Hats in New York Stores - January 1921

Hat Window Display 1921

Another Department Store Specialty Shop Opened; Clearance Sales Lead in the Month's Merchandising

Judging from the way gray has taken hold and is still finding favor with buyers, there is every indication that it will figure prominently in the spring millinery offerings.

This is generally the opinion of the heads of the millinery shops and departments who state that gray is finding popularity not only with blondes and brunettes but with those possessing hair of the henna shade as well.

According to Charles Oppenheim, head of Jay-Thorpe, Inc., the new exclusive 57th street specialty shop, grays will no doubt prove a considerable factor in spring millinery, as well as hats in the pheasant shades.

The increase in the number of shops specializing in wearing apparel and millinery is abundant evidence that specialization is sound merchandising policy.

The average woman and man, too, for that matter, appreciates the atmosphere of exclusiveness and inclusiveness, or completeness, characteristic of the high-class specialty store.

The proprietors of these establishments know this, and also that there is a specific pulling power in the word "shop," and hence its widespread use in preference to the word "store."

The managers of the millinery departments in the high-class department stores are also coming increasingly to take the shop idea into account, with respect to the physical layout of their departments and their merchandising policies.

Many of the high-class millinery departments, for example, are so situated as to acquire a particular atmosphere of aloofness, and the customer is not conscious of the proximity of the shoe or the clothing department on the same floor.

In some cases the shop idea is very successfully conveyed through the use of some rooms or salons decorated as a high-class shop would be and separated from the other departments on the floor through partitions.

Abraham & Straus, Inc., of Brooklyn, are carrying this "shop idea" a step further than the average department store can do.

The millinery department of this store was open to the public last month under the name of the A. & S. Millinery Shop and is situated in a separate building, which is, however, connected with the main building by a corridor.

The new department is a separate shop and has been decorated and laid out with this idea in mind. The addition is a two-storied, mezzanine building, the roof of which is covered with a high glass dome that affords excellent lighting.

The mezzanine floor is devoted exclusively to the French millinery salons and is decorated in a soft tone of gray, a color which has been found to harmonize most unobtrusively with the various millinery offerings displayed against it.

The ready-to-wear and untrimmed millinery is displayed on a balcony over the street floor, where ribbons and millinery trimmings are also located. The new shop adds more than 12,000 feet of floor space to the area of the Abraham & Straus store and is located on the corner of Livingston and Hoyt streets.

During the month Gimbel Bros, held a sale of 2,400 beaver hats, in many shapes and colors, which were disposed of at the regular price of $1.65.

The offerings included beaver sailors with zibeline plush crowns and brims of long-nap beaver, sailors of silk beavers, trimmed with ribbons and bows together with zibeline sailors with heavier facings.

In announcing the sale, the company stated that "first of all, these hats have just been received from the manufacturer. Not one has been in regular stock.

However, we bought them from a manufacturer who has sold us many of cur finer hats, and so we know that these hats are worthy of any amount of praise one gives them.

Also, they are priced in this sale lower than hats of this quality have been priced in years. Some hats have very slight imperfections.

It is one thing to sell a hat and another to keep it sold. In the millinery departments of the various department stores throughout the city the return of merchandise, which, for one reason or another, no longer pleases customers, is still a severe problem.

In many cities, this evil has decreased substantially through the cooperative endeavors of the various stores. In New York, competition among the various stores has tended to prevent the close cooperation and the concerted action necessary to eliminate this abuse.

In most of the department stores, however, more energetic measures are being adopted to prevent the customer exceeding the period allowed by the various stores.

At Oppenheim & Collins, for example, the customer is politely reminded that merchandise must be returned within the three-day limit through the medium of unobtrusively but strategically placed signs.

Some unusually attractive offerings, in a wide range of color, were shown in the millinery salons of Jay-Thorpe, Inc., during the month. Some of these hats were of "allover" straw and cotton mixtures, and a number of them of silk fabric.

Soft rose pink was a color that was much in evidence as well as grays and reds of a yellowish tinge. An unusual characteristic of the new offerings is the fact that in many cases contrasting fabrics of the same color were used and in others, the trimmings were of the same color and material as the hat itself.

When the Aquitania sailed on December 14th, she carried some millinery buyers of the New York stores all bound for Paris for the latest in millinery.

The Aquitania's passenger list included the following names:

  • Miss Hanah Simon, millinery buyer for Bonwit Teller & Co. (Note 1)
  • Miss Adele MacVeady, of Misses MacVeady
  • Miss Anna Grossman, millinery buyer for the French room at the New York store of Gimbel Bros.
  • Miss Anna McFarland, a buyer of French millinery for R. H. Macy & Co.
  • Miss M. I. Boyan, a buyer of millinery for Frederick Loeser & Co., Inc., Brooklyn.

Price reductions were featured prominently in the advertising of the millinery shops and department stores during the month. Tappe offered his entire stock of winter hats at half price in announcing the first showing of spring models.

A similar reduction was also offered by Samuel Lorber & Co., while Farquharson & Wheelock announced a sale of all their models.

A clearance sale of 250 hats was announced at Oppenheim, Collins & Co., at prices ranging from $7.50 to $18.50.

McCreery & Co. also offered substantial reductions affecting 1500 new satin hats, which were offered at $3.75, a figure claimed as being only a trifle higher than their actual cost.

Girls' hats of beaver of heavy nap were offered at $4.75. Hats of gros de Londres with new trimmings of flowers, etc., were offered at $8.50 by R. H. Macy & Co.

Lord & Taylor offered some new models in silks and brightly colored faille, satin and crepe de Chine in flame, sapphire, jade, cherry, turquoise and gray at prices ranging from $8.50 to $25.

The Fifth Avenue Shop offered 400 smart hats at $7.50, which was stated as being below production cost.

“The Month in the New York Stores,” in The Millinery Trade Review, New York: The Millinery Trade Publishing Company, Volume 46, Number 1, January 1921, p. 77.

Note 1: The Trump Tower stands on a plot where the flagship store of department-store chain Bonwit Teller was formerly located.

Note: We have edited this text to correct grammatical errors and improve word choice to clarify the article for today’s readers. Changes made are typically minor, and we often left passive text “as is.” Those who need to quote the article directly should verify any changes by reviewing the original material.


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