shopping At Sears – 1959 Edition

  1. sherree Reply

    December 17, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Oh Eartha this post just made my day!!! Oh how I wish that we all cared that much about how we dressed today, even at home 🙂 We have lost that somewhere along the way 🙁 My parents dressed up all the time. My elderly mothers tells me that dad wore a suit and tie and she wore a dress and heels even when going to a baseball game!

    • Eartha Kitsch Reply

      December 17, 2013 at 1:39 pm

      Thanks so much Sherree! 🙂 I’d hoped that you all would enjoy these scans. I could look at this catalog for hours and just shriek at every page! I wish that we could get some of that attention to detail and presentation back.

  2. Beth Reply

    December 17, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Wonderful post, Eartha! You and I live in the same world. I dressed just like the little girls pictured here, bangs and all. I wanted to grow up and dress like the mommies. Glad there are others who feel the same way.

    • dkzody Reply

      December 17, 2013 at 11:35 am

      Beth, I had the bangs and some of those clothes. We did dress differently back then, didn’t we? I remember we always dressed up to go to the city for shopping. All the women wore dresses as there were very few trousers for women. My mother had hats, handbags, and shoes to match. Wonder what our children will say of the 80s when they are my age.

      • Eartha Kitsch Reply

        December 17, 2013 at 1:38 pm

        It’s so interesting. People always made sure that they looked presentable no matter what. They would have never dreamed of wearing pajamas to the grocery store or airport! 🙂

    • Eartha Kitsch Reply

      December 17, 2013 at 1:38 pm

      Thanks Beth! I definitely do. We’ve lost so much charm and glamour and I want it back! 🙂

  3. Andrea Reply

    December 17, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Fantastic post, but OMG those little girl’s hats! I need to find some of those, Ella would wear the heck out of them!

    • Eartha Kitsch Reply

      December 17, 2013 at 1:37 pm

      Thanks Andrea! 🙂 Wow, wouldn’t she be just adorable in those hats? Might be time for someone to start making these again. And in adult sizes too.

  4. Sara In AZ Reply

    December 17, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Girl, you KNOW that I’d be all over getting every single one of those dresses AND the petticoats!!! Eeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!! And oh my gosh….those kids PJ outfits…..the bunny…..LOVE!!!

    I have to say, though Mike loves me A LOT……even if I begged he’d NEVER go for a matching PJ set! 😉

    • Eartha Kitsch Reply

      December 17, 2013 at 1:36 pm

      Ha! I can totally see Mike doing it for you though! 🙂

  5. Libby Reply

    December 17, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    OMG there are no words for how much I covet this catalogue. Wherever did you find it?!? GREEEEN with envy!

    • Eartha Kitsch Reply

      December 17, 2013 at 1:33 pm

      Thanks! Yes, I got it in a basement at an estate sale. I got eight or ten catalogs that day. It was SUPER exciting!

  6. Claudia Reply

    December 17, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Do you have a copy of this catalog? If so, you are one lucky gal. And the crinoline image is definitely the winner. Thanks for sharing!

    • Eartha Kitsch Reply

      December 17, 2013 at 1:34 pm

      Thanks Claudia! I just love the joy in the crinoline photos! And yes, I own it. Found it an estate sale. 🙂

  7. tammyCA Reply

    December 17, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    Love these catalog pics! Ha, when looking at my old magazines at the ads for cool stuff that say “send 50cents to receive your…” I always think what if I sent in for it now, and it magically came? Cue the Twilight Zone music.

    I remember wearing hats similar to the little girls (figure E)..mine was red with a yarn tassle. We didn’t have Sears stores nearby until the ’70s..back then we shopped for clothes at department stores, like Crawfords & Goldblatts…back when clothes had price tags pinned on with straight pins..ouch.

  8. Eartha Kitsch Reply

    December 17, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Twilight Zone for sure, Tammy! If only….

    I miss good ole nicely decorated department stores with congenial staff. Those were definitely the good ole days! And yes, tags with straight pins! That? I don’t miss. 🙂

  9. Lacey Reply

    December 17, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Oh this post is so much fun! I LOVE all of the holiday wares and your cute commentary made me giggle. I’d actually be tempted by the couple’s pajama set; I always thought it was cute that Lucy and Ricky wore matching pj’s in the early seasons of I Love Lucy.
    And if only we could zoom out on that men’s sleepwear photo to see what’s inspiring the look of awe from the guy in the middle. Also, what is the man on the right holding in his hand? Is it some sort of remote control? Hmmm…I wonder if catalog readers in 1959 were intrigued by this photo, as well, or if it was an obvious depiction of a popular activity from the past, since disappeared.
    Thank you for these scans!

    • Eartha Kitsch Reply

      December 17, 2013 at 8:14 pm

      Thanks so much, Lacey! I’m glad that you like them! 🙂 I’d like to know too! There was nothing further in the picture to give us a clue so I guess we’ll always have to wonder. I would imagine that it’s always an interesting scenario to hang out in pajamas with trophies but maybe the editor just thought it seemed manly! 🙂

  10. Ruth Reply

    December 17, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Man, do I remember Sear’s Catalogs–what family didn’t have one around back then! I don’t remember much about them except the toy section that my brother and I fought over, at least until the 60’s when I was a teenager. Wish I’d paid more attention to the adult fashions, although the teen ones were fabulous. I used to pick some out and then save my money to try and get something. Or tried to find patterns that matched them and make copies. Loved the sweaters! In Oklahoma we also had the JC Penney catalog, especially at Christmas, and John A Brown’s (similar to Penny’s). There was also OTASCO–Oklahoma Tire and Supply Co–which always had a great toy catalog! And of course T.G.& Y., which was a pre-Wally department store. Oh, the money I spent there on fabric and “girly” stuff over the years. All those 60’s jewelry flower pins that my mom still has! I do remember having to run to a grocery store once with curlers in my hair and just being mortified. Properly brought up young ladies didn’t do that!

    • Eartha Kitsch Reply

      December 17, 2013 at 10:45 pm

      Ha! That’s awesome, Ruth! I recently saw a huge photo of a grocery store from the 50’s with all of the customers and there was this poor woman in curlers and a bright blue scarf over her head and I couldn’t help but think that she was thinking, “Great! Of all days for me to come to the market with these curlers in!” 🙂

      The toy sections really were the best in those catalogs back in the day. My brother and I would make lists and then mark through things and rethink our wishes. Such great memories!

  11. Charlotte Reply

    December 22, 2013 at 11:43 am

    I want all of it!

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