The Philosophy of Zippers
My reading about buttons in the 1940s quite naturally led me to reading about ZIPPERS. Zippers began showing up on women’s clothes sometime during the mid to late forties. BUT the arrival of the zipper did not make writing the love scenes any easier than when my characters’ still had buttons on their clothes.
The dress zippers at that time were not located on the back; they were on the side. You can see an example of this in the 1946 film, Gilda. Look for the scene where Rita Heyworth, in a self-destructive mood, challenges the men in the audience to help her take her dress off. One eager gentleman comes up on stage and immediately goes for her zipper on the side.
Of course, Bill Holden stops the eager gentleman before anything can actually get zipped off. I’ve also used as my model for these side zippers an old 1948 Montgomery Ward catalogue. I don’t know when they finally started putting zippers on the back of women’s dresses, but I do know that zippers were still located on the side in women’s pants into the early sixties. The reason for the side zipper? Zippers suggested a woman was too easy to get out of her clothes.