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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5 Comments

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

5 responses to “You Can’t Have Too Many Jackets: 1937

  1. Well, “you can never have too many jackets” has always been my motto! I love how your sources show the trends of the moment–not only the bolero jacket, but those puffy sleeves. Now that would really help the woman with narrow shoulders, or someone who didn’t like big shoulder pads.

  2. Thanks for this reminder, as I was hesitating about the pile of fabric mentally sorted out for jackets. 😉

  3. Petite Main

    Thank you so much, your posts are always so inspiring!

  4. Pingback: “Orange Flower” Sheer Cotton Dress | Seam Racer

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