Monthly Archives: July 2016

Redingotes in the 20th Century

Women's Redingotes, Circa 1805, 1931 and 1926.

Women’s Redingotes, circa 1805, 1931 and 1926.

A Very Generalized Brief History of the Redingote
The redingote, as the French called this fashion based on heavy overcoats worn by men for riding and coaching, appeared in the early 1700’s as a man’s coat, often split in back from waist to hem in order to fit easily over the back of a horse. By the late 1700’s there were both male and female garments called “redingotes.” [see Boucher, esp. p. 429] The woman’s redingote could open all the way down the front, but some variations were cut away in front at the waist, either partly or almost to the side seam.

 redingote circa 1776 and a halg redingote circa 1786, from Francois Boucher, 20,000 Years of Fashion, p. 302.

Redingote circa 1776, and a half redingote circa 1786, from Francois Boucher, 20,000 Years of Fashion, p. 302.

Redingote, circa 1790. Collection of the LACMA.

Woman’s Redingote, circa 1790. Collection of LACMA. Click here  for more information about it.

A good source of information about both men’s and women’s redingotes is Francois Boucher’s 20,000 Years of Fashion. Via the frock coat, the redingote was an ancestor of both the man’s cutaway (or “morning coat”) and the tailcoat — both still worn by men today for very formal occasions.

By the 1800’s, “redingote” usually referred to any lady’s over-garment that could be opened from neck to hem, exposing the dress beneath.

A redingote circa 1800-1805, courtesy of the Victoria and Albert museum collection.

A woman’s redingote circa 1800-1805, courtesy of the Victoria and Albert museum collection. Like the male redingote, this one has several cape-like collars.

No longer made chiefly for warmth and weather protection, the woman’s redingote was a popular Regency style.

Redingote, French, 1817 to 1820, collection of the Metropolitan Museum.

Redingote, French, 1817 to 1820, collection of the Metropolitan Museum.

Obviously, this was no longer a riding outfit. One enduring (and slenderizing) feature of the woman’s redingote was that it could be worn partially unfastened, revealing a long sliver of the garment underneath. Patterns of History has a good set of early images in its history of the redingote. Click here. The “redingote” persisted into the 1830‘s, and resurfaces periodically as a description of any overdress that can be worn open from neck to hem in front to reveal another garment which is intended to be seen.

Redingotes in the 1920’s

The dress in the middle is a redingote. Butterick pattern in Delineator, Nov. 1924.

“Redingote Effects,” nineteen twenties. The open dress in the middle, sandwiched between other 1924 fashions, is not a true redingote, but has an attached pseudo-underdress. Butterick pattern 5632 in Delineator, Nov. 1924. It was available in large sizes, too.

1924 nov p 35 embroidered dress large sizes coat btm

Couturiers had continued to use the open coat or overdress occasionally, but in the 1920’s, the redingote officially reappeared, worn open over an underdress or costume slip.

Butterick pattern 5626 for a redingote, Nov. 1924. Delineator, p. 21.

Butterick pattern 5626 for a redingote, Nov. 1924. Delineator, p. 21.

Butterick pattern 5626 description, Nov. 1924.

Butterick pattern 5626 description, Nov. 1924.

The open redingote created a long vertical line from top to bottom; it should have been very appealing to women who were not flattered by the low, horizontal belt of the 1920’s.

Butterick pattern 1958, from April of 1928, was recommended for the larger woman.

Butterick pattern 1958, from April of 1928, was recommended for the larger woman.

Pattern no. 1958 came in a very wide range of sizes, from age 15 years to bust measure 52 inches.

This redingote style was also available for larger women up to size 52:

Butterick pattern 2048, from May 1928. Delineator magazine.

Butterick pattern 2048, from May 1928. Delineator magazine. “A separate one-piece slip is worn under the dress.”

The next two nineteen twenties’ redingotes, both Butterick patterns, were made of sheer fabrics and worn over an opaque undergarment. They were not described as redingotes, but as coat-dresses. However, the dress and coat are separate garments.

A coat dress redingote style, for young women, from September 1926. Butterick pattern 7024.

On the left, a coat-dress in redingote style, for young women, from September 1926. Butterick pattern #7024.

butterick 7024 pattern in fo sept 1926 delin

[“Bois de rose” — rosewood — was a chic 1920’s brownish-pink color. The matching satin slip of a coat-dress would never have been worn by itself.]

A sheer coat dress for young women, Butterick 6904. July, 1926, Delineator.

A sheer coat-dress for young women, Butterick 6904. July, 1926, Delineator.

1926 july p 82 pattern 6904 info

An "ensemble costume" with a sheer coat open down the front to reveal a polka-dotted dress. Butterick 6952, Delineator, July 1926.

An “ensemble costume” with a sheer coat open down the front to reveal a polka-dotted dress. Butterick 6952, Delineator, July 1926. This under dress (“slip-over frock”) could be worn separately.

Back view and description of Buttereick ensemble 6952, 1926.

Back view and description of Butterick ensemble 6952, from 1926.

If you’re afraid that you’d look like a sack of potatoes in a 1920’s dress, consider a twenties’ ensemble like this one — perfectly authentic. The print collar draws our eyes up toward the face; the belt is not tight enough to cause a blouson effect.

Redingotes in the 1930’s
The redingote continued into the 1930s, and was made in see-through materials later in the decade.

Delineator, April 1931: "The Redingote

Delineator, April 1931: “The Redingote … comes up every few years and each time is is an immediate success.” The redingote on the left “has its bolero only in front — the back is made in one piece — bloused at the waistline.” The coats of these redingotes fasten only at the waist.

Redingote fashion described n Delineator, April 1931.

Redingote fashion described in Delineator, April 1931.

“It looks so different from anything we have seen for a long time.” In Delineator magazine, “a long time” was apparently about three years, but the 1930’s fitted waist and long hem are quite different from 1928’s redingotes. Here are Butterick redingotes 3837 and 3850 without their coats:

The dresses worn under Butterick redingotes Nos. from April 1931.

The dresses worn under Butterick redingotes Nos. 3837 and 3850 from April 1931. Back views of the coats are at left.

Butterick redingotes 3897 and 3850, April 1931.

Butterick redingotes 3897 and 3850, April 1931. The largest size available for No. 3837 was 40″, but No. 3850 was available up to bust measure 44 inches.

A redingote was again recommended for its slenderizing properties in 1938:

Butterick redingopte pattern 7853 from August, 1938 Butterick Fashion News.

Butterick redingote pattern 7853 from August, 1938 Butterick Fashion News. This pattern was “for shorter, heavier figures” up to bust measurement 52 inches.

But the redingote below, from the same issue, was part of a fashion for sheer summer clothing:

A sheer redingote: Butterick 7991, from Butterick Fashion News flyer for August 1938.

A sheer redingote: Butterick 7991, from Butterick Fashion News flyer for August 1938. Available in bust measurements from 30 to 40 inches.

And now it’s time to thank Lynn at American Age Fashion for showing us this photo by Ben Shahn from the Library of Congress archives:

Two ladies celebrating the Fourth of July, 1938, from the Library of Congress. Photo by Ben Shahn.

Two ladies celebrating the Fourth of July, 1938, in Ashville, Ohio. From the Library of Congress. Detail of a photo by Ben Shahn.

It was Lynn’s post about these older women wearing sheer dresses that made me wonder, “Is that a redingote on the left?” (I’m still not sure, since it doesn’t fall open below the waist.)

And, now that I’ve lightened the image, I see that the dress on the right is only closed at the midriff, exposing the under slip. Could it be called a redingote, too? If it opens down her back, or at the side, no. But if those buttons are not purely decorative, and it opens down the front, yes.

Both ladies have secured the collars of their dresses, one with a bar pin and the other with a flower pinned in place.

Thanks, Lynn, for inspiring my 20th century redingote quest!

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 1700s, 1800s-1830s, 1920s, 1920s-1930s, 1930s, Costumes for the 18th Century, Costumes for the 19th century, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes

Autumn Wedding, 1927

Planning an Autumn Wedding? Here are some fashions suggested in Butterick’s Delineator magazine, September, 1927.

Autumn Wedding Fashions, Butterick 1598, 1638, and 1650, Delineator, September, 1927, p. 31.

Autumn Wedding Fashions, Butterick 1593, 1638, and 1650, Delineator, September, 1927, p. 31.

What to wear to a wedding, Sept. 1927. Butterick patterns.

What to wear to a wedding, Sept. 1927. Butterick patterns 1593 and 1638..

Butterick 1593 was suggested for the Mother of the Bride. 1927.

Butterick 1593 was suggested for the Mother of the Bride. 1927.

A wedding guest might wear Butterick 1638. 1927.

A wedding guest might wear Butterick 1638, an afternoon dress. 1927.

The same pattern, No. 1650, could be used for “a very young bride” and her bridesmaids:

Butterick 1650 for bride and bridesmaids. 1927.

Butterick 1650 for bride and bridesmaids. 1927.

450 bride young 1650 1927 sept p 31 bride autumn wedding 1598 1638 1650 1650 text alt view btm rt450 bridesmaid 1650 1927 sept p 31 bride autumn wedding 1598 1638 1650 1650 text alt view btm rt

The bride’s close-fitting basque (bodice) had a side seam closing. The bridesmaid’s dress has three decorative bands, one at the natural waist.

For a more sophisticated bride, Butterick 1624.. Perhaps the other items are for her trousseau? Butterick pqttern from Delineator, Sept. 1927, p. 30.

For a more sophisticated bride, a street length wedding gown. Butterick 1624. The other items are for her wedding guests.  Butterick pattern from Delineator, Sept. 1927, p. 30.

Butterick coat pattern 1584 and dress pattern 1640. 1927.

Butterick coat pattern 1584 and dress pattern 1640. From 1927.

1584 coat1927 sept p 30 bride autumn wedding 1584 1640 1624 bride 1618 text btm left1640 dress frock1927 sept p 30 bride autumn wedding 1584 1640 1624 bride 1618 text btm left

Butterick bridal gown 1624, and dress 1618. 1927.

Butterick bridal gown 1624, and dress 1618 for a guest. From 1927. Although short, the wedding dress has a long train.

450 bride 1624 1927 sept p 30 bride autumn wedding 1584 1640 1624 bride 1618 image text btm rt450 guest 1618 1927 sept p 30 bride autumn wedding 1584 1640 1624 bride 1618 image text btm rt

Click here for a closer view of that necklace.

Weddings and dancing go together, so here are three evening frocks from the same issue:

Evening dresses, Butterick patterns 1620, 1646, and 1648. Delineator, September 1927, page 34.

Evening dresses, Butterick patterns 1620, 1646, and 1648. Delineator, September 1927, page 34.

450 1629 evening frock 1927 sept p 34 formal 1620

1646 completed1927 sept p 34

450 1648 dancing frock 1927 sept p 34 formal 1620 1646 1648 btm rt text

Back views of Butterick evening dress patterns 1620, 1646, and 1648. From 1927.

Back and alternate views of Butterick evening dress patterns 1620, 1646, and 1648. From 1927.

1646 could have beaded straps (a rather new idea) or the more usual round or V shaped neckline. 1620 has a “tasseled necklace trimming.” Patou introduced evening dresses with trompe l’oeil necklace trimming as part of the dress in 1927. If made as an afternoon dress, No. 1646 would have sleeves, probably to the wrist.

All illustrations by L. Frerrier.

Personally, I’d go for No. 1638 or 1640, which use two textures in the same color for a subtle contrast and Art Deco chic.

Art Deco geometry and subtle contrasts of texture in monochromatic dresses. 1927. Double-sided crepe, in matte and shiny finishes, was a popular fabric for styles like these.

Art Deco geometry and subtle contrasts of texture in these dresses from 1927. Double-sided crepe, with one side matte and one side shiny, was a popular fabric for styles like these. Or you could use velvet and satin….

Dress #1640 (which was available in patterns up to a 44″ bust with 47.5″ hips) would be a great choice for women who are uncomfortable with the  typical 1920’s dropped waist — it has no waist at all! I wish I’d seen this research years ago.

 

 

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

To Tan or Not to Tan 1920s – 1930s

Elizabeth I, the Rainbow Portrait, in Hatfield House; image via wikimedia commons

Elizabeth I, detail of the “Rainbow Portrait” in Hatfield House; image via wikimedia commons

Three centuries after the death of Queen Elizabeth I, American women still believed that beautiful skin should be pale.

Advertisement, 1917.

Advertisement, 1917. “So tanned, so colorless …. However unattractive exposure to the summer sun may have made” your face….

“Fair and tender ladies” with “peaches and cream” complexions — that was the fashion ideal promulgated for thousands of years, and not just in Europe. (Click here for the disturbing “White Skin: A Chinese Obsession.

"So tanned, so colorless -- What shall she do?" Ad from Ladies' Home Journal, 1917. Advertisement for Woodbury soap.

“So tanned, so colorless — What shall she do?” Ad from Ladies’ Home Journal, 1917. Advertisement for Woodbury soap.

Then came the nineteen twenties…. When chic American and European women wanted to be sun-tanned.

"Sun-tan makes Maybelline more necessary than ever!" Ad for eye makeup, Delineator, July 1929, p. 81.

“Sun-tan makes Maybelline more necessary than ever!” Ad for eye makeup, Delineator, July 1929, p. 81.

One of the many bizarre ideals of beauty — one that has given pain to as many women as the fashions for impossibly thin bodies or bound feet — is the crazy idea that beauty requires a light or pale skin tone. The Ancient Egyptians and Etruscans often portrayed women in a lighter shade of paint than men. “The feminine ideal during the Han period (2000 years ago) for women of the court was almost unearthly white, white skin. Moon-like roundish faces, long black hair,” writes Ann Rose Kitagawa.  Cosmetics that were supposed to lighten your skin have been around for thousands of years. For women of color, there are plenty of depressing  vintage ads for preparations that are supposed to lighten or bleach your skin. (And plenty of modern ones, too….)

“The Greeks favored light complexions, which they maintained using white lead. This was later replaced by chalk powder (around 1000 BCE) due to the many deaths caused by slow lead poisoning.” [White lead, which was also used in cosmetics by the Elizabethans, is a form of arsenic.]— read more at annmariegianni.com.

At a time when almost all people worked out of doors (that is, for most of human history,) tanned skin was the mark of a peasant, and lighter skin the mark of higher social status: the educated, the administrators, and the aristocrats. This idea was turned upside down between the 1920’s and the 1930’s, when more people worked indoors, and only wealthy people could afford to vacation at beach resorts during the winter months. Suddenly, a winter tan became a status symbol for Americans and Europeans, influencing dress, as explained in this 1929 magazine article:

"Tan Takes its Turn as a Maker of Fashion." Article in Delineator Magazine, February, 1929, p. 25.

“Tan Takes its Turn as a Maker of Fashion.” Article in Delineator magazine, February, 1929, p. 25.

This article even mentions artificial tanning: “Last summer’s tan, acquired on the Lido or American Beaches, conserved during the winter months with a sun machine and ready to deepen now at Palm Beach or Bermuda…,” could be maintained with a tanning lamp like this one.

"Now you can afford Ultra-Violet sunshine;" ad for a Health Developer Tanning Lamp, 1929.

“Now you can afford Ultra-Violet sunshine;” ad for a Health Developer Twin-Arc Tanning Lamp, 1929.

Ad for National Health Applliance Corp. tanning lamp, 1929.

Ad for National Health Appliance Corp. tanning lamp, 1929.

To be fair, the “health” claims were related to the relatively recent discovery of Vitamin D, its part in calcium absorption, and the need for sunshine to prevent the bone-deforming disease, rickets, in children. But the sunlamp was undoubtedly as much a fashion item as a health item in 1929.

It’s not surprising that women were confused in the late twenties and early thirties — To tan, or not to tan? [Personal note:  I am very pale, as California girls go, but my mother, who prized her extremely white skin, was terribly disappointed that her little girl was not as fair-skinned as she was. Apparently, some women who lived through this “tan/not tan” era were never enthusiastic about the new fashion.]

Even in the thirties, not every woman chose to get a tan. Story illustration from Woman's Home Companion, Jan. 1936.

Even in the thirties, not every fair-skinned woman chose to get a tan. Two blondes in a story illustration from Woman’s Home Companion, Jan. 1936.

I was amused to find these two ads facing each other in the pages of Delineator in 1924, before tanning became chic.

Left, an ad advising a remedy for sunburn; right, an ad for a bleaching cream. Delineator, Aug. 1924.

Left, an ad suggesting a remedy for sunburn; right, an ad for a skin bleaching cream.   Delineator, Aug. 1924.

Nadinola “whitens the skin to milky purity. It bleaches freckles, sun-tan and wind-tan.”

Absorbine, Jr. promised that “the next day,” users would have “only a slightly deeper coat of tan as a reminder of the day’s sport.”  In 1924, getting a tan was an accident that called for a remedy like Nadinola Bleaching Cream, which promised “The Lure of Southern Loveliness.” [Hmmmm.]

In 1928, the unlucky girl who accidentally got a tan could buy Gouraud’s Oriental Cream to cover it up:

"A Sunproof Complexion" -- or the illusion of one -- could be applied with a bottle of Oriental Cream. Ad, July 1928.

“A Sunproof Complexion” — or the illusion of one — could be applied with a bottle of Oriental Cream, which “renders an entrancing film of pearly beauty….”  Ad, July 1928.

Text of ad for Gouraud's Oriental Cream, a makeup which covered up a tan. Delineator, July 1928.

Text of ad for Gouraud’s Oriental Cream, a face and body makeup which covered up a tan, and theoretically prevented one. “You appearance will not be blemished by the sun or wind.” Delineator, July 1928.

Bottom of ad for Gouraud's Oriental Cream, apparently a liquid body makeup. July 1928

Bottom of ad for Gouraud’s Oriental Cream, which seems to be a liquid body makeup. July 1928. Delineator.

Apparently a liquid body makeup, Oriental Cream was available in “White, Flesh and Rachel.” “Rachel” was a dark-ish makeup color for olive or tanned complexions. Here is a “don’t fear the beach, use Apex Bleach” ad aimed at women of color in the 1920’s.

[I can’t read “Flesh” color without thinking about comedian and civil rights leader Dick Gregory‘s sixties’ joke (I’m paraphrasing from memory) that he really thought we were making progress towards racial equality — until he “tried to buy a flesh colored bandaid.” Dick Gregory opened some windows in my little, white world. And guess what? — that joke is still valid.]

However, by 1929 suntanned faces and bodies were in style, according to fashion magazines:

500 title 1929 feb tan article p 25

Beginning of text of suntans and fashions article in Delineator, February, 1929.

Beginning of article about fashions and colors to flatter a suntan in Delineator, February, 1929.

Notice the references to American and European resorts: Palm Beach, Antibes, the Lido (Venice), Bermuda…. French resorts like Deauville and Biarritz– where Chanel started her rise to eminence — were part of the phenomenon. “It has become smart to look healthy, smart to go in for tan, and smart to dress expressly for it.”

A sports suit with "sunburn back" used white with vivid colors to compliment the tan. Delineator, Feb. 1929.

A sports suit with “sunburn back” used white with vivid colors to compliment the tan. Delineator, Feb. 1929. Her back is bare, but wrinkled by the model’s pose.

425 1929 feb tan article p 25 top lower

425 1929 feb tan article p 25 lower rt end

“Even the southern evening frock is deliberately more decollete than ever so as to reveal the extent of the day’s tan.”

“The necessity of being true to your tan and its outline,” e.g., U shaped, V shaped  or square-shaped, is important, since your bathing suit line would dictate the other clothes you could wear to show off your tan. “Tan is truly the maker of fashion.”

A deep U shape in front. Feb, 1929 Delineator.

A deep neckline in front and intense flower prints to go with a tan. Feb, 1929, Delineator.

Low-cut evening gowns also exposed your tan, front and back.

Evening gown in blue chiffon, Delineator Fe. 1929.

Evening gown in blue chiffon, Delineator, Feb. 1929. It “Follows the design of the sports suit” with the very deep “sunburn” back.

That’s not to say that women were not conflicted by contradictory advertising.

Top image from an ad for Golden Peacock Bleach cream. July 1931.

Top image from an ad for Golden Peacock Bleach cream. July 1931.

Ad for Golden Peacock skin bleaching cream, July 1931.

Ad for Golden Peacock skin bleaching cream, July 1931. “Ten nights — and you’ll be a ravishing, fair skinned beauty!”

Note that these skin bleach ads from Delineator magazine were primarily aimed at women with Caucasian/European ancestry. Many other products that claimed to bleach or lighten skin were advertised to women with naturally dark complexions.

B. Vikki Vintage has written a well-illustrated review of  Style & Status: Selling Beauty to African-American Women, 1920-1975 by Susannah Walker. Visit her blog here.

1929 ad for Hinds Honey Almond Cream. That is a low cut bathing suit!

1929 ad for Hinds Honey Almond Cream.  This extremely low-cut bathing suit matches some equally low cut evening dresses of the 1930’s. Click here.

"Sunshine weathers the skin unmercifully. Does more than anything else to age it."

“Sunshine in moderation is good. Severe sunburn, however, weathers the skin unmercifully. Does more than anything else to age it.” Ad for Hinds Cream.

“To prevent that fiery sunscorch in the first place, — before going on the beach, smooth on Hinds Cream, and powder over it.”

“Powder over it?” In 1931, Dorothy Gray offered a product that claimed to prevent sunburn by “absorbing ultra-violet rays.” (It probably did work better than powder over moisturizer):

Ad for Dorothy Gray sunscreen. July 1931. Note the peculiar suntan lines that will be caused by this swimsuit.

Ad for Dorothy Gray sunscreen. July 1931. Note the peculiar suntan lines that will be caused by this swimsuit, which the model has obviously not worn before. Judging by her legs and midriff, she tanned her arms and upper back while wearing a dress.

Text of Dorothy Gray ad, July 1931.

Text of Dorothy Gray Sunburn Cream ad, July 1931. $2.00 was not an insignificant amount of money. In 1924 and in 1936, a working woman paid about $20 per month for a rented room.

The fashion for tanning was not necessarily long, or universal, and like all fads … It faded.

Illustration from "Keeping Up and Making Up," Delineator, June 1934. "When Skins Change Their Color, It's News."

Illustration from “Keeping Up and Making Up,” Delineator, June 1934. Dark tan in 1932, lighter tan in 1933, and a big beach hat and cover-up in 1934.”When Skins Change Their Color, It’s News.”

“News” seems to suggest that very deep tans were losing their cachet by 1934. But this cartoon from 1936 contradicts it — at least for an English humorist:

"Don't worry, darling. You'll look quite respectable in a day or two." Punch magazine cartoon from 1936, in The Way to Wear'em, by Christina Walkley.

“Don’t worry, darling. You’ll look quite respectable in a day or two.” Punch magazine cartoon from 1936, in The Way to Wear’em, by Christina Walkley.

I’m afraid, from the dismay on the dark-suited girl’s face, that the cartoonist did not agree that a dark tan was “respectable.” The old “peasants versus aristocrats” stereotype had not died.

Sadly, millions of women in third-world countries are still using skin bleach products that contain mercury and other toxic ingredients in the quest for lighter skin. Click here to read The Global Phenomenon of Skin Bleaching: A Crisis in Public Health.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, 1920s, 1920s-1930s, A Costumers' Bookshelf, Bathing Suits, Cosmetics, Beauty Products, Costumes for the 17th Century, Musings, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Sportswear, Swimsuits

More Sheer Dresses from the Late 1930s

Recently Lynn at American Age Fashion posted photos of some older women wearing sheer day dresses in the 1930‘s and the 1940‘s.

Ashville, Ohio, July 4th 1938. Photo by Ben Shahn, Library of Congress.

Ashville, Ohio, July 4th 1938. Photo by Ben Shahn, Library of Congress.

Like Jennifer (from Holliepoint) in Lynn’s comments section, I was surprised that older women would wear sheer dresses that showed their slips. In the fifties and sixties, just having a slip strap drop off my shoulder and become visible was a mortifying experience for me.  “Intimate apparel” was not supposed to be seen except in intimate situations.

However, I was forgetting that many fashions of the 1900’s and 1910’s were sheer, and that women who had been twenty or thirty at the turn of the century would not think of summer dresses that revealed your lingerie as shockingly new. Au contraire.

Ladies' Blouse-waists, Delineator, July 1917. Most of these are sher; you can see through the sleeves.

Ladies’ blouse/waists, Delineator, July 1917. Most of these are sheer; you can see through the sleeves, and probably through the bodices, in real life.

Early in the century, there was even a long-running fashion for “lingerie dresses” like these; they are made of sheer “handkerchief linen,” or cotton batiste, or lawn and ornamented with inset lace, like the underwear (lingerie) of their day.

Lingerie dresses. Left, early 1900's; right 1910's or early twenties.

Lingerie dresses. Left, early 1900’s; right, 1910’s or early twenties. These were photographed over a black slip to show the lace to advantage. A white slip would have been very visible through these dresses.

Thin cotton fabrics and lace inserts were used to make undergarments and also to make blouses. Butterick patterns from Delineator, 1917.

Thin cotton fabrics and lace inserts were used to make undergarments and also to make blouses. Butterick patterns from Delineator, 1917. The blouse/waist at right is sheer enough to show the model’s embroidered underwear, or a lace underbodice.

This beautiful — and very sheer — blouse was made of two layers of netting:

A blouse/waist so sheer that it is made of two layers of netting. Private collection.

A blouse/waist so sheer that it is made of two layers of netting. Private collection.

Here is its equally beautiful back:

This sheer, embroidered netting blouse has a "sailor collar" in back.

This sheer, embroidered netting blouse has a “sailor collar” in back. Circa 1910’s to 1920’s.

Sheer blouses like the one below are now called “Armistice Blouses,” but it probably dates earlier than 1918, when the Armistice ending World War I was proclaimed.

A sheer vintage blouse, circa WW I, sometimes called an "Armistice Blouse."

A sheer vintage blouse, circa WW I, sometimes called an “Armistice Blouse.”

In this photo, you can easily see the coat hanger through the blouse. Underwear would have been equally visible.

Skin and underwear would have been visible through this sheer cotton. Vintage blouse, private collection.

Skin and underwear would have been visible through this sheer cotton vintage blouse. Private collection.

During the 1910’s, a skirt and matching bodice (called a waist) were often worn instead of a dress. The patterns were sold separately. These surviving waists show that  they were part of see-through fashions:

Purple chiffon waist, probably 1910's.

Purple chiffon waist, probably 1910’s.

Embroidered peach colored blouse or waist. Probably 1910's.

Sheer, embroidered pink blouse or waist. Probably 1910’s.

It makes sense to me that women who wore these sheer clothes in their prime . . .

Sheer vintage blouse, before 1910.

Sheer vintage blouse, before 1910.

. . . would be perfectly comfortable in sheer dresses in their middle and old age:

Older woman wearing a sheer, striped dress. Fourth of July, 1938, Ashville, Ohio. Library of Congress photo by Ben Shahn.

Older woman wearing a sheer, striped dress. Fourth of July, 1938, Ashville, Ohio. Library of Congress photo by Ben Shahn. Detail.

No wonder they took to the sheer fashions of the late 1930’s:

A dress flattering to larger figures, Simplicity store flyer, Oct. 1939.

A dress flattering to larger figures, Simplicity 3139, store flyer, Oct. 1939. Sizes 32 to 44.

DuBarry pattern 2319B, for a sheer dress. Store flyer, Aug. 1939.

DuBarry pattern 2319B, for a sheer afternoon dress. Store flyer, Aug. 1939. Available in sizes 32 to 42.

Vogue 8315, Vogue store flyer for May 1, 1939.

Vogue 8315, Vogue store flyer for May 1, 1939. Sizes 32 to 42 bust.

Companion-Butterick pattern 7989, from August 1938.

Companion-Butterick pattern 7989, from August 1938. Dotted sheer fabric.

Simplicity 3205, store flyer, Oct. 1939. A sheer dress.

Simplicity 3205, store flyer, Oct. 1939. A dress with sheer lace yoke and sleeves.

Fourth of July, 1938, Ashville, Ohio. Photo by Ben Shahn from Library of Congress.

Fourth of July, 1938, Ashville, Ohio. Photo by Ben Shahn from Library of Congress. Detail. A sheer dress with polka dots and a lace dress.

The lace dress has a curving under-bust seam like this one:

"Figures are no problem to us." A lace evening dress with bolero jacket, Butterick Fashion News flyer, August 1938.

“Figures are no problem to us.” A lace evening dress with bolero jacket, Butterick Fashion News flyer, August 1938.

Lace dress for larger or mature women. Butterick pattern, 1938.

Lace dress for larger or mature women. Butterick pattern 7998, 1938. “Wear with dignity and chic.” Sizes 34 to 52 inch bust.

For more about these and other sheer nineteen thirties dresses, click here.

Thanks again to Lynn at American Age Fashion for writing about photos of older women in sheer dresses!

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, 1930s, 1930s-1940s, Dresses, lingerie, Musings, Shirts and Blouses, Slips and Petticoats, Underthings, Vintage Garments: The Real Thing, vintage photographs, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes, World War I

More Knits From the Thirties

A sweater to knit, January 1936, Delineator. Note the very 1930's toggle buttons.

A sweater to knit, January 1936, Delineator, page 31. Note the big, very 1930’s buttons.

I know nothing about knitting. However, in case you do, here are some more knitted fashions from the thirties — and a surprise.

A suit to knit offered by Delineator magazine (Butterick) in January, 1936.

A three-piece woman’s suit to knit offered by Delineator magazine (Butterick) in January, 1936. Page 31.

It has delightful details, like the knitted-in center front skirt panel:

Detail of knitted suit, 1936.

Detail of knitted suit, 1936. It’s a very snug fit.

How to order instructions for Delineator's suit No. 119.

How to order instructions for Delineator’s suit No. 119, page 31 , January 1936.

The Woman’s Home Companion also offered knitting patterns; this slim two-piece knit is another from 1936:

A knitted two-piece dress pattern from Woman's Home Companion, Feb. 1936, p. 55.

A knitted two-piece dress pattern from Woman’s Home Companion, Feb. 1936, p. 55.

The knitting stitch looks familiar; “frosty cotton yarn” was recommended for this outfit.

Information for WHC knitting instructions, Feb. 1936.

Information for WHC knitting instructions, Feb. 1936. Readers had to write to the Woman’s Home Companion and request number CK-382. It was free, except for three cents postage.

This “dress” pattern from Woman’s Home Companion was a bit different; it offered a paper pattern, not just instructions.

Knitted dress pattern No. 6053, from Woman's Home Companion, February 1937.

Knitted dress pattern No. 6053, from Woman’s Home Companion, February 1937.

Information that accompanied the article about Knitted dress 6053. 1937.

Information that accompanied the article about Knitted Dress No. 6053. 1937.

Was a hand-knitted dress like this stylish or dowdy? I believe knits were in style, mostly because of this ad from an upscale, custom corset company:

"Yes, you can wear knitted suits" says this ad from the Spirella custom corset company. Ladies Home Journal, July 1936.

“Yes, you can wear knitted suits” says this ad from the Spirella custom corset company. Ladies Home Journal, July 1936.

If the desire to wear knitted suits and dresses was a selling point for foundation garments, there must have been many women who wanted to wear knits.

Sweater Girls

Woman in white sweater, Woman's Home Companion story illustration, April 1936.

Woman in white sweater, many-gored skirt, belt, hat, scarf, and gloves. Story illustration, Woman’s Home Companion, April 1936.

In 1937, teen-aged actress Lana Turner was dubbed “The Sweater Girl,” and that’s what her New York Times obituary called her in 1995. (She was not really discovered at Schwab’s soda fountain, however….) But the sweater and skirt combination was definitely a popular look for schoolgirls and other women in the nineteen thirties.

A sweater to knit, September, 1934, p. 63.

A sweater to knit, September, 1934, p. 63. Delineator. Decorative wooden buttons trim the collar and the neck opening. Viyella yarn was recommended.

A description of the sweater and skirt from Delineator, Sept. 1934, p. 63.

A description of the sweater and skirt from Delineator, Sept. 1934, p. 63.

More sweaters to knit — one of them very jacket-like, were featured in the August, 1934, Ladies’ Home Journal:

tops to knit, Ladies' Home Journal, Aug. 1934.

Tops to knit, Ladies’ Home Journal, Aug. 1934. Illustration by Dilys Wall. Two of these sweaters have  a diagonal rib.

Raglan-sleeved sweater to knit, Ladies Home Journal, Aug. 1934, p. 37.

Raglan-sleeved sweater to knit, Ladies’ Home Journal, Aug. 1934, p. 37. More big, 1930’s decorative buttons.

“A grand knit blouse for your tweed suit. Its square neck and raglan sleeves are important. We’ve made it in a little checkerboard stitch in Bear Brand or Bucilla crepe boucle or Shetland, if you wish.”

Also from 1934 are these manufactured sweaters from the Berth Robert catalog:

Ready-to-wear knit tops from the Berth Robert catalog for June, 1934.

Ready-to-wear knit tops from the Berth Robert catalog for June, 1934.

Costumers on a tight budget may be glad to know that the twin set was already established in the nineteen thirties, although finding one with set-in pockets may not be easy. The elaborate collar on number J 12 is very “thirties.”

The same Delineator article that showed the snug, three-piece suit (shown earlier) also had photos of the cable-knit that begins this post and this short-sleeved cotton sweater to knit yourself:

A knit pattern from Delineator, January 1936, p. 30.

A knit pattern from Delineator, January 1936, p. 30.

A pattern for this angora sweater was also offered.

An angora sweater to knit, Delineator, 1936.

A yellow angora sweater to knit, Delineator, 1936. It has big navy buttons and a “fringed necktie.” No. 117.

1936 jan p 31 knitting angora 117 text

High school and college girls were especially likely to wear sweaters.

"To wear on campus;" Woman's Home Companion, Aug. 1937.

“To Wear on Campus;” Woman’s Home Companion, Aug. 1937. Note the snaffle bit belt, which could be worn over the sweater.

A sweater set for the college wardrobe, froom "Styles in Stores, Woman's Home Companion, January 1936.

A sweater set and many-gored skirt, from “Styles in Stores,” Woman’s Home Companion, January 1936. The cardigan is checkered and the coordinating “blouse” is striped.

WHC 1936 jan p 55 styles in stores sweater set text

Part sweater, part weskit, and part jacket, with two diagonally set pockets, this one really appeals to me:

A sort of vest/weskit with knitted sleeves and back, ready-to-wear from November 1937. Woman's Home Companion.

A sort of vest/weskit with knitted sleeves and back, this was ready-to-wear from November 1937. Woman’s Home Companion. The front was duvetyne, a brushed wool fabric. It “may be worn for winter sports or after as a topper with slacks.”

But my very favorite 1930’s “sweater set” is deceptive:

A plaid twin set for the college wardrobe. Ready-to-wear from stores in September 1926.

A plaid twin set for the college wardrobe. Ready-to-wear from stores in September 1936.  Surprise:  It’s not a sweater set.

I love the contrast binding, the 3-button collar, the bias pocket detail on cardigan and blouse, the buttoned wrists….  but this is not a sweater set. It’s made of plaid wool flannel.

WHC 1936 sept p 59 college wardrobe text plaid twin set

I wonder;  Was “Twique” prounounced “Twee-kay” to rhyme with piqué?

 

 

 

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Filed under 1930s, Corsets, Foundation Garments, Girdles, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Sportswear, Underthings, Hosiery, Corsets, etc

You Can’t Have Too Many Jackets: 1937

Companion-Butterick pattern 7459 for three jackets; Woman's Home Companion, July 1937.

Companion-Butterick pattern 7459 for three jackets; Woman’s Home Companion, July 1937.

“It is literally true that you can’t have too many jackets. Marjorie Howard reports that many of Schiaparelli’s clients are ordering just one evening gown and from three to six different jackets to wear over it. A young friend of mine who has spent most of her life in Paris and who knows fashions as well as the alphabet is going about these days in a simple black crepe dress varied by a series of different colored jackets. In Palm Beach last February jackets were extremely popular. All of which adds up to this: one spectator sports dress, one general daytime dress and one evening dress plus several jackets each, practically give you a summer wardrobe. And that’s a cheering fact, whether you consider it from the economical or dressmaking angle.” — Ethel Holland Little,  Women’s Home Companion, July 1937.

Although it’s not referred to as a “Triad pattern,”  the buyer got three different jacket patterns in Companion-Butterick No. 7459.

Companion-Butterick 7459 for a wool jacket. July 1937.

Companion-Butterick 7459 for a wool flannel jacket. July 1937.

500 7459 text gold flannel 1937 july p 57 three jackets #7459

Companion -Butterick 7459 pattern for a taffeta evening jacket. July 1937.

Companion-Butterick 7459 pattern for a taffeta evening jacket. July 1937.

500 7459 text flowered taffeta 1937 july p 57 three jackets #7459

The jacket fashion that appeared repeatedly in 1937, however, was the bolero — a term which now meant a jacket that ended above the waist.

Companion-Butterick 7459 pattern for a bolero jacket. July 1937.

Companion-Butterick 7459 pattern for a bolero jacket. July 1937.

500 7459 text bolero 1937 july p 57 three jackets #7459

Here is an early 1930’s Schiaparelli bolero jacket from the Metropolitan Museum collection:

Schiaparelli bolero jacket, early 1930's. Metropolitan Museum Collection.

Schiaparelli bolero jacket, early 1930’s. Metropolitan Museum Collection.

Elsa Schiaparelli was still making bolero jackets in 1940; this beaded jacket came in coral pink or in a blue version:

Beaded bolero jacket and evening gown, Elsa Schiaparelli, 1940. Collection of the Metropolitan Museum.

Beaded bolero jacket and evening gown, Elsa Schiaparelli, 1940. Collection of the Metropolitan Museum.

Mainbocher showed this bolero-topped suit in 1938.

Paris designer Lucile Paray showed this fur-trimmed bolero and evening gown combination in 1937:

An evening bolero and gown by Lucile Paray, illustrated in Woman's Home Companion, December 1937, p. 100.

An evening bolero and gown by Lucile Paray, illustrated in Woman’s Home Companion, December 1937, p. 100.

This bolero jacket pattern was suggested for young women or teens in April 1937:

Companion-Butterick pattern No. 7296 shows a low-backed summer dress with matching bolero jacket. Woman's Home Companion, April 1937.

Companion-Butterick pattern No. 7296 shows a low-backed summer dress with matching bolero jacket. Woman’s Home Companion, April 1937.

For more 1937 jacket and dress patterns for teens and twenties, click here. These two jackets were also featured in April of 1937:

Companion-Butterickp[atterns 7303 and 7307, April 1937. Woman's Home Companion.

Companion-Butterick patterns 7307 and 7303; Woman’s Home Companion, April 1937. Bolero jacket on the right.

In May, the Woman’s Home Companion gave a full page to this dress with a matching or contrasting short jacket which ties at the waist:

Companion-Butterick pattern 7359, Woman's Home Companion, May 1937.

Companion-Butterick pattern 7359, Woman’s Home Companion, May 1937.

Here it is with contrast trim:

Companion-Butterick 7359 bolero dress variation.

Companion-Butterick pattern 7359 bolero dress variation.

Companion-Butterick 7359, WHC, May 1937.

Companion-Butterick pattern 7359, WHC, May 1937.

These illustrations for jacket dress No. 7359 show how bolero jackets in different colors could diversify a small wardrobe. [I.e., the white jacket could be worn with the brown and white or the blue and white print dresses, as well as with solid colors; the rust brown jacket could be also worn with the black dress, etc. The easy-to-make bolero could make one dress look like many in the same way as a set of collars.]

Companion-Butterick pattern 7504 went from casual summer sports clothes to an evening gown. June 1937.

Companion-Butterick pattern 7504 would make casual summer sports clothes or an evening gown. June 1937. All versions included a bolero jacket.

500 7405 whc cb pattern teens twenties

For older readers, a bolero was combined with a halter-top evening dress, especially suitable for cruises and summer resorts. This pattern was available up to Bust measure 44 inches.

500 7407 text pattern infoWHC 1937 june wear at sea patterns

Companion-Butterick pattern 7407, for a bolero and halter-top dress. Woman's Home Companion, June 1937.

Companion-Butterick pattern 7407, for a bolero and halter-top dress. Woman’s Home Companion, June 1937.

500 7407 text WHC 1937 june wear at sea 7407

The combination of evening dress and jacket was also called a dinner suit. A bolero evening jacket, if made in fine linen or silk shantung instead of taffeta, could also be worn with day dresses. Again, the bolero in different colors gives variety to a limited vacation wardrobe — and only takes one and a half yards of fabric.

Maybe the reason I’m attracted to light-colored bolero tops with darker dresses is that the style is flattering to women who have narrow shoulders and wide hips. Even when the bolero was the same color as the dress, it was recommended for minimizing the hips:

Bolero tops were recommended for flaltering the woman with wide hips. The text applies to the blue outfit at right.

Bolero tops were recommended for flattering the woman with wide hips. The text applies to the blue outfit at right, Companion-Butterick pattern 7303 from 1937.

“Everything about this (the wide sleeves, the contrasting top, the short jacket length) tends to add width above the waist giving [the woman who has two or three surplus inches at the hips] a well-proportioned silhouette.”

A Sheer Vintage Bolero

It might be fun to try to copy this vintage evening bolero, which has two layers of stiff organdy, each layer made of  two layers of fabric treated as one and bound with a bias strip. This garment was badly in need of washing — it was originally white. You can see the deep armhole, which makes it a bolero, rather than a little cape.

A vintage thirites' bolero made in two layers.

A vintage thirties’ bolero made using two double layers of organdy.

Two layers of organdy were seamed at the right angle of the lapels, turned, and pressed, instead of being bound. There was no center back seam.

lg V230 needs wash, may have stain

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 1930s, Companion-Butterick Patterns, Sportswear, Vintage Accessories, Vintage Couture Designs, Vintage Garments: The Real Thing

A Paris Wardrobe for Summer 1928 from Butterick Forecast Patterns

This final (?) set of eight patterns, identifiable as “Forecast” patterns only because of their peculiar numbering, were illustrated by L. Frerrier, like previous Forecast patterns. Crowded on to one page this time, each pattern was shown in equal-sized front and back views. Nothing in the text explains why they cost a dollar each — twice as much as any other Butterick patterns.

Forecast patterns from Butterick, June 1928. Delineator, p. 42. L. Frerrier, illustrator.

Forecast Wardrobe patterns 12 A through 12 H from Butterick, June 1928. Delineator, p. 42. L. Frerrier, illustrator.

The bathing suit, 12 A, is shown with a variation of caped coat 12 E.

Forecast wardrobe patterns 12 A bathing suitand 12 E coat. Butterick, June 1928.

Forecast wardrobe patterns 12 A bathing suit and 12 E coat. Butterick, Delineator, June 1928.

450 1928 june p 42 paris wardrobe 12A text500 1928 june p 42 paris wardrobe 12E coat450 1928 june p 42 paris wardrobe 12E text

Frerrier has cleverly illustrated the back/alternate views made up in different fabrics from the front views, turning eight patterns into sixteen illustrations

Butterick Forecast Wardrobe pattern 12 B, Delineator, June 1928.

Butterick Forecast Wardrobe pattern 12 B, Delineator, June 1928.

450 1928 june p 42 paris wardrobe 12B text

Butterick Foreccast Wardrobe pattern 12 C, Delineator, June 1928.

Butterick Forecast Wardrobe pattern 12 C, Delineator, June 1928.

450 1928 june p 42 paris wardrobe 12C text

Butterick Forecast Wardrobe pattern 12 D, Delineator, June 1928.

Butterick Forecast Wardrobe pattern 12 D, Delineator, June 1928.

450 1928 june p 42 paris wardrobe 12D text

Butterick Forecarst Wardrobe pattern 12 F, Delineator, June 1928.

Butterick Forecast Wardrobe pattern 12 F, Delineator, June 1928.

450 1928 june p 42 paris wardrobe 12 F text

Butterick Forecast Wardrobe pattern 12 G, Delineator, June, 1928.

Butterick Forecast Wardrobe pattern 12 G, Delineator, June, 1928.

450 1928 june p 42 paris wardrobe 12G text

The “new cord-narrow straps” on the slip (called spaghetti straps in the 1960s) — not to mention the depth of the V in back — would make it impossible to wear a 1920’s brassiere under this dress.

Butterick Forecast Wardrobe pattern 12 H, Delineator, June 1928.

Butterick Forecast Wardrobe pattern 12 H, Delineator, June 1928.

450 1928 june p 42 paris wardrobe 12H textThe coat’s front cape, which wraps around over the shoulder, must have been a nightmare for the coat-check girl who had to put it on a hanger. It was customary for dresses with side panels or irregular hems to hang out under the evening wrap, as they do here — a look which in other eras would have been dismissed as “draggle tailed.”

None of these patterns was available in sizes bigger than a 40 inch bust measurement.

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Filed under 1920s, Bathing Suits, Dating Butterick Patterns, Sportswear, Swimsuits, Vintage patterns