Tag Archives: 1920s color dress illustrations

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

Tubular Twenties: Some Early 1920s Fashions

It’s easy to forget that the decade known as The Twenties saw considerable changes in fashion. The period of ‘bound breasts’ and cylindrical figures was ending by 1925. I think of the early 1920s as the ‘tubular twenties.’ The long, tubular dress pattern on the left, illustrated in Delineator in December, 1924 is closely related to this actual beaded dress from a private collection.

A Butterick dress pattern from December 1924, and a vintage beaded dress from the same period.

A Butterick dress pattern from December 1924, and a vintage beaded dress from the same period.

Both dresses are very long, and hang straight from the shoulders; the concentration of beading near the hem weights the dress.

Details of the beading on the front of the dress.

Details of the beading on the front of the dress.

This beading was probably done in China, for export.

This beading was probably done in China, for export.

The back of the chiffon dress was also beaded, so it was relatively heavy and fell without curves.

Cylinder Dresses and Flattened Curves, Early 1920s

Other designs from 1924 show the same long, cylindrical shape, with style variations.

Butterick patterns for January, 1924 from Delineator magazine, p. 38.

Butterick patterns for January, 1924, from Delineator magazine, p. 38.

More Butterick patterns for women, January 1924; Delineator, p.38.

More Butterick patterns for women, January 1924; Delineator, p.38.

Many fashion trends associated with the later 1920s are visible:  embroidery, a cloche hat, some dropped waists, side panels, etc. But these dresses are actually longer than the dresses of the World War I era, and they share the peculiarly low bust of that period.

Dresses for Young Women, January 1924

The styles above are for adult women. Patterns for teens, then called  ‘misses’ and sold by age (“size 15 to 20 years, or small ladies”) show the same tubular shape and low bust, but are slightly shorter.

Butterick patterns for misses, Delineator, January 1924, p. 37.

Butterick patterns for misses, Delineator, January 1924, p. 37.

The blue checked dress shows some indecision about the dropped waistline, and opts for two, a belt at the high hip and a band much lower. The dress on the far right has front panels and ends in a sash, like blouses of the early 1920s. It’s hard to imagine how a slim teen-aged girl could have the bust shown in the tan pleated dress, unless she was wearing a bust-flattening brassiere or bandeau, or a tube-like corselette (more about these in a later post.)

Evening dresses for misses and small ladies, January 1924, Delineator.

Evening dresses for misses and small ladies, January 1924, Delineator, p. 37.

Styles from Delineator, February 1924, p. 30.

Styles from Delineator, February 1924, p. 30.

The surplice line dresses on the left remained popular throughout the twenties, as did cloches and tam-o’shanter hats. The blue dress on the right — shortened and with a slight change in proportions — became a classic style for the rest of the decade. Below:  This is how Chanel interpreted it in January, 1925. Note the change in length, the bust dart, and the natural bustline. The flattened chest was going out of fashion.

Chanel design, January 1925, as sketched by Soulie in Delineator.

Chanel design, January 1925, as sketched by Soulie in Delineator.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 1920s, Bras, Hats, Underthings, Hosiery, Corsets, etc, Vintage Accessories, Vintage Couture Designs, Vintage Garments: The Real Thing, Vintage patterns