Here is a downtown Oneonta promotion that hasn’t been tried recently — Dress Up Week. I’m not suggesting it be resurrected, as I’m doubtful the response would be the same as it was in April 1919. If in doubt of my doubtfulness, just do some “people watching” and their attire downtown or at the mall in the next week or so.
Readers of the Oneonta Star opened their newspapers on Monday morning, April 7, to read, “Dress Up Week has at last arrived and its coming finds Oneonta merchants well prepared for the event with the plans perfected which should make the week very interesting and attractive for shoppers.
“There is no mystery about the Dress Up idea. Most people have the Dress Up instinct and will always dress to the best of their financial and intellectual ability, while there are others who do not appreciate the value of good appearance and the influence that clothing have upon character and success.”
The theme week began on Monday at 6:45 p.m., when the Oneonta City Band gave a concert “to entertain the throng until the hour of 7 arrives when the curtains will be raised and the window display exposed to public inspection.”
The Star reported the next morning that the throng truly did gather downtown, and fortunately for the promoters, “The weather was balmy and springlike and made one’s thoughts naturally turn to spring merchandise and while there were threatening clouds in the southwest with some flashes of lightning the crowd seemed not deterred in the least from witnessing the exhibition.” Some of the larger stores had live models displaying gowns and dress suits.
Oddly enough, the stores didn’t actually open for business that night. It was just a warm up for Tuesday night, when the same participating stores held open houses for further displays, but “No goods are to be sold this evening,” it was reported. Once again, there was an excellent turnout of visitors.