Category Archives: Hats

Part 2: Butterick Fashions in Color, September 1920

Big hats with a varied dress silhouette; Butterick patterns from Delineator, September 1920. These patterns are from page 96.

1920 was a year when fashions were in transition from the wide hipped “tonneau” skirts of the late teens to the narrow silhouette of the later 1920s.

Left, a “tonneau” or barrel skirt (Butterick skirt 9064.)

Traces of this 1917 silhouette could still be seen in 1920:

Left, Butterick 2572 has a slenderizing opening down the front, revealing a colorful panel; right, Butterick 2560 has a side closing and a hipline that foreshadows the later 1920s.

A hat trimmed with monkey fur; fitted sleeves that cover part of the hand. Looking wider at the hip than the shoulder was not unusual. Butterick 2572.

“The broad sash widens the waistline….” The “vestee” revealed in down the middle is as long as the rest of the garment.

This dress would not make a woman’s hips look slender…. Butterick 2560.

(And the fashion for low busts — even on very young women — always makes me ask, “How is that possible?” Bust flatteners were available in 1920. )

Butterick 2582 is another surplice (or side) closing dress. Another “waist widening” sash effect.

Butterick 2580 from September, 1920.

This over dress ends several inches above the underskirt/satin slip.

Like many other dresses in the September issue, a muted coral or spice-brown red is used.

Left, Butterick 2602 is an embroidered dress with an oriental hem.

For autumn, an enormous brown hat is worn with this gold-ish dress.

The “oriental hem” is gathered to an inner lining.

If the bodice was made of a sheer material, the lining might have a “camisole top” with narrow straps instead of a full lining.

Perhaps it’s a good thing to be reminded that there have been eras when no woman ever asked, “Does this dress make my butt look big?”

 

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Butterick Fashions in Color, September 1920 (Part 1)

An unusual style from September 1920. Unfortunately printed off-register, but still interesting.

I feel the need for some color today, so I’m visiting Delineator magazine from September, 1920. As often happens, I’m struck by the 1920s’ color combinations. Not to mention the hats!

Butterick 2584 from September 1920, Delineator, page 96.

I may have shared some of these before — especially the “Oriental Hem” patterns.

Embroidery and fur add to the appeal of these costumes. Delineator, September 1920, page 95. Left, dress 2557 has a blouse effect. The waist is pulled in by elastic.

Right, 2577 has shorter panels over its long skirt. Long necklaces were worn.

A gray hat accents this embroidered dress in an autumnal muted red.

The draped side panels are inserted into the side seam. Butterick 2600 from September 1920.

There were many ways to make these side draperies, called “cascades.”

This long, slim, pleated dress appeals to me. Butterick 2571. The “non button” buttonholes are an odd touch. With the hem raised to just below the knee, this one could still have been worn in the later 1920s.

The same couldn’t be said for the wide-hipped dresses on the same page:

Butterick 2597 was not a style that lasted much longer. September 1920.

These deep pockets were not new in 1920.

Pockets were used to exaggerate the width of women's hips, in French designer fashions and in home sewing patterns. Bothe from Delineator, 1917.

Left, couture; right, home sewing pattern. Both illustrations from Delineator, 1917.

Sheer sleeves and overskirt combine in this afternoon dress.

Butterick 2573 is an afternoon dress. Click here for more Oriental effect [aka “harem”] skirts.

If you want to read entire Delineator magazines from 1920, you’ll find them, digitized by Google, at HathiTrust.org. Click here for volumes 96 and 97.

In Part 2, I’ll show color illustrations from September, 1920, page 96.

More 1920 fashions in color to come! (Yes, I’m afraid that really looks like a monkey fur hat on the left….)

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Pleated Hats, 1920

Fashion illustration from Delineator, Sepember 1920.

I was browsing through my 1920 images, trying to find something bright and colorful — but, as often happens, I got sidetracked.

Apparently, the studio where Butterick pattern illustrations were done had a supply of pleated hats in 1920. Here are a few:

A hat with large pleats, Delineator, February 1920.

A hat gloriously pleated and adorned with roses. March, 1920.

Here’s the blouse worn with the first hat I featured. (This hat also had a flower on the pleats.)

Pleated hat with Butterick blouse 2619. September 1920.

Just to prove these hats existed…

Movie star Bebe Daniels looks world-weary in her pleated hat. February 1920, Delineator.

This one looks like a pleated tam-o-shanter:

Delineator, December 1920.

Big pleats, high fashion expression. Delineator, February 1920. (Look at that hand, too.)

The charm of 100 years ago…. For a refreshing visit to 1920, see Mary Grace McGeehan’s terrific blog, My Life 100 Years Ago.

 

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Two Butterick Hat Patterns from 1926

Butterick hat pattern 6810, May 1926, Delineator.

Butterick turban pattern 6634 from Delineator, February 1926.

Usually, Butterick would feature its hat patterns repeatedly, showing the Butterick hats in Delineator pattern illustrations over several months, worn with a variety of other Butterick patterns.  I was surprised by how often this turban (6634) appeared, and how few times the six gored cloche (6810) was shown.

Hat 6810 was shown with a coat and dress ensemble in May, 1926.

Here, it seems to be made of one dark material and one lighter material, or one shiny and one matte. The band-like brim turns up and is tied at the side back.

Butterick hat pattern 6810, May 1926, Delineator.

The two tone effect could be subtle, the result of using a ribbed fabric like faille with the grain running either up and down or crosswise, as in another cloche hat from Butterick:

Butterick cloche hat pattern 5952 from 1925.

(I am surprised how many cloche hat patterns for home stitchers were available.  Click here to see two from 1925. Here’s one, with trim variations, from 1924. Butterick 5128 was shown with many trim variations — which could be adapted for any simple cloche hat you buy, if you’d rather not make a gored hat pattern.

https://witness2fashion.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/three-woven-ribbon-trims.jpg

This trim is just strips of grosgrain ribbon woven together. Circa 1924.

Back to hat 6810 from 1926:

Left: here Butterick hat 6810 was made in one shiny, solid-colored fabric to match a sheer green georgette dress. 1926.

Turban pattern 6634, on the other hand, was illustrated many times.

Butterick turban pattern 6634, from Delineator, February 1926.

The turban is worn by two models in this illustration.

Left and right, Turban 6634. The hat in the middle is not 6810.

What to wear with your turban. These clothing patterns are in the normal ladies’ size range: bust 32 to 44 inches.

Left, turban 6634 on a page of “Paris Patterns.” March 1926. The commercially made cloche on the right is nearly brimless.

Not all fashion drawing is perfect…. but this shows turban 6634 with a matching gray ensemble of cape and dress.

Turban 6634 with cape 6618  and dress 6642.

The same dress (6642) was featured on another page, without the cape or turban. The turban (right) topped a different dress.

Right, turban 6634. Delineator, March 1926. (“Jewel” placement could vary to taste.)

Butterick patterns, Delineator, March 1926, page 34. Left is dress 6642 again. The other dresses use border prints.

I think of turbans as aging, rather than youthful, since they can cover the hair completely. But these 1926 fashions are not necessarily for older or stouter women; they are in the normal size range, and the turban pattern itself was “for ladies and misses [ages 14 to 20.]” And there is usually a glimpse of hair at the cheek.

A glimpse of hair softened the turban look.

Those two dresses on the right above make clever use of border prints:

Left, a dress with its own light coat, worn open. This used to be called a “redingote” style, and it’s flattering to women who feel they aren’t thin enough to wear authentic 1920s’ styles.

But turban 6634 was also shown on patterns for the stout: Dress sizes up to 52 inch bust.

Turban 6635 was shown on this page of fashions for large or stout women, Delineator, March 1926, page 36. Left: Note the clever tucks giving fullness over the bust.

Again, turban 6634 worn with a large size dress pattern. May, 1926.

Butterick turban pattern 6634 from Delineator, February 1926.

The turban is always shown with some kind of pins or buttons as decoration; they could be placed to suit the wearer.

Tying the turban. Right: Dead fox optional.

witness2fashion: One of the disadvantages of attending church in the 1950s was the possibility of sitting behind a woman wearing a fox stole, with its literally beady eyes — made of glass — reproaching you throughout the service.

 

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Filed under 1920s, Accessory Patterns, Hairstyles, Hats, Hats and Millinery, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes

Early Thirties’ Hats & Patterns

This big-brimmed hat was shown on the cover of Delineator, August 1930. Illustrated by Dynevor Rhys. It may be based on Butterick pattern 3816, shown later in this post.

The transition from 1920s to 1930s was more gradual in hats than in dresses. The cloche was still around, but tiny hats and huge hats were also featured.

Five different hat styles appeared on the same page in Delineator, August 1930.

Above, Hat B is a familiar cloche, Hat C clings very tightly to the head, Hats A and D have wide brims, and Hat E is cut away in front, with most of the brim at sides and back.

You would expect these wide brims in summer; August 1930.

By summer of 1930, the natural waist is everywhere.

Delineator cover for June 1930. Detail.

I find 1930 hats with a pleated brim very attractive:

Left, a medium-width pleated brim. August 1930.

Another pleated brim from August 1930.

Wide-brimmed hats were especially seen with afternoon dresses:

A long, formal afternoon dress is topped with a very wide brim. August 1930. You can imagine this woman is a guest at a wedding.

Another afternoon ensemble; Delineator cover, June 1930.

This socialite was photographed in an afternoon dress by Paquin and a Reboux hat with unusual brim. Delineator, August 1930. Click here for another asymmetrical Reboux hat dated 1928.

However, wide brims were also worn for sun protection with casual dresses and even pajamas:

Fashion editorial illustrations; Delineator, May 1930.

Detail from a Delineator cover, February 1931. Thanks to Lynn at Americanagefashion.com for this image! [Thong shoes!]

Butterick offered this versatile hat pattern in 1931.

Butterick pattern 3816 for hats with and without a brim. Delineator, April 1931.

The one second from left doesn’t have a brim, just a “binding.”

Butterick hat patttern 3816; back view of two versions.

This pattern is also in the collection of the Commercial Pattern Archive.

Butterick 3816 image from pattern envelope. CoPA.

The version at lower left resembles the hat featured on the August 1930 Delineator cover.

Very similar to Butterick 3816, but with added trim inside and outside the hat.

The shapes of the pattern pieces for Butterick 3816, courtesy of CoPA.

Once you create a log-in for the Commercial Pattern Archive, you have free access to this and other patterns.

McCall hat pattern 1879 from 1931. CoPA archive.

Pattern pieces for McCall 1879, a hat from 1931.

This beautiful hat from the CoPA collection dates back to 1924:

McCall pattern 1362 envelope illustration, courtesy of Commercial Pattern Archive.

It shouldn’t be too difficult to copy those flowers and add them to a purchased straw hat!

A big hat was still appropriate for summer in 1933:

 

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1920s’ Hat Patterns Online at CoPA

Inspiration for your cloche hat trim: McCall 1372 from 1924 at CoPA.

The Commercial Pattern Archive (CoPA) at URI has hat patterns, which makes it a good place for milliners to look for inspiration. McCall 1372 is one of the patterns that doesn’t have an image of the pattern pieces, but you could apply these trim ideas to a purchased hat.

As usual, this hat pattern included more than one style. Notice the simple pleated ribbon cockades on the red hat. Are the centers filled with beads or lace or French knots? Your choice.

If you want to read the suggested fabrics or other details, just log in to the C0mmercial Pattern Archive and search for McCall 1372. (Be sure to chose “any” in the final “collection” category.) Using CoPA is free!

Many of CoPA’s hat patterns do show the original pattern piece shapes.

McCall 1603 shows two different cloche hats.

I used to think cloche hats had to be made by starting with a felt shape, but 1920s’ sewing patterns allowed women to make a cloche without having to own equipment to steam and block the felt.

The black hat on the left has a very simple pattern:

Three pattern pieces plus a ribbon trim. McCall 1603, View 1.

Cloche hats made from 4 to 6 gores were common patterns. This one has an intriguing zigzag in the brim. McCall 1603, view 2. It looks like the darker brown “brim” is just a piece of ribbon tucked under the hat!

One version of Butterick 1800 (view A) looks like a 4 gored hat from the top but really uses an easy one-piece side-and-crown combined.

Notice that the lining is very simple, and does not have to echo the shape of the hat. The same lining is used for variation B of Butterick 1800:

Butterick 1800, version B. A hat from just two pattern pieces!

An experienced milliner would know to add lining and an interior ribbon band in the right size for the head measurement.

McCall used full-color pattern illustrations on their envelopes, which makes them a joy to find. McCall 1604, dated 1927.

Version 1 only shows two gores, but I’m guessing the instructions said “cut two” of each….

It looks to me like there are two front gores and two gores in back, with a seam creating a ridge across the top.

Pattern pieces for two versions of McCall cloche hat No. 1604. The front and back crown shapes are subtly different.

Version 2 is really simple: a circular top, a crown with tall, curved sides that are crushed into folds, and a quirky shaped brim which folds down over one cheek. You could sew on a pair of jeweled buttons if you don’t have a Cartier cliquet pin.

Hats began shrinking in the 1930s; in the “I would never have figured that out!” department, here is a preview of McCall No. 69, a hat pattern from 1932.

McCall hat pattern 69 uses pattern shapes I would never have thought of by myself. Visit CoPA to see this one!

Version C of McCall 69. The pattern, which looks like it is exploding, uses just one, bizarre, piece plus a ribbon headband.

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Hair and Hats, 1912

A very wide hat from Delineator, October 1912. Does the model have short  hair?

Hats from fashion illustration, Delineator, March 1912.

Thanks to nurseknits for asking about 1912 hairstyles! She spotted the way that the models’ hair looked short in my post about huge 1912 hats, and asked, “What keeps a hat like this on your head, particularly at a flattering angle, if no hat pin can be employed?”

Simple answer: The models didn’t have short hair. It only looks that way because the hair close to the face has been cut short, while the rest of the hair remains long.

Although she has bangs and a few loose wisps on her cheeks, her long hair is rolled and pinned into a bun at the the back of her head. Illus. May 1912.

Older women sometimes clung to the styles of their youth, like these Gibson pompadours:

From a page of advice for older women, Delineator, January 1912.

Mrs. Clara E. Simcox, American fashion designer and writer. Photo from Delineator, February 1912.

But younger women were cutting bangs and wisps around the face.

Bangs and wisps softened the look of the hat. September 1912.

The visitor wears a very wide hat. April 1912. Delineator.

Her curly hair appears loose at the sides. The hostess has bangs and her hair covers her ears; if you look closely, you can see that it’s in some kind of knot at the back.

Notice the small bun at the nape of her neck. April 1912.

Shorter in font, curls and poufs over the ears, and coiled or braided hair in back. Dec. 1912, Delineator.

That model may have run a braid or twist of long hair across the back of her head from ear to ear.

Illustration of girls ages 14 to 19 shows a long braid. Braids could be pinned in place at the back of the head, or long hair could be rolled up. (right.)

This girl in her gym suit has coils of long hair over her ears:

September 1912: Young woman in gym costume.

Sometimes, quite a lot was going on at the back of the head: (Marcel waves, invented in the 1870s, added curls and waves.)

A La Spirite Corset ad, August 1912.

Hair pieces could be purchased or made from your own combings. “Combing jars” are shown in this post.

Ad for E. Burnham hair switches, February 1912.

Ad for Paris Fashion Co hair switches, etc. December 1912.

This 1912 hairdo may look familiar to those who remember the 1960’s “beehive” hair style:

Hair wrapped around the head, January 1912.

Another wrapped hairstyle; from April 1912. If she were wearing a hat, we’d only see the bangs and short, loose hair at the sides.

Bangs and wisps of hair at the cheeks — all you can see when the hat covers the hair. June 1912.

For evening wear, a band of ribbon, fabric, jewels, etc. helped support long hair:

Short fronts, long backs held by hair bands. October 1912.

A beaded band worn with evening dress. November 1912. [When she was broke, actress Ethyl Barrymore used a wreath of oak leaves. (Memories)]

On the cover of Delineator, …

Woman at a dress fitting, Delineator cover, August 1912.

…  the customer has removed the hat she wore to the fitting, and we can see the elaborate way her hair was dressed to fit inside the hat:

The mirror gives a back view of her long hair and hair accessories.

So, when we see a 1912 hairstyle, it is probably not short in back, but only in front.

Once you start looking for long hair, you start to notice these buns at the nape, which continued into the 1920s.

On this page of hat fashions from Delineator, December 1912,…

Midwinter hats from Paris, Delineator, Dec. 1912, p. 484.

… Hatpins were prominently featured:

Jeweled and enameled hatpins from milliner Camille Roger.

Dancer Irene Castle was famous for popularizing the actual bob (short) hair style during WW I. Munitions and other factory workers in Britain were encouraged to cut off their long hair for safety reasons. Mrs. Castle had cut hers before having surgery, in 1914, but some working women saw how good she looked afterwards and took the plunge.

Mrs. Vernon Castle (Irene Castle) was credited with setting the fashion for bobbed hair. From an ad campaign for Corticelli Silks, Delineator, October 1917.

More than one site says Irene Castle first cut her hair short before going into the hospital for an appendectomy in 1914.

Women and girls often had their long hair cut short during serious illnesses. (Remember the Sherlock Holmes story — “The Copper Beeches,” 1889 — in which a governess is required to cut her hair short and wear a vivid blue dress as a condition of her employment? Spoiler: Her employer is using her to impersonate his daughter, whose hair had been cut short when she was ill, and who has the same reddish hair color.)

The “puffs” or guiches on her cheek are clearly cut shorter than the rest of her hair. Delineator, November 1917.

American women didn’t need to cut their hair for war work until 1917. And many stuck with the front-only cut well into the 1920s.

For more about long/short hair, search witness2fashion for “bobbed hair.” My Search box is at upper right.

Edit 9/18/19 Here is the full image of the blue suit pictured above:

500 1912 oct p 229 color 5664 k 5665 w 5668 sk 5669 blue 500 (3)

Illustration from Delineator, October 1912.

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, 1910s and WW I era, Hairstyles, Hats, Hats and Millinery, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Vintage Accessories

Autumn Hats from Paris, 1912

A Paris hat from couturiere Georgette, Delineator, October 1912, pp. 272-273.

It’s hard to imagine some of these hats as suitable for fall and winter, but High Fashion isn’t supposed to be practical. The wind wouldn’t dare disturb a wealthy Parisienne.

Paris hat from Jeanne Lanvin, Delineator, October 1912. “Hat of black antique satin with a soft crown of white taffetas [sic] trimmed with pink roses.”

Most of these hats from Paris designers were featured in a two-page photo spread in Delineator, October 1912, pages 272 and 273.

A Paris hat from Suzanne Talbot. Delineator, October 1912. She was a noted milliner and couturier in the 1920s. Hat of auburn velvet, self-colored tulle, with white and brown roses.

A bigger, sheer layer softens the brim of several hats.

Like Talbot, Lanvin also used a layer of sheer fabric [“frills of black tulle”] to make the hat even wider.

Georgette covered this hat with lace, which seems [to me] an odd choice for fall /winter wear. I had to put this through a photo enhancer to show the detail.

“Evening hat of black and white Chantilly lace turned up at the back. The black lace is used over the white.” Two layers of Chantilly lace? Very extravagant! [This is the first time I have seen an evening hat this large! And the model is not dressed for evening, is she?]

The fabric called Georgette, a crepe-like chiffon, was named after this designer. Georgette de la Plante, who was quite popular in the 1910s and 1920s.

Another very wide hat from Georgette. Delineator, October 1912. “Bell-shaped hat of black velvet rolled up at the back and trimmed with roses.”

Those gigantic hats got my attention, but there were more practical hats from chic designers:

Hat from Lanvin, Delineator, Oct. 1912. “…Black velvet with a trimming of ‘Marquis’ feather.”

“Hat of black satin with real old lace border. Soft black satin crown and ‘Neron’ rose under the brim. By Suzanne Talbot. [It’s rather like a Tam o’ Shanter.]

Flowers or feathers worn under the brim instead of on top of it  could be very charming.

“Brim of black silk sponge tissue, with crown of black satin. White Prince of Wales feather at the right side. By Jeanne Lanvin.” Delineator, Oct. 1912, p. 272.

This relatively simple hat from Suzanne Talbot must have been very annoying to sit next to, or behind. “Panne velvet hat with a piping of white cloth and trimmed with two curled ostrich quills.”

If you weren’t attracted by extremely wide hats, extreme height was also an option:

“White plush hat with black satin brim rolled at the edge and trimmed with two raven’s quills in front. By Suzanne Talbot.”

“Tailor-made hat of black satin with turned-back brim and shaped bands stitched with cords. By Georgette.” [To me, it looks like a shaped felt hat, but perhaps my photo program changed its texture.]

I do like the delicate sheer frill at her wrist, in contrast to her suit. All those photographs were taken by l’Atelier Taponier.

This hat from Doeuillet is another that must have required wearers to calculate the clearance on doorways and cabs very carefully.

Paris hat by Doeuillet; Delineator, November 1912.

Naturally, the illustrators working for Butterick’s Delineator magazine tried to keep up with the latest hat styles.

Hat with a sheer overlay, like many Paris hats shown in the same issue. Delineator, October 1912.

Wide hat with curved brim, drooping feather at one side; Delineator, Oct.1912. Her coat is corduroy.

Hats shown with Butterick patterns in Delineator, October 1912.

But the hat shown in the cover illustration for October 1912 was much simpler and smaller (and sportier) than the Paris hats inside the magazine.

Delineator cover painting by Augustus Vincent Tack. October 1912.

Detail of cover illustration, Delineator, October 1912. Enhanced to show detail

Edit 9/18/19 Here is a full length picture of the blue suit and hat from October pictured above:

500 1912 oct p 229 color 5664 k 5665 w 5668 sk 5669 blue 500 (3)

Illustration from Delineator, October 1912.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, 1910s and WW I era, Hats, Hats and Millinery, Vintage Accessories, Vintage Couture Designs, vintage photographs, World War I

Jumbled Musings and Fashion Surprises

When I named this blog “witness2fashion,” it didn’t occur to me that its initials were WTF. However, that abbreviation does occur to me occasionally when I’m wandering through the pages of a 100 year old magazine.

Caution: this ad uses a word that is offensive when applied to a human being, but the ad uses it to describe a sock supporter….

Ad for “Velvet-Grip Baby Midget Hose Supporters,” Delineator, February 1920.

What the hey? “Baby Midgets” are tiny garters or stocking suspenders which are attached to this baby’s diaper with safety pins!

Seriously: How is a garter supposed to hold up your stockings when you can’t even stand up and walk yet?

I remember reading a book (The Egg and I?) in which the grandmother, hearing that the children were either making too much noise or were suspiciously silent, would shout, “You! Pull up your socks!” This was a fairly effective all-purpose command, since children couldn’t pull up their socks without removing a hand from the cookie jar, or putting down that air rifle…. Just today, reading The Library Book, by Susan Orlean, I found that the Oklahoma Public library sent a condolence message to the Los Angeles Library after a terrible fire. It included the encouraging (?) phrase, “Keep your socks up!”

Incidentally, I also found this ad for Baby Dimples Safety Pins. Awwwww….

Ad for Baby Dimples Safety Pins, Delineator, January 1920.

Here’s another old expression:  “Keep it under your hat.”

Paris hat designed by Virot, Delineator, March 1912.

Don’t wear it while driving. Or while crossing a busy street.

Speaking of hats….

Hat featured in an ad for Cheney “Shower-Proof” silks. Delineator, March 1912.

Ad for Cheney “Shower-Proof” Silks, March 1912.

I don’t know why she would need an umbrella when she’s wearing that hat! In fact,  I’m not sure the umbrella would be big enough to cover that hat. (And what about the umbrella handle…? She couldn’t get it close to her head… or even close to her shoulder! Which is why the umbrella is down on the ground catching water, I guess.)

I started with the intention of writing about this:

When is this? (No, not 2012….)

It surprised me. It’s got bare shoulders. It’s got breast exposure. It’s got a good chance of a “wardrobe malfunction” if you lean sideways. I could imagine this on the red carpet of some awards show, probably in red satin, and probably held in place with toupee tape.

(“Toupee tape” was for many years as common in a wardrobe person’s tool kit as safety pins. It was a double-sided tape intended to secure a toupee to a bald head, but was quickly adapted to keeping low-cut dresses from gaping too far for television. Its great virtue was that the adhesive didn’t give out when exposed to sweat or body oils. Now there’s a similar product manufactured and sold — in larger quantities — specifically for use with clothing.) The video ad amusingly says it prevents “peekaboob.”)

I found this sketch charming. Clue to the date: the artist is fashion illustrator Soulié. [The model was not a young Nicole Kidman….]

And this bodice is part of a couture dress designed by Jeanne Lanvin and shown in Paris in 1920.

Couture gown by Jeanne Lanvin, Paris, 1920. The net skirt is embroidered and beaded. Sketched for Delineator, March 1920.

A deep V neckline in 1920? Breasts as an erogenous zone in 1920? Yes, to my surprise…

Couture gown by Martial et Armand, Paris, 1920.

When I showed these images to a non-fashion-historian friend, she couldn’t get over the “make-your-hips-look-at-least twice-as-wide” skirts.

Couture evening gown by Martial et Armand, sketched for Delineator, January 1920.

The bottom of the hip yoke is wired to make the skirt stand away from the body. Of course, the coat to wear over a dress like this will not produce a slender silhouette, either:

An “evening cloak” and gown designed by Bulloz, Paris, 1920.

My friend was also horrified by the long, dragging panels on these dresses. (Fashion historians accept that wasteful, extravagant, impractical “conspicuous consumption” is a hallmark of high fashion.) “How could you dance in a dress like this?” we wondered. “Everybody would step on it! It would get so dirty!”

The editors of Delineator had a suggestion:

So that’s what you do with it…. Or them….  This gown has two dragging “French panels,” one of fragile lace and one of silk:

Couture gown by designer Elise Poret [not Poiret] from the February, 1920 Delineator.

(That dress also has an “oriental hem.”) There have been many decades when skirts were widened to make waists look smaller by comparison. But that’s not what’s happening here.

We are so conditioned to the fashion ideal of slenderness (or at least, a tall, lean look on fashion models) that, while I was thinking,”Wow! a bodice held up by straps in 1920!” my friend was asking “Why would you wear that? It makes her look fat!”

I look at this hip-widening gown by Berthe and notice that its couture workmanship is outstanding, and … pretty:

Couture gown by Berthe-Hermance illustrated in May, 1920; Delineator.

Couture details on a 1920 gown. Undeniably luxurious.

(Also undeniable is its potential for a wardrobe malfunction if one shoulder relaxes….)

But it is difficult for me to look at coats like these and yearn to wear them:

Evening coats from Butterick patterns, November 1920.

Couture “cloak” by Renee, covered with red, yellow, and green “balls.” January 1920.

“What The F[ashion]?” Are those mules on her feet? With a coat? Seriously? And, what did it feel like to sit on those balls?

The historic House of Worth contributed this (shall we say transitional?) suit which gets its stiffness from pony skin. [Perfect if your name is “Whinnie.”]

From the House of Worth, Paris. Illustrated in Delineator, January 1920.

In other words, after five years of war and its aftermath, Paris went mad for luxury. “Suits no longer content themselves with fur collar and cuffs but are made entirely of mole, caracul, etc.” A lot of horses died in WW I, so I guess pony was a luxury item, too.

To end on a more cheerful note, we know about harem skirts and orientalism and the influence of the Ballet Russe. But this is the first photo of a model wearing harem pants that I’ve encountered:

Orientalism in high fashion: a harem hem for an evening in Paris. Delineator, May 1920.

Glamourdaze paid tribute to the Poiret-influenced harem hem outfit worn on Downton Abbey. But these are later, and not by Poiret.

Information about “Deddy” is hard to find, but the designer Deddy did appear in Delineator fashion coverage more than once.

The harem pants worn on Downton Abbey by Lady Sybil were definitely not as revealing as this outfit!

Very Bare in 1920: The top of Deddy’s harem outfit.

That’s all my “WTFashion?” images for now.  More to come.

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, 1910s and WW I era, 1920s, Capes, Coats, evening and afternoon clothes, Hats, Musings, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Tricks of the Costumer's Trade, Vintage Accessories, Vintage Couture Designs, vintage photographs, World War I

In the Swim, July 1920

Butterick beach costumes or bathing suits in Delineator, July-August 1920, page 101.

I’ve been working on the year 1920, which contains some surprises for me. If you find a fringed “1920s flapper” dress with narrow shoulder straps in a thrift store, it’s probably a costume from the 1960s or later. But evening dresses held up by straps were around in 1920. (More about that in a later post.) The bathing suit pictured (above center) is part of that trend.

While we’re looking at all three suits, notice the different choices for stockings and beach shoes. Each has its own hat, too. First, Butterick 2442:

Butterick “beach or bathing suit” 2442, Delineator, 1920.

The label shows that even the editors of Delineator realized that this outfit might not be suitable for use in the water.

Those pocket-like openings would fill with water and inflict a lot of “drag” on the swimmer, even if they are open at the bottom.

This suit is truly sleeveless. The exaggerated hip width reflects the dresses worn that summer.

Strap-top bathing suit No. 2440 also has a lot of fabric in its dress and bloomers, but the shoulders and upper arms are as bare as in a modern swimsuit.

Butterick bathing-suit 2440, summer of 1920.

Button straps and a straight band form the top of this suit.

“This being the same cut as the evening bodice does away with the uneven showing of coloring if one tans and wears an evening dress.”

This is a very early 1920s’ reference to a suntan being desirable, and to the bare skin revealed in a strap-top evening dress:

Singer Anna Case, photographed for Delineator, February 1920.

The third bathing suit for women is more conservative (for sizes up to 46″ bust.)

Butterick bathing-suit 2445, Delineator, summer of 1920.

Rows of parallel stitching were often seen during the WW I years. The sleeves are also conservative, compared to the other — sleeveless — suits.

That great hat seems to be included.

Bathing suits for younger girls were also illustrated.

Bathing suits for teens and little girls also showed the bare-versus-conservative styling.

The one on the left resembles adult suit 2240, with straps, bare arms, and a belt that passes through the dress.

Styles for girls echo styles for women. 1920. No. 2438 was for “misses”/teens and also for ladies. No. 1718 was for girls 2 to 14 years old.

I have labeled this “circa” 1920, because the small girl’s suit is No. 1718, indicating that it was first issued in an earlier series. Note how the sleeves and parallel stitching echo women’s conservative bathing suit No. 2445.

Taffeta was a recommended fabric for most of these bathing suits. Don’t forget your parasol [1920] or sunscreen [2019] !

For bathing suits from other years, use the search term “in the swim” in the search box at top right.

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, 1920s, Bathing Suits, Children's Vintage styles, Hats, Hosiery, Hosiery, Hosiery & Stockings, Panties knickers bloomers drawers step-ins, Shoes, Sportswear, Swimsuits, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes