Man's Shirt, 1945–55

Man's Shirt, 1945–55

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Description
During the twentieth century, California exported two big ideas that profoundly transformed American culture. One was a casual, outdoor life-style that Californians had evolved to suit their balmy climate. The other was an image of Hollywood glamour: the seductive, elusive, but somehow obtainable “It,” or sex appeal, of the beautiful people who flickered across the silver screen. Catalina, a Los Angeles-based company that had made its debut in 1912 under the name Pacific Knitting Mills, used both images to sell this shirt, which was probably worn in either Ventura or Santa Barbara County, California. The shirt’s tag proclaims that it is by “a California Creator” and was “Styled for the Stars of Hollywood.”
Actors such as Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Montgomery Clift were known for wearing relaxed shirts in big graphic prints both on and off the screen, choosing either the modern abstracts of the "California casual" taste or more thematic "Hawaiian" Aloha shirt designs. However, Catalina's "Styled for the Stars of Hollywood" tag was a generic label that had been used since the mid-1930s. The company coined the slogan when they hired starlets to model their swimsuits, but retained it for their entire line of sportswear.
This short-sleeved shirt is made of navy blue rayon crepe with an abstract swirled light red and white fireworks print. It has a turnover collar with modified spread points. A button and loop under the collar allow the shirt to be worn open or closed at the neck. A full-length center front opening has five dark blue four-holed, narrow-rimmed plastic buttons on the right front edge and a plain front along the left buttonhole edge. One patch pocket with a button closure is placed on each chest front. One small pleat pointing outward is eased into the back shoulder yoke over each shoulder blade. A vent in the base of each side seam closes with a button sewn on the shirt back. The label states "Catalina / a California Creator" on the obverse and "Styled for the Stars of Hollywood / Los Angeles, Calif. / REG. U.S. PAT. OFF. / MADE IN U.S.A." on the reverse. The center back body length is 28.5 in. (72.39 cm).
This Web entry was made possible in part by a generous grant from the National Association of Men’s Sportswear Buyers, in memory of Joseph S. Klein.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
shirt
Object Type
Main Dress
Man
Upper Body
Date made
1945-1955
maker
Catalina
Catalina
made in
United States: California, Los Angeles
Measurements
center back: 28 1/2 in; 72.39 cm
ID Number
1998.0125.01
Credit Line
Gift of The National Association of Men's Sportswear Buyers
subject
Entertainment, Film
California
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Costume
Clothing & Accessories
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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