By Ray Schultz
What will advanced civilizations think when they stumble upon this artifact 200 years from now: A 1959 or 1960 catalog from Frederick’s of Hollywood?
It has all the items you’d expect from Frederick’s, from padded bras to waist cinchers. But it also offers dresses, shoes, pants, vitamins, beauty aids, a portable gym and playing cards.
You won’t find fashions by Dior or Balenciaga here. The whole idea is to make 1950s housewives look like the reigning Hollywood sex goddesses: Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield. For those who can’t or won’t go that route, there are loose, concealing garments.
The cover says it all: “Now Showing from Frederic’s of Hollywood starring You!” And it emphasizes the Hollywood setting: “Frederic’s Glamorous new address: at 6608 Hollywood Blvd.”
For all the talk of glamour, the catalog is hardly glossy. The inside pages are on newsprint, and they’re black and white. The color cover is on slightly heavier stock.
The order tells us a lot about how mail order operated in those days. There’s no mention of credit cards. The only payment options offered are:
PREPAID, I enclosed $______________
*If your entire order is under $10.00, enclosed only 50 cents to cover postage and handling.
*If your order is OVER $10.00 enclosed postage and handling fee separately for each item, in the following amount: Bras, Girdles and Panties – 40 cents each, All other items – 50 cents each.
Revolving Credit Club. I enclose $___________the amount I have selected as my monthly membership payment. (See chart on page 33 and fill out form.) California credit customers please use special application form available on request
C.O.D.* I enclose $2 on each item and will pay postman the balance. No C.O.D. orders shipped without deposit.
*C.O.D. orders over $20.00 and less than $50.00 require $5.00 deposit.
*C.O.D. orders over $50.00 require $10.00 deposit.
*No C.O.D. orders shipped to General Delivery addresses.
*C.O.D. orders accepted only within continental U.S.A.