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In April 1953, LIFE magazine showed its readers, and especially its female readers, that dressing for work — even if that work was on a factory floor — didn’t necessarily mean sacrificing a sense of style. Luckily for the 4.5 million women working in U.S. factories back then, designer Tina Leser was working hard, too.
Here, LIFE.com celebrates a look that might have been championed by the likes of Rosie the Riveter.
LIFE also graciously included a disclaimer for readers who might balk at the clean and lean appearance of the “factory workers” in the photographs.
The factory fashions — including the aforementioned “vanished pants” — and the “pushed-up pants” coveralls to be worn not only in the factory but also during leisure activities — gardening, sailing, perhaps grocery shopping — were at-once versatile and convenient. In short, Tina Leser provided women with some rather exciting choices for their workplace wardrobe beyond mannish (and, by implication, unflattering) coveralls.
Naomi Driessnack is pursuing a B.A. in Photojournalism at Western Kentucky University. Follow her on Twitter @naomidriessnack.