Butterick Vacation Wardrobe for $25, 1933

You could make a complete summer vacation wardrobe — six outfits — for just $25 from a set of Butterick patterns. Delineator magazine, May 1933, p. 69.

The Butterick company’s target market in the 1920’s was upscale; there were regular reports on French fashions, and even a new column giving women financial advice during the stock market boom of the late twenties. But in this Depression Era article from May, 1933, the emphasis is on economy.

The accessories suggested include some rather elegant shoes, a sweater, and, as explained in the text, only one hat that you couldn’t make for yourself.

I’m not surprised that those shoes were expensive.

A Store-bought black straw hat for summer, 1933. Delineator, May 1933, p 69.

A store-bought sweater and a home-made hat, May 1933; Delineator.

Other gloves and hats could be made from Butterick patterns:

Butterick glove pattern 5135, hat pattern 5126, and clutch purse No. 3131. Delineator, May 1933.

Notice the extended shoulders on most of these clothes.

Butterick Skirt 4908, worn with a sweater and coat 5043; next, dress 5019  in a fine print; “tennis dress” 5104 made in white; and afternoon dress 5095 in a floral print voile fabric. May, 1933. Delineator magazine.

In addition, a print suit (a dress plus jacket) and a “Letty Lynton” – influenced evening gown were part of the twenty-five dollar wardrobe.

Butterick evening gown pattern 5069 from May, 1933.

The stiff, sheer layered sleeves show the influence of Adrian’s design for Joan Crawford in the film Letty Lynton.

Butterick jacket dress 5107, 1933.

The $25 budget didn’t include accessories, not even the ones made from Butterick patterns.  However, there is an emphasis on the need for wardrobe planning:  coordinating your pieces so that they can all be worn with either black or white accessories. (And, if you could afford a vacation in 1933, setting some limits would definitely make packing easier.)

The cost per outfit of making the $25 wardrobe. Delineator, May 1933. Page 69.

The cost of the Butterick patterns themselves ranged from fifty cents (the jacket dress or the evening gown) to thirty-five or forty-five cents for the other dresses, and twenty-five cents for the hat pattern, which included three styles. I wonder if the big, stylish buttons were included in the price estimates.

In 1936, a woman fresh out of college could expect to earn about $80 per month. According to one article, on this salary, she could even afford to take a vacation…. https://witness2fashion.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/1936-oct-working-college-grad-woman-budget-end.jpg

She can “join a savings club and see the world. Happy landing, we say.” — Woman’s Home Companion, October 1936.

4 Comments

Filed under 1930s, Accessory Patterns, bags, Gloves, handbags, Hats, Purses, Shoes, Sportswear, Vintage Accessories

4 responses to “Butterick Vacation Wardrobe for $25, 1933

  1. Claire

    Thank you for sharing your posts about the 1920s and ’30s fashion; such an inspiration. And the posts are inspiring too.

  2. You would need very good sewing skills to made some of these patterns look sharp–like the one with the zigzag design. Have you seen homemade clothes from the era that stood up to the challenge?

    • I’m not a vintage dealer, so my memory of actual garments is limited. I suspect that many Butterick and Vogue pattern buyers had the dresses made by their dressmaker. Most towns had at least one woman who sewed professionally. Of course, that would raise the cost from Butterick’s estimate. A lot of people like to justify their purchases by telling themselves they are saving money! People on a really tight budget were more likely to buy Simplicity (15 cents) or DuBarry (10 cents from Woolworth’s.)

  3. Pingback: Your Prescription For Vitamin Sea (A Capsule Wardrobe For Your Beach Trip) – Vogue Faux Real

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