“The sleeveless styles are to be much worn for country dresses and frocks for restaurant use…. For out of town these dresses are made of the fine cotton materials in white and delicate colors.”
What makes this worth notice is that most contemporary fashion advice until 1924 emphasized that evening dresses were sleeveless; day dresses for city wear were not.
Although the dress in this illustration does not look short to me, editorial advice in April declared: “Dresses remain decidedly short except for evening. For day dresses sleeves can be long or short [;] evening dresses are sleeveless.” Nevertheless, the rules were obviously changing in 1924, as this drawing of a casino shows:
Often, nineteen-twenties’ lace, silk, or chiffon afternoon dresses used the same pattern as an evening dress — but the evening version was sleeveless and usually had much lower-cut armholes:
Paris showed some very deep armholes in 1924 …
Sometimes the underarm opening was very revealing; it could be charming when a lace or chiffon under-dress was revealed, as in this advertisement:
Not all evening gowns had extremely deep arm openings:
However, the “sleeveless” look that caught my attention as distinctly a fashion of 1924 is this one:
Several versions were offered as Butterick patterns.
For vintage dealers and historians, here’s an interesting fact: Butterick 5259 used elastic in a casing at the sides of the low waist.
In June, a similar style was illustrated as a dress for Misses:
This blurry photo of a dress by Paul Poiret shows a similar deep armhole with a wide, straight binding:
These are not “sleeveless” by today’s standards; other, more typical 1920’s styles might have a sort of cap sleeve, often cut in one with the shoulder of the dress:
However, I haven’t yet found a specific word for the low, bound arm openings like this one, simply described as “bindings” or “sleeve bands” :
These wide, band-bound armholes were also seen a blouse:
Of course, sleeveless fashions helped to sell certain grooming aids in 1924:
Removal of underarm hair was not a new idea — evening gowns of the 1910’s were also revealing.
This Neet depilatory ad from 1924 suggests that “Perhaps because of an old-fashioned scruple you have hesitated to rid yourself of the disfigurement of underarm hair….Are your arms constantly pinned to your sides? …The swing of convention … is carrying America back to the old Greek ideal of womanly beauty — the unhampered, active, supple body.” It was also a body with underarms as hairless as a marble statue.
In 1925, the peculiar “sleeveless sleeve” I’ve been showing was still around — this time, on a nightgown. I love the striped pajamas, too.