The next month, Woman’s Home Companion offered this hat pattern, No. 7361:
The next month, Woman’s Home Companion offered this hat pattern, No. 7361:
I hadn’t encountered any other ads for Paris Fashion Shoes, and the very high heels and relatively low prices in the ad intrigued me.
(Oh, for the days when shoes were available in a such a variety of widths. I still miss AA heels on B width shoes.)
I was curious about the Paris Fashion brand, and found that it was only one of many lines made by the Wohl Shoe Company. Wohl owned forty-six trademarks. A 1941 booklet celebrating the history of the Wohl Shoe Company was recently offered on eBay. In 1941, Wohl produced lines called Jacqueline, Natural Poise Arch Shoes, Connie, and Paris Fashion Fifth Avenue Shoes. Click here.
A selection of shoe ads from Woman’s Home Companion, also from 1936, shows that Paris Fashion Shoes were relatively low-priced, compared to other brands. You can tell from the names of the companies, however, that these ads were aimed at women who wanted shoe comfort as well as style.
“According to the Table of Shoe Hotness, any brand that promises comfort will add 10 years to one’s WEA (Wearer’s Estimated Age.)” – Columnist Leah Garchik, writing in the Style section of the San Francisco Chronicle.)
This Enna Jettick shoe ad from April 1936 featured 27 year old Hollywood star Helen Twelvetrees wearing Enna Jettick shoes. (Ener-Getic! Get it?) Enna Jetticks were aimed at older women. Many other brands promised both comfort and style.
I remember similar claims for shoes in the 1970’s.
However much they promised comfort, these 1936 shoes are not necessarily “old lady” shoe styles.
Apparently advertisers supplied shoes to the magazine for use in fashion layouts. Nothing new about that!Other seasonal colors were advertised :
The top-stitched Walk-Over shoe at top right looks a lot like the gray shoe featured in that December fashion illustration.
Back to those $3 to $4 Paris Fashion Shoes: They were really inexpensive compared to shoes advertised in Woman’s Home Companion at the same time.According to Woman’s Home Companion, October 1936, a working woman with a college education could expect to earn $18 per week. She was expected to need four pairs of shoes per year, at $3 a pair. Maybe she bought Paris Fashion Shoes!
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.
Closer Views and Details:
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 hat like that would fit nicely over these sleek hair styles:
“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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
I’m not in favor of wearing real fur, but I have to admit that the belt and matching clutch purse really jazz up this basic cardigan and pleated skirt costume. I don’t know if the matching shoes came from the illustrator’s imagination or were really in the stock at Butterick’s art department. (I sometimes see the same hat illustrated with several dresses in an issue of Delineator.)
I found the other outfits illustrated with Butterick 1345 less iconic, although 1349 is also classic. Both have skirts with pleats only on the front.
No. 1349 is third from left below.
In the same issue I found two dresses with an unusual yoke; sheer fabrics were suggested for daytime, which probably means they were afternoon dresses.
All the models in these 1927 illustrations have severely shingled hair. Here’s some shingle haircut advice from 1925.
Thanks to reader kellycb for wondering about the brands of zippers sold through the Sears, Roebuck catalog. I thought I could do a quick search through the 1930’s Sears catalogs available through Ancestry.com. [All images in this post which are labeled “Sears” are copyrighted by Sears Brands LLC. Please do not copy.]
I was quickly able to find that Sears sold Talon Hookless Slide Fasteners, and “Crown” fasteners — possibly a house brand, since Sears also sold Crown fabrics. But that’s not what soaked up two days of my browsing time. It was the constant use of the word “Zip” to indicate a slide fastener.
Technically, advertisers could not call a slide fastener for a garment a “zipper.” But the American public apparently did refer to them as zippers, so the word “zip” — not copyrighted — appears quite often.
The word “zipper” was owned by the B.F. Goodrich company.
Originally the “Zipper” was a winter overshoe (rain boot) that closed with a slide fastener, made by the B.F. Goodrich rubber company. As I wrote is a previous post, “by 1922 Goodrich had launched their “Mystik Boots,” which closed with Hookless [brand] slide fasteners instead of snaps or buckles. They were such an immediate success that B.F. Goodrich Company asked Hookless for exclusive rights to use their fasteners. In 1923, the Mystik Boot was renamed, to draw attention to the ease with which they were put on and taken off.
“What we need is an action word,” said company president Bertram G. Work, “something that will dramatize the way the thing zips.” He quickly added, “Why not call it the zipper?” – from The Evolution of Useful Things, by Henry Petroski, p. 111.
The word “zip,” indicating speed or energy, was already popular slang.
You could zip around town in your car or on a bike. “Zip” was also the name of a hair remover that had been in use since the twenties.In Akron, Ohio, where Goodrich “Zippers” were manufactured, a college football team is still called the Zips.
The speed with which the name of a trademarked product — the Zipper boot — became the standard American noun meaning “slide fastener” amazed me.
Anyone who is seriously interested in the history of the slide fastener, now usually called a zipper, should know about Robert Friedel’s book, Zipper: An Exploration in Novelty, which has been described brilliantly by The Vintage Traveler. (Click here for her “Currently Reading: Zipper: An Exploration in Novelty“. The Vintage Traveler also showed many ads for zippers in her “Zippers, Part II.”
As Friedel explains, early slide fasteners were put into production and sold before they were perfected [rather like some software today.] One problem with the early slide fasteners was that they worked as long as they remained perfectly straight — but sitting usually causes the fabric in a skirt placket or trouser fly to bend. Twenty years later, people who had been publicly embarrassed by a broken slide fastener were not eager to try the improved versions in their clothes.
Menswear quickly adopted slide fasteners in sports jackets and work shirts, but resistance to replacing button-fly trousers with zipped flies continued till the late 1930’s.
Slide fasteners worked well on straight openings: clutch handbags, mail bags, boots and leggings, even sleeping bags.
One brilliant approach to selling slide fasteners urged their use in children’s clothing to make children more self-reliant. (See “Zippers Are Good for Your Children.” A bonus: children didn’t remember those embarrassing old zippers!)
Regardless of B.F. Goodrich, the word zipper did get used by other sources:
These trousers — which did have a zipper fly — were aimed at young men with waists 26 to 32 inches: “College Styles” “for youths.”
Slide fasteners also made an early appearance in girdles and corsets.
Slide fasteners were used in sports clothing and work clothing before 1936, but they seem to be most often used on relatively heavy fabrics, like leather, wool, corset coutil, and sturdy cottons.
Also made from corduroy is this woman’s jacket from 1933.
According to the catalogs, this was Sears’ most popular work dress for women, and in 1935 it was offered in the traditional button front or (“More Style! More Comfort!”) with a zip- closed front.
By 1937, the “zip close” version was featured more prominently than the buttoned one.
The zipper made a transition from sports and house dresses to dressier women’s clothing by 1937. Several Paris designers began showing dresses with visible zippers in 1935-36; Schiaparelli put visible plastic zippers right on the front of her dresses. However, I found a Vionnet design from 1929 that had a prominent zipper front closing. It was copied by Butterick as pattern 2526.
Butterick also offered a different dress pattern that was featured in advertisements for the Talon Hookless Fastener in 1928-29.
Here’s a closer look at Sears’ [rather limited] Slide Fastener selection from 1935:
The concealed “Kover-Zip” slide fastener from Koh-i-noor was available in separating or non-separating versions. Its zipper teeth were completely concealed by a color-fast grosgrain cover. It was a luxury item, more than twice the price of a “Standard slide fastener.” Sears’ Zipper colors were limited to black, brown, tan or white.
In 1935, the zippers were recommended for “finishing sport-wear, blouses [like the man’s suede “blouse” shown above], children’s garments” (the Kover-Zip) or in “sturdy quality for sport coats, sweaters, children’s suits, dresses.” In other words, they were for casual and practical garments, usually made of heavy fabrics.
After the Paris collections of 1935-36, zippers were about to undergo a rapid change for the better. (See “Zip” Part 2, coming soon.)
Du Barry patterns were sold by Woolworth’s — we called it the “dime store,” or the “five and ten,” as in the 1931 song lyric, “I found a million dollar baby in a five and ten cent store.” ( Click here to hear it .)
The Du Barry flyer from August 1939 shows relatively few patterns — but illustrates the same patterns in different “views” on several pages.
Here are three versions of the dress featured on the cover, Du Barry pattern 2319.
Earlier dresses with side openings used snaps. By 1939 a slide fastener was mentioned in the pattern description, so side zippers must have been common, but not yet taken for granted with all dresses.
You can usually tell which designs are aimed at younger women and teens by the faces and illustration style, but the size range — 12 to 18, or 12 to 20 — is also a clue.
Tailored styles like this pink dress ( Du Barry 2316B) and the sporty pleated one (2311B) were also for sizes 12 through 20. This sizing dates back to the time when patterns for teens and small women were sized by year, rather than by bust measure. (See “Size 16 years. What Does That Mean?”
It could be made with a zipper front closing instead of buttons, as shown in white with red stitching (Scroll down.)
The Du Barry/Woolworth’s pattern flyers also contained ads for other products, from chewing gum to sanitary belts.
“Du Barry Patterns are 10 Cents Each — for sale exclusively by F. W. Woolworth Co.”
I was pleased to see so many dresses made with visible zippers — a style introduced by Parisian designers in 1936-37. (This is mentioned briefly in Robert Friedel’s book, Zipper: An Exploration in Novelty.)
[Schiaparelli is usually credited with being the first, but that’s not strictly accurate. One Butterick pattern with both practical and decorative zippers appeared in 1928. Schiaparelli did encourage the manufacture of colored plastic zippers.]
Is it possible that DuBarry patterns with zipper closings were featured because the same flyer contained this Talon ad?
Although in common use, the word “zipper” technically belonged to the B.F. Goodrich company. (See Flappers, Galoshes, and Zippers for more about the history of the slide fastener.)
My mother still wore a long housecoat very much like this one in 1947 or so; hers was a large floral print in blue seersucker, without a collar. It had these sleeves, but it zipped down the front.
(I call this blog “witness2fashion” because I saw clothes like this being worn.)
The Butterick company’s target market in the 1920’s was upscale; there were regular reports on French fashions, and even a new column giving women financial advice during the stock market boom of the late twenties. But in this Depression Era article from May, 1933, the emphasis is on economy.
The accessories suggested include some rather elegant shoes, a sweater, and, as explained in the text, only one hat that you couldn’t make for yourself.
I’m not surprised that those shoes were expensive.
Other gloves and hats could be made from Butterick patterns:
Notice the extended shoulders on most of these clothes.
In addition, a print suit (a dress plus jacket) and a “Letty Lynton” – influenced evening gown were part of the twenty-five dollar wardrobe.
The stiff, sheer layered sleeves show the influence of Adrian’s design for Joan Crawford in the film Letty Lynton.
The $25 budget didn’t include accessories, not even the ones made from Butterick patterns. However, there is an emphasis on the need for wardrobe planning: coordinating your pieces so that they can all be worn with either black or white accessories. (And, if you could afford a vacation in 1933, setting some limits would definitely make packing easier.)
The cost of the Butterick patterns themselves ranged from fifty cents (the jacket dress or the evening gown) to thirty-five or forty-five cents for the other dresses, and twenty-five cents for the hat pattern, which included three styles. I wonder if the big, stylish buttons were included in the price estimates.
In 1936, a woman fresh out of college could expect to earn about $80 per month. According to one article, on this salary, she could even afford to take a vacation….
She can “join a savings club and see the world. Happy landing, we say.” — Woman’s Home Companion, October 1936.