In a two-page spread, the Woman’s Home Companion suggested these Companion-Butterick patterns for the summer of 1937. The second page showed the back view of #7356 and three versions of this little girl’s dress, # 7358.
“The clothes you wear on the sand or by the pool this summer depend largely on whether you are six, sixteen, or sixty. Anything goes so far as fashion is concerned. Shorts, slacks, dresses, long coats, short coats — the choice is endless. But when it comes to what is most becoming — that is a different story.”
Dress and Long Coat #7357
“Suppose you are at the head of the family on the distaff side and you have decided not to lounge about in trousers. Then for you we suggest the brief dress which buttons over your bathing suit. Or, if you prefer, the long fitted coat. Both are 1937 imports from the Riviera and both come from pattern 7357. Try a printed pique or chintz for the long coat with huge (they can’t be too huge) figures. For the dress, be sure to pick out one of the most original of the colorful cotton prints. “
“Huge” prints on fabrics show the influence of Schiaparelli. The side-wrap dress — which seems awfully ‘nice’ to wear over a wet swimsuit — has a cheongsam-inspired closing and a sleeve detail reminiscent of some Chinese decorations. The long double-breasted coat is also shown printed with medallions.
Jacket, Trousers, Shorts, and Halter Top #7356
“You couldn’t be sixteen (or even a slim forty-six) without wanting to wear either shorts or slacks. Here they are topped by a halter that buttons on and one of those new jacket coats that hang like a man’s shirt — all, we might add, from one pattern — No. 7356. The neat-fitting slacks are practical in a plain heavy sailcloth or cotton sheeting, the shorts in either plain or printed cotton or rayon.”
I like the loose jacket with a deep pleat in back; this back view shows how the halter top buttons on to the shorts or slacks:
Girls’ Dress #7358
“And if you are six, what then? Well, why not a sundress with straps that cross in the back and a conical cap to match? This is one part of a Triad pattern which also includes the pieces for a dress of dotted swiss with loops of white binding and a raspberry linen with rickrack braid.”
The text writer may have confused the trims; the rickrack is shown on the dotted dress. Here are the back views, in the background.
The lively illustrations are by Ernst.
6 responses to “Smart on the Sand, 1937”
Love that yellow dress!
It’s interesting that trousers are recommended only for the slim–and I’ve seen that elsewhere as well. Was it the thought of big thighs that was so off putting?
I think — just guessing — that it was the view from the rear that made fashion writers limit trousers to slim women. (I’ve read comic poems and cartoons about the view from the back.)
This poem, “What’s the Use? ” is by humorist Ogden Nash:
“Sure, deck your limbs in pants; /
Yours are the limbs, my sweeting. /
You look divine as you advance — /
Have you seen yourself retreating?” From a “shock” point of view, the real problem was that trousers reminded men that women have two legs and the anatomy connected to them — and they violated patriarchal notions of strict gender roles.
Wonderful! I am the director of a small museum in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. I would love to post this on our facebook page, with a link and credit, of course. Do you also have patterns for men’s bathing suits of the same era? I’d like to post both. Let me know if I can post. I am a big, big fan of your blog.
Yes, please repost. I’d suggest the Sears catalog as a source for men’s swimsuits — they were beginning to lose their tops in the 30s. Some had tops that zipped on and off. http://www.vintagedancer.com/1930s/vintage-mens-swimsuits/intage Dancer wrote an article about men’s bathing suits http://www.vintagedancer.com/1930s/vintage-mens-swimsuits/
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