Fashion was now available to the masses in a way not true previously. For one thing, styles became both easier to make and easier to wear. Fashion knock-offs were also increasingly available in the form of tailor-mades in department stores as more and more young middle-class women began to work professionally as typists, shop assistants, and clerks.
In addition, by the end of the decade, the Chalmers Knitting Company had taken the union suit, commonly worn by both men and women of the middle and lower classes, and split it into two. For men, this became the modern undershirt and boxers. Women wore a more decorative and fitted version of these that were known as the camisole and drawers. The camisole replaced the old chemise, and all of these were soon mass-produced and available in department stores across the country.
Sarah Agnes Estelle Irvine (1887 - 1970)
Sadie Irvine was one of the three principal decorators of the Newcomb College Pottery of New Orleans and is usually described as being the "greatest of the decorators in the history of the enterprise and the virtual cornerstone of the program." Newcomb's pottery program, established in 1895 at the womens division of Tulane University, is a famous example of teaching craft skills to women in need of a career. This specialist training is now recognized as producing a genuine art in its own right since the womens movement brought a fresh evaluation to traditional female forms of art like quilts and pottery. The Newcomb ceramics are highly valued collectible art pieces today.
One of the most famous designs for the early works from the studio was the oak tree and the moon, which was designed by Sadie. She later recalled, "I was accused of doing the first oak-tree decoration, also the first moon. I have surely lived to regret it. Our beautiful moss-draped oak trees appealed to the buying public but nothing is less suited to the tall graceful vases no way to convey the true character of the tree. And, oh, how boring it was to use the same motif over and over and over, though each one was a fresh drawing" -no Newcombe pot was every duplicated unless the purchaser specifically asked for a copy; the vast majority are one of a kind. Sadie began her studies at Newcomb in 1902 and remained there as student, assistant, and instructor until her retirement in 1952. Unwilling to be idle, she taught a further fifteen years at Sacred Heart Academy before passing away in 1970.