This color page of dresses (and blouses and skirts) from Delineator magazine shows a change in silhouette, from full to narrower skirts. (Tubular Twenties ahead!) Here are designs by Gabrielle Chanel, dated 1916 [from Doris Langley Moore’s Fashion through Fashion Plates via Quentin Bell] :
And here is a Delineator sketch of an influential Chanel suit from January 1925 — very a different silhouette.
(You can read about the “Tubular Twenties” here.)
I’ll show the July 1918 images in greater detail below, but first, a few words about underwear and the “ideal” figure.
I’m always unnerved by the emphasis on thick waists and low busts of this period. (How is is possible for a slender young woman to have such a low bust? — The explanation is two-fold: the exaggerations of fashion illustrators, and 1917-1918 corsets and brassieres.)
The brassiere of the World War I era was more likely to smash the breasts than to lift them. The corset of the “teens” did not reach (or support) the breasts at all. It extended down over the thighs and pushed the body very flat in front, causing a posture which made the waist higher in the back and lower in the front, as you can see from these 1917 skirt illustrations.
The beautiful vintage blouses of this period (sometimes called “Armistice blouses”) are often so short in back that they have to have a tail of fabric added before they can be worn without the corset. Otherwise, they won’t stay tucked in.
The thick waists of the WW I era can be interpreted as a reaction to the tiny waists of the previous generation (Here’s Princess Maud in 1906.) (We tend to reject the clothes our mothers wore. Imagine wearing a 1926 dress in 1938…. or a 1906 dress in 1918.)
The page of color fashions (p. 52) had a half-page of black and white ones, along with all their descriptions, on page 53.
This month in 1918 marked the start of a new Butterick pattern numbering sequence, from 9999 to the 1000s.
I’m afraid the colors are overexposed in my photos, but still worth looking at. For those who want details, I’ll show each outfit with its original pattern description at the bottom of this post.
Dress Details 1918
In case anyone is inspired to recreate these fashions, here are the original descriptions and alternate views.
The high collared blouse fell out of fashion around 1912, when bare necks became acceptable, (cf Lucy Barton, Historic Costume for the Stage) but the V-neck in daytime was a new idea in 1914, so most of these patterns show a high-necked alternative for conservative women.
More dresses in color from 1918 to come….