Beach pajamas [aka pyjamas]; detail from Delineator cover, August 1933.
When we think of summer fashion, we usually think of loose clothes, cool dresses with bare arms and backs, and sporty clothing suitable for vacation activities. Here is Part 2 of summer fashion advice from Marian Corey, writing in Delineator,
June 1933. [Click here for Part 1
Butterick 5182, at right; “The pinafore frock that buttons down the back is THE tennis dress.” Delineator, June, p. 61. (This is the only illustration of it that I found.)
Delineator, June 1933, p. 61.
Like dress 5182, Butterick 5025 buttons in back:
“Bermuda” is the name given to this dress (Butterick 5025) which, like tennis dress No. 5182, buttons down the back. “…Known technically as a beach dress although it is far more apt to be worn off the beach than on.” Delineator, April 1933.
Notice the bare backs and chic suntans of these blonde models.
“Hello Everybody” is the name given to Butterick 5021, at right. From Delineator, April 1933.
Clothes for bike riding and skating, Delineator, June 1933.
I didn’t find any illustrations of divided skirts in this issue, but there were good-looking slacks or beach pajamas, and shorts sets, too,
Butterick 5219 could be made as trousers or shorts. Delineator, July, 1933.
The Talon fastener — a slide fastener or “zipper” — was still new in 1933; many dressmakers would not know how to install one.
Butterick slacks pattern 4884 had a sailor influence in its double row of buttons. The shirt pattern was included.
Left, Butterick 4884 photographed for Delineator in June, 1934. The reclining model wears Butterick 5219.
Shorts (or slacks) pattern 5219 was featured again in July; this time No. 5219 was christened “Eight Bells.”
Slacks pattern 5219 (“Eight Bells”) pictured with a bathing suit, 5215 (“Seawothy.”) Delineator, July 1933, p. 60.
For those too young to remember, this was what roller skates looked like in the 1930’s; they were the same in the 1950’s, when I learned to skate:
You could earn a pair of skates like this by selling subscriptions to Ladies’ Home Journal. Ad from LHJ, August 1936. My skates could only be used with leather-soled shoes; the clamp at the front was adjusted with a “skate key,” but slipped off of tennis shoes.
The Pretty and the Kitsch blog happened to show this photo of women roller skating in trousers (like Butterick 4884 or 5219) or beach pajamas. The photo is not dated precisely, but it’s apt! Thanks, Emily Kitsch.
“Don’t get a wool jersey bathing suit — the wool suit isn’t enjoying its usual popularity. The rubber bathing suit and the cotton ones are making it look sick.” Marian Corey, Delineator, June 1933. p. 61.
Wool bathing suits in an ad for Ironized Yeast, Delineator, March 1933.
A wool bathing suit — and especially a heavy, soaking wet, wool bathing suit — did not camouflage any figure faults:
Wet wool bathing suits, late 1920’s or early 1930’s. All (well, nearly all) is revealed as the weight of the cold water pulls the knit suits tight against the body.
This cotton bathing suit was designed by Orry-Kelly for Bette Davis, seen wearing it. Butterick briefly offered line-for-line copies of clothing worn in the movies, as “starred patterns.” This one is from June, 1933; Delineator.
Marian Corey recommended cotton bathing suits, like this one, Butterick pattern 5215. June 1933.
Two versions of Butterick bathing suit 5215, from July and June, 1933. “Jersey tights” were worn under the skirt or shorts.
[You can read more about Butterick Starred Patterns from several movies: costumes for Bette Davis by Orry-Kelly, Katharine Hepburn by Howard Greer, Mary Astor by Orry-Kelly, Kay Francis by Orry-Kelly, and Helen Twelvetrees by Travis Banton.]
If you’re curious about the “beguiling” drawstring neckline dress mentioned by Marian Corey, here it is:
Butterick 5173, a dress with a drawstring neckline; Delineator, June 1933, p. 62.
And here are two rubber bathing suits featured in McCall’s Magazine, July 1938. In case Ms. Corey piqued your interest: “We know you can think of dozens of reasons why a rubber suit wouldn’t suit you, but even so and nevertheless! You see, they’re good-looking, and so nice and cheap, and they give one quite a figure.”
Rubber bathing suit pictured in McCall’s Magazine, July 1938.
Rubber bathing suit pictured in McCall’s Magazine, July 1938.
Gingham beach pajamas and bare shouldered sundress. Butterick 5133 and 5075 , Delineator, May 1933.
In “Gingham Girl” one can crawl about on hands and knees and get in the way of the garden hose without any harm being done. “Gingham Girl ” takes housework in its stride, too, doing away with bulky and unattractive aprons.” “New Low” is the thing for tennis, for there’s nothing to hinder the most smashing serve.” — Delineator, May 1933, p. 52.
Now I’m ready for July.
9 responses to “Fashion Advice for Summer, 1933 (Part 2)”
I love the mention of house work for the “Gingham Girl.” Usually you just see house dresses recommended for that job.
My mother, born in 1920, roller skated across the Golden Gate Bridge on opening day May 27, 1937. Her claim to fame!
As a San Franciscan, I really appreciate that! What a woman!
I love this post! The 1930’s have quickly become one of my favourite decades for fashion – if not my favourite! – and I loved seeing these wonderful examples of 1930’s summer clothes! I’d love to make everything in this post! 🙂
And thank you so much for linking my post!!! 🙂 ❤
Thanks for writing it! Wonderful photos.
This is really good information about how the wool knit suit was finally replaced with cotton. Women must have been terrified to try the rubber suit, with good reason!
The mention of beach pajamas being replaced by shorts is also an important tidbit. Thanks for such an informative post!
Glad it worked for you! It must have been awful to struggle into a rubber suit on a hot day, but perhaps it wasn’t so bad once it was wet inside and out. Perhaps…. Imagine sunbathing in one!
I love 1930s style trousers! i’m especially interested in the divided skirt, as a cyclist that sounds perfect summer cycling wear ( I’m slowly changing all my wardrobe to 1930s style). I have one pair of wide legged trousers but they are not so good for cycling in unless bicycle clips are used. Just looking on Google images for 1930s divided skirt: it is what I suspected- culottes! I had been thinking about culottes for cycling. I’ll have a look on Ebay.
Finding culottes with just the right fullness to look dressy enough for a nice restaurant but not so full they get caught in the gears…. well, our fore mothers managed it in 1895!