Shirtwaist Photos 1904, 1907 & 1910

Photographs of waists and shirtwaists illustrate a 1907 article in Delineator.

Two views of Butterick shirtwaist pattern 3595 from Delineator, February 1910.

Feminine versions of the man’s basic business shirt could include a separate stiff collar or a softer attached collar. Sometimes the lacy collar was made separately and basted into place, so it could be laundered, starched, and ironed differently than the shirt.

I always love to find actual period fashion photos, since they avoid the exaggeratedly tiny waists of period fashion illustrations. All of the photographed blouses below were shown in “The Summer Shirt-Waist” article featured at the top of this post:

A ruffled “Marie Antoinette waist” from July, 1907.

A Butterick “Negligee waist” from July 1907, Delineator.

“Negligee” meant “casual” and was also used to describe men’s shirts for sports. The model above seems to be holding a golf club.

The stiff collar and tie worn with this shirt-waist mimic men’s business shirt styles of 1907.

Many of these styles from 1907-1910 show a three-quarter sleeve length.

A closer view of the yoke:

The soutache-trimmed yoke is elegant. Delineator, July 1907.

Now, for a real, moving picture view of literally dozens of shirtwaist-wearing women reporting for work in 1904, the Glamourdaze website shared a two minute film (computer enhanced and colorized) which is well worth watching for the shirtwaists, the skirts, the hair styles and other proof that women really did get up and go to work wearing these wonderfully varied “basics.” It’s a long parade of working women punching in at the time clock. (I wish it wasn’t colorized, but that’s a small quibble.) Click here to watch it. (You can skip the ad.)

Watch it again to notice all the handbag variations, many of them suspended from the women’s waistbands or belts.

“Chatelaine” handbags from Sears, Robuck, 1903. These bags are designed to hang from a belt or waistband.

Top, a “Wrist Bag;” bottom, a “Netsuke” bag. A Japanese idea, you pull the chain under your belt or sash, and the ornamental ball (netsuke) dangles over the belt and secures the bag.

For more about this film, visit Glamourdaze.  Glamourdaze is a commercial site, but it has excellent research, and I have never received an unsolicited ad or email from them, although I subscribed years ago.


Filed under 1900s to 1920s, Edwardian fashions, Hairstyles, handbags, Purses, Resources for Costumers, Shirts and Blouses, Uniforms and Work Clothes

11 responses to “Shirtwaist Photos 1904, 1907 & 1910

  1. bonnie groves poppe

    What amazing video! I will have to subscribe to that channel. I particularly loved seeing the chatelaine style bags in actual use. I’ve had some over the years but didn’t understand how they were worn. Thanks ever so!
    bonnie in provence

    • Glamourdaze has been sharing these rescued documentary film clips a lot recently. This is indelicate, but I’ve been wondering how those working women dealt with menstrual supplies — with those tiny purses, too! I just learned that disposable pads were available as early as the 1880s. Smithsonian magazine wrote a long article about Kotex….

      • Marion Caro

        I may not be that knowledgeable, but I hear women in the Victorian and Edwardian era, make their own pads out of absorbent fabric and clip them in place with a ” Sanitary belt”.
        Which I hear was still used up until 1960s or 70s
        (Correct me if I am wrong).

      • My mother, born in 1906, described diaper-like menstrual equipment, that, according to her, stank and had to be washed and re-used. She was not from a poor family, very middle class. I, on the other hand, as a teenager, had a sanitary belt and disposable pads in the 50s and early 60s, and never saw or heard of anyone using home-made pads. This is all in the USA, so I don’t know about other countries.
        bonnie in provence

      • Maybe you could roll them up quite small?

      • Getting the dirty ones hone for washing might be a problem….
        I guess I need to provide a link to my old post about these matters: Click here for photos of feminine protection pre-Tampax.

      • Yeah, I wonder how they did that? I guess the 50s ones were disposable? I never thought to ask this of anyone who could have known.

      • Thanks for setting me off on a quest…. I haven’t been able to do much research lately, but now my curiosity is working again! If you type Tampax into the search box on my blog, you’ll find a long post I wrote a few years ago with lots of images.

  2. It’s interesting that the photos of shirtwaists above still have very wide sleeves, while the patterns and the women in the film have much slimmer sleeves. As someone who has tried to “slim down” the big shoulders of eighties fashions, I know that changing the sleeves from a beloved item is a labor intensive process.

  3. zoedog66

    I’ll bet they were glad when mutton-chop sleeves departed. Those things are so uncomfortable!

  4. Jewel

    Interesting to see that “pouffy” chest piece, and when they were walking it looked almost like a separate bit. Some looked padded? They had that heavier movement.

    Oh I just adore your research!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.