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.

The crisply uniformed milkman was an icon of everyday life for American families in the post-war era. Being a suburban neighborhood fixture of daily life, his appearance was extremely important. Cookman realized the wear the uniform received on a daily basis and the milkman's need to always appear professional. For these reasons, the jacket has been reinforced at the elbows and yoke against rubbing in the car and from a shoulder bag, and on the outside of the trouser legs against rubbing from the bottle tray.

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

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