I intended to write a nice, short blog post showing color images of clothing from January 1917, but I started to notice the many variations on pockets in women’s clothing from that year.
At the end of a few hours browsing through Delineator magazines from 1917, I had a picture file much too large to put in one post.
There were gigantic pockets…
I saw large, flapless pockets that gaped open and were secured with buttons,…
There were pockets hanging from belts and waistbands,…
There were oddly shaped “bellows” pockets, which expanded,…
Pointy pockets often stuck out at the hips…
There were hanging pockets that looked like drawstring handbags,
There were shallow, semi-circular pockets that wrapped around to the back of the dress:
And there were pockets that gathered into a ruffle at the top:
Delineator showed sketches of the pockets on French designer dresses and suits:
When I was still a child, eating in a highchair, I had a plastic bib with a sort of trough at the bottom to catch spilled food — it was rather like these blouses:
To me, they look unflattering and nonsensical, but not as nutty as the skirt on the left, below…
… or this skirt — illustrated twice –guaranteed to (visually) add pounds:
To modern eyes, the essential oddity of many 1917 fashions is that they were intended to make a woman’s hips look wider.
1917 pockets often curved around the hip to the back of the body.
Modern pockets tend to stop at or before the side seam, but in 1917, many pockets wrapped around the hip — from side front to somewhere on the back.
There were pockets so strange that only the model’s pose confirmed that they were pockets.
And, especially prevalent were pockets that drew attention to women’s hips.
There’s no doubt that pockets add bulk, especially if you put things in them. But sometimes you just need a place to stash a hankie, a key, or a few coins.
Today, when many women keep a cellphone within reach at all times, it’s perversely not easy to find a dress or knit top that has pockets. However, in 1917, women were “spoiled for choice.”