Category Archives: Coats

Unusual Capes, 1912 to 1920

Cape by Reville and Rossiter of Hanover Square, London.

Many years ago I encountered this cape with an unusual criss-cross front.

Detail of front of vintage cape.

I was reminded of it by two different Butterick patterns.

1914: Butterick 6975

This one is Butterick cape 6975 from June 1914. Delineator.

Note: I often have to crop images to show details because they would otherwise be too tall to see on a computer screen. Tall hats make it a real challenge. This page was 16 inches high.

Those very tall aigrettes on the hat make it hard to photograph the entire ensemble. [The word “aigrette” is etymologically related to “egret.”]

Let’s hope those are heron feathers and not the endangered snowy egret, or osprey. (Egrets and Herons are members of the same family.)

Here’s a description of Butterick cape 6975:

One pattern included several versions of cape 6975. “The cape may be in any of three outlines….”

1920: Butterick 2319

In 1920, Butterick issued a another cape pattern, even more similar to the vintage cape:

Detail of front of vintage cape.

Butterick cape 2319, Delineator, April 1920.

Two illustrations of Butterick cape 2319 from 1920. Images via Google and the Hathi Trust.

I even found a story illustration showing a young woman wearing a simple criss-cross cape on board a ship.

Story illustration from Delineator, 1920.

Of course, that cape doesn’t really look very good, because the narrow criss-cross front straps conflict with the look of the dress under it. The high-end vintage cape, on the other hand, covers most of any blouse that would be worn under it.

Cream and black cape by Reville and Rossiter of Hanover Square, London.

This very high quality wool cape, which I found in a private collection, was made of tightly woven, creamy white wool, with a black silk lining and black accents. It reminded me of doeskin — but I think it was slightly brushed wool.

Detail of vintage cape fabric, showing damage.

Back of Reville and Rossiter cape. Part of the collar is black.

The cape was probably intended to be worn and kept on, like a suit coat, because it was held in place by ties in back, near the waist. This cape would not be something you casually slipped in and out of during a visit; I think you would want to be standing in front of a mirror as you settled it on your shoulders and then reached behind you — under the cape — to tie the silk ties like apron strings.

The pleated white bands end behind the wearer’s body in black silk ties, which have shattered.

The silk ties, like the lining, were very damaged.

However, there is no problem dating this cape, because it is the British equivalent of couture. The date, 1912, is on the label:

The label in the cape says Reville & Rossiter, (1912) Ltd. Hanover Square W. — a posh London address.

I said this was a very high-end garment;  Reville and Rossiter of Hanover Square also made the custom coronation gown worn by Queen Mary in 1911. (Click the link to see more views and close-ups.)

Back view of Queen Mary’s coronation dress, 1911. The embroidery represented flowers and leaves from England, Ireland, Scotland, and India. Image courtesy of The Royal Collection Trust.

They made this court dress (Click here to see full information and an enlarged image) in the collection of the Victoria and Albert museum, …

Reville & Rossiter made this Court dress with train, worn in September, 1913. Image courtesy of V&A museum.

Detail of bodice on court gown by Reville & Rossiter, 1913. Notice the superb lace and the tassels at the waist. Courtesy of V&A museum.

… and this 1919 evening dress, also at the V & A.

The front of the Reville & Rossiter cape. The black buttons and buttonholes echo the back collar, also black.

I suppose it’s possible that the cross-over front of this designer cape inspired copies, which became available as sewing patterns by 1914 — and the style was copied even more closely in 1920. According to The Royal Collection Trust, “Reville and Rossiter was a London couture house made court dressmaker to Queen Mary. It gained the royal warrant in 1910 and in 1911 designed the queen’s coronation robe. By the 1930s they were no longer in business.” You could say that our vintage cape, made in 1912, was fit for a queen.

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, 1910s and WW I era, 1920s, Coats, Vintage Couture Designs, Vintage Garments: The Real Thing, World War I

A Wedding Party in the 1920s

The bride and groom sit informally on the grass in front of a home, surrounded by a group of young men and women in late-1920’s clothing. (It does look like the bride was trying to avoid grass stains on her light dress.)

While sorting my Aunt Dorothy’s huge collection of photos, I found these charming pictures of an informal wedding in the nineteen twenties. The skirt lengths suggest 1927-28 to me.

Happy faces (for the most part) and real-people hairstyles and clothing from the late 1920s. Left side of group photo. The men’s hair looks natural, not slick or oily.

More wedding guests, this time from the right side of the photo.

Although my aunt knew a great many women called “Dot,” — and she herself was called Dot — I haven’t been able to match “Dot the Bride” to any other photos, so I can’t find her last name, or date her wedding exactly.

Dot Richardson and Dot Robinson, on an office outing to Monte Rio, California, circa 1921.

Dot was the usual nickname for women called Dorothy.

There’s a good chance that like my aunt, the bride or her groom and most of the wedding guests worked at the Southern Pacific Railroad Headquarters in San Francisco. They all seem to be in their twenties or thirties.

Dot and her husband. I love his pocket square. Like the bride, many of the female guests are wearing their Marcelle-waved hair loose, longish, and full. Dot wears dark lipstick, too.

The bride and groom have a sense of humor, judging by the toy bulldog on a leash in the foreground.

Her pale, short dress, worn with almost opaque white silk stockings, has a lace “bolero” jacket and lace flounces. Her feet are swollen; brides don’t get to sit down much at weddings. [When their feet hurt, people used to say, “My dogs are barking.”]

Here the newlyweds pose with the honeymoon car, decorated with a “Just Married” sign and several big, tin cans to make noise as they drive away.

Their friends have tied several cans tied to the bumper to ensure that everyone notices the “Just Married” sign on newlyweds car as it clatters down the road.

Her huge corsage must mean “Maid of Honor.” She wears a light coat over a knee-baring print silk dress; big bows trim her shoes. As sometimes happens with informal weddings, not everyone got the “not too casual” message. (Yes, I mean you, Mister Sweater and No Necktie.) His boutonniere says he’s part of the wedding party.

Even this guest caught in the background wears a dress with a graceful, curving pleated flounce:

I wish we could see more of this dress on a Bette Midler look-alike….

Whether she’s gaining a son or a daughter, this mother looks happy.

The mother of the bride (or groom) looks very up-to-date in her short dress, worn with dark stockings and low shoes. The bride’s dress appears to be waistless, possibly a princess style with a bow and drape at her left side.

The white-haired lady’s dress has a V-shaped lace insert in the bodice, and a two-tiered skirt that just covers her knees. She hasn’t bobbed her hair, however.

I hope this bunch of pleasant-looking young people had very happy lives, and many equally pleasant celebrations.

It’s easy to imagine enjoying their company.

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Filed under 1920s, 1920s-1930s, Coats, Dresses, evening and afternoon clothes, Hairstyles, Hosiery, Hosiery, Makeup & Lipstick, Menswear, Vintage Garments: The Real Thing, vintage photographs, Wedding Clothes

Stylish Coats for Women, December 1917

A fur-collared coat from Butterick’s Delineator magazine, December 1917. Butterick coat pattern 9535 had a convertible collar, a criss-cross belt, and gathered pockets — all frequently seen in patterns from 1917.

Sketches of coats from three top Paris designers: Beer, Poiret, and Jenny. Delineator, December 1917.

Paris designs were converted into Butterick patterns in spite of the war in France. This was the year of convertible collars that could come right up to the chin when buttoned, or spread over the shoulders like a shawl when unbuttoned. The hats are pretty spectacular, [or hilarious] too.

Coats for young or small women show how the convertible collar looked when fastened, as on the three at left, or unfastened, as on the far right. Butterick 9556, 9535, 9533, and 9531, December 1917.

Alternate views of Butterick coat 9556 show it with the collar undone. Delineator, page 76, Dec. 1917.

Coat 9556 “is made with the large collar shown on all the newest winter coats and it buttons up snugly at the front for cold weather…. It is as good-looking and becoming for young girls as for women.” This pattern was available for bust measure 32″ through 46.”

Coat 9556 was also illustrated in color on a different page:

Butterick coat pattern 9556, page 68, Delineator, Dec. 1917.

Left, coat 9556 again; right, coat 9535. That X-shaped belt also appeared on dresses in the nineteen teens.

Description of coat 9535 from Delineator, page 76, Dec. 1917. On page 69 another description said, “There is the large cape collar that plays such a strong part on all the coats of the season.”

Butterick coat 9535, shown with its collar open. Notice its belt — very “1917” — and the peculiar gathered pockets. This is the same coat illustrated in color at the top of this post.

A fur-collared version of Butterick 9535,  December 1917.

Left, coat 9533; right, coat 9531. December 1917.

Butterick 9533 has one enormous, decorative buckle at the back. One version is 7/8 length, and has huge optional pockets.

Coat 9533 was sized for busts 32 to 44 inches. The straight silhouette “is youthful looking for the older woman….”

Since coat 9531 was illustrated with the collar open on page 76, its alternate view shows the collar closed. Cuffs could be gathered or turn-back. Clothes from this period often have a higher waist in back than in front.

Coat 9531, like the others, has a large cape collar and “deep armholes for comfort and wearableness.”

Coat 9567 was illustrated as worn by a young woman or teen (but, no, that’s not actually her graduation cap.) This was not an era for women who worried, “Does this coat make me look fat?” [See the coat by Paul Poiret pictured earlier.] I find the clothes of this period extremely unattractive.

Butterick coat 9567, with its “new type of convertible collar” is “an excellent coat for a young girl;” the pattern was available from bust 32″ to 44.”

butterick Coat 9567 could have decorative buttons on the front; those on the back are for fastening the collar. Imagine that wide rectangle of collar pulled up and buttoned at the front of the throat. Like this:

Coat 9567 was illustrated again on page 70 of the same issue:

Here, coat 9567 is shown with pairs of buttons all the way down the side fronts. From left, Butterick coat 9567; coat 9490 with skirt 9545; and coat 9501. Delineator, Dec. 1917, page 70.

Coat 9501, seen at the far right above, was shown in color in November:

Butterick coats 9485 and 9501, November 1917, Delineator.

Editorial illustration, Delineator, November 1917. This looks like coat pattern 9485, although these editorial sketches introducing the fashion pages never gave the pattern numbers.

All of these coat patterns appeared late in 1917, but similar styles could still be purchased in 1921.

These coats appeared in the Sears catalog in 1921. The plain one, at right, has another kind of cross-over belt. From Everyday Fashions of the Twenties by Stella Blum.

A strange belt also appears on this vintage coat:

A light weight vintage coat from the WW I era. The checked fabric looks like linen. One side of the belt twists around to button to the other side. (One button is on the back of the belt, so it has to twist, unlike this one.)

The cape collar is trimmed with non-functional buttons, which match the blue band on the collar.

A blurry photo of the vintage coat circa 1917 to 1921. It looks home-made.

If I wanted to select an era when fashion was really inexplicable, it would be this one.

https://witness2fashion.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/dot-age-17-about-1918828.jpg?w=346&h=500

My aunt Dot, age 18, proudly posing in her fashionable coat. Circa 1917-18. A glimpse of her thin ankles reminds me that she was petite — not chubby — underneath that colossal wool cocoon.

This was also the era of the tonneau, or barrel, skirt. What were they thinking?

 

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, 1920s, Coats, Hats, Vintage Accessories, Vintage Couture Designs, Vintage Garments: The Real Thing, Vintage patterns, vintage photographs, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes, World War I

Two Vintage Evening Wraps, 1920s

Three evening capes, 1922. From Olian's Authentic French Fashions of the Twenties.

Three evening capes, 1922. From Olian’s Authentic French Fashions of the Twenties.

Capes and wraps were often worn with evening dress in the late 1910’s and early 1920’s. Coats with dolman sleeves — or fur trimmed coats of various shapes — took over in the later twenties. Here, I want to share two vintage wraps — one is especially luxurious.

Back detail of gold evening wrap, early 1920s. Private collection.

Back detail of vintage gold evening wrap, early 1920s. Private collection.

High, crushed or textured collars were usually a feature.

Cape and dress pattern, Butterick No. 5072. Delineator, March 1924.

Cape and dress pattern, Butterick No. 5072. Delineator, March 1924. This dress is not an evening dress, and was included in the pattern.

Evening cape, Butterick 4919, Jan. 1924. Delineator.

Evening cape, Butterick 4919, Jan. 1924. Delineator.

Evening cape pattern, Butterick 4963. Delineator, Feb. 1924.

Evening cape pattern, Butterick 4963. Delineator, Feb. 1924.

Trousseau dress, Butterick 5291, and matching cape 3788. Delineator, June 1924.

Trousseau dress, Butterick 5291, and matching cape 3788. Delineator, June 1924.

One of the most difficult things about wearing these wraps was that most of them had to be held closed to stay on.

These are not hands-free fashions. Three capes, Butterick patterns 5116, 5559, and 4963.

These are not hands-free fashions. Three capes, Butterick patterns 5116, 5559, and 4963. All from 1924. Delineator magazine. Note the shoulder yoke at right.

Imagine trying to climb into a taxi while holding your clutch purse in one hand and keeping your cloak from falling off with the other!

This vintage garment carries the problem to an extreme; there are no fastenings and no slits for the arms.

Vintage evening wrap circa 1920's; It has a shaped shoulder yoke, but has to be held closed.

Vintage evening wrap circa 1920’s; it has a shaped shoulder yoke, but has to be held closed. (I used a silk pin for the purpose of this photo.)

It was very heavy, and may have been built on a base of wool. It cleverly gives the impression of fur by using cream lace over a thick, slightly darker (duvetyn?)fabric at top and bottom; in the middle is a rectangle of golden-tan velvet, gathered to fit. Perhaps it had a matching lace, or lace and velvet, gown.

Front and back views of lace and velvet wrap. At some point it was stored over a hanger, which left a nasty creased line in the velvet.

Front and back views of lace and velvet wrap. At some point it was stored over a hanger, which left a nasty creased line in the velvet.

Paris was showing equally hard-to-wear open capes for daytime in 1925:

Couture by Molyneux and Patou, Jan. 1925. Sketches in Delineator.

Couture by Molyneux and Patou, Jan. 1925. Sketches in Delineator.

A Gold Lamé, Gold Lace and Metallic Bullion Cape

I do not have a photo of the front of this spectacular gold lamé and gold lace, cape/wrap with gold tassels and bullion fringe. It was awesomely heavy, very dusty, in need of restoration, but originally of very fine quality. (No label.)

Gold evening wrap, circa early 1920s. Gold lace is layerd over gold lame, with some heavy fabric (wool coating?) sandwiched between the outside layers and a pale green lining.

Gold evening wrap, circa early 1920s. Gold lace is layered over gold lame, with some heavy fabric (wool coating?) sandwiched between the outside layers and a pale green lining.

It has slits for the arms, an interior pocket, and buttons at the neck and chest. You can get some idea of the front from these details:

Detail of center front closing; the spirals end in heavy metal tassels.

Detail of center front closing; the spirals end in heavy metal tassels.

Tassels made of bullion fringe, like that used on the shoulders of military uniforms. shoulders.

Tassels made of bullion fringe, like that used on the shoulders of military uniforms.

You can see the slit for the wearer’s hands, and a bit of the Nile green lining.

V101 bullion fringe 72

My hand gives you an idea of the size of these tassels:

V101 tassel bullion 72

This is the base of the collar in front. You can see that there are two covered buttons on the yoke, between the collar and the decorative fringe trim.

Base of collar and yoke, which is hidden by the collar in back.

Base of collar and yoke. There are two practical buttons.

The collar, the top third, and bottom third of the cape are covered with metallic gold lace in a floral pattern:

Upper back, covered with metallic gold lace.

Upper back, covered with metallic gold lace.

Detail: lower back of cloak

Detail: lower back of cloak

In this pocket detail, you can see that the entire coat is covered in metallic lace, so that the subtle shine is continuous.

Pocket in lace covered-cloak.

Pocket in lace covered-cloak.

Inside the gold cloak: Sateen lining and a pocket.

Inside the gold cloak: Sateen lining and a pocket.

V101 back 500

Luxurious capes were still being shown in Paris in 1925:

Green velvet and brocade cape, 1925, from Olian's Authentic French Fashions of the Twenties.

Green velvet and brocade cape, 1925, from Olian’s Authentic French Fashions of the Twenties.

But coats with sleeves, much easier to wear, were becoming  more popular.

Butterick "coat wrap" 5621. December 1924. Delineator.

Butterick “coat wrap” 5621. December 1924. Delineator.

Butterick pattern 1086 is a close copy of a coat by Lucien Lelong. Nov. 1926, Delineator.

Butterick pattern 1086 strongly resembles a 1926 coat by Lucien Lelong. Nov. 1926, Delineator. Back and Front views of the same coat.

1926 nov p 50 evening 1086 text

See the Lelong sketched here, with a matching fur-trimmed shawl.

“Tricks of the Trade” Tip:  If you make a cape the simplest way, by gathering fabric into a straight neckband, the weight of the cape will pull against your throat. Make your cape with a yoke, so that the weight of the fabric hangs from your shoulders, not your neck. This cape has a yoke; this one doesn’t.

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, 1920s, Coats, Tricks of the Costumer's Trade, Vintage Couture Designs, Vintage Garments: The Real Thing

Musings: Airplanes and Fashion

Collage of Women Taking Flying Lessons. Some photos are dated 1919. Courtesy of RememberedSummers.

Collage of Women Taking Flying Lessons. One photo is dated 1919. Courtesy of RememberedSummers.

A fellow costumer recommended a truly remarkable website — Cliff Muskiet’s Stewardess/Flight Attendant Uniform Collection — so in addition to providing a link to it, I thought I’d share some vintage flying-related photos from RememberedSummers, and some links to “helmet” cloche hats, which some people have associated with WW I flying helmets.

Cliff Muskiet’s Flight Attendant Uniform Site, Uniformfreak.com

First, Cliff Muskiet has put together a remarkable source for any one who needs to find out what was being worn by flight attendants at a given airline in many periods. Click here for Cliff Muskiet’s Home page. His uniformfreak website is a treasure house of good photographs of his remarkable collection, which is remarkably well organized, too. Click here to see his alphabetical list of airlines whose uniforms he has photographed. They are organized by date within each airline, although there’s no search availability.  Here are a few of my favorites.  Delta Airlines — very chic in 1970- 73. Braniff International designs by Pucci (scroll down through several years.) Air France had special uniforms for Concorde and for flights to Tahiti. British Caledonian featured plaids; Tyrolean Airways really went for an ethnic flavor. There are over 1400 uniforms on this site, with new ones being added. Brilliant job, Mr. Muskiet!

For more about Emilio Pucci’s designs for Braniff Airlines, click here.

Dressed for Flying, circa 1920.

Next, these photos of two young California women taking flying lessons (or at least, wearing leather flying jackets and helmet and goggles) are dated 1919 and 1921.

Two young women posing with airplane propellers, dated 1919, may be later. Photo copyright RememberedSummers.

Two young women with wooden airplane propellers, posing in their normal clothing; dated 1919, may be later. Photo copyright RememberedSummers.

"Dot" in flying gear, about 1920. Photo copyright RememberedSummers.

“Dot” in flying gear, about 1920. Photo copyright RememberedSummers.

Isobel in flying gear, about 1920. Photo copyright RememberedSummers.

Isobel in flying gear, about 1920. Photo copyright RememberedSummers.

The plane is an open-cockpit biplane, with cloth covered wings.

Photo copyright RememberedSummers.

Young woman and biplane. Photo copyright RememberedSummers.

Helmet Hats, 1920’s

Fascination Street Vintage has just posted a group of marvelous hat photos, including this picture of young actress Loretta Young wearing a cloche trimmed with airplane pins.

Click here for movie star Gloria Swanson in a tightly fitted helmet cloche that is covered with embroidery.

Click here for Fascination Street’s entire 1920’s hat post.

 

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, 1920s, 1920s-1930s, Coats, Hats, Uniforms and Work Clothes, vintage photographs

Paris Fashions for June 1926, Sketched by Soulié

Paris designs by (from left) Worth, Jenny, and Lucien Lelong. Soulie's sketches for Delineator magazine, June 1926.

Paris designs by (from left) Worth, Jenny, and Lucien Lelong. Soulie’s sketches for Delineator magazine, June 1926.

Butterick kept an office in Paris, where, among other things, the latest collections were sketched.

“. . . Butterick keeps a staff of experts in Paris all the time. Wherever new models are launched, there is a Butterick expert noting each successful model. Quickly that expert cables the news. Sketches, details follow by the fast steamer. Immediately patterns are made for each of the successful new dresses.”

These sketches by Soulié were a regular feature in Butterick’s magazine, The Delineator. Many of these designers’ names are still very familiar (Worth, Patou, Molyneux) while others are less often mentioned. Jenny and Renée often created lovely fashions in the 1920s.  I photographed these illustrations from a bound copy of six issues of The Delineator, so this image of a gown by Patou is distorted by the curvature of the book, but the details are worth a look.

Jean Patou

Design by Jean Patou sketched by Soulie for Delineator, June 1926.

Design by Jean Patou sketched by Soulie for Delineator, June 1926.

” ‘Premier bal’ [first ball] is the charming name of a charming frock from Jean Patou. It is made of pale pink chiffon with a bolero beginning at a yoke and ending over a draped girdle. Petals of pink taffeta weight the full godets.”

I don’t claim a direct influence, but I have seen vintage dresses with similar details.

Fabric flower petals at the shoulder and a "bolero" effect on a vintage twenties' gown.

Fabric flower petals at the shoulder and a “bolero” effect on a vintage late twenties’ gown.

Two vintage twenties' dresses; one has floating side panels; the other has a bolero effect falling all the way to the waist.

Two vintage twenties’ dresses; one has floating side panels that evoke Patou’s bolero; the other has a bolero effect falling all the way to the waist — and self-fabric petals at the shoulder.

A cluster of petals, or a bow, on the left shoulder was often repeated at the right (or left) hip, perhaps with a drapery or cascade of fabric falling from there to the hem or beyond. This was a clever device for attracting attention away from unflattering horizontal lines and making the viewer’s eye travel up and down the dress instead of across it.

Butterick 2450 (Feb.) and 2490 (March), 1929. Trim at the shoulder and hip.

Butterick 2450 (Feb.) and 2490 (March), 1929. Trim at the shoulder and hip.

Renée

Design by Renee, sketched by Soulie for Delineator, June 1926.

Design by Renee, sketched by Soulie for Delineator, June 1926.

“Renée puts clusters of fan plaits in the cape and skirt of a Summer ensemble of violine wool poplin trimmed with buttons dyed to match the material. Skirts remain short and sleeves long in Paris street clothes and necks turn up their collar.”

Molyneux

Molyneux design sketched by Soulie for Delineator, June 1926.

Molyneux design sketched by Soulie for Delineator, June 1926.

“Molyneux makes a shimmering evening frock of mauve Georgette with the bodice double crossed with lines of mauve celophane [sic] and the same glistening trimming edging the petals of the skirt.”

Cellophane was invented by a Swiss textile engineer named Brandenberger and perfected in time for use in gas masks in WW I. (Click here for a history of cellophane.) I do not recommend dry cleaning cellophane dress trims!

Perhaps the client who bought this 1926 evening dress also bought glittering this Molyneux wrap.

Evening jacket by Molyneux, 1926. Collection of the Metropolitan Museum.

Evening jacket by Molyneux, 1926. Collection of the Metropolitan Museum.

Detail of Molyneux jacket, 1926. Collection of the Metropolitan Museum.

Detail of Molyneux jacket, from 1926. Collection of the Metropolitan Museum.

To return to the outfits pictured at the top of this post, here they are shown full length, and later, I will show their details.

Paris designs by (from left) Worth, Jenny, and Lucien Lelong. Soulie's sketches for Delineator magazine, June 1926.

Paris designs by (from left) Worth, Jenny, and Lucien Lelong. Soulie’s sketches for Delineator magazine, June 1926.

Worth (far left, above,)

“Worth puts a bolero and tunic of a reddish pink silk printed with roses over an apple-green front and skirt. The wide sleeves end in a green hem edged with three minute folds of the rose silk.” What a shame we can’t see this in color!

Jenny (center, above)

Jenny makes a rather wonderful Summer ensemble with a flared coat of ash-pink cloth over a smocked frock of silk printed with roses, cyclamen, and white cherries. Touches of Sevres blue trim the neck both of coat and frock.”

Lucien Lelong (Right, above)

“‘Sans atout‘ or “No Trumps” is a grand slam of finely tucked white Georgette used for a soft coat and a still softer frock. Civet fur hems the coat.”

Rose and green outfit by Worth, Ash-pink and blue ensemble by Jenny, and a tucked georgette ensemble by Lucien Lelong, Delineator sketch by Soulie, June 1926.

Pink and green outfit by Worth, Ash-pink and blue ensemble by Jenny, and a tucked georgette ensemble by Lucien Lelong; Delineator sketch by Soulie, June 1926.

“No Trumps:”  Playing bridge was becoming a chic pastime, and evening dresses sometimes included a “bridge jacket.”

This embroidered coat by Jenny, in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum, also dates to 1926:

Coat by Jenny, 1926. Collection of the Metropolitan Museum.

Embroidered coat by Jenny, 1926. Collection of the Metropolitan Museum.

It’s nice to remember how colorful these garments could be. (Click here for more images of this coat.)

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Filed under 1920s, Coats, Dresses, Tricks of the Costumer's Trade, Vintage Couture Designs, Vintage Garments: The Real Thing

Button Up Your Overcoat, 1917

Three mail order coats advertised in Ladies' Home Journal, October 1917.

Three mail order coats advertised in Ladies’ Home Journal, October 1917. Hamilton ad, left; Printzess ad right.

Apparently, 1917 was not a year when women went around asking “Does this coat make me look fat?”

Swagger coat from Bedell clothes catalog, Advertised in Ladies' Home Journal, Oct. 1917. For teens and women.

Swagger coat from Bedell clothes catalog. Advertised in Ladies’ Home Journal, Oct. 1917. For teens and women.

This ad for the Bedell’s catalog really got my attention, because it is not a “Lane Bryant Stout” ad. This coat is for teens 14, 16, and 18 years old, and for women with bust sizes 34 to 44 — the normal size range until the 1930s. “It is a stunning New York model made of excellent quality Melton cloth, delightfully warm” and trimmed with “silk caracul fur fabric [i.e., simulated fur];” “the wide cape collar . . . may be worn high or low.” The price is $9.98, with free express shipping included.

Sweaters were not very flattering, either. No one had yet realized that the camera can add pounds, so professional models were normal, pretty women. (An average model now is 5’11” and weighs less than 120 lbs. No wonder these models from 1917 seem a bit stocky to us.)

Sweater from an ad for Glossilla crochet and embroidery thread, November 1917. Ladies' Home Journal, p. 36

Sweater from an ad for Glossilla crochet and embroidery thread, November 1917. Ladies’ Home Journal, p. 36.

The coat below, from Wanamaker, was available in black, taupe,  or navy blue and has a large cape collar of “taupe kit coney fur” [rabbit.]  It cost nearly twice as much as the swagger coat from Bedell’s:  $18.75.

Woman's coat from Wanamaker catalog, Oct. 1917. It cost $18.75. Ladies' Home Journal, Oct. 1917.

Woman’s coat from Wanamaker catalog, Oct. 1917. It cost $18.75. Ladies’ Home Journal, Oct. 1917.

These Hamilton coats are in the same price range as the others; the one on the left cost $9.75,  and the one on the right cost $17.75.

Two coats from the Hamilton catalog, Advertised in Ladies' Home Journal, Oct. 1917.

Two coats from the Hamilton catalog, Advertised in Ladies’ Home Journal, Oct. 1917.

During World War I, women’s suits and coats often showed a strong military influence, like the one above,  right [are those crossed swords on her collar?] — so did their hats.

Coat pattern illustrations, Ladies' Home Journal, Oct. 1917. Note the military  style hat on left.

Coat pattern illustrations, Ladies’ Home Journal, Oct. 1917. Note the military-style hat on left. She could be leading a marching band.

The very full coat on the left, above, was recommended for an 18 year old girl. The one on the right was for women up to bust 44″.

Very high collars, which could be worn open or buttoned up to the chin, took some rather strange shapes when unbuttoned:

Seventeen year old girl, about 1918. Her collar could probably be fastened into the high, fold-over collar seen in other illustrations.

Seventeen year old girl, about 1918. Her collar could probably be fastened into the chin-high, fold-over collar seen in other illustrations. She wrote her age on the back of the photo.

Butterick coat patterns  9533 and 9535, Nov. 1917. Delineator.

Butterick coat patterns 9533 and 9535, Nov. 1917. Delineator.

Butterick coat pattern 9471, November, 1917. Delineator.

Butterick coat pattern 9471, November, 1917. Delineator. 

The military influence (and a good deal of jingoism) led to ads like this one, for Kenyon coats and suits:

Ad for Kenyon suits and coats, October 1917. Ladies' Home Journal.

Ad for Kenyon coats and suits, October 1917. Ladies’ Home Journal. (They aren’t mud-stained; it’s a printing flaw.)

lhj 1917 oct p 118 Kenyon coats and suits ad text

This coat, made of “high grade Bolivia cloth” and lined with “peau de cygne” [swansdown, either real or artificial] came in five colors, including “wistaria” and cost $55.00! (A Ford Runabout automobile cost $345 in 1917.)

Since most women would not be inspecting battlefields, I wondered why coats were so bulky and heavy in 1917.

Photo of coat from Ladies' Home Journal; Butterick coat pattern illustration. Both from October 1917.

Photo of coat from Ladies’ Home Journal; coat pattern illustration from Delineator. Both from October 1917. As usual, the fashion illustration idealizes the human body.

These two ads from December, 1917, gave me a clue:

“Steer Warms Keep the Hands Warm While Driving.” “Electrically heated grips” for your steering wheel. Ad, Dec. 1917, LHJ. The car has no side windows and no roof.

Ad for Willys-Overland car, Ladies' Home Journal, December, 1917.

Ad for Willys-Overland car, Ladies’ Home Journal, December, 1917.

The Ford Model T, introduced in 1908, was by far the most popular car in America: 734,811 Fords were made in 1916. Willys-Overland was second, with 124,834. [Source: Average Guy’s Car.]

You’ll notice that cars could get very chilly.

For some time, cars were similar to the horse-drawn carriages they replaced — open to the elements.

Haynes car ad, Ladies' Home Journal, July 1917.

Haynes car ad, Ladies’ Home Journal, July 1917.

“In 1911, Buick introduced its first closed-body car, four years ahead of Ford,” according to Wikipedia. AfterMarket News says the 1913 Hudson Model 54 was “the first U.S. automobile with a closed body. Previously, cars left their occupants completely exposed to the weather, or, at best, covered by a convertible top.” [Source:  aftermarketnews.com.] 

Whichever is right, in 1917, most Americans who owned a car were driving through winter rain and snow without a hard roof, glass windows, a heater, or any insulation. And American women were definitely driving cars.

Editorial illustration, Delineator magazine, November 1917.

Editorial illustration, Delineator magazine, November 1917.

If it was a winter like 2015, they needed warm coats.

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Filed under 1900s to 1920s, Coats, Hats, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Vintage Accessories, Vintage patterns, vintage photographs, World War I