Sally Milgrim flourished not only as a successful department store owner but as one of the foremost fashion designers of her day, creating gowns for Broadway stars and First Ladies alike. Married at age sixteen to Charles Milgrim, who owned a suit business, Sally Milgrim joined the business at seventeen as a dress designer. By the 1920s, she was creating dresses and evening wear for their Fifth Avenue department store that earned rave reviews in papers like the New York Tribune. Unusually for the time, her ready–to–wear clothes had the detailing and flourishes of chiffon, fur, embroidery, and crystals usually reserved for tailored fashions. She also designed exclusive looks for actresses she met through Florenz Ziegfield, including Ethel Merman and Mary Pickford. But the height of her career came in 1933, when she created the pale blue gown Eleanor Roosevelt wore to her husband’s first inauguration, which remains on display at the Smithsonian. The Milgrim department store chain was successful under its original owners, expanding to Detroit, Cleveland, Miami, and other cities, but Sally Milgrim retired in 1960, seven years before the death of her husband, and the last Milgrim store closed in 1990.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Sally Milgrim." (Viewed on August 25, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/milgrim-sally>.