After writing about 1936 swimsuits and dresses for a cruise to Cuba or Bermuda, I remembered this vintage suit which was collected by a friend. It was white linen (or linen-look rayon) with a medium-large navy floral print. It has a low, square-cut back, like the evening dresses for a 1936 cruise. It’s fresh and young-looking, but the cut is quite conservative (you could easily wear a low-backed corset under it, whereas more dramatic 30s evening gowns require the wearer to go bra-less.)
Here are front and back views of the linen-look dinner dress:The bodice has a triangular insert that creates a squarish neckline. There is fullness in the front rather than darts, so it may have had a slight blouson when worn. Like this black and white gown from the cruise article, there is more fullness in the skirt back than in the front:
The jacket is longer in the back than in the front, which looks graceful in profile, and its short, loose sleeves are very comfortable for an evening in a warm climate.The puffy sleeves probably date this to the late thirties; here are some sleeves (1937) with a similar silhouette, but different construction:
This suit did not have a manufacturer’s label; the jacket and bodice were lined, but the skirt was not. The dress closed with snaps at the side, plus a hook at the waist — always a good idea!
Here’s a closer look at the princess-line jacket:The buttons are self-covered and the buttonholes were hand-bound:
Karen at Fifty Dresses has been writing marvelous posts about Moygashel linen (she even found a 1955 advertisement picturing one of her vintage fabric purchases!) Click here to read her post and see the clever dress she made from a very small remnant.)
I think this dinner suit was made by the wearer — or her dressmaker — and I wouldn’t be surprised to come across the pattern someday!
6 responses to “Dinner Suit for Summer or Cruise, late 1930s”
I agree this dress has an expert handmade look about it. What wonderful buttons! It’s a nice touch that they don’t all match.
I agree about the buttons; at first I wasn’t sure about the lack of pattern matching — but the size of the print makes the random look work for me.
This is really a lovely dress and jacket – I am smitten with that fabric! I agree with Lynn about the buttons – very effective detailing. And – thank you so much for the lovely comment about my blog!
Thanks! I wish I could identify the fiber content; perhaps you’ll find the print in an ad someday!
I’ll look for it!
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