Tag Archives: hig waist trousers slacks 1930s

When Pantsuits Were “Slacks Suits:” 1938, 1940, 1948

Play dresses and a pants suit, Butterick Fashion News flyer, March 1938.

Beach wear and a pants suit, Butterick Fashion News flyer, March 1938.

All the “pant suits” for women —  actually trousers with matching jackets (called slacks suits) —  in this post are from Butterick Fashion News flyers, given away for free in pattern stores. Trousers with matching jackets for women are always shown with other resort wear or beach wear, as in the illustration above.

Butterick 7756

Butterick 7736, March 1938.

Butterick 7756, March 1938. Pattern for slacks, jacket and shirt, sizes 12 to 20 and 30 to 40 inches bust.

This trim jacket would also look at home with a skirt; sharkskin fabric was recommended. The cuffed trousers have full, straight legs.

Butterick 7796

Butterick pants suit 8796, February 1940.

Butterick (pantsuit) slacks suit 8796, February 1940.

To be worn “where it’s fair and warmer,” this mannish chalk-striped trouser suit is shown with very broad shoulders and casual sandals — and painted toenails. The evening gown on the right, Butterick 8798, is shown with a snood on the model’s hair — possibly the influence of 1939’s blockbuster movie, Gone with the Wind.

“With the increasing approval given to slacks by fashionable women everywhere, you can wear the pants in the family.  These have a band with suspenders attached (optional) and a fitted, classic tailored jacket. Sizes 12 to 20 and bust 30 to 42 inches.” Flannel (i.e., wool flannel) was the recommended fabric.

Butterick 4458

Butterick slack suit with optional long shorts. March 1948.

Butterick “slacks suit” # 4458 with optional long shorts. March 1948.

The waist is nipped in with eight darts, and the slacks are narrower in this post-war, New Look-era suit. The model on the right has a bicycle, but these are called “long shorts,” not “pedalpushers.”

This ensemble was the centerfold in a two page spread of “sun fashions for resort wear.”

Butterick Fashion Newsflyer, March 1948.

Butterick Fashion News flyer, March 1948.

The “sea sprite” bare-midriff bathing suit (top left) has shorts that draw up on the sides, probably inspired by Claire McCardell’s Pantung Loincloth swimsuit of 1946.

Again, it’s clear that these trouser suits are not to be worn in the city, nor to restaurants except in resorts. (There’s a story that Marlene Dietrich, refused admission to a city restaurant because she was wearing a suit with trousers, simply stepped out of them and was escorted to a table wearing only her jacket. Well, she had famously great legs. . . .)

Butterick 8454 trousers

Butterick trouser pattern , July 1939.

Butterick trouser pattern #8454 , July 1939. The playsuit to the left is a different pattern, #8475, as is dress #8494, on the lower right.

These long, full-legged and high-waisted trousers evoke Katharine Hepburn, and come back into fashion every once in a while. When they do, I always buy a pair!

“The pattern includes long and short-sleeved shirt, and slacks, and a culotte, to scramble as you choose. Junior Miss sizes 12 to 20, 30 to 38.”

Sadly, the culottes are not illustrated.

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Filed under 1930s, 1930s-1940s, 1940s-1950s, Bathing Suits, Shoes, Sportswear, Swimsuits, Vintage patterns, Women in Trousers