As much as I admire the Art Deco geometry of many 1920’s dresses, I can’t ignore the huge number of softly draped dresses accented with big bows, like this couture dress by Lucien Lelong from 1928.
A solitary bow at the shoulder could be used to balance asymmetrical skirt drapery, as in this evening pattern:
Bows could be placed symmetrically in the center of the body or and/or neckline:
When two bows were used, they could balance each other by being offset, one high on the right side and one near the waist on the left, but this was not always the case.
Sometimes bows were both placed on one side of the body:
Even schoolgirls had bows on their “good” dresses:
Dress 2137 — with four bows — was not just for teens; the pattern was also available for women sizes 36 to 44 bust. There’s a different illustration of the same dress later in this post. The dress on the right, below (No. 2066) was similarly available for teens or adults.
The dress on the left has a “bridge coat” worn over a sleeveless chiffon evening dress. “Without the coat it is a chic evening frock….” Day dresses were usually not so completely sleeveless that the shoulder bone was visible; evening dresses were sleeveless and had lower-cut armholes than tennis dresses.
The print dress in the center has “a blouse with crushed waistline, square neck, and bows at hip, neck, and wrists;” for sizes up to 44 inch bust. For the dress at the right with shirred front, a color scheme of red, white and blue was suggested.
Even dresses with a modern geometric quality might be made with an accent bow:
Number 2127 could be made without the bow:
As you might expect, bows reached their full glory in evening wear. The bow could be at the back, suggesting a bustle…
… or the bow could be at the side:
Paris designer louiseboulanger (the house of Louise Boulanger) even put one enormouse bow on the front of a dress, an idea which Butterick seems to have copied…. [Butterick’s bow could be on the left side of the front — the illustration is hard to read — but the dress itself is symmetrical, so I would guess the bow’s in the center.]
This complex satin dress was featured in an ad for Kotex:
I didn’t find a credit for the dress designer. Is the model a living woman or a store mannequin? What a lovely face….