Scarves Past (1932) and Future (2015)

This Scarf Fashion, from The Delineator, May 1932.

This Scarf Fashion, from The Delineator, May 1932.

Scarves of the Future

Scarves are on my mind this week. Yesterday I read a brief article in New Scientist magazine about “smart scarves” — scarves that heat up, vibrate or play music; some can inform you that you’re getting a phone call.

“. . . A prototype called SWARM, designed by Microsoft researchers, can  heat up, vibrate or play music and is controlled by a smartphone app. It can also link to a heart monitor sensor to react to changes in your mood.  Another smart scarf, Scarfy, triggers different apps on your phone depending on the way you tie it and can scrunch up by itself to signify an incoming phone notification.” — New Scientist, 31 January 2015, p. 20.

“The world is so full of a number of things. . . .” many of which didn’t really need to be invented! My nightmare version of the scarf that “scrunches up” when my phone rings:  My scarf is getting tighter, and I can’t find my phone. I empty my purse: the phone’s not there! I check the pockets of the jacket I was wearing:  it’s not there either! I stagger upstairs to my office, to see if my phone is still plugged into the charger . . . . but  — Aaaaargh! too late! I’m as dead as Isadora Duncan! Well, OK, I’m sure the Scarfy does not contract like a boa constrictor, but I think I can get along without one.

Scarves of the Past (1932)

On the bright side, yesterday I also came across a page of lovely 1930’s dresses accented with scarves or scarf effects. The format of the original page in The Delineator did not reproduce large enough to show details, so I have moved the elements around to make the dresses more visible online.

"This Scarf Fashion;" illustration from The Delineator, May 1923, p. 82.

“This Scarf Fashion;” illustration from The Delineator, May 1923, p. 82.

From left, Butterick suit pattern #4496, showing the “over-the shoulder” scarf; pattern#4488, accented with a striped scarf; center, pattern #4508, which has a “twisted scarf;” dress pattern #4530, with a scarf drawn through the collar and tied in a bow; and coat pattern #4481, with an attached “ascot scarf.”

Butterick 4496

Butterick 4496 for a dress and jacket; the scarf is actually part of the dress. May, 1932, Delineator magazine.

Butterick 4496 (left) for a dress and jacket; the scarf is actually part of the dress. May, 1932, Delineator magazine.

1932 may p 82 scarf 4496 text

“This scarf is part of the dress, but it is worn flung back over the jacket. The square dot print . . . is important news.” I think the tabs at the sides of the waist are charming, too.

Butterick patterns 4496 (left) and 4488 (right) from May, 1932.

Butterick patterns 4496 (left) and 4488 (right) from May, 1932.

Both the white area at the top of the bodice and the bold striped scarf near the face attract the eye upward; both dresses also have strong vertical lines for a slenderizing effect.

Butterick 4488, Butterick 4508

Butterick patterns 4488 (left) and 4508 (right.) May 1932.

Butterick patterns 4488 (left) and 4508 (right.) May 1932. Delineator magazine.

1932 may p 82 scarf 4488 striped

1932 may p 82 scarf 4508 twisted

Butterick patterns 4508 (left), 4530 (center), and 4481,(right). May 1932.

Butterick patterns 4508 (left), 4530 (center), and 4481,(right). May 1932.

Butterick 4530, Butterick 4481

Butterick patterns 4530 (left) and 4481 (right. May, 1932. Delineator magazine.

Butterick patterns 4530 (left) and 4481 (right.) May, 1932. Delineator magazine.

1932 may p 82 scarf 4530 bow scarf

1932 may p 82 scarf 4481 ascot

The “ascot scarf” is apparently attached to the coat at the back neckline. The tiny back/other views seem to show different, shorter sleeves for both 4530 and 4481.

I love the clever play with intersecting stripes that was popular in the 1930s, and which makes #4350 so interesting although its cut is quite simple. The white dress, #4508, seems wonderfully soft and feminine, and takes its interest from the complexity of the cut and delicate touches like the pintucks which control the sleeves in front. The waist reminds me of an obi. The ideal thirties’ figure is long and slender, but most of these scarf-dress patterns were available up to a 44 inch bust and 47.5 inch hip measurement. It’s also notable how different these mid-calf dresses from 1932 are from the knee-length, youthful styles of the late 1920s:

Styles from July 1928, Delineator magazine.

Styles from July 1928, Delineator magazine.

By 1932, the world was a serious place, and fashions were womanly, not girlish.

"This Scarf Fashion;" illustration from The Delineator, May 1923, p. 82.

“This Scarf Fashion;” illustration from The Delineator, May 1923, p. 82.

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3 Comments

Filed under 1920s-1930s, 1930s, Vintage patterns, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes

3 responses to “Scarves Past (1932) and Future (2015)

  1. I would take these beautiful scarves over a self heating, self twisting model any day!

  2. Love these scarves! Great outfit inspiration

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