Monthly Archives: June 2015

When Pantsuits Were “Slacks Suits:” 1938, 1940, 1948

Play dresses and a pants suit, Butterick Fashion News flyer, March 1938.

Beach wear and a pants suit, Butterick Fashion News flyer, March 1938.

All the “pant suits” for women —  actually trousers with matching jackets (called slacks suits) —  in this post are from Butterick Fashion News flyers, given away for free in pattern stores. Trousers with matching jackets for women are always shown with other resort wear or beach wear, as in the illustration above.

Butterick 7756

Butterick 7736, March 1938.

Butterick 7756, March 1938. Pattern for slacks, jacket and shirt, sizes 12 to 20 and 30 to 40 inches bust.

This trim jacket would also look at home with a skirt; sharkskin fabric was recommended. The cuffed trousers have full, straight legs.

Butterick 7796

Butterick pants suit 8796, February 1940.

Butterick (pantsuit) slacks suit 8796, February 1940.

To be worn “where it’s fair and warmer,” this mannish chalk-striped trouser suit is shown with very broad shoulders and casual sandals — and painted toenails. The evening gown on the right, Butterick 8798, is shown with a snood on the model’s hair — possibly the influence of 1939’s blockbuster movie, Gone with the Wind.

“With the increasing approval given to slacks by fashionable women everywhere, you can wear the pants in the family.  These have a band with suspenders attached (optional) and a fitted, classic tailored jacket. Sizes 12 to 20 and bust 30 to 42 inches.” Flannel (i.e., wool flannel) was the recommended fabric.

Butterick 4458

Butterick slack suit with optional long shorts. March 1948.

Butterick “slacks suit” # 4458 with optional long shorts. March 1948.

The waist is nipped in with eight darts, and the slacks are narrower in this post-war, New Look-era suit. The model on the right has a bicycle, but these are called “long shorts,” not “pedalpushers.”

This ensemble was the centerfold in a two page spread of “sun fashions for resort wear.”

Butterick Fashion Newsflyer, March 1948.

Butterick Fashion News flyer, March 1948.

The “sea sprite” bare-midriff bathing suit (top left) has shorts that draw up on the sides, probably inspired by Claire McCardell’s Pantung Loincloth swimsuit of 1946.

Again, it’s clear that these trouser suits are not to be worn in the city, nor to restaurants except in resorts. (There’s a story that Marlene Dietrich, refused admission to a city restaurant because she was wearing a suit with trousers, simply stepped out of them and was escorted to a table wearing only her jacket. Well, she had famously great legs. . . .)

Butterick 8454 trousers

Butterick trouser pattern , July 1939.

Butterick trouser pattern #8454 , July 1939. The playsuit to the left is a different pattern, #8475, as is dress #8494, on the lower right.

These long, full-legged and high-waisted trousers evoke Katharine Hepburn, and come back into fashion every once in a while. When they do, I always buy a pair!

“The pattern includes long and short-sleeved shirt, and slacks, and a culotte, to scramble as you choose. Junior Miss sizes 12 to 20, 30 to 38.”

Sadly, the culottes are not illustrated.

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Filed under 1930s, 1930s-1940s, 1940s-1950s, Bathing Suits, Shoes, Sportswear, Swimsuits, Vintage patterns, Women in Trousers

One Suit with Many Blouses: March 1936

Companion-Butterick suit pattern No. 6671, March, 1936.

Companion-Butterick suit pattern No. 6671, March, 1936.

This surprisingly modern-looking flared jacket, with a curved hemline, ought to inspire somebody. [You might want to make it a bit shorter, or inches longer, or add a collar, but the asymmetrical closing, curved hem, and raglan sleeves  are all  worth thinking about.] It was featured in The Woman’s Home Companion as the core of a spring wardrobe for 1936 — varied with several blouses made from a “Triad” pattern.

Pages 70 and 71, Woman's Home Companion, March 1936.

Pages 70 and 71, Woman’s Home Companion, March 1936.

A frequent theme in the Great Depression, when people owned fewer clothes than today, was fashion advice on making one basic dress or suit look different by careful planning and accessorizing. (See also One Good Dress in the 1930s.)

“One Suit Can Make a Spring Wardrobe, Given Plenty of Bright Accessories”

WHC 1936 mar p 71 triad blouses 6672 top

The suit, Companion-Butterick pattern No. 6671 was available in sizes “12 to 20, also 30 to 40 bust measures.” [At first, I thought it was a maternity pattern, but it is just “boxy,” worn over a very slim skirt.]

WHC 1936 mar p 70 suit 500 6671

The skirt has a flared godet in front, instead of a kick pleat in back, for walking ease.

WHC 1936 mar p 70 just suit 500 6671

Woman's Home Companion description of current suits from Paris. Mar. 1936.

Woman’s Home Companion description of current suits from Paris, Mar. 1936.

Pattern #6648, which appeared in the same issue, illustrates a similar chamois yellow blouse worn with a black, boxy-jacketed suit, as described above:

Companion-Butterick pattern 6648, March 1936, was for young women sized 12 to 20. Woman's Home Companion.

Companion-Butterick pattern 6648, March 1936, was for young women sized 12 to 20. Woman’s Home Companion.

Companion-Butterick blouse pattern No. 6672 contained several distinctly different blouse styles, “for sports,” “for shopping,” “for parties,” etc.

Companion-Butterick "triad" blouse pattern #6672. March, 1936, WHC.

Companion-Butterick “triad” blouse pattern #6672. March, 1936, WHC.

I confess — I love the version with red top-stitching.

Pattern 6672 in white linen with red stitching and buttons. March, 1936.

Pattern 6672 in white linen with red stitching and buttons. March, 1936.

For sports — a rough white linen shirtwaist trimmed with red stitching and red buttons. Add a bright red hat, the soft fabric kind that sticks on your head and rolls up in your hand.  Find a red bag to match, preferably with a convenient top handle, low heeled black walking shoes, and black or white fabric gloves.”

For parties — a short-sleeved blouse of printed silk in the gayest colors you see. Top it with a huge hat of flattering white straw, your best white suede gloves, black sandals and a large black and white bag. You might try a big chiffon handkerchief in white or a bright color knotted around your throat.”

Two more versions of pattern No. 6672.

Two more versions of pattern No. 6672.

For shopping — a chamois yellow shantung blouse tied high and crisp at the neck. Choose a tailored black straw hat banded in yellow, natural chamois gloves, a neat black seal bag and comfortable black town shoes.”

Bage and gloves, Nar. 1936. WHC, p. 71

Bags and gloves, Mar. 1936. WHC, p. 71

“Just for fun — bright Kelly green in a saucy little hat and a tremendous green alligator bag, green polka-dotted white silk blouse, white gloves and the season’s newest shoes —  square-toed, square heeled, patent leather pumps.”

WHC 1936 mar p 70 suit 500 6671

 

“That is one outline for a colorful wardrobe based on a black suit. You may want to vary it with a scarf to match your favorite bracelet or an entirely different color scheme.  But whatever you do remember the suit is a foundation. The accessories are your color notes to be played as gaily as you please.” — Woman’s Home Companion, March, 1936.

Inside-Out Darts

Another surprising [Post modern? Deconstructed?] detail:

The print blouse …

Print blouse #6672. March 1936.

Print blouse #6672. March 1936.

. . . has neckline darts that put the excess fabric on the outside, as a trim detail, rather than hidden inside.

I’ve seen this on other Butterick patterns; these are all from 1938:

Dress pattern, Butterick Fashion News, March 1938.

Dress pattern, Butterick Fashion News, March 1938.

Butterick Fashion News, March 1938.

Butterick Fashion News, March 1938.

Butterick Fashion News, April 1938.

Butterick Fashion News, April 1938.

 

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Filed under 1930s, bags, Gloves, handbags, Hats, Purses, Shoes, Vintage Accessories, Vintage patterns

Hems Going Down Part 1: 1926

"Eloise, go and look in Delineator! Maybe it would be safe to have it a little longer?" January 1929, Delineator magazine. Cartoon by Helen Hokinson.

“Eloise, go and look in Delineator! Maybe it would be safe to have it a little longer?” January 1929, Butterick’s Delineator magazine. Cartoon by Helen Hokinson.

Sometimes it seems like 1920’s hems began falling even before they had finished rising.

Nineteen twenties’ hems reached their shortest — in some cases above the knee — lengths near the end of the 20’s; some historians date their high water mark to 1927, but above-the-knee dresses can be seen in films released in 1929. Pauline Weston Thomas has written about “The Short Skirt Misconception of the Twenties” at Fashion-Era. Click here.

Two Hems for the Price of One

One of her points is that the mid to late twenties were years of change, reflected in the many dress styles that strove to be both long and short at the same time. Afternoon and evening dresses often had a style feature that dropped below the normal hemline. A side drape, flared godets or “handkerchief hem” panels, and dresses that were short in front and longer in back —  all allowed a transitional “two hem” option.

Three dresses for Misses aage 15 to 20, Butterick, April 1925. Delineator.

Three dresses for Misses age 15 to 20, Butterick, April 1925. Delineator.

In 1925, skirts were still below the knee, but the sheer dress on the left, above, with its “handkerchief hem” has a shorter opaque underskirt (or costume slip.)

This similar dress, left,  from August of 1926, has a sheer lace or printed chiffon top layer:

"Young Parisienne" styles from Butterick, patterns 7026 and 6999. August, 1926.

“Young Parisienne” styles from Butterick, patterns #7026 and #6999. August, 1926.

It’s also much shorter than its 1925 counterpart. The scalloped hem on the right was also seen in late twenties’ styles.

These evening patterns, from December 1926, carry your eye below the hem with side drapes. The one on the left actually has two hemlines:

A side drape dangles below the rest of the hem in these evening patterns from Dec. 1926. Delineator.

A side drape dangles below the rest of the hem in these evening patterns from Dec. 1926. Delineator.

This dress, No. 1118 from November, 1926,  also has a “tunic” [sometimes called an “apron] that hangs below the hem at the front sides.

Butterick 1118, Nov. 1926.  Sheer blue velvet was recommended.

Butterick 1118, front and back views. Nov. 1926. Sheer blue velvet was recommended.

The dress on the left, below, for “Larger Women,” has floating panels for sleeves  and curving inserted panels that make the sides longer than the front or back.

"French Dresses for Larger Women." Butterick patterns 6957 and 6962, July 1926. Delineator.

“French Dresses for Larger Women.” Butterick patterns 6957 and 6962, July 1926. Delineator. The shirring at the shoulder (left) would allow for a fuller bust.

Although these 1926 dresses are for mature women, the “dress and slip” on the center figure is not much below the knee.

This glittering dress, by French designer Renee, is also longer at the sides than it is in front.

French designer Renee showed this evening dress in Fall, 1926. Delineator sketch by Soulie. Sept. 1926.

French designer Renee showed this evening dress in Fall, 1926. Delineator sketch by Soulie. Sept. 1926.

Pour troubler” is Renee’s name for a most disturbing frock of white faille silk with a design of trailing leaves, flowers, and dew drops crystallized in brilliants on the dress and fluttering draperies. A girdle of green chiffon does a half Nelson clutch at the side.”

This Paris gown from Cheruit — also 1926 — has longer panels of a different color:

A "Summer dancing frock" from Cheruit. Sketched for Delineator , August 1926.

A “Summer dancing frock” from Cheruit. Sketched for Delineator , August 1926.

Panneaux evases [Literally, “panels widened at the top” — which does not seem to be what the picture shows] of gold gauze set in a white frock of the same material make a Summer dancing-frock that calls to mind pale flowers by moonlight. From Cheruit.”

One style that became very popular among young women — and which was adopted by older women by the end of the decade — was the afternoon or evening dress that was much longer in back than in front.

Paul Poiret made this early, sophisticated version of black velvet with a sequinned bodice in 1926.

"An uneven swirl of black velvet below a sequinned bodice" by Paul Poiret. drawn by Lages for Delineator, Dec. 1926.

“An uneven swirl of black velvet below a sequinned bodice” by Paul Poiret. drawn by Lages for Delineator, Dec. 1926.

“An evening frock from Paul Poiret is an uneven swirl of black velvet below a sequinned bodice on which multicolored flowers are worked in brilliant shades of blue and rose and green. Ends of Chartreuse velvet fall from the bows at the hip and the hem is faced with silver ribbon.” [Since the back is longer than the front, the inside of the hem is visible, so Poiret has decorated it with silver ribbon.]

Because the model is sitting (apparently on thin air), it’s hard to be sure that Poiret’s hem is longest at the back, rather than the side. But that’s definitely the case with this 1928 dress from Hattie Carnegie:

Hattie Carnegie dress with large-scale print and scalloped hem, much longer in back than in front. Delineator, July 1928.

Hattie Carnegie dress with large-scale print and scalloped hem, much longer in back than in front. Delineator, July 1928.

Among teens and very young women, the short front / long back dress, with a full skirt based upon the robe de style, must have been popular, because within a couple of years it was widely adopted by older women, too.

These are some 1926 patterns “for misses 15 to 20, and small women.”

Two views of Butterick 6935. Delineator, July 1926.

Two views of Butterick 6935. Delineator, July 1926. The version on the right is shockingly short, since the hem is see-through, exposing the entire knee.

Butterick patterns for young women, Sept. 1926. Number 7065, left, and 7024, right.

Butterick patterns for young women, Sept. 1926. Number 7047, left, and 7063, right.

Here, the same dress is trimmed with hand-beaded art deco flowers:

Butterick dress pattern 7047, beaded using transfer pattern 10472. Delineator, Sept. 1926.

Butterick dress pattern 7047, beaded using transfer pattern 10472. Delineator, Sept. 1926.

The bodice on a robe de style could fit quite snugly, and usually fastened with a line of snaps under the left arm. (Movie flapper Colleen Moore, wearing snug bodices, could be seen dressing and undressing several times in Why Be Good? from 1929.)

By 1929, these high-low hems had become acceptable for daytime wear.

Day dresses for January 1929. Butterick patterns 2395 and 2392. Delineator, January 1929.

Day dresses for January 1929. Butterick patterns 2395 and 2382. Delineator, January 1929.

“2395 — The scalloped frock. This is a dress that can only be worn by the very young and the very slender. The new molded body is seen in the basque to which a straight skirt is gathered. All the edges are scalloped and the hem rounds down slightly longer in back. The deep cape collar takes the place of sleeves and matches the background of the dress. Designed for 32 to 37 [bust] (15 to 20 years ) and 38.”

It appears that the same dress, with a darker bias-bound hem, was later featured in this ad for shoes:

"They flatter the foot and keep it young." Shoe ad, Delineator, March 1929.

“They flatter the foot and keep it young.” Shoe ad, Delineator, March 1929.

The high/low hem appeared on older women in afternoon (dressy) dresses, too:

Afternoon dress, July 1928. Butterick pattern 2140, Delineator magazine.

Afternoon dress, July 1928. Butterick pattern 2140, Delineator magazine.

Delineator, January 1929.

Butterick patterns 2418, 2347, 2402, 2367. Delineator, January 1929.

Delineator, Nov. 1928.

Butterick patterns 2269, 1785, 2307. Delineator, Nov. 1928.

More about high/low hems and other transitional variations to come. . . .

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Filed under 1920s, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Vintage Couture Designs, Vintage patterns, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes

Musings, June 2015

Barbara Seely, born 1912.

This little musician is Barbara Seeley, born 1912.

I’m going to be rambling today, so I might as well share these photos of children from about 1920 and 1931.

Pat, Jerry, and Miriam, California, 1931.

Pat, Jerry, and Miriam, California, 1931.

Pat is wearing a cloche hat, and Jerry is dressed like a much older  boy. Miriam has the sun in her eyes and a bow in her hair.

More about Nell Brinkley

When I said we shouldn’t take her illustrations too literally, I had not yet read the whole book, The Brinkley Girls.

The more successful Brinkley became, the more work she had to produce. Author Trina Robbins pointed out that this illustration, published in March, 1924 . . .

"The Lure of the American Golden Girl" by Nell Brinkley, dated March 30, 1924. From The Brinkley Girls, by Trina Robbins.

“The Lure of the American Golden Girl” by Nell Brinkley, dated March 30, 1924. From The Brinkley Girls, by Trina Robbins.

. . .  is a reworking of a drawing first published in 1918:

Nell Brinkley Illustration of Golden Eyes, first published in Oct. 1918. From The Brinkley Girls.

Nell Brinkley Illustration of “Golden Eyes,” first published in Oct. 1918. From The Brinkley Girls, ed. by Trina Robbins. Girls.

Comic book expert Robbins says Brinkley reversed the image, re-colored it, and wrote new captions. The shawl is much more colorful in the 1924 version, but it’s good to be reminded never to depend on just one period illustration!

Color Movie of a Late 1920’s Fashion Show

These Hollywood fashions are interesting in bright color; don’t miss the red coat at the end! Click here. If you put it on the stage, people would assume it was an exaggeratedly “theatrical” costume.

The green straw hat with lace on the brim reminded me of this one with an A. Miller’s label.

A. Miller's straw hat with lace inserted. Circa 1920s.

A. Miller’s straw hat with lace inserted. Circa 1920s.

The hat is asymmetrical. Therer is lace inserted in the brim on the right, and in the crown on the left.

The hat is asymmetrical. There is lace inserted in the brim on the right, and in the crown on the left.

Lace inserted in crown on the left side of hat.

Lace inserted in crown on the left side of hat.

Interior of straw hat with inserted lace, circa 1920's.

Interior of straw hat with inserted lace, circa 1920’s.

Devastated Berlin in Color Movie, 1945

This video clip is interesting to historians, and because of the dresses worn by women clearing a bomb site, and clothing of other civilians. Click here.

Twenties Photos at Fascination Street Vintage

A post new to me is Fascination Street. The stream of marvelous, large scale, photos is definitely worth a visit. In just two months this site has featured 1920’s pajamas, three posts about 1920’s coats and jackets, and skirts and dresses — dozens of photos completely new to me. This Monday’s post showed early twenties evening gowns by Lelong, Vionnet, and Lucille.  Brava!

 

 

 

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Filed under 1920s, 1920s-1930s, 1930s, Children's Vintage styles, Hats, Hats, Vintage Accessories, Vintage Garments: The Real Thing, vintage photographs, Women in Trousers

Nell Brinkley’s Women, 1913 to 1940

Nell Brinkley's view of a young woman getting a permanent wave, September, 1929.

Nell Brinkley’s view of a young woman getting a permanent wave, September, 1929. From The Brinkley Girls, ed. by Trina Robbins.

I had never heard of illustrator and cartoonist Nell Brinkley until a few weeks ago. However, she was the highly successful creator of many illustrated stories featuring a series of vintage beauties, from the World War I girl she called “Golden Eyes” . . .

"Golden Eyes and Her Hero BIll," No. 1, American Weekly, March 31. 1918. Illus. Nell Brinkley.

“Golden Eyes and Her Hero, Bill,” No. 1, March 31, 1918. Illustrated for American Weekly by Nell Brinkley.

. . . to a series of flappers in the 1920’s . . .

Customers waiting ina hair salon, Sept. 1929. Nell Brinkley illustration from The Brinkley Girls.

Customers waiting in a hair salon, Sept. 1929. Nell Brinkley illustration from The Brinkley Girls. “If permanents were permanent, this picture couldn’t be!”

. . . and illustrations of “real-life” heroines for newspapers in the 1930’s.

Detective Mary A. Shanley captures two armed robbers in NYC, 1937. Drawn by Nell Brinkley. From The Brinkley Girls.

Detective Mary A. Shanley captures two armed robbers in NYC, 1937. Drawn by Nell Brinkley. From The Brinkley Girls.

Brinkley’s illustrations were humorous, romantic, full of flowing lines and brilliant color. And she could draw dogs, too.

Golden Eyes, volunteering as a Red Cross Nurse, finds her wounded lover on the battlefield. January 26. 1919.

Golden Eyes, volunteering as a Red Cross Nurse, finds her wounded lover on the battlefield. January 26, 1919.

Nell Brinkley was so good at drawing flowing, wavy hair styles that she had her own line of hair curlers and wave clips.

Ad for Nell Brinkley Hair Curlers and Bob Wavers. From Nell Brinkley's Girls.

Ad for Nell Brinkley Hair Wavers and Bob Curlers. From the book The Brinkley Girls.

One of her flapper heroines, Prudence Prim, was sent to live with her aunts, who unwisely allowed her to buy a new wardrobe and charge it to them.

"Our Prudence chose a French Maison, the best and most select...." Nell Brinkley for American Weekly, Nov. 15, 1925.

“Our Prudence chose a French Maison, the best and most select….” Nell Brinkley for American Weekly, Nov. 15, 1925.

The verses accompanying the illustrations (one page told a whole story) were by Carolyn Wells.

“Our Prudence chose a French Maison, the best and most select. / Her eyes were dazzled by smart hats with plumes and flowers bedecked; / And when she saw the Paris gowns, on models fair and slim, / She forgot her name was Prudence — and she never thought of Prim!”

The story ends with Prudence modeling her new outfits for her aunties . . .

Prudence Prim shows off her new clothes, by Nell Brinkley, Nov. 1925.

Prudence Prim shows off her revealing new clothes, by Nell Brinkley, Nov. 1925. Note the change in skirt length from image 2, top right, to image 5, directly below it.

“One flew into hysterics, and one fainted dead away!”

Prudence Prim shows her aunties her new clothes; they respond ". . . with shrieks of wild dismay." Nov. 1925.

Prudence Prim’s aunties react to her new clothes; “. . . with shrieks of wild dismay.” Nov. 1925.

These illustrations are wildly stylized and not necessarily literal records of real clothes, but there is a great flavor of the period. Prudence and her successors have fabulously long legs, and Miss Prim is anything but prim in her clothing choices.

Prudence Prim at her dressing table, Dec. 6, 1925. Nell Brinkley Illustration.

Prudence Prim at her dressing table, Dec. 6, 1925. Nell Brinkley Illustration. The Brinkley Girls.

Here, wearing a dress sweetly trimmed with roses, she adds embroidered stockings.

"A rose upon her shoulder, and a corresponding rose / Embroidered on the --  well, the shin -- of both her silken hose!" Dec. 1925. Nell Brinkley and Carolyn Wells.

“A rose upon her shoulder, and a corresponding rose / Embroidered on the — well, the shin — of both her silken hose!”  Nell Brinkley and Carolyn Wells. Dec. 1925.

And who wouldn’t want to go hiking in this charming gray and black and white pleated skirt with deco knee socks?

Prudence Prim, "arrayed for mountain climbing" in a kilt, is rescued  from a fall while hiking. Nell Brinkley illustration from Nell Brinkley's Girls.

Prudence Prim, “arrayed for mountain climbing” in a “kilt” is rescued from a fall. Nell Brinkley illustration from The Brinkley Girls.

Later in the 1920’s, Prudence was replaced by Sunny Sue, whose experience at the hair salon had special meaning for me.  (To read more about this kind of permanent wave, click here.)

Sunny Sue gets a permanent wavy, Sept. 14, 1925. Nell Brinkley drawing from Nell Brinkley's Girls.

Sunny Sue gets a permanent wave, Sept. 14, 1929. Nell Brinkley drawing from The Brinkley Girls. “Sue’s fit to be tied — in fact, she’s tied for hours, and her scalp is frilled and fried.”

This is what a hair dryer looked like according to Brinkley:

Under the hair dryer, Sept. 1925. Illust. by Nell Brinkley.

Under the hair dryer, Sept. 1929. Illust. by Nell Brinkley.

“I hope the permanent will live as long, at any rate, / As it took to make it.” There! That’s all — and say it does look great!”

There are at least two books on Nell Brinkley’s work available now.

The Brinkley Girls:  Nell Brinkley’s Cartoons from 1913 to 1940, edited by Trina Robbins, which was my source for all these photos, measures 13 1/4″ by 9 3/4″ and is packed with full color reproductions of Brinkley’s work. Her heroines were not just flappers — some of them travel to exotic times and places. This book ought to be on many people’s wish lists — it’s not cheap, but well-produced. (One caution: because all these illustrations were originally done for newspapers, when they are reduced to fit on the pages of a book, even a big book like this, the print is very tiny. If you give it as a gift, a “magnifying glass” bookmark would be a nice addition.) To read an informative review, click here.  For price information, click here or here.

The other book about Nell Brinkley, also by cartoon historian Trina Robbins,  is called Nell Brinkley and the New Woman in the Early Twentieth Century.  You can see more of Brinkley’s work online at Nell Brinkley Digital Album (click here.) Don’t forget to visit the “Gallery.” Or just search for “Nell Brinkley images.”

You can read more about Nell Brinkley’s life and achievements at the Women in Comics site: click here.

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Filed under 1920s, 1920s-1930s, 1930s, 1930s-1940s, A Costumers' Bookshelf, Hairstyles, Hosiery, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture

Shoes and Stockings, 1936

"Stockings and Shoes Have New Color Hramony," Ladies' Home Journal, October 1936.

“Stockings and Shoes Have New Color Harmony,” Ladies’ Home Journal, October 1936.

In the 1930s, as less of the leg became visible, sheer stockings were the dominant fashion. This issue of Ladies’ Home Journal from October, 1936, contained much fashion advice about wardrobe planning. Women were advised to select their winter coat first, and then to think about shoes.

“This year, . . . instead of just being a good supporting cast, they are stepping right out to the front of the stage and becoming principals. It happens this year, because shoes are usually made of contrasting colors, or at least contrasting leathers that take different lights. One of the colors in your shoes may match your coat.  The other may set the color scheme for your dress — your other accessories — your hat. The only exception is all black suede . . . .

“Shoes mostly creep higher and higher up in the instep.  If there are straps, there may be several quite close together, or one placed quite low over the arch — you find few wide-open spaces.

“After your shoe selection should come your dresses.” — “Now It’s Time to Get Your Wardrobe Together,” by Julia Coburn, Ladies’ Home Journal, p. 29, Oct. 1936.

The article “Stockings and Shoes Have New Color Harmony” appeared in the same issue. These shoe and stocking combinations appeared at the top of the page . . .

Shoes and stocking vombinations, LHJ, Oct. 1936.

Shoes and stocking combinations, LHJ, p. 33, Oct. 1936.

. . . and these appeared at the bottom, with descriptive text in the middle.

Shoe and stocking combinations, LHJ, p. 33, Oct. 1936.

Shoe and stocking combinations, LHJ, p. 33, Oct. 1936.

Starting from top left:

From left, a Monk Type Shoe, a Brown Oxford, a Green Service Shoe. Oct. 1936.

A black and brown Monk-type Shoe, and a Brown Oxford; LHJ, Oct. 1936.

“On the left above, worn with a coat of black rough wool, is a monk type shoe of black and cinnamon brown reverse calf, the stocking matching the brown and completing the contrast.  Just behind is a splendid simple oxford of brown suede, trimmed with reddish brown calf, the exact color of the hairy tweed of the suit. The same color is chosen for the stockings.”

Green and brown service shoe, Gray Monk Shoe  , Brown Three Strap Oxford. LHJ, Oct. 1936.

Green and brown high-in-front shoe, Gray Monk Shoe , Brown Three Strap Oxford. LHJ, Oct. 1936.

“The grand dark blue-green that is so smart this fall somehow suggests combination with brown. So, for a brown wool suit, we selected the green service calf high-in-front shoe,  with buttons and trimming of alligator calf. The stockings are a deep reddish brown, just a shade lighter. With the wine-colored skirt we show a monk shoe with a slightly higher heel, in a fairly dark gray reverse calf, with gun-metal calf. The stocking is a pinkish gray which takes on an even warmer tone over the skin.  The three-strap oxford in tan calf, [far right] with stockings in a lighter tan shade, is suggested for a coat of green curly-surfaced wool. Can you see what a difference the right shades of shoes and stockings make?” [I’m having a hard time figuring out why the three-strap shoe is called an “oxford.”]

“Attending a tea party below are some shoes for afternoon silks and dressier suits.” Starting from the left:

Wine Gabardine Pump, Black High-in-front black eyelet tie shoe, Black Suede and Patent Two-Strap. Afternoon shoes, LHJ, Oct. 1936.

Wine Gabardine Pump, Black High-in-front Eyelet tie shoe, Black Suede and Patent Two-Strap. Afternoon shoes, LHJ, Oct. 1936.

[Left:] “A wine gabardine pump, trimmed with kid, is worn with a matching crepe dress. The little whirligig ornament can be turned to tighten or loosen the instep. The gray stockings have enough pink to harmonize with the shoes. [Center:] With a black rough crepe dress, next, we suggest a high-in-front one eyelet tie, piped in silver. A warm, bright, tan stocking for contrast. [Right:] The black-suede-and-patent two-strap might go with a fuschia-red crepe dress, in which case it might have gun-metal gray stockings, very sheer.” [This is the darkest stocking mentioned in this 1936 article. Women with thick ankles and calves generally look best in stockings matched to their shoes, but the strong matches of the 1920’s seem to be a thing of the past.]

Brown Step-in Pump, Darkish Gray Dress Shoes, Brown Suede One-eyelet Tongued Shoes. LHJ, Oct. 1936.

Brown Step-in Pump, Darkish Gray Dress Shoes, Brown Suede One-eyelet Tongued Shoes. LHJ, Oct. 1936.

[Far Left:] “The brown step-in pump, worn with a soft green dress . . . is calf combined with suede, gored to fit high over the arch. The stocking is a lighter brown, still on the reddish cast. [Center:] Dress shoes in darkest gray are very nice. We show them with a royal-blue dress, and gray stockings a little lighter and a little pinker. [Right:] The one-eyelet tongue ties at the right hand corner, worn with a red-brown dress, show the combination of red-brown suede with brown kid.”

“From hemline to heels, you have a chance to show the utmost discrimination in your use of color harmonies and color contrasts.”

Stockings came with either pointed or rectangular heels, as in the nineteen twenties.

Enna Jettticks Ad, October 1936

This full color advertisement for Enna Jetticks (not a real person’s name, but “energetic” — a little branding joke) shows some shoes in gorgeous colors. It’s from the same copy of the Ladies’ Home Journal. The image of a chic young woman is a way of persuading women that Enna Jetticks are not “old lady shoes.

Enna Jetticks Shoe ad, Ladies' Home Journal, Oc.t 1936.

Enna Jetticks Shoe ad, Ladies’ Home Journal, Oct. 1936.

Enna Jetticks ad, top right, Oct. 1936.

Enna Jetticks shoe ad, top right, Oct. 1936. The shoe on the top harks back to 1920’s styles.

Enna Jetticks shoe ad, Oct. 1936. Bottom right.

Enna Jetticks shoe ad, Oct. 1936. Bottom right.

Enna Jetticks shoe ad, bottom left. Oct. 1936.

Enna Jetticks shoe ad, bottom left. Oct. 1936.

“. . . Shoes so comfortable that they require no difficult breaking in. For Enna Jetticks, you know, are designed for ease in the first place, and then they are thoroughly-hand flexed by master craftsmen before you ever try them on.”

“Sizes 1 to 12 and widths AAAAA to EEE. $5 and $6. Slightly higher in Canada.”

One Dress, Three Shoe Options

In December, the Woman’s Home Companion showed three different accessory choices for one claret colored dress, made from Companion-Butterick pattern 7115.

Companion-Butterick pattern 7115, December 1936. In claret colored silk, perfect for "holiday festivities."

Companion-Butterick pattern 7115, December 1936. In claret colored silk, perfect for “holiday festivities.”

Suggested accessories to wear with a claret colored silk dress. Dec. 1936.

Suggested accessories to wear with a claret colored silk dress. Woman’s Home Companion, Dec. 1936.

Black suede is shown on the model, but gray or dark brown shoes, bags, and gloves will provide “variety.”

Accessory description, Woman's Home Companion, December 1936.

Accessory description, Woman’s Home Companion, December 1936.

Both the Ladies’ Home Journal and the Woman’s Home Companion agreed that, with a wine-colored dress, black suede or dark gray shoes were appropriate.

For examples and illustrations of shoe styles such as “monk,” “sandal,” and “oxford” in the 1930’s, click here. Then scroll down for a vintage article defining styles.

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Filed under 1930s, bags, Companion-Butterick Patterns, Gloves, handbags, Hosiery, Hosiery & Stockings, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Purses, Shoes, Vintage Accessories

Some Stockings from the Twenties

Stockings from Sears, Spring 1925 catalog.

Silk Stockings from Sears, Spring 1925 catalog. “Medium gray, Blush, French tan, Airedale, Black, Champagne, Dark brown, and White.” [Airedale?]

I had been thinking about stocking styles and stocking colors when I found this photo in an antique store:

Three women, dated January 3, 1928. Vintage photo.

Three women, dated January 3, 1928. Vintage photo.

The writing on the back of the photo is European, but I can't tell if it says 3 Janvier 1928 (French) or Januar 1928 (German.)

The writing on the back of the photo is European; I think it says 3 Janvier 1928. [Lynn suggests it says “Januar” in German. Thanks! Ed. 6/7/15.]

The two girls in matching sweaters have elegant legs, but the one on the left is wearing matte finish stockings with rather shiny (metallic?) shoes, while the stockings of the girl on the right have the sheen of silk — but not sheer silk.

Silk stockings were sold in sheer (“Chiffon weight,”) “service weight,” “Mid-weight,” and in many blends of silk, rayon, cotton,  and wool. Often the part of the stocking hidden by shoes was a sturdier material, like cotton, which could be mended.

Silk and rayon stockings with cotton garter tops, heels, and toes. Sears catalog, Spring 1927.

Silk and rayon stockings (“Practical for hard wear”) with cotton garter tops, heels, and toes. Sears catalog, Spring 1927.

Sometimes the top of the stocking would be a different (or cheaper) fabric, since runs caused by the pull of suspenders (clasp garters) on the stocking top were common.

I was happy to be a young woman in the 1960s, because I loved the body-skimming dress styles. But I was never happy about having to expose my far-from-Twiggy-like legs. Opaque tights in many colors were a boon to women like me.

Photo by Pat Faure from Elegance, fall/winter 1965 -66.

Photo by Pat Faure from Elegance, fall/winter 1965 -66.

Textured hose were also popular in the sixties, and reappeared in the 1980s. But vividly colored hosiery — and textured hose — were also worn in the 1920’s.

Colored Stockings, 1920’s

I’ve written about nineteen twenties’ stocking colors before, (click here) but here are a few of the more vivid examples from advertisements:

Arch Preserver Shoe ad. Delineator, June 1929.

Arch Preserver Shoe ad. Delineator, June 1929.

Holeproof silk stocking ad illustrated by J. Clelland Barclay, October, 1925. Delineator.

Holeproof silk stocking ad illustrated by J. Clelland Barclay, October, 1925. Delineator.

Realsilk Hosiery ad, Delineator, October, 1929.

Realsilk Hosiery ad, Delineator, October, 1929.

The opacity of some real silk stockings is shown in this ad for Holeproof Hosiery:

Holeproof hosiery ad illustrated by J. Clelland Barclay, May, 1925. Delineator.

Holeproof hosiery ad illustrated by J. Clelland Barclay, May, 1925. Delineator.

These don’t look very different from the pale stockings in my 1928 found photo . . .

3 women stockings jan 3 1928 photo

. . . or in this stocking ad from 1928.

Movie actress Claire Windsor appeared in this ad for Allen A Hosiery, Delineator, Dec. 1928.

Movie actress Claire Windsor appeared in this ad for Allen-A Hosiery; Delineator, Dec. 1928. Hosiery the same color as your shoes makes your legs look longer — but the ad does not explain why Allen-A hose are superior to other brands.

Butterick pattern illustrations also show women wearing colored stockings.

Butterick pattern illustrations, Delineator, Sept. 1926. The young woman in the blue dress wears stockings to match the lining of her party dress.

Butterick pattern illustrations, Delineator, Sept. 1926. The young woman in the blue dress wears stockings to match the lining of her party dress.

Illustrator Marie L. Britton showed these day dresses worn with stockings toned to match. Delineator, 1926.

Illustrator Marie L. Britton showed these day dresses worn with stockings toned to match. Delineator, 1926.

Textured Stockings, 1920’s

Textured hose were worn with sportier outfits, and textured wool blend stockings were good for winter.

Textured hose from an article about rainwear; Delineator, April, 1929.

Textured hose from an article about rainwear; Delineator, April, 1929.

Ribbed half-wool stockings, Sears catalog for Fall 1928.

Ribbed half-wool stockings; Sears catalog for Fall 1928.

Embroidered stockings had been around for centuries, but the look of embroidery — actually, a pattern woven into the stocking —  was also available in the 1920’s. This advertisement shows a stocking with a “clock” and suggests it, in white, for a wedding:

Kayser Hosiery ad, top. Delineator, Nov. 1924.

Kayser Hosiery ad, top. Delineator, Nov. 1924.

Kayser hosiery ad, bottom. Clocked stockings for the bride; Delineator, Nov. 1924.stod

Kayser hosiery ad, bottom. Clocked stockings for the bride; Delineator, Nov. 1924.

Sears called them “lace effect” stockings.

Clocked stockings, right, from Sears catalog Spring, 1925.

Clocked stockings, right, from Sears catalog Spring, 1925.

“Slenderizing” Heels on Stockings, 1920’s

The Kayser ad said its “Slipper heel — slenderizes ankles.” With rising hemlines,  legs and ankles became more exposed.

Ankle Reducer Ad, Delineator, November, 1924.

Lenor Ankle Reducer Ad, Delineator, November, 1924.

“Slip on when you go to bed and note amazing results next morning. Reduces and shapes ankle and lower calf. Slips on like a glove. . . . Enables you to wear low shoes becomingly. Worn under stockings without detection. Used by prominent actresses.”

Other manufacturers stressed that the shape of the heel — at least, the part that was visible above the shoe — could draw attention to your shapely ankles and/or create the illusion of a “dainty ankle.”

The Gordon Hosiery Company offered two heel styles in a series of ads:

Gordon's hosiery ads from Delineator, Nov. 1928 through May 1929.

Gordon Hosiery ads from Delineator, Nov. 1928 through May 1929.

These are all the same two styles, which came in a wide range of colors intended to match the wearer’s skin tones — a more natural look, in sheerer stockings, than were worn in the early 1920’s.

Text from Gordon's hosiery ad, May 1929.

Text from Gordon Hosiery ad, May 1929.

“. . . The modern Gordon color series is based on a new theory . . . that every woman must match her hosiery to her individual skin tones — considering always, of course, her ensemble.”

Gordon Narrow heel stocking (right) and Gordon V- line heel (left.) Nov. 1928.

Gordon Narrow heel stocking (right) and Gordon V- line heel (left.) Nov. 1928.

The “Gordon narrow heel” — a tall rectangle — really was more flattering than the shorter, wider heels usually available from Sears:

Stockings from Sears catalog, Spring 1928.

Stockings from Sears catalog, Spring 1928.

The Onyx Hosiery company had its own, different heel design, a single triangle called the “Pointex.”

Onyx brand's

Onyx brand’s “Pointex” heel, “which makes trim ankles look their best.” April 1924 ad, bottom. Delineator.

Onyx hosiery ad, top, April 1924.

Onyx Hosiery ad, top, April 1924.

This pointed heel design was also available from Sears, Roebuck by 1928:

Stockings

Stockings “with the new pointed heel” from Sears catalog, Spring 1928.

As women began to associate suntans with wealth, wildly colored stockings began to give way to more natural shades, as described in the Gordon Hosiery ad above. In May of 1929, the Gordon Hosiery ad read:

“There is . . . in this fashion of complementing one’s complexion with one’s stocking . . . a subtle artistry . . . a complete harmony . . . that we have never consistently achieved before. For, as legs take on the same tone as face, arms, and neck (which is the object of the skin-tone stockings) . . . our frocks become dramatized. And the line, silhouette, and every charming detail are accented. The Gordon Skin-Tones are designed for every woman under the sun . . . and also for the ones who avoid the sun.”

Realsilk hosiery colors for April, 1929. Color is not precise.

Realsilk hosiery colors for April, 1929. [Color is not precise.]

The sheer stockings, in natural skin tones, which were popular later in the 1920’s were also available from Sears, although working women probably saved these fragile stockings — almost impossible to mend — for evening wear.

Stocking colors from Sears catalog, Fall 1928.

Stocking colors from Sears catalog, Fall 1928.

NOTE: “Full-fashioned” stockings were shaped in the knitting process; other stockings were shaped by cutting and seaming. Some 1920’s stockings had seamless feet, but the seam up the back was considered “slenderizing” and flattering to most women.

To read previous posts about stockings, garters, girdles, corsets and the 1920’s, browse through the “Hosiery & Stockings” category, or the “Underthings” category.

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Filed under 1920s, 1960s-1970s, Corsets, Hosiery, Hosiery & Stockings, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Underthings, vintage photographs