Koret of California :: California Style & The Rise of Separates

Koret of California :: California Style & The Rise of Separates

It’s hard to imagine a time when separates were a radical idea in women’s fashion, but they didn’t gain popularity until the growth of the suburbs after World War II popularized casual clothes for everyday wear.  Until then, dresses dominated women’s fashion and there was a clear distinction between “city” and “country” clothes. If American style can be defined by the rise of separates, rather than dresses, California style took this concept to a new level. With that in mind, we thought it would be fun to look at the history of some iconic California brands.

Today we’re looking at Koret of California, a leader in moderately priced sportswear separates.

In 1938, Joseph and Stephanie Koret founded Koret of California, a women’s apparel company, in a small loft San Francisco. Joseph was a sweater salesman and promoter for the company. Stephanie was taking classes in fashion design and was in charge of the design end of the business. Over the next two decades, the company made a name for itself as a small but successful producer of coordinated skirts and sweaters. In 1946, the company introduced the Koret Trikskirt, an adjustable pleated skirt, which sold several million pieces.

In the early 1960s, Koret made a major breakthrough when it developed the Koratron permanent press process, which was used to put permanent pleats into clothing.

Koret skirts are still a vintage find – with their fun ’50’s and ’60’s prints, lots of pleats, and twirl appeal.

Today, many in Northern California are more familiar with the Koret name through the Koret Foundation; a substantial Bay Area philanthropy with assets of more than $500 million.