Tag Archives: 1930s dinner suit

Very Bare Backs, 1930s

I happened across this Ladies’ Home Journal cover for February, 1936, and thought it was worth sharing.

Cover, Ladies' Home Journal, February 1936.

Cover, Ladies’ Home Journal, February 1936.

This low-backed dress from 1933 has similar fabric flower trim:

Butterick 5424, a low backed evening dress trimmed with flowers. Delineator Dec. 1922.

Butterick 5424, a low backed evening dress trimmed with flowers. Delineator Dec. 1933.

Like the magazine cover, this bare backed evening gown was featured in the February, 1933, Ladies’ Home Journal: [CORRECTION: Both are from February 1936.]

Dinner suit and evening dress for a cruise, LHJ, Feb. 1936.

Dinner suit and evening dress for a cruise, LHJ, Feb. 1936.

The nearly backless gown is made of “a vivid flower print on black silk.”

This low-backed gown was featured in a “Wardrobe for the Young Married Woman,”

Butterick 5321, a low backed gown suitable for the young married woman. Delineator, Oct. 1933.

Butterick 5321, a low-backed evening gown suitable for the young married woman. Delineator, Oct. 1933. “Slithery, slinky white satin with a deep, deep decolletage in back.”

However, the college girl might also wear a low-backed gown:

A low backed evening gown for an

A low-backed evening gown for an “undergraduate.” Butterick pattern 6011, Delineator, January 1935.

They were not just for evening wear:

Butterick sundress pattern 5766, Delineator, July 1934.

Butterick sundress pattern 5766, Delineator, July 1934. Yes, she’s playing tennis.

Low-backed gowns were used to get the reader’s attention in advertisements, too.

A backless gown in an ad for mouthwash, Delineator, April 1934.

A backless gown in an ad for mouthwash or toothpaste, Delineator, April 1934.

Low-backed, sequinned gown in an ad for Listerine mouthwash. Woman's Home Companion, April, 1936.

Low-backed, sequinned gown in an ad for Listerine mouthwash. Woman’s Home Companion, April, 1936.

This ad is selling hand lotion:

Ad for lotion, low-backed evening gown. Woman;s Home Companion, April 1936.

Ad for lotion, featuring a low-backed evening gown. Woman’s Home Companion, April 1936.

Shelvador refrigerator ad, with a party guest visiting the kitchen in her back-less evening gown.

Shelvador refrigerator ad, with a party guest visiting the kitchen in her backless evening gown. July, 1936. Delineator.

This was from a series of ads where elegantly dressed guests visited the kitchen to “ooooh and ahhhhh” over the refrigerator. (To be fair, refrigerators were not that common; on the other hand, this seems like “bad form” — bragging.) The men are in white tie.

Low-backed evening gowns also sold Kellogg’s Bran flakes:

Constance Cummings in an ad for Kellogg's Bran. June, 1934. Delineator.

Actress Constance Cummings in an ad for Kellogg’s All-Bran. June, 1934. Delineator.

Kellogg's bran ad, June 1934.

Kellogg’s All-Bran ad, June 1934. “To look well in the new gowns, many of us must reduce.”

This lovely green [velvet?] dress is selling (green) Palmolive soap:

Evening gown in a Palmolive soap ad, Delineator, February 1933.

Evening gown in a Palmolive soap ad, Delineator, February 1933.

It’s less surprising that bare-backed ladies in evening dress were also used to sell Fashion classes . . .

An Ad for Woodbury College, Woman's Home Companion, Dec. 1937.

An Ad for Woodbury College, Woman’s Home Companion, Dec. 1937. “Earn Good Money as a Costume Designer.”

And pattern catalogs:

Butterick catalog cover, Oct. 1933.

Butterick catalog cover, Oct. 1933.

Of course, there were also ads for undergarments that would allow you to wear backless evening gowns. This Gossard foundation really does allow the wearer’s back to be bare all the way to the waist:

Ad for a backless foundation garment. Delineator, April 1932.

Ad for a Gossard backless foundation garment. Delineator, April 1932.

Gossard backless and boneless foundation garment. Advertisement, in Delineator. April 1932.

Gossard backless and boneless foundation garment. Advertisement in Delineator; April 1932.

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Filed under 1930s, Foundation Garments, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Underthings, Underthings, Hosiery, Corsets, etc, Vintage patterns, vintage photographs

Dinner Suit for Summer or Cruise, late 1930s

A dinner suit, linen or rayon, late 1930s. From a private collection.

A dinner suit, linen or rayon, late 1930s. From a private collection.

After writing about 1936 swimsuits and dresses for a cruise to Cuba or Bermuda, I remembered this vintage suit which was collected by a friend. It was white linen (or linen-look rayon) with a medium-large navy floral print. It has a low, square-cut back, like the evening dresses for a 1936 cruise. It’s fresh and young-looking, but the cut is quite conservative (you could easily wear a low-backed corset under it, whereas more dramatic 30s evening gowns require the wearer to go bra-less.)

A dinner suit and evening dress to wear on a tropic cruise. Ladies' Home Journal, Feb. 1936.

A dinner suit and evening dress to wear on a tropic cruise. Ladies’ Home Journal, Feb. 1936.

Here are front and back views of the linen-look dinner dress:dress front and backThe bodice has a triangular insert that creates a squarish neckline. There is fullness in the front rather than darts, so it may have had a slight blouson when worn. Like this black and white gown from the cruise article, there is more fullness in the skirt back than in the front:

Ladies' Home Journal, Feb. 1936.

Ladies’ Home Journal, Feb. 1936.

The jacket is longer in the back than in the front, which looks graceful in profile, and its short, loose sleeves are very comfortable for an evening in a warm climate.suit jacket front side backThe puffy sleeves probably date this to the late thirties; here are some sleeves (1937) with a similar silhouette, but different construction:

Butterick-Companion patterns from Woman's Home Companion, January 1937.

Butterick-Companion patterns from Woman’s Home Companion, January 1937.

This suit did not have a manufacturer’s label; the jacket and bodice were lined, but the skirt was not. The dress closed with snaps at the side, plus a hook at the waist — always a good idea!

Side underarm bodice closing. Some female snaps are missing. The skirt (right) is unlined.

Side underarm bodice closing. The female snaps are not visible. The skirt (right) is unlined.

Here’s a closer look at the princess-line jacket:lg V173 jacket frontThe buttons are self-covered and the buttonholes were hand-bound: lg V173 jacket buttons

Karen at Fifty Dresses has been writing marvelous posts about Moygashel linen (she even found a 1955 advertisement picturing one of her vintage fabric purchases!) Click here to read her post and see the clever dress she made from a very small remnant.)

I think this dinner suit was made by the wearer — or her dressmaker — and I wouldn’t be surprised to come across the pattern someday!

 

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Filed under 1930s, Companion-Butterick Patterns, Dresses, Vintage Garments: The Real Thing

Swimsuits and Cruise Clothes, 1936

Ladies' Home Journal, February, 1936

Ladies’ Home Journal, February, 1936

Here are a group of photographs by Fowler-Bagby showing appropriate outfits for a cruise, or for wear in warm climates; the article appeared in the February issue of Ladies’ Home Journal, 1936. In order to show details more clearly, I will break up larger pictures into closer views.

Bathing Suits for 1936

Bathing suits, LHJ, 1936.

Bathing suits, Ladies’ Home Journal, 1936.

From left, a brown maillot under a brown jersey wrap-around skirt; “Up the ladder, skirted swim suit in the new green, with salmon-pink top, bands crossed under the chin. In blue, the famous surplice suit that came from Antibes and does wonders for a good figure. The printed cotton two-piece suit, coral pattern and coral color with white. The blonde lastex crepe suit, with the square peasant scarf worn in immigrant fashion. The heavy terry-knit maillot and swagger coat in pink and red, with a red shiny straw hat in unusual shape.” [A maillot is a one-piece swimsuit.]

The brown outfit is trimmed with “Mexican-colored bands” and includes co-0rdinated purse, belt, and shoes.lhj 1936 feb p 20 striped shoes leftThe blue surplice suit is also shown with colorful sandals:lhj 1936 feb p 20 blue swimsuit shoesI’m afraid the “blonde” lastex suit does not make a very good impression on this particular model, but the coral print two-piece shares the back interest of some evening dresses featured later in the article. The “heavy terry-knit maillot” would probably feel like swimming in a wet bath towel; it’s probably more for lounging than swimming. lhj 1936 feb p 20 swimsuits rightThe 1950s swimsuits that I remember usually did not show separate leg openings like these from 20 years earlier, but had a sort of modesty panel, like the green ‘skirted’ suit on the ladder.

Two Piece Tropical Swim Suit, 1936

This story illustration, by Ritchie Cooper, appeared in the same issue as the swimsuits pictured above:

Story illustration by Ritchie Cooper, LHJ, Feb. 1936

Story illustration by Ritchie Cooper, Ladies’ Home Journal, Feb. 1936

The setting is tropical (Hawaii?) and the full, skirt-like shorts resemble the coral and white print bathing suit above.

Cruise Wardrobe, 1936

This article in the Ladies’ Home Journal reminds women that they will probably be going ashore, so they will need appropriate clothes for the ports they visit, as well as evening dress for dining on board:

“Don’t misjudge your destination. Havana . . . is a metropolitan city, where you should be dressed as circumspectly as in Boston. In some places, . . . you might want to stop in at the big hotel for tea. Better wear a more conventional costume [than “your little deck dress”] and be ready! Only if you know your ground can you be casual about your clothes. If you plan to grab bicycles the minute you get off the dock in Bermuda and ride all day, then your culotte skirt would be completely comfortable and appropriate.”

lhj 1936 feb p 21 22  cruise clothes culottesThe dress on the left has a culotte skirt, which looks like a normal skirt when you stand up straight. It is still not considered dressy enough for Havana. The pants on the right are very full knickers (“plus fours”) which are described as “a coming (but not an arrived) fashion. This year, probably only a few leaders will take them up.”

Versatile Jacket Dresses

The jackets make these dresses appropriate for “deck” or more formal situations on shore.

A dress with matching jacket. 1936, Ladies' Home Journal.

A dress with matching jacket. 1936, Ladies’ Home Journal.

Mauve jacket dress with halter top, 1936.

Mauve jacket dress with halter top, 1936.

Red, white and blue jacket with a nautical print. 1936 cruise wear.

Red, white and blue belted jacket with a nautical print. 1936 cruise wear.

 

"An 'American peasant" outfit for ship or shore; blue denim suit, cotton bandanna blouse, farmer's hat, and a red bag. 1936.

“An ‘American peasant” outfit for ship or shore; blue denim suit, cotton bandanna blouse, farmer’s hat, and a red bag. 1936.

Evening Gowns and  a Dinner Suit

Chartreuse chiffon evening gown, pleated skirt. "The transparent wrap, copied from Heim, is of printed organzine." 1936

Chartreuse chiffon evening gown, pleated skirt. “The transparent wrap, copied from Heim, is of printed organzine.” 1936

lhj 1936 feb p 21 22 evening cruise clothes btm rtlhj 1936 feb p 21 22 evening cruise clothes btm left

Bon Voyage!

 

 

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Filed under 1930s, Bathing Suits, Hats, Shoes, Sportswear, Swimsuits, Women in Trousers