100 Years Ago: News from the Bloomington, Evening World Thursday, August 9, 1917

100 Years Ago: News from the Bloomington, Evening World Thursday, August 9, 1917


Still Time Left For Summer Fashion–

The war news on Thursday takes up a lot of space on the front page, but it is all about mobilization. There is the slow grind of the draft (6 men ready for service, out of 53 examined for the day) and efforts to recruit more volunteers for Company F. Burton Woolery (warning, spoilers in link, as they say on the internet), apparently already well-known, was back in town to help at the recruiting office). Maybe it was thought that giving the lead story to the promotion of local men, including several IU athletes, to officer would help with the recruiting effort. (A separate story about three Company F men arrested for joyriding reflected less well on the outfit.) Also on the front page it was announced that the local schools would not take up until September 18 and reported that Indiana University’s summer session was coming to an end.

With almost a month left of summer vacation and the Labor Day weekend ahead, there was still time for some summer fun, presuming you weren’t busy with Indiana’s harvest or war work – perhaps a trip out to West Baden to the mineral water springs (in one’s own motorcar). The second page feature “Fads and Fancies of Fashion” had wardrobe suggestions for the ladies in the party, featuring bathing costumes and “motor hats.” The bathing costumes still look pretty bulky and elaborate, more for lounging than swimming, but that might have been just the thing for West Baden (or Martinsville, which also had a spa industry in those days.) There were more streamlined suits available by then for serious athletes, such as these 1912 Olympic swimmers .  By 1920 the Victorian bathing costume would be definitely giving way to the modern swimsuit. Looking ahead to the 1920s too are the deep, hair-covering “motor hats” which were designed to keep the hair neat in an era in which cars were not fully enclosed and even the windshield was still sometimes an optional feature. Conservative and thrifty women could head down to Wicks, Bloomington’s hometown department store, and purchase summer suiting fabric, on sale for $0.39 a yard, to make their own outfit for the upcoming holiday.


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