50 years ago today: Dressing for establishment success at Stewart’s

It may have been the swinging ’60s somewhere in Louisville, but you wouldn’t have known it from a Courier-Journal advertisement for some seriously sober women’s attire on June 23, 1966. Stewart’s department store at 4th and Walnut (now Muhammad Ali Boulevard) was offering a “trans-season costume” from the Quaker Lady company for $14.98*.

Stewart's ad 1966.png

“You’ll look your ladylike best all through summer and into fall in this town costume of polyester and combed cotton,” Stewart’s promised. “So easy-care, it’s a wash and wear, requires little or no ironing! Dress is freshly and femininely styled with jewel neckline, slenderizing straight skirt. Jacket has stylish notch collar, tab pocket trim effect, ¾-sleeves. Sizes 12 to 20, 12½ to 22½. Blue, green or wineberry plaid.”

* That $14.98 would be equivalent to $111 in 2016 dollars, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ inflation calculator.

Here’s what the store looked like in 1923, when it was known as Stewart’s Dry Goods, in a photo from the University of Louisville Photographic Archives. The building now houses a 304-room Embassy Suites Hotel that opened in April 2015.

Stewart's Dry Goods
Muhammad Ali is on the left, Fourth Street on the right.

Stewart’s continued as a separate nameplate until early 1986, when parent Associated Dry Goods sold most of the stores to Ben Snyder’s. By 1992, the last surviving former Stewart’s — the L.S. Ayres location in Evansville, Ind. — closed amid the Associated Dry Goods merger with the May Co. of St. Louis.

Related: Read a short history of Louisville department stores.

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