Category Archives: Hairstyles

High Neck or Open Necked Options for Women, 1917

Butterick waists [i.e., blouses] from February 1917, Delineator, p. 51

After 1912, fashion permitted respectable women to expose their necks in the daytime, but not every woman felt comfortable with the change.

Butterick waists [blouses) from August 1917 occasionally included a high-necked one. Delineator, p. 47.

A vintage lingerie blouse (or “waist”), probably late 1890’s. That high collar wouldn’t give much relief from the heat in spite of the blouse’s sheer fabric.

These waist (blouse) patterns from Ladies’ Home Journal, July 1917, all have open necks. In July, a blouse like this must have been wonderfully cool compared to the fashions of the 1890’s.

By 1917, when most blouses had open collars, V-necks, or other necklines that bared the throat and part of the sternum, Butterick patterns often still included an optional high-necked version. That’s my excuse for showing these seven outfits from 1917 in all their colorful glory.

These look like dresses, but they are waist and skirt combinations. Butterick patterns from February 1917. Delineator.

The two at left use chiffon and other sheer fabrics; 8928 has a low draped neckline filled with skin-toned lace.

Butterick waist patterns 8927 and 8919. From 1917. In January, Butterick evening waist 8901 was very similar to 8927, but was shown without a blouse under it.

Butterick waist 8919 with skirt 8928. Delineator, Feb. 1917. The alternate view shows a high-necked variation without the cowl neckline of the color illustration.

Although I’m focusing on blouses, skirt 8928 was also illustrated (twice) with an evening bodice:

Skirt 8928 with “evening bodice” 8956. Delineator, editorial illustration, Feb. 1917.

Butterick evening coat 8727 shown with a “gown” that is really a blouse (No. 8956) and separate skirt (No. 8928 again.) Delineator, Feb. 1917. [That waist looks shockingly bare to me!]

Butterick waist patterns 8927, 8919, and 8923. February 1917. The designs at left and right have contrast collars and a wrapped “surplice” bodice.

Butterick waist 8927 with skirt 8949. February 1917, Delineator. This one does not offer a high necked version. It is a “jumper model” in the American sense — a sleeveless garment worn over a blouse.

Butterick waist 8923 with skirt 8936. Delineator, February 1917. This blouse waist has a high-necked variation, shown with a dark collar.

A “French lining” fit the body closely and supported draped effects. In this period, as in the 19th century, the closure of the lining did not always line up with the closures on the outer garment, which could be very complex.

These are dresses, not waist and skirt combinations. Delineator, Feb. 1917 page 52. No. 8942 looks like a coat, but it’s a dress.

A closer look at the necklines and the hats. 1917.

Butterick dress pattern 8929, from 1917. It has a tabard (panel) hanging front and back, and unusual “organ-pipe” pleats at the sides of the skirt. “High or open neck could be used.”

Butterick dress pattern 8942, from 1917. The vest front is “equally well adapted to a high or the open throat.” There are at least three sleeve and cuff variations.

Butterick dress 8933, from February 1917, has a surplice (wrapped) bodice. The illustrations show several sleeve variations and a high buttoned neck, worn without the cape collar. [That blue taffeta is beautifully rendered by the illustrator.]

Butterick dress 8947, with skirt and bodice variations, including a high-necked version. 1917. The cross-over belt is very characteristic of 1917. You can see how it ties in the back. “The lower part of the redingote has two different outlines, and it is joined to the long body.”

The hats of 1917 were pretty extreme. [And some were pretty, while some were extreme.]

 

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, Hairstyles, Shirts and Blouses, Vintage Garments: The Real Thing, World War I

Fashions for Women, October 1927

These line drawings in black and a rusty shade of red showcased Butterick patterns for October 1927. As usual, I’ll show closer views, back views, and pattern descriptions later in this post; first, here is an overview of twenty-one styles from 1927. Most of these are clothes for adult women; some are for either teens or adults. The illustrations are by L. Ferrier.

Butterick dress pattern 1657, coat pattern 1699, and dress 1705. Delineator magazine, October 1927, page 27.

Butterick patterns 1684, 1649, ad 1690, from Delineator, October 1927, page 28.

Butterick patterns for evening: dress 1713, coat 1693, and dress 1679. Delineator, October 1927, page 28.

Ensembles:  Butterick patterns 1711, 1653, and 1672. Delineator, October 1927, page 29. If you planned your wardrobe colors, either dress could be worn under that coat.

Ensembles:  Butterick 1675 and coordinating coat 1686; the coat is illustrated over dress 1689. Delineator, October 1927, page 29.

Three 1927 dress patterns from Butterick: Patterns 1661, 1691, 1nd 1709. Delineator, October 1927, page 30.

Butterick 1683, a princess line dress; 1703, a bolero dress, and 1693, an afternoon or dinner dress which could be made sleeveless for evening. Delineator, October 1927, page 31.

Closer Views and Details:

Ensembles: both Butterick day dress 1657 (L) and more formal dress 1705 (R) could be coordinated with coat 1699 (C). Often the coat lining matched the dress. In sizes from 32″ bust to 44″ bust. 1927. I’m sorry not to have a back view of these dresses, but the description says the diagonal lines of number 1657 are not repeated on its back.

No. 1705 shows a popular twenties’ use of double-sided crepe satin, using the shiny side used on the bottom of the dress and the matte side used for the top. Velvet and satin in the same shade could also be combined; using the light-absorbing velvet on the bottom and the shiny satin on the top is very flattering to women who want to minimize their hips. Or two values of the same color could be used, such as dark and medium rosewood [a brownish deep pink,] or deep brown with a cafe au lait top.

The same hat is illustrated tree times; it is very close-fitting and appears to be covered with shiny feathers.

A very tight-fitting cloche hat. 1927.

A hat like that would fit nicely over these sleek hair styles:

Cropped hair, worn very close to the head. 1927. Very long, swaying earrings add a feminine touch.

Butterick evening gowns 1713 (L) and 1679 (R) with a velvet or metallic evening wrap coat. No. 1693. Notice the very low-cut “evening” armhole at left; at right, the low armholes show the under-slip of metallic cloth. 1927.

Back views.

Ensembles: Left, Butterick two-piece dress 1684 made in velvet; center, coat pattern 1649; right, dress 1690. October 1927. For women and young girls (15 to 18 years.) Velvet bands on dress 1690 match the velvet of the coat, making a coordinated ensemble.

Alternate views include short sleeves on the dresses. “The gusset under the arm introduced by Paris gives a semi-kimona [sic] sleeve the fit of a set-in sleeve.” You could make these from wool or other daytime fabrics; velvet was just a suggestion.

Two dresses to wear with one coat: Left, Butterick dress 1711; center, Butterick coat 1653; right, dress 1672. Delineator, October 1927, page 29. Sized for teens and adults to bust size 44″. The belt on No. 1672 appears to pass under the pointed skirt panels and buckle in the center. Note the bust dart in its side seam; boyish figures were on their way out.

“Sunray” tucks and applied trims appear on several Butterick styles from this period. The shoulders of the coat extend into a raglan sleeve whose fit is improved by an underarm gusset. The higher neckline of dress 1672 looks good under the coat’s opening.

Back views show the coat’s shoulder clearly. To modern eyes it’s surprising that the pleated or circular fronts of these dresses have very plain, straight backs.

A sporty plaid coat (Butterick 1686) could form an ensemble with dress 1675 or with a dressier day look, Butterick 1689. Delineator, Oct 1927, p. 29. [I can’t imagine that the sunrays on No. 1689 were flattering to many figures…. “The bands can be omitted if one likes.”]

Although the coat pattern is available up to bust size 44″, the dresses are for teens or small women only (“15 to 20 years.” I like the way the belt on No. 1675 passes under the pockets.

Alternate and back views show that coat 1686 also has raglan sleeves. Again, the pleated skirts are only pleated in front.

The use of matte and shiny sides of crepe satin on the same dress — sometimes in contrasting colors — gives an Art Deco chic to these dresses:

“The Flare for Satin:” Butterick dress patterns 1661, 1691, and 1709. October 1927. Delineator, page 30. No. 1709, on the right, could be made sleeveless for evening wear.

Back views of Butterick 1661, 1691, and 1709.

Three different dresses, three different hats. Oct. 1927, Delineator.

Not all 1920’s dresses had a strong horizontal line across the hip. Princess line dress patterns were available for several years and didn’t change much — except for their length. The “bolero” of the 1920’s could be separate (as here) or part of the dress, and 1920’s boleros often reached the high hip, unlike the cropped, above-the-waist “bolero” seen later in the 20th century.

Butterick patterns 1683, a princess line dress; 1703, a dress with separate bolero jacket, and 1693, which could also be made sleeveless for evening wear. Delineator, October 1927, page 31.

The alternate view of 1703 without its bolero jacket shows a very attractive evening dress with metallic top and velvet skirt:

I realize this post is longer than is usually recommended, but, when I was drafting costume patterns, I would have really appreciated more back views in my research! I have learned a lot (too late) from these old pattern descriptions.

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Filed under 1920s, evening and afternoon clothes, Hairstyles, handbags, Hats, Purses, Vintage patterns

House Dresses from Ads, 1930s

Housewife in an ad for Cocomalt, Woman’s Home Companion, September 1936.

Possibly the best costume research advice I ever got was to read old magazines and pay attention to the ads. Fashion coverage rarely goes into the kitchen, but ads for soap, appliances, foods and other homely products will show you images that were credible to their readers. They’re not any more realistic than our TV ads with perfectly maintained kitchens and gardens, but they presented an ideal of normal life.

Did most housewives dress like this in the evening? I doubt it. Koehler furniture ad, WHC, Oct. 1936.

Ads are aspirational. They hold out the dream that, if you buy this product, your life will be transformed. So, for a view of everyday clothing, they aren’t perfect; they show the way people wanted to look. But they’ll help you to get into the mindset of the period.

Most women wore an apron while washing dishes. However, this wrap dress with its two sizes of polka dots and sheer ruffles might give you some good design ideas. S.O.S. Ad, March 1935. Delineator.

O.K., that’s more realistic. Under that clean apron, she’s wearing a dress with sheer ruffles on the sleeves. S.O.S. ad, Feb. 1935. Delineator.

Using an electric floor polisher. Appliance ad, Oct. 1934. Delineator.

Hmmm. White collars and cuffs seem to be a theme.

The next three housewives come from a series of Depression Era ads for Royal Baking Powder, in which their tight family budgets are given; the women may be wearing their best house dresses, freshly washed and ironed for the photographer, but the ads had to be believable to readers on tight budgets themselves:

This young housewife is living on $900 a year (about $17 per week.) Royal Baking Powder ad, March 1934. Delineator.

The housewife at right prides herself on spending just a dollar a day for her family’s food, but she manages to look neat and clean. Royal Baking Powder ad, January 1935.

She married on $20 per week. Interesting dress, with sheer white ruffles. It looks like her coordinating apron is pinned to her dress. Royal Baking Powder ad, February 1934. Delineator.

I was interested to see that some women sensibly adopted the sleeveless dress for housework:

Doing housework in a chic sleeveless dress. S.O.S. ad, May 1934. Delineator.

Sleeveless dress in an ad for Gerber’s baby food. August 1937. Delineator.

Mother in sleeveless dress with her children. Illustration for an article on child rearing, 1935. Delineator.

Ads for Scot paper towels show many pretty but credible house dresses. [It’s hard to imagine a time when we had to be taught what to do with a paper towel, but that is the purpose of this thirties’ ad campaign.]

Ad for Scot paper towels, March 1935. House dresses were often made of lively, small-scale, floral print fabrics.

Ad for Scot paper towels, July 1937. White collar and cuffs on a plaid dress.

Ad for Scot paper towels, March 1936. Woman’s Home Companion. White collar and cuffs again.

A loose-sleeved plaid house dress. Ad for Scot paper towels, February 1936. WHC.

Wrap dress, in small floral print with sheer ruffled accents. Ad for Scot [bathroom] tissue, Nov. 1936.

After teaching women to use Scot paper towels for drying hands, draining bacon, wiping greasy pans, cleaning glass, et cetera

Scot Paper towel ad, December 1936. New customers, unfamiliar with paper towels, would also need a holder.

… the ad campaign finally got around to a use that didn’t require a verbal description:

Ad for Scot paper towels, December 1936.

Oops! No house dress in that one. (I do get distracted by these little glimpses into the past….)

This woman’s clothing probably emphasizes the ease [no sweat, ladies!] of using this vacuum, rather than her normal working clothes.

A housewife and her Hoover. Nov. 1937, WHC. Women who wear high heels all the time find flat shoes uncomfortable, (my stepmother wore sturdy 2″ heels while cooking and cleaning) but these heels are rather high and thin for doing housework.

Whether women really vacuumed the house dressed like this is questionable. But I think that the dress worn by this woman demonstrating a washing machine is probably very close to realistic.

It was hard to use a mangle machine like this without getting wet. From an article about laundry, WHC, March 1936. That’s what I call a “wash dress.”

This isn’t.

From an ad for laundry soap — Fels Naptha. WHC, Sept. 1936. This woman’s dress says her laundry is done. It’s not the “wash day” dress she wears in the drawing.

This ad reminds us that work dresses were still very long in 1936. Large-scale plaid dress in an ad for Sun-Maid Raisins. WHC, March 1936.

Print dresses featured in many ads between 1934 and 1937:

An ad for Lux laundry soap shows a flowered print dress with sheer collar. August 1934, Delineator.

Lux laundry soap claimed to be easy on stockings. Lux ad, Oct. 1937. I can imagine this dress, with its cool neckline, becoming a house dress as it aged.

A crisp floral print dress in an ad for S.O.S. pads. December 1936. This dress could certainly leave the house.

That print dress resembles a “sport dress” available from Tom Boys:

This sport dress could be ordered for $3.95 in February 1937. Ad for Tom Boys; WHC. Hemlines are rising.

Life experience leads me to think that many comfortable, washable sports dresses began as “good” casual clothes but eventually became only “good enough for housework” when they were damaged or out of style.

Perhaps the most truthful ad showing what many women wore during the Depression is this one:

Photo of a healthy farm family, thanks to Nujol laxative. From a Nujol ad, April 1934, Delineator.

 

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Filed under 1930s, Hairstyles, Hosiery, Hosiery, Musings, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Resources for Costumers, Sportswear, Uniforms and Work Clothes, vintage photographs, Women in Trousers

The Glamour of Spanish Combs and Embroidered Shawls

Detail: wrapped in a Spanish shawl; advertisement in Delineator, October 1924.

Imagine that you need to advertise a fine product, but one not known for excitement. Your ad needs to be eye-catching, beautiful, and hint at luxury — and it has to appeal to women. P.S. Sex appeal won’t hurt.

Spanish combs and embroidered shawls in a full-color ad, Delineator, October 1924.

Spanish comb and fringe in a colorful ad from July, 1924. Delineator.

The gorgeous illustrations are by E. Trumbull:

Illustration by E. Trumbull, 1924.

Once Rudolph Valentino tangoed his way into the hearts of women in Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse  (1921) — followed with Blood and Sand (1922),  A Sainted Devil (1924) and perhaps before that, “Spanish” shawls — many probably imported from China– were a Twenties’ craze.

Click here for another vintage Illustration of a lady in a shawl wearing a Spanish comb in her hair.

This shawl is vintage, and had a crisp rather than silky feel to it:

Vintage embroidered shawl. The long silk fringe adds movement.

So many of these shawls were used as decor, rather than clothing, that I’ve heard them called “piano shawls.”

Click for an exotic comb and shawl combination from a 1926 film of  Carmen. Pola Negri‘s 1923 film The Spanish Dancer may have contributed to the fashion for spit curls. (My mother had one right in the center of her forehead in the 1920’s.)

The twenties’ fad for Spanish shawls and combs extended to spit curls.

Butterick offered its version of a “costume for a Spanish dancer” in 1924 and again (twice) in 1925.

Butterick 5625 is a “Spanish dancer’s costume” for Halloween. Delineator, November 1924.

It showed up again in February (for masquerade parties?) and in October of 1925.

Butterick 5625, “Spanish dancer costume.” These illustrations are from 1925. Note the spit curls.

Have you guessed what those glamorous paintings by Trumbull were advertising?

Detail of ad for Standard Plumbing Fixtures. Oct. 1924.

Ad for Standard Plumbing Fixtures, Delineator, July 1924. Comb, fringe, and spit curl. The bathtub and sink are shown, but not the toilet.

Ole! (Lampshade optional.) Ad from 1924.

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Filed under 1920s, Hairstyles, Musings, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Vintage Accessories, Vintage Garments: The Real Thing

Paris Fashions, September 1917

“Fashions as Usual” from wartime Paris — from World War I, that is. Delineator, September 1917.

During World War I, Butterick’s Delineator magazine, which had an office in Paris, continued to publish sketches of French designer fashions. Some of the ten design houses featured in this article, such as Worth, Paquin, Doeuillet, Doucet and Poiret are still fairly well-known today; others (like Jenny, Beer, Margaine-LaCroix and Buzenet)  are not so well remembered.

A glittering black satin evening dress by Doeuillet, 1917. Doeuillet opened his fashion house in 1900.

“Among the jet sequins on the bodice and hem, Doeuillet uses a few of silver, making the motives of the embroidery shadowy, phantom-like, lovely. The dress is of black satin with argent [silver] roses at the waist. The train is black satin like the dress.”

A dress by Margaine-LaCroix with a criss-cross sash that is typical of 1917.

“Silk jersey in a faint shade of reddish pink which Margaine-LaCroix calls rust color, with sash and collar of sand-colored silk. The skirt is cut wider at the top and the cascades end in heavy tassels.”

Both of the dresses below use navy colored fabric, and one also uses “flag blue.” The colors of the French flag are bleu, blanc, et rouge, which patriotically appear in several of these fashions.

Left, an ensemble by Jenny: “navy serge with a rose-red collar and dog-leash belt;” right, a navy, black and “flag blue” pleated dress with tunic by Premet. 1917.

Delineator, a “woman’s magazine,” was jingoistic and used many military terms in its fashion writing in 1917-1918. Jenny’s “not strictly submersible” dress is a reference to submarines  (submersibles.)

This “pale prune-colored” Paris suit by Beer has a cream satin vest (“gilet”) embroidered to match. 1917.

This was the era of the “Tonneau” or barrel skirt, and the width of women’s hips is deliberately exaggerated, as in the skirt below, which is “narrower at the hem than at the hip,” like the dress by Margaine La-Croix.

This dress from Paris, by Buzenet, in blue serge and satin has an organdy collar embroidered in gold. 1917.

Paul Poiret showed a loose-fitting red jersey dress, embroidered in blue and ochre yellow, with big pockets. 1917.

Famous for his exotic designs in the 1910’s, Poiret was still very active in the 1920’s. His 1924 “Brique” dress at the V & A Museum is still charming.

French designer Jenny showed this pale gray dress with a sleeveless coat embroidered in fine lines of green stitching. 1917.

Jenny was also a very well known designer in the 1920’s.

An afternoon dress by Paquin, 1917, “has all the hallmarks of its era.” The “tablier” [apron] hangs from the shoulders

The House of Worth showed a gray redingote [overdress open down the front] with a peculiar, stiff collar, worn here with a very wide, bird-winged hat. 1917.

Doucet‘s “Russian Blouse” is trimmed with rows of stitching and features a cuff-like pocket, matching the actual sleeve cuffs, that goes all the way around its front hem. 1917. The “double” criss-crossing belt is very characteristic of this period.

Jacques Doucet was included in “Ten Influential Fashion Designers You’ve Probably Never Heard Of”  and Gustave Beer was included in its sequel, “Ten (More) ….” 

Jenny (born Jeanne-Adele Bernard, married name Jenny Sacerdote) was profiled here. (The designer Augusta Bernard, who called her fashion house Augustabernard to avoid confusion with other designers named Bernard, was apparently no relation.) The Costume Gallery  does an excellent job of profiling designers in brief histories, with lots of thumbnail illustrations. You can find Beer, Doeuillet, Doucet, Jenny, Paquin, Poiret, Premet, Worth and many more famous designers at The Costume Gallery. To make full use of its extensive research library and photo collections, a small subscription is required, but even using the public access part of The Costume Gallery site is wonderful. I’ve added it to my “Sites with Great Information” sidebar.

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, 1920s, Hairstyles, Hats, Vintage Couture Designs, World War I

Cloth Bonnets for Sun or Indoors

A vintage sunbonnet, which shows signs of wear.

I know next to nothing about millinery. However, a recent conversation with Linda Rahner about sunbonnets reminded me that I photographed several from a collection that has since been sold. The same collection had Victorian cloth bonnets which may have been made to be worn alone indoors, or under a hat, and it seems logical that their construction would inspire the cloth bonnets used for sun protection. So here are a few sunbonnets and — perhaps — some of their antecedents.
[Tip: If you ever try to search for sunbonnets online, be sure to limit your search by adding “-sue -baby.” Otherwise, Sunbonnet Sue quilts will dominate your results…. ]

This American photo from the late twenties or early 1930’s shows a woman, on the left, wearing a sunbonnet; on the right, her daughter wears trousers.

It's the 1930s. The woman on far right is wearing trousers. Her mother, far left, wears a sunbonnet.

Trying to date vintage sunbonnets must be a nightmare, because sunbonnets are still being made and sold. The needs of re-enactors, docents at historic sites, and participants in local history days have resulted in many commercial patterns for sunbonnets.

I’m pretty sure this one is “the real thing,”  because it is almost worn out.

A threadbare sunbonnet in grayish brown cloth. Its brim is stiffened with padding and diagonal machine quilting and sticks out quite a way to shade the face.

A close up of the worn sunbonnet. Some white selvedge shows in the ruffle.

Back of the worn brownish sunbonnet. The neck cover is not very long. I have no idea about its date except that it’s machine stitched.

This checked gingham sunbonnet is in very good condition — which makes me wonder if it was really worn for working outdoors.

This sunbonnet is made from striking fabric, so perhaps a reader can identify when it was probably made. It does appear to have been worn more than once. It is stiffened with padding and parallel rows of stitches.

Even this blurred photo shows that it would give the back of your neck good protection.

The rickrack trim on this blue sunbonnet makes me think it may be from the 1930’s — but other opinions are welcome!

This crisp sunbonnet is made of blue chambray and trimmed with rickrack. Perhaps it was a gift — “too good to wear” for yardwork.

Little girls continued to wear variations on sunbonnets in the 1940s.

My friend’s collection also included some white bonnets, definitely vintage, which I am utterly unqualified to date. However, some have long back flaps (like sunbonnets;) some have been stiffened with parallel rows of cording or quilting; and the basic coif shape goes back a long, long way. If you recognize the period for any of these, feel free to share your knowledge:

The simplest white bonnet or house cap:

One piece of fabric forms the front; another is gathered into a back. The stripes are woven into the cloth. The seam between the front and back is piped.

The front has a single ruffle trimmed with lace framing the face.

A closer view of the lace and fabric. Is it machine lace?  The ruffle is actually pleated into place rather than gathered.

Here’s a close up of the fabric — badly mended in one spot:

The fabric looks like linen to me. A hole was badly mended.

There is a drawstring in the back casing (and a French seam.)

Like the front, the back is trimmed with a single ruffle.

A more complex cap or bonnet looks similar from the front:

The front of this bonnet or cap is very simple . . .

But from the side, it’s another story:

Parallel rows of cording stiffen this cap. It also has a long flap in back, pleated rather than gathered.

A closer view of the cording.

The cording appears to be hand stitched.

I just discovered that a similar bonnet was illustrated in Godey’s Lady’s Magazine in 1857.

Is a cap like that one the ancestor of those sunbonnets?

This one — perhaps a house cap? — is too elaborate for farm work:

Definitely meant to be seen, this bonnet has ruffles and cording everywhere — even running down its back.

The be-ruffled bonnet seen from the front. If it was intended to be starched, what a nightmare to iron!

This is the ruffled bonnet seen from the rear. It has a long neck flap, too.

For all I know, one or more of those is really a night-cap….

It’s not quite fair to judge this last masterpiece (and it is one!) without starch, but, since starch attracts insects, it was washed thoroughly before being put into storage. Try to imagine the hand-embroidered lace freshly ironed and standing crisply away from the face:

A front view. The ties are very long.

A closer look at the hand-embroidered cutwork lace.

The same hat viewed from above; in addition to the long ties that go under the chin, there are ties ending in a bow on top.

A close up of the quilting which stiffens the brim.

A very chic cap or bonnet in profile — I’ll go out on a limb and say “probably late 1830s.”

The voluminous crown suggests that it was made to be worn over a hairstyle like this one:

Fashion plate from La Mode, Sept. 1838. The Casey Collection.

Back view of a tulle bonnet trimmed with marabou, The Lady’s Magazine, Feb. 1837. Casey Collection.

An assortment of bonnets from World of Fashion, Nov. 1838. Casey Collection.

An earlier cloth bonnet or coif can be seen in The Bonnet Maker, Costumes d’ouvrieres parisiennes, by Galatine, 1824. (Zoom in to see the details of her embroidered bonnet, and the corded bonnets in her hand.)

I no longer own my Godey’s  or Harper’s fashion plate anthologies, so I present all these photos for the enjoyment of those who do. Happy hunting.

P.S. If you have never visited the Casey Collection of Fashion Plates, there’s a link in my “Sites with Great Information” sidebar.

 

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Filed under 1800s-1830s, 1830s -1860s fashions, 1860s -1870s fashions, 1870s to 1900s fashions, 1900s to 1920s, 1930s, Early Victorian fashions, Hairstyles, Hats, Hats, Mid-Victorian fashions, Uniforms and Work Clothes, Vintage Garments: The Real Thing

A Mother’s Day Meditation on My Mother’s Hair (and Maternity,) 1940s

An evening hairstyle from a Vogue fashion flyer, May, 1939.

My mother’s friends joked about her vanity, calling her “glamourpuss,” but she stayed with this 1939 hairstyle for at least ten years.

My mother’s hair, worn in two rolls over her forehead from the late 1930s until about 1950.

I’ll admit, it suited her. In this picture, she’s dressed for the Fourth of July, always a big occasion in our town, with a parade and rodeo.

Her hair, without a hat.

If you’re interested in World War II era hairstyles, I can tell you  how she did hers:  she parted it down the center from forehead to nape, then sectioned off the front. In back, her very long hair was braided into two braids, each long enough to wrap over the top of her head, or around the base, from ear to ear and back, where the ends were tucked neatly under the wide part of the braid. The braids were kept in place with both bobby pins and hairpins, as needed. The rolls were curled in toward the center and secured with pins.  Oddly, I never saw hairspray until the 1950s. She didn’t use it.

The style worked well with hats, and, until I came along, she worked as a secretary for a tobacco company in San Francisco, so she wore a hat to work every day, commuting by train.

My mother in a wide hat, during World War II

Although she had been one of the first girls in town to bob her hair in the early 1920s, she didn’t adopt a short 1950’s Toni perm until a radical mastectomy made it impossible for her to raise both arms over her head.  She couldn’t manage this braided hairstyle any more. Although she hated to cut her long hair, in fact the perm made her look much more youthful because it wasn’t an outdated style, but the latest thing. But that’s not why I’m writing this for Mother’s Day.

While looking through old photos for examples of this hairstyle — which I was stunned to actually find illustrated in that Vogue fashion flyer…

My mother wore her hair in the style illustrated with this 1930’s evening gown pattern from Vogue.

… I was equally surprised to find this photograph of my mother (and me.) I’ve been writing about maternity fashions of the twenties, thirties, and forties. And here is my mother wearing a smock, a few months before I was born:

Maternity wear, 1945. Before motherhood, her hair was a long pageboy in back. Once she had a baby to take care of, she grew long braids and pinned them up.

The fact that this photo exists surprises me. I remember overhearing her bragging that out-of-town friends who came to visit her when she was six months pregnant didn’t realize that she was expecting a baby. (My cynical adult self wonders if they were too polite to mention her weight gain.) On the other hand, no one expected her to have her first child at the age of forty. Also, this was a period when fashion magazines still advised pregnant women to be “inconspicuous” — it wasn’t until Lucille Ball wore maternity clothes on America’s most popular TV show in 1952 that the media stopped being embarrassed by visible pregnancy. The Post-War baby boom ushered in attractive maternity clothing — clothing that celebrated instead of concealing. But that’s a topic I mentioned in my last post.

Probably because my existence put a new financial strain on the household, I don’t think my mother — now that she didn’t have an office job in The City — allowed herself many fashion extravagances. Nevertheless, here we are around 1946. She still looks good in a hat:

My mother, a proud parent at age 41. Her hat has a veil, her knee-length coordinating dress is decorated with metal studs, her figure is back to normal, and her love of pretty new clothing seems to be directed at her offspring’s outfit. 1946 or 1947.

To everyone who makes those willing sacrifices — Happy Mother’s Day.

 

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Filed under 1930s-1940s, 1940s-1950s, Hairstyles, Hats, Maternity clothes, Musings, vintage photographs