Monthly Archives: May 2016

Clothes for Joe College, circa 1934

The expression “Joe College” in Esquire, January 1934, caught my eye.

Esquire, January 1934, p. 104.

Esquire, January 1934, p. 104. “On Every Campus Joe College Goes Nonchalant Again.”

I have a few other illustrations of “college life,” and will find more, no doubt. Perhaps it’s because the school year starts in September, but an autumnal color palette is common to them. Also, clothes for college men were more casual than business dress, and clothes for male country wear and sports traditionally echoed the colors of the landscape, favoring tweeds in browns and loden green over navy blue and charcoal gray.

Illustration for an article giving advice to College Freshman girls. Woman's Home Companion, October 1936.

Illustration for an article giving advice to College Freshman girls. Woman’s Home Companion, October 1936. “Freshmen are eager and thrilled with their new life.”

The article in WHC, supposedly written by a 23 year-old married sister, assumed that the Freshman girl would have attended an all-girls boarding school, and would therefore need social advice for a co-ed campus. (She reminded her sister to be as carefully dressed and well-groomed for class as she would be for a dance, since male students would see her all day long. This was in the bad old days, when any woman who attended college was suspected of “trying to get her M.R.S. degree.” No doubt, some were — college was a good place for intelligent and ambitious women to meet intelligent and ambitious men.)

“Nonchalant'” Joe College

The clothes featured in Esquire had an upper middle class, East Coast bias. Yale’s bulldog mascot appears at top left.

Joe College as drawn by L. Fellows for Esquire magazine, January 1934. Pg. 104.

Joe College as drawn by L. Fellows for Esquire magazine, January 1934. Pg. 104. A Yale bulldog is on the pillar behind his shoulder.

Belted jackets, like the greenish one in the background, evolved from country wear to urban sports jackets. The coat over that student’s is a large-scale plaid. The student in front wears a three-piece brown suit, a shirt with a button-down collar, and a knit tie under his reversible tan overcoat with cuffs that can be made tighter at the wrist with a button tab. Two out of three wear snap-brim hats or smoke pipes.

“… University clothes, at least for on-campus wear betray a studied carelessness… Rough cloths….From Princeton to California, the better dressed undergraduates are wearing shetlands, Harris tweeds, cashmeres and cheviot suitings…. This outfit, with its rough-textured suit, buttoned down collared shirt and crocheted tie, is almost a campus uniform.” — Esquire

Detail of suit , etc. College students. Esquire, Jan. 1934.

Detail of suit, coat, etc. Ivy League College students. Esquire, Jan. 1934.

“The reversible topcoat of tweed and gabardine, which swept the country after its introduction at Princeton almost two years ago, is another established favorite. College men… have resorted to an odd trick in the matter of headgear — the combining of a brown hat and a black hat band…. The new hats, by the way, have a lower crown and a slightly wider brim. The exact proportions are shown in the hat at the left.”

Cuffed trousers with a three piece suit: college undergraduate; Esquire, Jan. 1934.

Cuffed trousers on college undergraduates; Esquire, Jan. 1934. The neckties are described as “crocheted.”

Solid-colored shirts with matching cuffs and collars, Esquire, Jan. 1934.

Solid-colored, button-down shirts with matching cuffs and collars, Esquire, Jan. 1934.

Soft-collared shirts — button-down, in this case — were replacing shirts with detachable collars, in offices as well as on campus.

Other college trends were pictured in the Autumn, 1933 issue of the magazine.

Correct clothing for underclassmen, Esquire, Autumn 1933, pg. 58. Illustration by L. Fellows.

Correct clothing for underclassmen, Esquire, Autumn 1933, pg. 58. Illustration by L. Fellows.

Description from Esquire, Autumn, 1933, p. 58.

Description from Esquire, Autumn, 1933, p. 58.

Clothes for Underclassmen. Esquire, Autumn 1933.

Clothes for Underclassmen. Esquire, Autumn 1933. Bow tie or rep or wool tie, button-down shirt, camel-hair pull-over sweater, belted coat with raglan sleeves, snap-brim semi-homburg hat.

The text describes this as a “bat” tie:  “In the bat style, foulards and twills are preferred, while in the four-in-hand the first call goes to the heavier material, such as the silk and wool poplin in which the striped ties sketched at the right are made up.” The pull-over sweater” is described as a required item “in the college and prep school wardrobe.”

College students, from the April 1936 issue of Woman's Home Companion.

College students, from the April 1936 issue of Woman’s Home Companion.

Three of these men wear sweaters. The man at left wears a shirt with a collar pin under the tie knot, a V-neck sweater, a tweed sports jacket, and cuffed trousers in a darker shade than his jacket. (A decade later, this was the “uniform” of a college professor.)  All four male undergraduates wear neckties to class.

In Esquire, on the page facing the clothes for underclassmen, this outfit was recommended for upperclassmen and young, recent graduates.

Clothes for upperclass college men or recent graduates. Esquire, Autumn 1934, p. 59.

Clothes for upperclass college men or recent graduates according to Esquire, Autumn 1934, p. 59.

“The coat sketched here, with four patch pockets, is the type that has been made up by the better tailors, for some time, for [upperclassmen at Princeton and Yale] and for the recent graduates in the New York financial district…. Natural concomitants for the rougher clothing fabrics are crocheted ties in both horizontal and diagonal stripings as well as in rich dark solid colors and wool hose in the traditional Argyle plaid patterns.”

I would have thought that a gray coat would be recommended for graduates looking for a job on Wall Street, but perhaps trying to stretch your clothes budget was not considered a problem for Esquire readers. The coat’s hidden button placket is certainly a dressy touch.

The editors went on at length — and with disapproval — about Joe College’s insistence upon wearing “bruised” and “battered” dark brown snap brim hats, “pinched unmercifully at the front of the crown.” We “know that nothing can be done about it,” they admitted, although “right thinking citizens and hat makers” were offended.

Ah, the good old days — when college students could express a rebellious streak just by wearing a battered and sharply pinched brown felt hat with a black (instead of matching) hatband. The sight of an eighteen-year-old solemnly smoking a tobacco pipe must have amused — or outraged — a few adults.

College men wearing hats and smoking pipes. 1933-1934.

College students wearing hats and smoking pipes. 1933-1934. The little moustache on the lower right was not yet associated with Hitler, but why would a young man want to look like Oliver Hardy or Robert Benchley?

 

 

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Filed under 1930s, Hats for Men, Men's Haberdashery & Accessories, Men's Sportswear, Menswear, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Shirts for men, Suits for Men, Uniforms and Work Clothes

Dating Butterick Patterns Site Has Been Updated

Cover of Butterick Fashion News, October 1962. Image courtesy of PatternVault at ETSY.com

Cover of Butterick Fashion News, October 1962. Image courtesy of PatternVault at ETSY.com. Butterick pattern 2452 dated 1962.

My project for dating vintage Butterick patterns using Butterick Fashion News flyers (Click here for an explanation) has some new information, thanks to the input of generous readers. I finally have some pattern numbers for 1962, thanks to Sarah at the Pattern Vault, and I’ve been able to fill in some missing information for other years, too. (Thank you, Monica, at Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, Texas.)

Cover of Butterick Fashion News, July 1962. Image courtesy of PatternVault at ETSY.com.

Cover of Butterick Fashion News, July 1962. Image courtesy of PatternVault at ETSY.com. Butterick pattern 2343, from 1962.

I’ve been neglecting my search for covers of Butterick Pattern News lately, because the pattern dating at the Commercial Pattern Archive (CoPA) is so comprehensive. However, if you have a vintage Butterick pattern that looks 1920’s through 1970’s and want to date it, my numerical charts  at witness2fashion.com are easy to use. If you go to witness2fashion.com, under Dating Butterick Patterns 1937 -1977 you will find a chart like this one — but larger and easier to read.

Dating Butterick Patterns 1934 -1977 chart from witness2fashion.com.

Dating Butterick Patterns 1934 -1977 chart from witness2fashion.com.

You can see from this chart that simply by listing the date of a Butterick News Flyer and the number of the pattern on its cover, a numbering sequence can be established. Of course, some patterns remain available for sale in stores for a very long time, but if you’re not sure whether a pattern is late 1930s or early 1940s, for instance, this chart can help.

At witness2fashion.com earlier patterns are listed on another page:  Butterick patterns 1920’s to 1937. Click on those charts to enlarge them.

I’m especially grateful to Sarah, because I still have a few years without any data from Butterick Fashion News covers, and she was able to supply us with numbers from 1962, an important year.  Butterick pattern numbers  reached the high 9900s by November of 1961, so re-numbering was due to begin in 1962. Thanks to Sarah, we now know that the new number sequence (1962) seems to have begun in the two thousands, skipping the one-thousands.

Some years have no information at all from Butterick Fashion News covers. witness2fashion.com

Some years — like 1953 and 1963 — have no information at all from Butterick Fashion News covers — yet. Detail of Chart from witness2fashion.com

For some years — like 1953, 1955, and 1963 — I have not found any BFN covers, but we can deduce that the 6000 series began again in 1952, since No. 5934 was for sale in January 1952. Did numbers in the 1960’s 3000 series begin in 1963 or 1964? It would be nice to fill in that two-year gap from October 1962 (No. 2452) to October 1964 (No. 3288.) If you have a cover from a “blank” year, please send the date and front cover pattern number(s) to witness2fashion at gmail.com. Sarah scanned the covers, enabling me to share them.

In 1973, Butterick reached the end of the 6900s in March and began renumbering in the three thousands in April.

Renumbering begins in 1973. Cover pattern numbers from Butterick Fashion News.

A new numbering cycle began in mid-year, 1973. Cover pattern numbers from Butterick Fashion News.

Starting a new number sequence before reaching 9999 is sometimes triggered by a new logo or pattern envelope format.  Jumps in sequence (renumbering) like this are one reason that a chart is helpful in dating undated patterns. Another potential source of confusion is that the same numbers are reused every few years. (For example, Butterick pattern numbers beginning with five thousand were issued in 1924-25, 1933-34, 1949-52, the late 1960’s – early 1970’s, and again in the late 1970’s!)  I have not systematically collected numbers earlier than 1924 — so far– but a new numbering sequence, ending the 9990’s and starting again in the 1000’s, began around July 1918:

Pattern views from Delineator, July 1918. The end of the 9000's number sequence is side by side with the new 1000s sequence.

Pattern views from Butterick’s Delineator magazine, July 1918. The end of the 9000’s number sequence is side by side with the new 1000’s sequence.

 

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, 1960s-1970s, bags, Dating Butterick Patterns, Dating Vintage Patterns, Gloves, handbags, Hats, Purses, Resources for Costumers, Vintage Accessories, Vintage patterns

Too Fat or Too Thin — 1933 & 1934

"You'd never guess they once called me SKINNY." Ad for yeast supplement, Delineator, 1934.

“You’d never guess they once called me SKINNY.” Ad for ironized yeast, 1934. Breasts are prominently featured.

Nineteen thirties’ fashion illustrations show tall, impossibly narrow-hipped women, but magazines also ran ads humiliating women for being “too skinny.” Sometimes I encounter an “Are you too fat?” ad, turn the page, and encounter an “Are you too skinny?” ad. One explanation is that, in times of famine, looking too thin implies poverty and hardship. And many people really did go hungry in the 1930’s.

Feeding a big family on $9 a week, January 1934. Ad for Royal Baking Powder.

Feeding a big family on $9 a week, January, 1934. Ad for Royal Baking Powder. Delineator.

(In modern America, cheap, poorly nutritious food — a tasty and addictive combination of fats, carbohydrates, salt and sugars — has created a historically unique situation: now, obesity is often a sign of poverty, while a lean, fit body is a sign of wealth and leisure:  it signals enough money to afford fresh foods, along with time — and a safe place — to exercise.)

Certainly the emphasis on a “boyish” figure favored the young and slender in the mid-nineteen-twenties.

But 1933-1934 was a time of mixed signals for the average woman.

Delineator, March 1933, page 81.

Delineator, March 1933, page 81. “Safe Way to Lose FAT.” Ad for Kruschen Salts.

“How would you like to lose 15 pounds of fat in a month…?” That was on page 81.

Or maybe you should gain 15 pounds? The following ad was on page 97 of the same magazine:

Delineator, March 1933, page 97.

Delineator, March 1933, page 97. “Dangerous to be skinny.” Ad for Ironized Yeast, which “adds solid, healthy flesh quicker than beer.”

“I’m so lonely and unhappy.  Nobody likes a skinny girl.”

“There’s no need to be skinny now.  I’ll tell you a quick way to gain.”

“New discovery adds solid, healthy flesh quicker than BEER…. For years doctors prescribed beer to put flesh on these scrawny, weak, nervous people.”

The ad urged readers to compare their weight and measurements with the “solid, healthy” model on the left.

March 1933: The model's measurements are given as 5' 3.5" tall, 118 lbs, 34"-25"-36."

March, 1933: The model’s measurements are given as 5′ 3.5″ tall, 118 lbs, 34″-25″-36.”

“Selected as having the best figure in the U.S. for her height, according closely to measurements favored by a famous theatrical producer and a great artist.” [Both anonymous…. She’s a long way from the 1930’s fashion illustrators’ ideal!]

The same Ionized Yeast company offered different models’ measurements in each ad:

June 1933 ad for Ionized Yeast. The model's measurements are

June, 1933 ad for Ionized Yeast. The model’s measurements are given as 5′ 4″, 120 lbs, 35″-26″-36″.

“Skinny girls listen to this! … Adds pounds quicker than beer.”

May 1934 Ionized Yeast ad. The model's measurements are given as

May, 1934 Ionized Yeast ad. “Now no need to be thin…. New easy way adds pounds so fast you’re amazed.” The model’s measurements are given as 35″-26″-36.”

Six weeks ago she was jeered at, but Ionized Yeast “gives 5 to 15 lbs. in a few weeks.”

June 1934 Ionized Yeast ad. The model's measurements are

June, 1934 Ionized Yeast ad. “…Get lovely curves fast!” The model’s measurements are height 5’5″, weight 130 lbs., 35″-27″-38″.

In some of these ads, “curves” seems to be code for “full breasts.” By modern standards, the models are all well within the range for a healthy BMI [Body Mass Index], which cannot be said for many of today’s fashion models. On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine most of these women being chosen to model slinky 1930’s dresses like these:

Ads for Kruchen Salts, sold for weight loss. Delineator ads from May and April, 1933.

Ads for Kruchen Salts, sold for weight loss. Delineator ads from May and April, 1933. The word FAT is dominant.

Text of ad for Kruschen Salts. April 1933.

Text of ad for Kruschen Salts. April 1933. E. Griffith Hughes, Inc.

Ginger Rogers appears in an add for Kellogg's All Bran, Delineator, April 1934.

“Ginger Rogers is just the type to wear this difficult but delightful gown.” Ad for Kellogg’s All Bran, Delineator, April 1934. “Watch your figure. Modern fashions are built around youthful curves.”

(If you didn’t recognize her, remember that Ginger Rogers was called “Ginger” because she had red hair.)

Laxative salts were advertised for weight loss, as were breakfast cereals. “Two tablespoonfuls [of All-Bran] daily are usually sufficient…. Isn’t this better than risking unpleasant patent medicines? Kellogg’s All-Bran is not fattening.”

"A curve is the smartest distance between two points." Ad for Kellogg's All Bran cereal, June 1934.

“A curve is the smartest distance between two points.” Ad for Kellogg’s All Bran cereal, June 1934.

“Figures must be graceful, slim, and rounded in the right places…. To look well in the new gowns, many of us must reduce. We must exercise. We must watch our meals.”

Ad for Kellogg's Corn Flakes, May 1933.

Ad for Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, May, 1933. “When you begin to think about light summer clothes….”

There’s no promise that Corn Flakes will help you lose weight, just the suggestion of lightness.

However, the cover of the July 1933 Delineator shows the appeal of sugary temptations.

Delineator magazine cover, July 1933. Illustration by Dynevor Rhys.

Delineator magazine cover, July 1933. Illustration by Dynevor Rhys.

Ounce for ounce, ice cream will also “add pounds quicker than beer.” Alas.

True story: A hand-lettered sign appeared taped to a lamppost in my neighborhood: “I LOST 40 lbs of ugly fat! Call: (it gave a phone number.)” The next time I passed, someone had added a smaller sign:  “Found @ corner of Sunset & 37th: 40 lbs of ugly fat. Call (a different phone number) to claim.”

 

 

 

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Filed under 1930s, Bathing Suits, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture

Her Summer Love — 1933

"Her Summer Love Lasted Only Ten Minutes." Story illustration by Clark Fay, Delineator, August 1933.

“Her summer love lasted only ten minutes.” Story illustration by Clark Fay, Delineator, August 1933.

Hmmmm. “I couldn’t possibly comment,” to quote Francis Urquhart in the British House of Cards series.

Here are two more 1933 illustrations from a different story — this heroine wears  “Letty Lynton” sleeves.

Story illustration by George Mitchell; Delineator, June 1933.

“Very well. She would bring a man. And there he was, so neat and serious, so unsuspicious.” Story illustration by George Mitchell; Delineator, June 1933.

Story illustration by George Mitchell; Delineator, June 1933

“They begged Mimi to stay. But she wasn’t going to sacrifice herself — she was going to the dance!” Story illustration by George Mitchell; Delineator, June 1933. Pale dress, dark gloves — also seen in other fashion illustrations.

In this image, the illustrator has omitted the huge, dark bow or flower at the waist of the gown that appears in the first illustration — probably to make Mimi’s dark-gloved arms more visible in the second picture. A clear composition is more important than consistency.

I didn’t have time to read the story, but we can have fun speculating about the plot from these illustrations. I’m guessing “widower with two daughters…. and a girl who needs a date…. and learns to be unselfish….” Or not.

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Men’s Fashions in Color, 1933

A typical page of men's fashions from the first issue of Esquire magazine, Autumn 1933.

One of many pages of men’s fashions from the first issue of Esquire magazine, Autumn 1933.

A good costume designer is just as interested in men’s clothing as in women’s, with good reason: There are far more parts for men than for women in plays, movies, and television.
But dating men’s 20th century clothing is difficult for a number of reasons, among them a slower rate of change (men don’t buy a new suit for every new occasion, but wear them for years) and the subtlety of the changes (a quarter inch in the width of a lapel or a necktie, two versus three buttons, etc.) And not many theatres can afford a full-time tailor.

Men's suits from Sears, Spring 1938 and 1948.

Men’s suits from Sears, Spring 1938 and 1948. Click to enlarge.

Often, for budgetary reasons, “close is good enough” on stage because the audience probably won’t know the difference between men’s suits from 1938 and 1948 — although the difference in women’s fashions from those years would be clear.

Women's suit patterns, 1938 and 1948. The silhouette is very different.

Women’s suit patterns, 1938 and 1948. The silhouette is very different. Click to enlarge.

I feel bad about neglecting men’s fashions in this blog. However, this month I came across the very-first-ever-issue of Esquire magazine. Considering that it appeared in the depth of the Great Depression, when other magazines were becoming shorter (not enough advertisers) and eliminating color pages to save printing costs, who would expect to find 14 full-color pages of men’s fashion in Esquire’s premier issue?  But there they were — along with cartoons in color! (Fashion illustrations by L. Fellows.)

"This Our New York, cartoon by Howard Baer. Esquire, Autumn 1933.

“This Our New York,” cartoon by Howard Baer. Esquire, Autumn 1933. Public transportation brings together a range of ages and ethnicities — all wearing hats and gloves. His flashy clothes (and appraising stare) imply that the man on the right is not a gentleman.

The first issue was a quarterly — Autumn, 1933. In 1934 Esquire became a monthly magazine. Like Delineator magazine, Esquire aimed at a middle-to-upper class reader. Just as Delineator focused on what was worn in Paris, Esquire was focused on successful, East Coast, Ivy League, business and professional men — and those who wanted to imitate them. Many of the clothes are illustrated on older men of distinction; illustrations of sportswear (riding, skiing, and spectator sports like racing) assume that Esquire readers are far removed from breadlines and soup kitchens.

New Looks for Men in 1933

Some trends described as new to men’s fashions in fall of 1933 were the appearance of brown suits in business settings, rougher-textured and harder-wearing wool suits and coats (a nod to the Depression), and the shirt collar fastened by a pin. Colorful — and patterned — business shirts with white collars and cuffs were pictured often. It’s not certain that every fashion Esquire suggested became mainstream — just as few people actually wore Vogue editorial fashion. But the opportunity to see 1930’s color combinations, including advice on coordinating hats and shirts and ties, socks and suspenders and handkerchiefs, makes me very happy! Here’s what I learned from just four pages:

The Lawyer

Navy double-breasted suit and accessories, Esquire, Fall 1933, p. 82.

Navy double-breasted suit and accessories, Esquire, Autumn 1933, p. 82.

This traditional double-breasted, navy blue suit “will never get you into the headlines as the Beau Brummel of your time,” but for the man who is not sure that his “taste in colors [is] to be trusted, sticking to plain blue is the most reliable way” to look smart. “You may not be resplendently right, but a least you can’t be clamorously wrong — you can wear almost anything with a blue suit.” Esquire recommends a colored shirt with white collar and cuffs. The one he’s wearing has bold stripes. Colored pocket square.

For wear with the navy suit, "self-figured" ties, gray Homburg hat, and a blue shirt with white pique collar and collar pin. Esquire, Autumn 1933.

For wear with the navy suit, “self-figured” ties, gray Homburg hat, and a blue shirt with white pique collar and collar pin. Esquire, Autumn 1933.

“The white pique collar that comes with the shirt should be of the new model that provides eyelet openings for the collar pin.” You can wear any of the self-figured ties sketched in the panel of accessories.” “The hat is the correct gray Homburg.”

500 navy homburg 1933 autumn esq color p 82 navy suit image“The newest thing in braces [suspenders] is the double braid in contrasting colors.”

500 navy suit suspenders1933 autumn esq color p 82 navy suit shirt tie suspendersThe full-legged, sharply creased suit trousers taper to a cuff.

Cuffed tapered trousers, 1933. Illustrations are by L. Fellows.

Cuffed, tapered trousers, 1933. They are exactly the right length to flow smoothly without a “break” [wrinkle] over the instep. Illustrations are by L. Fellows.

I find it interesting that the man in the navy blue suit is shown pleading a case in front of a jury; in Dress for Success (1975), John Molloy recommended that trial lawyers wear navy blue suits, because surveys showed that working-class jurors distrusted men in gray suits (too much like bankers.)

The Architect

Brown worsted checked 3-pc suit, blue shirt with white collar and cuffs, polka dotted or printed satin tie. Esquire, Autumn 1933, p. 81.

Brown worsted checked 3-piece suit, blue shirt with white collar and cuffs, and polka dotted or printed satin tie. Esquire, Autumn 1933, p. 81.

This young architect is wearing a three-piece brown suit with a small windowpane check. (For comparison, click here to see a 2016 three-piece checked suit — vest sold separately. The fit is very different, and the jacket very short.) Like the 1933 navy blue suit, these rather full pant legs are tapered and cuffed.

Tapered, cuffed suit trousers, Esquire, 1933.

Tapered, cuffed suit trousers, Esquire, 1933.

His matching vest has a lapel. His two-button jacket has flap pockets (including a small “ticket pocket.”)

Esquire showed two brown suits in city settings; “Catch the average American in anything but a blue or grey suit and you will detect a trace of the same self-conscious look that is otherwise reserved for those who wear evening clothes on street cars;” Esquire blamed this on the “superstition that blue is becoming to everybody” while brown is not. “If you’re one of those blue suit boys, try combining a brown worsted suit and a shirt with blue body and white pique collar. (The newer shirts come in very flattering deep blue.)” All four suits have very broad, padded shoulders.

Two button suit with matching collared vest; worn with blue shirt, white collar, and a selection of ties. Autumn 1933.

Two button suit with matching vest, which has a lapel; worn with blue shirt, white collar, and a selection of ties. Note the collar pin. Autumn 1933.

“The bold polka dot tie shown on the figure is smarter than the printed satins shown at left, …but lots of men like them.”

Monogrammed braces (suspenders.) 1933.

Monogrammed braces (suspenders.) 1933. Note the striped business shirt and rep tie worn by the older draftsman.

“A pair of monogrammed braces like those sketched can be obtained for less, this season, than you would have had to pay for plain ones in the recent past.”

The Doctor

A doctor wears a rough brown wool suit for a more informal appearance. Esquire, Autumn 1933, p. 87.

A doctor wears a rough brown vested wool suit for a more informal appearance. Esquire, Autumn 1933, p. 87. Wide, tapering trousers and very wide shoulders.

More outdoorsy brown suits were recommended “for men whose business or profession makes an easy informal appearance helpful. The doctor, for example…. [Brown suits] resemble, as little as possible, the costume of the average undertaker.”

“With the new trend toward rougher textures, brown suitings … rough weaves, rough almost to the point of shagginess… have come to town.” [As opposed to being reserved for country wear.]

The doctor illustrated is wearing a “two button notch lapel modified drape model.” Notice the high waist and low crotch on the trousers, which are sharply creased and are cuffed at the tapered hem.

Two-button suit with matching vest, high-waisted trousers with cuffs, and "clipped figure" shirts. Esquire, Autumn 1933.

Two-button suit with matching vest, high-waisted trousers with cuffs, and “clipped figure” shirts. Esquire, Autumn 1933.

“The accessories … are selected as being especially well suited for wear with the rough suitings. The clipped figure shirting, long outside the pale of fashionable preferment, has come back with this new suiting trend, the slightly raised appearance of the fabric being especially appropriate with a soft rough suiting.”

"Spitalsfield" ties, 1933.

“Spitalsfield” ties, 1933.

“The Spitalsfield [sic] tie is another revived favorite. In a tie of this type you can get away with bright colors without … gaudiness.”  [London’s East End district of Spitalfields was famous for its silk weaving, thanks to an influx of Protestant French refugees after 1685.]

500 doctor snapbrim1933 autumn esq color p 87 rough texture doctor brown suit image

As for hats, the snapbrim is the only suitable model, but to be up to the times it ought to have the rather high tapered crown shown in the one sketched…. It is good in green or brown with a greenish cast.”

The Stockbroker

Gray double-breasted herringbone suit,without cuffs and with a ticket pocket. Esquire, Autumn 1933, p. 93.

Gray double-breasted herringbone suit, without trouser cuffs and with a ticket pocket. Esquire, Autumn 1933, p. 93. Men’s waists were high.

This gray herringbone double-breasted suit is not quite traditional. “Town clothes… are undergoing many changes. Here we have the omission of cuffs on the trousers and the addition of a ticket pocket placed just below the line at which the draped model gives a slight waist suppression…. The herringbone pattern is enjoying renewed popularity with the trend toward soft rough fabrics in suitings for town and business wear. A plain shoe, in black or briar brown … with a simple toecap and no punching or pinking…”

With this gray suit, he wears a horizontally striped shirt with white collar and cuffs; solid or foulard printed neckties. 1933

With this gray suit, he wears a horizontally striped shirt with white collar and cuffs; matching solid necktie. 1933. Is that a glimpse of a matching herringbone vest?

“… a demi-bosom shirt with cross stripes worn with a low front white laundered collar [detachable collars were still being worn]; and a dark solid-colored tie with a plain pearl stickpin — that rounds out … this formula for appearing to good advantage during the daylight hours. [For] men who have formed the habit of wearing foulard ties twelve months in the year, the new printed satin ties “have foulard prints, but wear much better.”

“Vertical striped hosiery” goes well with the suitings in rougher textured fabrics.

Trousers without cuffs (or "turn-ups") worn with striped socks and suspenders ("braces") with clips to attach to your shirt.

Trousers without cuffs (British “turn-ups”) worn with striped socks and suspenders (“braces”) that have “brace clips” to attach to your shirt. 1933

“Brace clips, attached to elastic cords, keep one’s shirt down.”

The number in his lapel, the slips of paper on the floor, the hurrying messenger — all are signs that this man works in the stock exchange. This photo confirms the background scenery, and this one shows exchange members with numbers in their lapels.

More 1930’s menswear to come ….

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Filed under 1930s, Hats for Men, Men's Formalwear & Evening, Men's Haberdashery & Accessories, Menswear, Shirts for men, Shoes for Men, Suits for Men

Butterick Forecast Wardrobe Patterns, 1927 to 1928

I don’t collect patterns or sell them anymore, so I feel a little weird about finding another category of rare Butterick patterns. These are proving difficult to research, simply because they appeared in a few issues of Delineator with no fanfare (as far as I know,) and then no more was seen of them — at least, not by me.

Forecast Wardrobe from Delineator, November 1927, p. 26. The Butterick pattern numbers are, from left, 9-D, 9-C, 9-B and 9-A. These patterns cost more than four-digit Butterick patterns.

Forecast Wardrobe from Delineator, November 1927, p. 26. The Butterick pattern numbers are, from left, 9-D, 9-C, 9-B and 9-A. These patterns cost a dollar each.

These “forecast wardrobe” patterns are peculiar for two reasons:

  • They are outside the usual four-digit numbering sequence.
  • They cost $1.00 each at a time when most Butterick patterns cost from 25 to 50 cents.
Detail from a Butterick pattern price chart, Delineator magazine, January 1928, page 92.

Detail from a Butterick pattern price chart, Delineator magazine, January 1928, page 92. Pattern numbers and prices in cents. A chart of current pattern prices appeared in every issue.

I stumbled upon a two-page spread of “Fashions of the Forecast Wardrobe” in the January 1928 Delineator [Butterick’s magazine for women,] and didn’t see anything special about them except the odd numbering: 10-A, 10-B, etc.

"Daytime Fashions of the Forecast Wardrobe," Delineator, January 1928, p. 30. From left, Butterick patterns 10 B, 10 F, 10 A and 10 C.

“Daytime Fashions of the Forecast Wardrobe,” Delineator, January 1928, p. 30. From left, Butterick patterns 10 B, 10 F, 10 A and 10 C.

It was the price chart — which appeared at the back of every issue in the late 1920’s — that surprised me.

A typical Butterick Price Chart like this allowed Delineator readers to order by mail. January, 1928. It also helped me to date Butterick patterns.

A typical Butterick Price Chart like this allowed Delineator readers to order by mail.  It also helped me to date Butterick patterns. This one appeared in January 1928.  (Three-digit numbers are craft patterns.) The dollar patterns at the bottom are unusual; other prices are given in cents [Cts.]

I started looking through the previous years — 1927 and 1926 –expecting to find a regular series, but have only discovered five sets of “Forecast” patterns so far, starting with the four-pattern group beginning with 8 (8 A, 8 B, 8 C, and 8 D) in October of 1927 — and those patterns did not appear on the October price chart.

Butterick patterns 8-A through 8-D appeared in an article on wardrobe planning, Delineator, October 1927, p. 26. There was no mention in the article of the patterns' prices.

Butterick patterns 8-A through 8-D appeared in an article on wardrobe planning, Delineator, October 1927, p. 26. There was no mention in the article of the patterns’ special prices.

The group numbered 9 (9 A, 9 B, 9 C, 9 D) was illustrated in the November 1927 Delineator, again without appearing on the price chart.

Butterick patterns 9-A through 9-D appeared in November, 1927, with recommended accessories. Delineator, p. 26.

Butterick patterns 9-A through 9-D appeared in November, 1927, with recommended accessories. Delineator, p. 26.

In January 1928, the eight-pattern Number 10 series was luxuriously illustrated (on the S.S. Ile de France) by L. Frerrier, and showed up on the pattern chart with that $1.00 price, finally giving me an idea why these “Forecast” patterns were special. Series Number 9 patterns were on the January price chart, too.

Butterick "Forecast" patterns 10 D, 10 H, 10 E, 10 G. Illustrated by L. Frerrier for Delineator, January 1928, p. 31.

Butterick “Forecast” patterns 10 D, 10 H, 10 E, 10 G. Illustrated by L. Frerrier for Delineator, January 1928, p. 31.

Another eight-pattern Forecast wardrobe (11 A through 11 H) appeared in March, 1928 — again, a two page spread. The final group of eight (12 A through 12 H) appeared in June, but Frerrier’s illustrations were crammed into just one page. I haven’t gone through 1929 Delineators page by page, but there were no more Forecast patterns in 1928. As Kermit T. Frog would put it , “What the Hey?”

Butterick Forecast patterns 11-C, 11-D, 11-B, and 11-A, from March 1928. Delineator, p. 30.

Butterick Forecast patterns 11-C, 11-D, 11-B, and 11-A, from March 1928. Delineator, p. 30.

I don’t see anything special about the designs of Forecast Wardrobe patterns; in fact, some of them look a bit dowdy. And, as for predicting future fashions — well, if anyone could do that with absolute accuracy, that person would be very rich.

As I work through Delineator magazines for 1928, I’ll be keeping an eye out for these designs; did they reappear with normal numbers and normal prices as time went by? In what way were they “forecast?” And what made them cost twice as much as other patterns?

Has anyone found a vintage Butterick pattern with these peculiar numbers? Did they appear in the store pattern catalogs or store flyers? And, are there more than thirty-two of them (four  in October 1927,  four in November 1927, and eight per month in January, March, and June of 1928?)

I’ll be sharing details of the patterns in later posts; after the library retrieves the bound volumes for 1927 and 1928 from off-site storage, I’ll be reading through their masthead pages in case “Forecast” patterns were announced there. For now, I’m just sharing the mystery.

 

 

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Filed under 1920s, bags, handbags, Purses

Colorful Dresses for May 1926

A page of Butterick patterns from Delineator, May 1926. Illustrated by Marie L. Britton.

A page of Butterick patterns from Delineator, May 1926. Illustrated by Marie L. Britton. Page 29.

If you were looking for summer dress ideas in May, 1926, you might have found inspiration in these Butterick patterns from the Delineator. As often happens, the dresses for “Misses 15 to 20 and small women” show the hemlines that older women would adopt a couple of years later. The full-page colored illustrations were done by Marie L. Britton.

A full page of Butterick fashions for young women, Delineator, May 1926.

A full page of Butterick fashions for young or small women, Delineator, May 1926. Page 27.

I’ll be showing the tops and bottoms of four color pages, but here are a few trends to look for:

Border prints, fashionable in 1925, continue to add charm to 1926 dresses. I especially like the yellow one on the left. Both use the border print at the bottom of their sleeves.

Butterick patterns 6788 and 6779 show how much a border print can contribute to the charm of a one-or two piece twenties dress. Delineator, May 1926.

Butterick patterns 6788 and 6779 show how much a border print can contribute to the charm of a one-or two piece twenties’ dress. Delineator, May 1926.

Both of those patterns also have a sleeve that continues into the yoke, called a saddle shoulder.

Ruching (several parallel lines of gathering) guarantees a snug fit at the hips of these dresses:

Butterick patterns 6817, 6777, 6760 and 6779 use ruching to create a snug hip band. Delineator, May 1926.

Butterick patterns 6817, 6777, 6760 and 6779 use ruching to create a snug hip band. Delineator, May 1926. The very short dress is for girls 15 and under.

Sewing tip: if you don’t want the ruching threads to break, sew a flat panel of sheer fabric matching the slip, and cut to hip size, under the ruching.  (In the 1970s or 1980s, dresses used elastic thread for a similar effect.) To control the blousing, the hip band can be attached to the under slip.

Embroidery, popular in the 1910’s and twenties, adds a custom touch to some of these dresses, although the embroidery was optional. Just a touch of embroidery on the sleeve is a surprise on a rather severe pleated dress (center.)

Embroidery trimmed dresses for women and little girls in the twenties. Delineator, May 1926.

Embroidery-trimmed dresses for women and little girls in the twenties. Delineator, May 1926.

The dress in the middle also has a saddle sleeve — plus another mid-twenties feature so common I almost forgot to mention it: long ties or streamers in front, often part of the collar.

The 1920’s fashion ideal was youthful and slender, but the 1920’s feature we all notice — a horizontal line across the hip, which is the widest part of a woman’s body — was the opposite of slenderizing. You can find many strategies for creating a vertical line in the twenties — including those long 1920’s necklaces — but the most common styling trick is long ribbons or ties down the center front.  Often a band which enclosed the back of the neckline became long ties falling down the front of the dress. Even the coat (below left) has them.

Here are the full images of these — and other — outfits for summer, 1926.

Butterick patterns for young or small women: 6771 (plus a tam-o-shanter hat,) 6775, 6744, and 6788. Delineator, May 1926, p. 27.

Top of page 27, Delineator, May 1926. Butterick patterns for young or small women: coat 6771 (plus a tam-o-shanter hat,) dresses 6775, 6744, and 6788.

Butterick patterns for young or small women, Nos. 6777, 6801, 6718, 6791. Delineator, May 1926, p. 27.

Bottom of page 27, Delineator, May 1926. Butterick patterns for young or small women, Nos. 6777, 6801, 6718, 6791.  The lavender dress may be a border print; no embroidery pattern is cited. The red dress has a saddle shoulder and rows of yellow decorative top-stitching on collar, cuffs, and pockets.

Women's patterns from Butterick, Nos. 6765 (plus a turban, No. 6634,)No. 6823 (open dress and slip,) and dress No. 6781. Delineator, May 1926, p. 28 top.

Top of page 28, Delineator, May 1926.Women’s patterns from Butterick: far left is dress No. 6765 (plus a turban, pattern 6634,) the blue outfit is No. 6823 (open dress and slip,) and green print dress No. 6781 is at far right.

Bottom of page 28, Delineator, May 1926. Butterick patterns 6796, 6767, and 6817.

Bottom of page 28, Delineator, May 1926. Butterick patterns 6796 (far left), 6767 (in black), and 6817 (far right).

Top of page 29, Delineator, May 1926. Butterick patterns 6785, 6763, and 6787.

Top of page 29, Delineator, May 1926. Butterick patterns 6785 (far left), 6763 (in black), and 6787 (far right). At far left, the collar binding turns into very long streamers.

Bottom of p. 29, Delineator, May 1926. Butterick patterns 6792, 6779, 6759.

Bottom of p. 29, Delineator, May 1926. Butterick patterns 6792, 6779, 6759. Notice the stocking colors.

Number 6759 (at right) has a half cape in back. So does Number 6765 (page 28 top left,) the red and black dress with a pleated skirt — and a pleated back-cape.

Top of page 30, Delineator, May 1926. Butterick patterns for children and young teens.

Top of page 30, Delineator, May 1926. Butterick patterns for children and young teens. Top left is a little boy.

Bottom of page 30, Delineator, May 1926. Butterick patterns for children and young teens.

Bottom of page 30, Delineator, May 1926. Butterick patterns for children and young teens. (I love the play of stripes on the far right!) The two middle-school aged girls on either side have mid-knee hemlines.

 

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Filed under 1920s, Children's Vintage styles, Tricks of the Costumer's Trade, Vintage Accessories, Vintage patterns