Tag Archives: afternoon dress 1933

Winter Wardrobes for Women, October 1933

I showed one, low-backed evening gown from a 1933 article about Butterick’s “Wardrobe for Young Married Women” and Michele asked to see the rest of the article. When I looked for it, I discovered that the same issue of The Delineator magazine recommended winter wardrobes for The Business Girl, The Clubwoman, and The High School Girl, too. So, for comparison, here are the suggested fashions. I found a few surprises, and, as the highway signs say, “Wide shoulder ahead.”

Butterick’s Wardrobe for Young Married Women, 1933

Part of Butterick's recommended wardrobe for a young married woman. An evening wrap and an evenig dress were also included. Delineator, October, 1933.

Part of Butterick’s recommended wardrobe for Young Married Women. An evening wrap and an evening dress were also included. Delineator, October, 1933, p. 69.

Evening clothes for young married women, 1933. Wrap #5338 and Gown #5321, Butterick patterns.

Evening clothes for young married women, 1933. Wrap #5338 and Gown #5321, Butterick patterns.

1933 oct p 69 wardrobe for young married woman 5338 evening wrap text

1933 oct p 69 wardrobe for young married woman 5321 evening gown text

Day dress 5315 and coat 5336, recommended for young married women. Butterick patterns from Delineator magazine, Oct., pg 69.

Day dress 5315 and coat 5336, recommended for young married women. Butterick patterns from Delineator magazine, Oct., pg 69.

1933 oct p 69 wardrobe for young married woman 5315 text

1933 oct p 69 wardrobe for young married woman 5336 text

Clothes for a yung married woman. Butterick patterns 5313 and 5311, Oct. 1933 Delineator.

Clothes for a young married woman. Butterick patterns 5313  (afternoon dress) and 5311 (dinner dress), Oct. 1933 Delineator.

1933 oct p 69 wardrobe for young married woman 5313 text

1933 oct p 69 wardrobe for young married woman 5311 btm text

The “organ pipe” sleeves of No. 5311 and the “loop shoulders” of No. 5315 are among many odd sleeve and shoulder treatments from 1933, when wider shoulders for women were just finding their way into fashion.

Butterick’s Wardrobe for the Smart Business Girl, 1933

Four outfits for the "Smart Business Girl;" Butterick patterns 5339, 5346, 5341, and 5325. Oct. 1933, Delineator, page 68.

Four outfits for the “Smart Business Girl;” Butterick patterns 5339, 5346, 5341, and 5325. Oct. 1933, Delineator, page 68. There are two additional items.

Butterick pattern 5337 for the "Smart Business Girl." Delineator, October 1933.

Butterick pattern 5337 for the “Smart Business Girl.” Delineator, October 1933.

Detachable and interchangeable collars were very popular in the nineteen thirties.

Coat for the "Smart Business Girl," Butterick pattern 5344, Delineator magazine, October 1933.

Coat for the “Smart Business Girl,” Butterick pattern 5344, Delineator magazine, October 1933. The sleeves are widened with a detail resembling fish fins.

Butterick patterns 5339 and 5346 for the "Smart Business Girl. Delneator, Oct. 1933/

Butterick patterns 5339 and 5346 for the “Smart Business Girl.” Delineator, Oct. 1933.

1933 oct p 68 business girl wardrobe 5339 5346 text 400

No. 5339 has a “rim shoulder,” and No. 5346, a double-sided satin dress which goes from office to date, also has a rather experimental shoulder, perhaps inspired by the Elizabethans. This Elizabethan jerkin, at the Metropolitan museum, shows what I mean.

An afternoon dress (Butterick 5341) and an evening dress (5325) for the "Smart Business Girl," Delineator, Oc.t 1933.

A velvet dress (Butterick 5341) and an evening dress (5325) for the “Smart Business Girl,” Delineator, October 1933.

1933 oct p 68 business girl wardrobe 5341 5325 400 text btm

The evening gown (No. 5325) is the new “mermaid silhouette;” both dresses are designed to make the shoulders look wider. The pointy diagonal accent on No. 5341 was seen in many variations. Click here for Joan Crawford in an extreme version, 1933.

Butterick’s Wardrobe of Patterns for the Smart Clubwoman, 1933.

Members of women’s clubs did not merely play bridge and socialize; in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century they were very much involved in improving their communities. “Women’s clubs founded kindergartens, settlement houses, school-lunch programs, health clinics, museums, and parks” according to this article about the Audubon Society.

Clubwoman” was also Butterick’s euphemism for women who were older and not especially slender. (Lane Byrant catalogs called them “stout.”)

"Winter Wardrobe for the Smart Club Woman." Butterick patterns 5329. 5353, 5290, and 5350, from Delineator, page 71. October 1933.

“Winter Wardrobe for the Smart Clubwoman.” Butterick patterns 5329, 5353, 5290, and 5350, from Delineator, page 71. October 1933.

The Delineator also suggested a Spring and Summer wardrobe for “clubwomen;” click here to read about it.

Outfits for "Club Women," Butterick patterns 5329 and 5353, October 1933.

Outfits for “Clubwomen,” Butterick patterns 5329 and 5353, October 1933. Available up to 48″ bust.

1933 oct p 71 wardrobe clubwoman 5329 text

1933 oct p 71 wardrobe clubwoman 5353 text

A coat (Butterick 5290) and a dress (5350) for mature women. Delineator, October 1933.

A coat (Butterick 5290) and an afternoon dress (5350) for mature women. Delineator, October 1933. For sizes up to 52 inch bust.

1933 oct p 71 wardrobe clubwoman coat 5290 text

1933 oct p 71 wardrobe clubwomanafternoon dress 5350 text

The coat, like all the others, is enhanced with fur; in this case, the “mushroom collar” adds width to the shoulders, and the cut of the back is flattering to wide hips. These two patterns were available up to a bust measurement of 52 inches.

Butterick’s Winter Wardrobe for the High School Girl, 1933

Butterick patterns 5335, 5331, 5340, and 5333, recommended for High School Girls in Oct. 1933, Delineator, p. 70.

Butterick patterns 5335, 5331, 5340, and 5333, recommended for High School Girls in Oct. 1933, Delineator, p. 70.

Just when I think I’m getting a feel for a period, something like this makes my jaw drop. People had to grow up fast in the Depression, but what ever happened to wearing a simple skirt and sweater? These are not “going away to an Ivy League college” clothes; the text says “High School Girl.” Surely dressing like this was cost-prohibitive for most. And, if schoolgirls dressed like this, how could you tell them from adults?

Dresses for High School Girls, Butterick patterns 5335 and 5331, October 1933 Delineator, p. 70.

Dresses for High School Girls, Butterick patterns 5335 and 5331, October 1933 Delineator, p. 70.

1933 oct p 70 wardrobe plan for high school 5335 5331 text

“Flaming red faille taffeta” and “Low in back.” Not the “pretty in pink” innocent look. The school dress (5331) surprises me because it is so memorable — you couldn’t wear a dress like that every day without everyone noticing that you only have one school dress. All four of these styles for high school girls have the new, very wide shoulders and/or puffy sleeves. And they are designed for relatively small sizes.

A coat (Butterick 5340) and a dress (pattern 5333) for high school. Delineator, October 1933. p. 70.

A coat (Butterick 5340) and a red velveteen date dress (pattern 5333) for high school girls. Delineator, October 1933. p. 70.

1933 oct p 70 wardrobe plan for high school text 5340 5333 btm

No. 5333 has unusual off-center “clips” [ buttons (?)] “front and back.”

The hem lengths for the young married woman and the smart business girl are noticeably longer than those for the high school girl and the clubwoman.

Young MArried Women and Smart Business GIrls are shown with longer hemlines than High School Girls and Older (Club) Women. Oct. 1933 Delineator.

Young Married Women and Smart Business Girls are shown with longer hemlines than High School Girls and Older (Club) Women. Oct. 1933 Delineator.

This could be because schoolgirls and older women were assumed to be shorter than young adult women. “Sizes 12 to 20” still referred to the old practice of selling young (and/or small) women’s dresses by age rather than by size. Click here for “Size 16 Years: What Does That Mean?” The patterns for older (club) women may say “Sizes 14 to 20,” but that does not equate to bust measurements 34″ to 52″! “Sizes 14 to 20” means “14 to twenty years of age,” and those patterns had different proportions than, and were made in addition to, patterns sold by bust measurement.

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Butterick Starred Patterns Part 3: Mary Astor

This is the third set of patterns based on Orry-Kelly’s designs for movie stars and featured in The Delineator magazine. (Click here for Part 1, Bette Davis and more about Orry-Kelly.) (Click Here for Part 2, Kay Francis.) Butterick had permission to make exact copies of the clothes worn in certain movies in 1933.

Two Frocks from The Little Giant; Delineator, July 1933, p. 55

Two Frocks from The Little Giant; Delineator, July 1933, p. 55.

One of these Butterick Starred Patterns was a dress for Mary Astor, who really was a star in the twenties, thirties and forties, and the other was for Shirley Grey, a lesser-known actress.

Butterick Starred Pattern 5271, designed for Shhirley grey by Orry-Kelly. Delineator, July 1933.

Butterick Starred Pattern 5271, designed for Shirley Grey by Orry-Kelly. Delineator, July 1933. Partly open sleeves were seen on several designs in 1933.

“Shirley Grey’s dress [Butterick 5271]  is one of those “frocks with ideas,” ideas for making itself into several. You can do things to it and obtain at least two frocks, possibly three. Made just as you saw it in the picture, it is simply a lovely afternoon dress consisting of a black satin skirt, on a thin underbody, and a white crinkled satin blouse. But made another way (and the pattern made of this dress provides for this version, too) it still looks just as you see it here except that the skirt is longer, instep length.”

Oddly, although Mary Astor’s dress was illustrated again, in a different fabric, in a later issue of Delineator, the alternate views of dress 5271 were described, but not pictured.  Perhaps they thought this lengthy verbal description was enough:

Shirley Grey dress 5271 LIttle giant text

However, you can see this dress without the “blouse” at the Vintage Pattern Wikia. Click here.

Mary Astor in a dress by Orry-Kelly that was copied as Butterick 5267. Delineator, July, 1933.

Mary Astor in a dress by Orry-Kelly that was copied as Butterick 5267 . Delineator, July, 1933.

Description of Butterick Starred Pattern 5267, from July 1933.

Description of Butterick Starred Pattern 5267, from July 1933.

This dress was illustrated in another version in the next issue of Delineator, August of 1933. It didn’t mention Mary Astor or the movies:

Butterick 5267 as drawn in July and August, 1933.

Butterick 5267 as drawn in July and August, 1933.

Buttrerick 6267 as described in the August 1933 Delineator.

Butterick 5267 as described in the August 1933 Delineator.

You can see a larger illustration of 5267 at the Vintage Pattern Wikia.

About Mary Astor and Edward G. Robinson

Mary Astor was a child actress whose career lasted well into middle age. She played Ophelia to John Barrymore’s Hamlet on the stage,  transitioned easily from silents to talkies, survived a huge scandal, and graduated to mature roles (and an Oscar *TM*) in the 1940’s.  She is best remembered as the temptress in The Maltese Falcon, the mother in Meet Me In St. Louis, and Marmee in Little Women.  The list of her credits (155 movies and TV episodes) at The Internet Movie Database pretty much defines “working actress.”  She also wrote two books: My Story and My Life on Film.  You can get a tiny sampling of her work in this one minute Tribute from Turner Classic Movies.

Edward G. Robinson and Mary Astorin The Little Giant, Delineator magazine, July 1933.

Russell Hopton, Edward G. Robinson and Mary Astor in The Little Giant, Delineator magazine, July 1933.

The real star of the picture was Edward G. Robinson, who had a blazing hit in 1931 playing a ruthless gangster in Little Caesar. The Little Giant allowed him to play a gangster in a comedy. Here he is explaining that he is “crawling with culture.” [In fact, Mr. Robinson was a deeply cultured, educated man, but, as beautifully explained at the Pre-Code movie site, his physical appearance made him an unlikely movie star.]

“You definitely can’t build a star like Edward G. Robinson. A Jewish-Romanian who’d studied to be a Rabbi before trying law school and eventually working his way to the theater, Robinson worked on Broadway for fifteen years and made his first appearance in a silent film in 1923. But when the talkies came, so came Robinson’s voice to the masses– a distinctly New York-ian snappy piece of work, a raspy growl that signifies a great deal of soon-to-come fury. Little Caesar is the movie that made Robinson a star, a role that allows him to embody a character of unstoppable, aggressive malice. His character of Rico, AKA Little Caesar, is a bully in search of the American dream, all too eager to find the next guy to squeeze it out of. He’s not just a thug– he’s charismatic and clever. And, most importantly, he’s ruthless.” — Pre-Code.com

The TCM tribute to Edward G. Robinson is six minutes long, but a reminder of his versatility. Click here.

Next: Butterick Starred Patterns Part 4: Katharine Hepburn and Helen Chandler in designs by Howard Greer.

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Filed under 1930s, A Costumers' Bookshelf, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Vintage patterns, Vintage patterns from the movies