Designer Mrs. Helen Cookman American
Textile manufactured by Reeves Brothers Inc.

Not on view

American designer Helen Cookman is remembered for integrating traditional masculine styles into womenswear. A testimony to this fact, she has been credited for the revival of the Chesterfield coat for women. After designing the American Red Cross Nurse's Aides uniforms during World War II, Cookman began industrial uniform design, working with fabrics produced by Reeves Brothers, Inc. Founded in 1920, Reeves specialized in engineered fabrics to be used for the aerospace, automotive, military and industrial markets. In 1948, the company partnered with Cookman to design eleven different worker's uniforms.

Designed in 1948, this waitress uniform is the precursor to the diner uniform of the nineteen-fifties and nineteen-sixties. The vertically pieced apron of pink and white poplin is particularly iconic. Enhancing the overall look, Cookman has added fine details, such as the turned-back, pointed cuff; hidden front button placket and monogrammed front breast pocket.

Uniform, Mrs. Helen Cookman (American, 1894–1973), cotton, American

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