Tag Archives: 1920s color combinations

The Twenties in Color

Ad for Kellogg's Pep Cereal, Delineator, April

Ad for Kellogg’s Pep Cereal, Delineator, April 1927.

As much as I love watching old black and white movies, I’ve always enjoyed reading vintage magazines because of their colorful advertisements.

From an ad for Mazola corn oil, Delineator, June 1927.

Colorful evening dress from an ad for Mazola corn oil, Delineator, June 1927.

It’s hard not to think of the 1920’s and 1930’s as “black and white,” because they were usually photographed in black and white, but the people who lived then did not see their world that way.

A colorful world in an ad for Durkee's salad dressing. Delineator, JUne 1928.

A colorful world in an ad for Durkee’s salad dressing. Delineator, June 1928.

I first embarked on my exploration of vintage Delineator magazines when I discovered over 400 bound copies in storage at my public library. Since I am really interested in everyday fashions, I would have preferred a stack of old McCall’s Magazines, but so many old fashion magazines have been converted to black and white microfilm that I’m happy to have found any bound periodicals in color.

"How do you like your coffee?" A family eating breakfast, Delineator, May 1927. Advertisement for Borden's condensed milk.

“How do you like your coffee?” A family eating breakfast, Delineator, May 1927. Advertisement for Borden’s condensed milk.

Back in 1980, I found a bound volume of Delineator, January to June of 1925, at a library book sale. It had formerly been in the research library at Columbia Studios. I intended to sell it a few years ago, but when I really examined it I was amazed by the number of full color fashion illustrations, so I kept it. As it turns out, 1925 and 1926 were the last years when Delineator printed so many pages in full color.

This amazing shawl is not a fashion illustration, but a soap advertisement from 1927:

This "Aztec" pattern hand painted shawl was made in the Samuel Russel Studio, New York, and illustrated by Katharine Stinger for an Ivory Soap Flakes ad. Delineator, March 1927.

This “Aztec” pattern painted shawl was made in the Samuel Russel Studio, New York, and illustrated by Katharine Stinger for an Ivory Soap Flakes ad. Delineator, March 1927.

As times got harder, The Delineator cut its cover price, decreased its size from large format to the size of a modern magazine, and eliminated color except for full page advertisements like these. By 1933, even ads were scarce, and the magazine was mostly black and white.

But, if you were alive in the nineteen twenties, this was the world you saw.

Woman golfer in an ad for Bromoquinine laxative. Delineator, April 1928.

Woman golfer in an ad for Bromoquinine laxative. Delineator, April 1928.

Casual clothing in an ad for Camel Cigarettes. Delineator, September 1928.

Casual clothing in an ad for Camel Cigarettes. Delineator, September 1928.

This woman washes her fine fabrics in Ivory Soap Flakes, Ad from Delineator, May 1927.

This woman washes her fine fabrics in Ivory Soap Flakes. Ad from Delineator, May 1927.

Ivory Flakes were also recommended for woolens:

Wash your woolen clothing in Ivory Flakes.... An ad from Delineator, October 1928.

Wash your wool clothing in Ivory Flakes…. An ad from Delineator, October 1928. Notice her stockings, which match her suit.

The text at the left tells the story of Biltmore Industries of North Carolina, preserving the craft of hand weaving; “In order to protect the sensitive woolen fibre, we allow no cleaning substance other than Ivory to touch it.”

From an ad for Puffed Wheat cereal, August 1928.

From an ad for Puffed Wheat cereal, August 1928.

That red and blue outfit would look much more sedate in black and white:

The same puffed wheat ad in grayscale.

The same puffed wheat ad converted to  grayscale. 1928 ad.

Even ads for household appliances can be illuminating:

A cheery interior in an ad for Johnson's Paste Wax. March, 1928.

A cheerful and expensive interior in an ad for Johnson’s Paste Wax. March, 1928.

Lavish interiors in silent movies always look dark and heavy — but they were not really black and white.

This woman may have gotten a little too colorful — but it’s an ad for Valspar paint, with “before” and “after” images:

Kitchen colors in an ad for Valspar paint. October, 1928.

“She thought she had a model kitchen, but ….” Kitchen colors in an ad for Valspar paint. October, 1928.

An up-to-date kitchen, October 1928 ad for Valspar paint. Delineator.

An up-to-date kitchen, October 1928 ad for Valspar paint. Delineator. Note the pink sink.

A white kitchen transformed. Valspar paint ad, October 1928.

A white kitchen “modernized” with color. Valspar paint ad, October 1928.

Although the sink appears white in the second illustration, pink sinks were available. This bold yellow and black dress — from an ad for window shades — would be drained of its power in a 1920’s photograph:

"Restful Rooms" thanks to window shades, in an ad from March, 1928. Delineator.

“Restful Rooms” thanks to window shades, in an ad from March, 1928. Delineator.

A lovely rose colored dress in an ad for Feen-a-Mint laxative. March 1927.

A lovely rose-colored dress in an ad for Feen-a-Mint laxative. March 1927.

"Grandmother is still dancing," thanks to Feen-a-Mint. Detail of ad from Delineator, May 1927.

“Grandmother is still dancing,” thanks to Feen-a-Mint. Detail of ad from Delineator, May 1927. Grandmother is wearing a flattering, not-black (!) gown.

Grandmother's secret: Feen-a-Mint. Ad, May 1927.

Grandmother’s secret: Feen-a-Mint. Ad, May 1927.

Digression: There was a time in the 1980’s when directors of Shakespeare’s comedies thought it amusing to costume them completely in black and white and gray to evoke old movies. These black and white “silent movie”/”Fred and Ginger” productions quickly became so commonplace that they signaled “desperate director.” After sitting through one-too-many of these productions, I was delighted to discover that the first English play to be costumed entirely in black and white was A Game at Chess, by Thomas Middleton. It played at The Globe theatre in London in 1625 — long before black and white movie film was invented. It was quite a novel idea.

 

 

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Filed under 1920s, 1920s-1930s, Menswear, Musings, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Resources for Costumers, Sportswear, Vintage Accessories

Happy Mothers’ Day

This lovely color illustration appeared in January of 1934, . . .

Delineator cover, January 1934.

Delineator cover, January 1934.

. . . but this little black and white ad with a mother letting down the hem on her daughter’s dress means more to me.

Mother and daughter in an ad for Indianhead cloth, Delineator, May 1924.

Mother and daughter in an ad for Indian Head cloth, Delineator, May 1924.

The ad says, “Children will grow!  A dress the right length in May is too short in August.” Once upon a time, mothers let down their children’s clothing to save the expense of buying a new dress. Many mothers sacrificed, and scrimped, and saved every penny they could — as they do today. That’s why this old advertisement speaks of love, to me.

Happy Mothers’ Day!

Top of Indianhead cloth ad, Delineator, May 1924.

Top of Indian Head cloth ad, Delineator, May 1924.

Indianhead cloth ad, bottom, Delineator, May 1924.

Indian Head cloth ad, bottom, Delineator, May 1924.

Here is the sew-it-yourself bag you could get by sending 25 cents to the Indian Head company; available in “jade and mimosa” or “silver and peach.”

Indian Head cloth bag which you could sew yourself. Twenty-five cents would pay for the cloth. Delineator, May 1924.

Indian Head cloth bag which you could sew yourself. Twenty-five cents would pay for the cloth. Delineator, May 1924.

 

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Filed under 1920s, 1920s-1930s, 1930s, Children's Vintage styles, Musings, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture

Orange and Blue in the Mid-Twenties

When I wrote about the orange and black color combination that was popular in the nineteen twenties, I found out that there are still some devoted lovers of orange out there. It turns out that orange and blue were often pictured together in Delineator fashion illustrations in 1924 and 1925.

Evening dresses and and evening wrap; Butterick patterns illustrated in Delineator magazine, February 1924.

Evening dresses and and evening wrap; Butterick patterns illustrated in Delineator magazine, February 1924.

Of course, orange and blue are complementary colors, opposite each other on the color wheel, and therefore they enhance each other when juxtaposed, — orange seeming brighter and blue seeming more vivid — so illustrators may have put them side by side for this reason.

Butterick patterns 4979 (dress) and 4963 (cape.) February 1924, Delineator.

Butterick patterns 4979 (dress) and 4963 (cape.) February 1924, Delineator.

Butterick dress patterns for July 1924. Delineator magazine.

Butterick dress patterns for July 1924. Delineator magazine.

But orange and blue — in slightly pastel tints — was a frequent combination in garments, especially in clothing for girls.

Butterick patterns for girls for Valentine's day, 1925. Delineator.

Butterick patterns 5797 & 5752 for girls for Valentine’s day, 1925. Delineator. [The dress on the right reminds me of quilts from the twenties and thirties.]

It’s sometimes hard to put an exact name to the variations of orange — sometimes it’s a pastel-tinted (i.e., with white added) version of coral red, vermillion, or red orange. [I’m speaking as an illustrator, not as a dyer.]

Butterick patterns for girls, February, 1924. Delineator magazine.

Butterick patterns 4959 and 4995 for girls, February, 1924. Delineator magazine.

 

Butterick patterns for women 5301 and 5341, July 1924. Delineator.

Butterick patterns for women 5301 and 5341, July 1924. Delineator. The color on the left is closer to red-orange than to pure red.

Burnt orange or intense orange seems to be more common for “grown-up” dresses.

Dresses for Misses [age 15 to 20] Butterick patterns 5327, 5329, & 5337. Delineator, July 1924.

Dresses for Misses [age 15 to 20], Butterick patterns 5327, 5329, & 5337. Delineator, July 1924.

Butterick patterns for women, August, 1924. Delineator magazine.

Butterick patterns for women, August, 1924. Delineator magazine.

Pale orange, peach, or apricot also appear in children’s dresses, often with light blue trim.

Butterick patterns for girls, November, 1924. Delineator.

Butterick patterns for girls, Nos. 5607, 5543, 5590; November, 1924. Delineator.

 

Girl's dress 1925; Girls' dress patterns for June, 1924. Delineator.

Girl’s dress 1925; Girls’ dress patterns for June, 1924. Delineator. #5254 on right.

This little girl is wearing an orange dress smocked with black,  with a black coat and orange-trimmed black hat, a combination usually reserved for Hallowe’en now:

Girls' dress  patterns from Butterick, Delineator, March 1924.

Girls’ dress patterns from Butterick, Delineator, March 1924. The blue dress with flower-pot pockets, #5057,  is a charming idea. # 5067 is on left.

As Autumn approached, older girls and young women could use intense orange to accessorize either midnight blue or dark green dresses:

Butterick patterns for teens and small women, October, 1924. Delineator.

Butterick patterns for teens and small women, October, 1924. Delineator. Dress 5489, Coat-dress 5485, and Hat 5561. That orange thing in her hand, far right, is a tiny purse.

That dashing cloche hat is also made from a Butterick pattern.

And, if you weren’t quite prepared for your wedding to include brilliant orange bridesmaids . . .

Bride, Maid of Honor, and Bridesmaids. Butterick Pattern illustration from Delineator magazine, October 1924.

Bride, Maid of Honor, and Bridesmaids. Butterick Pattern illustration from Delineator magazine, October 1924.

this blue and pastel red-orange bridal party might be just what you want:

Bride and bridesmaids, April 1924. Butterick patterns 5137, 5158, 5093, 4462. Delineator magazine.

Bride and bridesmaids, April 1924. Butterick patterns 5137, 5158, 5093, 4462. Delineator magazine.

The dresses on the right have a muted coral bodice and tiers of coral taffeta softened with white lace overlays, with rose pink hats and trim. [The pinkish color may be a result of layering white organza over the bodice fabric.]

Bride's attendants, April, 1924. Delineator magazine.

Bride’s attendants, April, 1924. Delineator magazine.

The bride’s home could even have an orange and blue kitchen:

An ad for Hoosier cabinets, Delineator magazine, Oct. 1925.

An ad for Hoosier cabinets, Delineator magazine, Oct. 1925.

This post is dedicated to Lynn and Brooke, who wrote to say that they love orange.

 

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Filed under 1920s, Children's Vintage styles, Vintage patterns

Paris Calls for Pleats, 1926 (Part 1)

Paris Straightens the Autumn Frock with Front and Side Plaits. Delineator, Sept. 1926.

Paris Straightens the Autumn Frock with Front and Side Plaits. Delineator, Sept. 1926.

Pleats for All Sizes

Butterick’s Delineator magazine ran two articles in the September, 1926, issue about the importance of “plaits” [i.e., pleats] to the fall styles. The first article showed three patterns for women in the normal range of sizes, with bust measurements of 32 to 44 inches. Elsewhere in that issue, patterns for “Misses aged 15 to 20 and small women” also show pleated skirts. [Misses’ sizes were for shorter and smaller figures; age 20 assumed a 37″ bust.] But the second article showed dresses with pleats in pattern sizes up to a 52 inch bust measurement. Since the styles of the 1920s were especially cruel to large figures, I am always intrigued by these unexpectedly large pattern sizes. I’m guessing that Butterick and other pattern companies realized that being “hard to fit” is a major reason for making your own clothes, so they routinely offered sizes not available in most stores.

Pleated Styles for Average and Small Women, 1926

In this post I’ll share some of the styles for women who fell within the normal size ranges.

Butterick pattern 7067, September 1926.

Butterick pattern 7067, September 1926.

This dress is very unusual — at least in my limited experience — because of the horizonal bands which decorate the shoulders and extend onto the sleeve caps.  Twenties’ fashions can be hard to wear because they widen the hips — already most women’s widest area. Many twenties styles have vertical details which seek to counteract this problem, but I have not seen many that visually broaden the shoulders like this:  butterick 7067 detailsNote, too, that the skirt pleats are stitched down for several inches to control fullness. The belt, which passes through buttonholes in the hip band, is tied very loosely as illustrated, but it could be used to snug the hip and create a blouson above. The long tie ends and the pleats create vertical lines for a slimming effect. This fashion figure is over 9 “heads” tall, but, adjusted to a normal figure, this could be a very becoming — and not terribly difficult — dress to copy. Back views are shown at the end of this post.

Butterick 7033, September 1926.

Butterick 7033, September 1926.

This dress, with its enormous buckle and wide hip band, would not flatter many women — especially those with a 44 inch bust and 47.5 inch hip — the usual pattern proportions. The collar creates a deep curve similar to the line of a long 1920s necklace, but it gets bigger at the bottom and draws more attention to the hip area. The description (“attached to a long body”) suggests that, although described as a dress, this is probably made made as a top, including the hip band, with a separate skirt suspended from the shoulders like a slip — a very common practice. The vestee, which fills in the neckline, can be made detachable for washing.

Butterick 7055, September 1926.

Butterick 7055, September 1926. For ladies 32 to 48 bust.

Butterick No. 7055 was not singled out as being for larger women, but it was available in sizes 46 and 48. I love the “Roman striped vestee” with its strong diagonals, and the ribbon-flower pom-pom which draws your eye upward to the face, plus the widening effect of “saddle shoulders” cut-in-one with the sleeve. This dress is definitely meant to be snugged at the hip; it has an adjustable belt at each side, like the belt on the back of a vest. butterick 7055 detailsThis dress has box pleats lined up with the side seams, and top-stitched for a slim fit over the hips. The saddle shoulders are similarly top-stitched.

A dress shown in “pea-soup green” gives plenty of room for movement when you’re walking:

Butterick 7045, September 1926.

Butterick 7045, September 1926.

Monograms were very popular, influenced perhaps by Jean Patou’s  use of them in sportswear. This dress is a bit tricky to make, because it has inserted pleats of darker color fabric. They are not inserted into seams, but added like a wedge-shaped godet. That explains the need for those arrow shapes — stitching or applique? — that reinforce the points of stress. 1926 sept p 28 grn skirt paris frocks pleats

Pleated Dresses for Misses and Smaller Women, September 1926.

Butterick patterns for Misses aged 15 to 20 and Smaller Women. September 1926.

Butterick patterns for Misses Aged 15 to 20 and Smaller Women. September 1926.

Butterick 7057, (left) like the green dress pictured above, has pleats inserted like godets. The color combination is interesting. A color called bois de rose (rosewood) was popular, but this dress is burgundy colored. Notice the unusual sleeves. The pink contrasts in the top half of this dress are so interesting that its self-colored hip belt is hardly noticeable.

Butterick 7057 for Misses and Smaller Women, September 1926.

Butterick 7057 for Misses and Small Women, September 1926.

The pleats are topstitched, both for flatness and to reinforce the weakest points. The “convertible” collar can be worn unbuttoned.

This blue dress also has stitched-down pleats below its dropped waist.

Butterick pattern 7003 for Misses and Small Women, Sept. 1926.

Butterick pattern 7003 for Misses and Small Women, Sept. 1926.

This dress is for younger and smaller women, who might be expected to have ideal 1920s figures, but it still uses many vertical lines for a slenderizing effect, especially in the very long tie. Little capes on the backs of dresses were often shown in pattern illustrations, but, like this one, they were usually detachable or optional. “Chin-chin blue” is probably meant to evoke Chinese colors. The gray belt seems to run through buttonholes in the front and back of the dress. See back views below.

Misses’ dress 7024 is not pleated. Described as a “coat-frock,” it has a slenderizing vertical opening the entire length of the center front.

Butterick  pattern for Misses 7024, Sept. 1926.

Butterick pattern for Misses 7024, Sept. 1926.

Lacking pleats, the skirt’s 46″ hem circumference does not encourage long strides. The artist has neglected to draw the slip straps. Another sheer-over-satin dress for young women, No. 6904, was featured in July, 1926:

Butterick pattern No. 6904 for Misses, July 1926.

Butterick pattern No. 6904 for Misses, July 1926.

These coat-dress styles create such a strong vertical line that I would expect them to be appealing to larger women, but both these patterns are for “Misses 15 to 20 years old, and small women.”

This dress pattern, No. 7059, is actually a blouse and skirt combination.

Butterick pattern No. 7059 for Misses and Small Women. Sept. 1926

Butterick pattern No. 7059 for Misses and Small Women. Sept. 1926

The pleats on the skirt can fall perfectly straight, because there is no waistband; this skirt is attached to a slip-like underbody and hangs from the shoulders. It is similar in style to some of the pleated dresses for larger women described in the same magazine. It is not a style I would recommend to women seeking to look thinner.

These 1920s Hats Deserve a Second Look:

Four hats from Delineator, September 1926.

Four hats from Delineator, September 1926.

Here are back views of the eight dresses from September that are pictured above:

Back views: Butterick patterns for Women Nos. 7067, 7033, 7055, 7045.

Back views: Butterick patterns for Women Nos. 7067, 7033, 7055, 7045.

Most of these dresses can be made with long or short sleeves. Only one, #7033, has pleats in back. #7045 shows that there is a handy strap on the back of her clutch purse.

Back views of Dresses for Misses, Nos. 7024, 7059, 7057, 7003.

Back views of Dresses for Misses, Nos. 7024, 7059, 7057, 7003.

Part 2 of “Paris Calls for Pleats” will show 1926 patterns for larger women.

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Filed under 1920s, bags, Hats, Purses, Vintage Accessories, Vintage patterns, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes