Tag Archives: Ethel Holland Little

You Can’t Have Too Many Jackets: 1937

Companion-Butterick pattern 7459 for three jackets; Woman's Home Companion, July 1937.

Companion-Butterick pattern 7459 for three jackets; Woman’s Home Companion, July 1937.

“It is literally true that you can’t have too many jackets. Marjorie Howard reports that many of Schiaparelli’s clients are ordering just one evening gown and from three to six different jackets to wear over it. A young friend of mine who has spent most of her life in Paris and who knows fashions as well as the alphabet is going about these days in a simple black crepe dress varied by a series of different colored jackets. In Palm Beach last February jackets were extremely popular. All of which adds up to this: one spectator sports dress, one general daytime dress and one evening dress plus several jackets each, practically give you a summer wardrobe. And that’s a cheering fact, whether you consider it from the economical or dressmaking angle.” — Ethel Holland Little,  Women’s Home Companion, July 1937.

Although it’s not referred to as a “Triad pattern,”  the buyer got three different jacket patterns in Companion-Butterick No. 7459.

Companion-Butterick 7459 for a wool jacket. July 1937.

Companion-Butterick 7459 for a wool flannel jacket. July 1937.

500 7459 text gold flannel 1937 july p 57 three jackets #7459

Companion -Butterick 7459 pattern for a taffeta evening jacket. July 1937.

Companion-Butterick 7459 pattern for a taffeta evening jacket. July 1937.

500 7459 text flowered taffeta 1937 july p 57 three jackets #7459

The jacket fashion that appeared repeatedly in 1937, however, was the bolero — a term which now meant a jacket that ended above the waist.

Companion-Butterick 7459 pattern for a bolero jacket. July 1937.

Companion-Butterick 7459 pattern for a bolero jacket. July 1937.

500 7459 text bolero 1937 july p 57 three jackets #7459

Here is an early 1930’s Schiaparelli bolero jacket from the Metropolitan Museum collection:

Schiaparelli bolero jacket, early 1930's. Metropolitan Museum Collection.

Schiaparelli bolero jacket, early 1930’s. Metropolitan Museum Collection.

Elsa Schiaparelli was still making bolero jackets in 1940; this beaded jacket came in coral pink or in a blue version:

Beaded bolero jacket and evening gown, Elsa Schiaparelli, 1940. Collection of the Metropolitan Museum.

Beaded bolero jacket and evening gown, Elsa Schiaparelli, 1940. Collection of the Metropolitan Museum.

Mainbocher showed this bolero-topped suit in 1938.

Paris designer Lucile Paray showed this fur-trimmed bolero and evening gown combination in 1937:

An evening bolero and gown by Lucile Paray, illustrated in Woman's Home Companion, December 1937, p. 100.

An evening bolero and gown by Lucile Paray, illustrated in Woman’s Home Companion, December 1937, p. 100.

This bolero jacket pattern was suggested for young women or teens in April 1937:

Companion-Butterick pattern No. 7296 shows a low-backed summer dress with matching bolero jacket. Woman's Home Companion, April 1937.

Companion-Butterick pattern No. 7296 shows a low-backed summer dress with matching bolero jacket. Woman’s Home Companion, April 1937.

For more 1937 jacket and dress patterns for teens and twenties, click here. These two jackets were also featured in April of 1937:

Companion-Butterickp[atterns 7303 and 7307, April 1937. Woman's Home Companion.

Companion-Butterick patterns 7307 and 7303; Woman’s Home Companion, April 1937. Bolero jacket on the right.

In May, the Woman’s Home Companion gave a full page to this dress with a matching or contrasting short jacket which ties at the waist:

Companion-Butterick pattern 7359, Woman's Home Companion, May 1937.

Companion-Butterick pattern 7359, Woman’s Home Companion, May 1937.

Here it is with contrast trim:

Companion-Butterick 7359 bolero dress variation.

Companion-Butterick pattern 7359 bolero dress variation.

Companion-Butterick 7359, WHC, May 1937.

Companion-Butterick pattern 7359, WHC, May 1937.

These illustrations for jacket dress No. 7359 show how bolero jackets in different colors could diversify a small wardrobe. [I.e., the white jacket could be worn with the brown and white or the blue and white print dresses, as well as with solid colors; the rust brown jacket could be also worn with the black dress, etc. The easy-to-make bolero could make one dress look like many in the same way as a set of collars.]

Companion-Butterick pattern 7504 went from casual summer sports clothes to an evening gown. June 1937.

Companion-Butterick pattern 7504 would make casual summer sports clothes or an evening gown. June 1937. All versions included a bolero jacket.

500 7405 whc cb pattern teens twenties

For older readers, a bolero was combined with a halter-top evening dress, especially suitable for cruises and summer resorts. This pattern was available up to Bust measure 44 inches.

500 7407 text pattern infoWHC 1937 june wear at sea patterns

Companion-Butterick pattern 7407, for a bolero and halter-top dress. Woman's Home Companion, June 1937.

Companion-Butterick pattern 7407, for a bolero and halter-top dress. Woman’s Home Companion, June 1937.

500 7407 text WHC 1937 june wear at sea 7407

The combination of evening dress and jacket was also called a dinner suit. A bolero evening jacket, if made in fine linen or silk shantung instead of taffeta, could also be worn with day dresses. Again, the bolero in different colors gives variety to a limited vacation wardrobe — and only takes one and a half yards of fabric.

Maybe the reason I’m attracted to light-colored bolero tops with darker dresses is that the style is flattering to women who have narrow shoulders and wide hips. Even when the bolero was the same color as the dress, it was recommended for minimizing the hips:

Bolero tops were recommended for flaltering the woman with wide hips. The text applies to the blue outfit at right.

Bolero tops were recommended for flattering the woman with wide hips. The text applies to the blue outfit at right, Companion-Butterick pattern 7303 from 1937.

“Everything about this (the wide sleeves, the contrasting top, the short jacket length) tends to add width above the waist giving [the woman who has two or three surplus inches at the hips] a well-proportioned silhouette.”

A Sheer Vintage Bolero

It might be fun to try to copy this vintage evening bolero, which has two layers of stiff organdy, each layer made of  two layers of fabric treated as one and bound with a bias strip. This garment was badly in need of washing — it was originally white. You can see the deep armhole, which makes it a bolero, rather than a little cape.

A vintage thirites' bolero made in two layers.

A vintage thirties’ bolero made using two double layers of organdy.

Two layers of organdy were seamed at the right angle of the lapels, turned, and pressed, instead of being bound. There was no center back seam.

lg V230 needs wash, may have stain

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 1930s, Companion-Butterick Patterns, Sportswear, Vintage Accessories, Vintage Couture Designs, Vintage Garments: The Real Thing

Some 1930’s Evening Gowns, and What to Wear Under Them

Evening gowns from Companion-Butterick patterns 7073 ans 7083. Woman's Home Companion, November 1936.

Evening gowns from Companion-Butterick patterns #7073 and #7083. Woman’s Home Companion, November 1936.

Although they were available in both women’s and misses’ [teens’] sizes, the illustration shows these patterns from 1936 being worn by sophisticated women. Fashion Editor Ethel Holland Little recommends “this pale pink satin or the dusty blue jacquard crepe [only] if they are becoming. If not, you can go in for tomato red or emerald green or again keep to black or a dark grape color.”

Text accompanying Companion-Butterick patterns 7073 & 7083, WHC Nov. 1936.

Text accompanying Companion-Butterick patterns 7073 & 7083, WHC Nov. 1936.

I love the braided neckline on #7073, and the slenderizing vertical lines on #7083, which also shows a glittering Art Deco belt buckle with matching dress clips.

Details of Patterns #7073 and #7083, Nov. 1936.

Details of Patterns #7073 and #7083, Nov. 1936.

Number 7083 has a matching jacket; both show low, bare backs accented with a row of tiny buttons.

Alternate views of Companion-Butterick #7073 and #7083, 1936.

Alternate views of Companion-Butterick patterns #7073 and #7083, 1936.

Women with perfect figures might wear these gowns with just a smoothing “Softie” girdle, but those who were not as young and firm as they used to be had quite a selection of foundation garments to choose from. This “Flexees” foundation ad was frank about its target customer in 1937:

Ad for Flexees foundation garment, Woman's Home Com[anion, Dec. 1937.

“Years from your Waistline, Inches from your Age.” Ad for Flexees foundation garments, Woman’s Home Companion, Dec. 1937.

“Nowadays a woman’s as young as her figure, and FLEXEES is her greatest rejuvenator. The extra inches that come with years . . . the years suggested by extra inches . . .both surrender to FLEXEES. And it’s a permanent surrender, because FLEXEES patented bias panels . . . Twin and Super Control . . . teach your body to retain the lovely lines in which they mold it. At your favorite store — Girdles, $3.50 to $15 — Combinations, $5 to $35. “

[In 1936, a female college graduate could expect to earn about $20 per week. Click here. Foundation garments from Sears were much less expensive. (Click here for examples.)

These two back-baring gowns are from 1934:

Butterick pattern 5531, Feb. 1934, The Delineator magazine.

Butterick evening gown pattern #5531, Feb. 1934, from The Delineator magazine.

Butterick pattern #5745, June 1934, The Delineator magazine.

Butterick evening gown pattern #5745, June 1934, from The Delineator magazine.

This nearly backless Gossard foundation garment was advertised in The Delineator in April of 1932:

Gossard "Simplicity Junior" foundation garment ad; Delineator, April 1932.

Gossard “Simplicity Junior” foundation garment ad; The Delineator, April 1932.

"Simplicity Junior" from Gossard, April 1932 advertisement.

“Simplicity Junior” foundation garment from Gossard, April 1932 advertisement.

“If you are slim . . .  regardless of your age . . . you can have a debutante’s figure. This silken under-fashion molds your figure without the aid of a single bone. The clever brassiere part gives a pointed outline to the bust, and the back is low enough for your most daring gown. . . .”

The following ad for Flexees — a boneless corset probably knitted from the new rubber called Lastex — appeared in Woman’s Home Companion just one month after these dress patterns.

Evening gowns from Companion-Butterick patterns 7073 ans 7083. Woman's Home Companion, November 1936.

Evening gowns from Companion-Butterick patterns 7073 & 7083. Woman’s Home Companion, November 1936.

Flexees ad, Woman's Home Companion, Dec. 1936.

Flexees ad, Woman’s Home Companion, Dec. 1936.

“Flexees — the modern corset. Twin-Control for the average figure — Super-Control for the full figure. At all good stores.”

Of course, not even a low-backed “modern corset” could be worn under this spectacular sequinned gown, also from 1936:

A sequin covered gown with "back interest" from April, 1936. Woman's Home Companion.

A sequin-covered gown with “back interest” from April, 1936. Woman’s Home Companion.

This photo is from an ad for Listerine mouthwash. I suspect that any woman who could wear this dress on the red carpet today, would wear it! That’s what I call a classic.

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

Change-Abouts for Teens and Twenties: 1937

Change-About Fashions, Woman’s Home Companion, April 1937

Change-About Fashions, Woman’s Home Companion, April 1937

Companion-Butterick patterns often emphasized that they were economical because the dresses featured could be worn several ways, giving the look of a large wardrobe with only a few garments. These three patterns from the April 1937 Woman’s Home Companion are intended for teens and young women. (Sizes run through Junior Miss size 12 to a Ladies’ Bust size 38″) The text, by Fashion Editor Ethel Holland Little, says:

“If there is one rule that you Teens and Twenties can put at the top of every clothes list, it is: seek variety. You can wear so many of the new fashions. Why not arm yourself with all the season’s hits – the boleros, the bright prints, the colored sashes, the novelty piqués, the hats with fabric crowns? You can do this without stretching your clothes allowance too much – if you go in for change-abouts.

One day you wear it one way, the next, another – the simple dress that you vary by adding or subtracting a jacket, by substituting a belt for a sash. Try it; try all three of the change-abouts pictured here if you are looking for an economical way to put yourself on the fashion map.”

Companion-Butterick pattern #7296, April 1937.

Companion-Butterick pattern #7296, April 1937.

Pattern # 7296 looks demure with its jacket on; the surprise comes with the jacket off – revealing a back bare to the waist. 1937 april p 78 changebackless 500 7296

“No. 7296 is the beach dress you are practically forced to acquire if you want to build a reputation for knowing what’s what. Wide short skirt, cut-out back, and brief bolero – these are the three fundamentals of a style that looks right at the country club with its little jacket, on the sand without. Make both dress and jacket in a splashy surrealist print [popularized by Schiaparelli] or in this new combination of white linen with polkadot silk crepe. But in any case don’t forget your matching rubber-soled sports shoes (they’re cotton and remarkably inexpensive) and your big-brimmed fabric-crowned straw.

Was it a coincidence that rubber-soled Kedettes were advertised in the same issue?

Kedettes rubber-soled shoes ad, 1937. Keds and Kedetttes were made by United States Rubber Company.

Kedettes rubber-soled shoes ad, 1937. Keds and Kedetttes were made by United States Rubber Company.

“Kedettes are made by the makers of Keds and Gaytees. At the better stores… $1.29 to $2.25.”

Companion-Butterick pattern #7924, April 1937.

Companion-Butterick pattern #7924, April 1937.

“No. 7924 makes a good weekday school cotton – one that you can wear with or without the jacket according to the weather and your mood. It is perfect for a novelty piqué (the new ones are called by such pat names as boxbar or hexagon) and for a non-soiling shade such as this wine red, printed and plain.” [Note: She seems to be wearing a pair of the Kedettes featured in the ad.]

Companion-Butterick pattern #7298, April 1937.

Companion-Butterick pattern #7298, April 1937.

“No. 7298 is your silk daytime dress – made to order for club gatherings and monopoly parties. Wear it on Friday the ninth with the printed collar and peplum. Appear on Friday the sixteenth with a tricolor ribbon sash. The crowd won’t know it’s the same dress at first, and when they do, they’ll applaud your sorcery.”

If you look closely, you’ll see that there is no jacket – the same print fabric is used for the detachable collar and peplum, and the peplum is attached to a belt. 1937 april p 79 change abouts teens twenties peplum

 

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Filed under 1930s, 1930s-1940s, Companion-Butterick Patterns, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Shoes, Sportswear

Ski Suits in the Stores, 1930s

Illustration from Woman's Home Companion, February 1937

Illustration from Woman’s Home Companion, February 1937

While winter sports are in the news — and California finally has some snow in spite of drought conditions — here are two skiing outfits that could be bought in the late 1930s. Both were featured in “Styles in Stores” articles in Woman’s Home Companion magazine.

Woman’s Ski Suit,  January 1936

1936 Ski Suit Featured in January Woman's Home Companion

1936 Ski Suit Featured in January Woman’s Home Companion

Tyrolean styles were quite popular in the late thirties, until World War II and Hitler’s invasion of Austria. The H. W. Capwell store in Oakland, CA, merged with San Francisco’s Emporium store in 1924, but continued to operate separately at the Oakland location.

Woman’s Ski Suit, December 1937

Ski Suit Featured in Woman's Home Companion, December 1937

Ski Suit Featured in Woman’s Home Companion, December 1937

“The ski costume, complete from hat to socks, would delight any girl with winter sports in mind.  Look at the hat. It is the new yodeler type with sun-defying brim.  Examine the jacket and you will see that it is closed with a slide fastener [i. e., what we call a ‘zipper’ — w2f] and has handy diagonal pockets.  Note the slim cut of the trousers, the gay embroidery on the mittens.  These are the important details which lead up to these two main points:  the fact that the material of the trousers, jacket and hat is a water-repellent woolen,  and the fact that you have a choice of two good snow colors, navy with touches of contrasting red, or deep green with gray. John Wanamaker, New York.” — Ethel Holland Little, Fashion Editor, Woman’s Home Companion

The slide fastener had been used in flying suits since World War I, and in men’s sportswear (and women’s rain boots called “Zippers” by B.F. Goodrich Co.), but slide fasteners were not as common in women’s sportswear. However, dresses became more fitted through the waist after 1930, and by 1936 several couturiers were using them. (Charles James made a dress with a long zipper that spiraled around it in 1929! His work was featured in an Exhibition at the Chicago Museum in 2012. Images of his work can be found at this link.)

This post is dedicated to The Vintage Traveler, who writes often and well about the history of women’s sportswear  — and zippers — among other things.

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Filed under 1930s, Exhibitions & Museums, Sportswear, Women in Trousers