Tag Archives: Julia Coburn writer 1930s

Summer Evening Gowns, 1936

Four Vogue evening patterns, Ladies’ Home Journal, July 1936.

Evening gowns were the topic of two articles in Ladies’ Home Journal, July 1936. One featured four Vogue patterns which women could make at home; the other was more inspirational, showing evening dresses and jackets, photographed in color by Edward Steichen.

Evening Gowns from Vogue Patterns, 1936

“We thought of Saturday-night dances and twilight roof-garden dining when we chose these delicious, simple summer evening dresses. Haven’t they the Vogue look about them — in their clear-cut lines,and their new fashion points?” — text from Ladies’ Home Journal, July 1936.

Vogue 7403, 7369, and 7386. LHJ, July 1936. A corsage doesn’t have to be worn on the shoulder….

“First we must tell you about that luscious blue shade. None other than “bluebonnet blue,” the official fashion color for the Texas Centennial this summer. We suggest one frock in this shade if you can wear it, preferable in marquisette or organdy. ”

The Dreamstress.com has a lovely, illustrated article about marquisette.

Butterick 7386, in bluebonnet blue, is “low-cut” but has a sheer bolero jacket cover-up. LHJ, July 1936.

“The low-cut dress No. 7386 has long-sleeved bolero jacket, giving the costume real versatility.”

Vogue 7403 has a tunic top. LHJ, July 1936.

“No. 7403, with its new tunic and tiny cap sleeves cut in one with the blouse is shown in flowered marquisette. It is ‘Easy-to-Make.’ You might prefer lace.”

Vogue 7369 is double-breasted all the way down, with the width of the front panel increasing. LHJ, July 1936.

“No. 7369 is double-breasted all the way down, and trimmed with saw-tooth edging, of embroidered organdy here. Any sheer crisp cotton would be nice.” Rickrack used so that only half of it showed was a popular trim in the mid-thirties.

Vogue 7403, 7369, and 7386. LHJ, July 1936.

Vogue 7400 was recommended for those who don’t feel comfortable in sheer chiffon or organdy. This evening gown can be made from cotton or linen. LHJ, July 1936.

“At least one girl in every crowd feels foolish in floating chiffon, or even organdy. For her, a tailored frock like No. 7400, in bird’s-eye pique or printed linen. You can see it’s an ‘Easy-to-Make.’ “

I appreciate the idea that not every woman wants to look soft and delicate.

In the same issue, photographer Edward Steichen was assigned a group of apparently store bought dresses (not credited) on models grouped around a piano. The two-page layout shows the fashion for very large scale prints. In 1936, women’s magazines like Delineator and Ladies’ Home Journal were still experimenting with photographs instead of fashion drawings, so this full-color spread was an expensive experiment.

Evening dresses photographed for Ladies’ Home Journal by Edward Steichen. July 1936, page 18. Like Vogue 7385, the one on the left has a matching jacket. The one on the right seems inspired by the early 1800’s — or a nightgown.

Large scale feathers were a popular fabric print, perhaps the influence of Elsa Schiaparelli. The cream colored dress has a sheer top layer. LHJ, July 1936, p. 18.

A large scale floral print dominates this gown in a burgundy/dark green combination that was popular. [I have childhood memories — 1940’s — of many gray- wine-and-dark-green drapery and upholstery fabrics, and a color print that seemed to appear in every motel….] The feature article on evening dresses was called “Midsummer Nocturne,” written by Julia Coburn.

On the facing page were two more large-scale print fabrics and what appears to be red marquisette or silk netting.

Three evening gowns photographed by Edward Steichen for Ladies’ Home Journal, July 1936, page 19. The red and the white dresses are very sheer, probably netting or marquisette.

Left, a large-scale floral print on a black ground is spectacular. With such a dramatic fabric, the gown can be very simple. The red gown has a modest layer of sheer marquisette fabric covering a minimalist under layer.  Large horizontal tucks give interest to the skirt. LHJ. July 1936, p. 19.

The combination of a bold, stylized floral design with a sheer white gown is interesting:

A bold linen jacket covers a delicate net dress. LHJ, July 1936, p. 19.

All the sleeves on these two pages are full and puffy at the shoulders — a hint that wide shoulders are  a  coming fashion.

Here is the text written by Julia Coburn to accompany these photographs.

The “white-coated gentlemen” would be wearing summer dinner-jackets:

An off-white, double-breasted dinner jacket worn with tuxedo trousers. Esquire, July 1934.

An off-white dinner jacket was illustrated using cut-outs of the actual fabrics in Esquire, July 1934.

For more about gentlemen’s summer evening dress, click here.


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Filed under 1930s, Vintage patterns

Shoes and Stockings, 1936

"Stockings and Shoes Have New Color Hramony," Ladies' Home Journal, October 1936.

“Stockings and Shoes Have New Color Harmony,” Ladies’ Home Journal, October 1936.

In the 1930s, as less of the leg became visible, sheer stockings were the dominant fashion. This issue of Ladies’ Home Journal from October, 1936, contained much fashion advice about wardrobe planning. Women were advised to select their winter coat first, and then to think about shoes.

“This year, . . . instead of just being a good supporting cast, they are stepping right out to the front of the stage and becoming principals. It happens this year, because shoes are usually made of contrasting colors, or at least contrasting leathers that take different lights. One of the colors in your shoes may match your coat.  The other may set the color scheme for your dress — your other accessories — your hat. The only exception is all black suede . . . .

“Shoes mostly creep higher and higher up in the instep.  If there are straps, there may be several quite close together, or one placed quite low over the arch — you find few wide-open spaces.

“After your shoe selection should come your dresses.” — “Now It’s Time to Get Your Wardrobe Together,” by Julia Coburn, Ladies’ Home Journal, p. 29, Oct. 1936.

The article “Stockings and Shoes Have New Color Harmony” appeared in the same issue. These shoe and stocking combinations appeared at the top of the page . . .

Shoes and stocking vombinations, LHJ, Oct. 1936.

Shoes and stocking combinations, LHJ, p. 33, Oct. 1936.

. . . and these appeared at the bottom, with descriptive text in the middle.

Shoe and stocking combinations, LHJ, p. 33, Oct. 1936.

Shoe and stocking combinations, LHJ, p. 33, Oct. 1936.

Starting from top left:

From left, a Monk Type Shoe, a Brown Oxford, a Green Service Shoe. Oct. 1936.

A black and brown Monk-type Shoe, and a Brown Oxford; LHJ, Oct. 1936.

“On the left above, worn with a coat of black rough wool, is a monk type shoe of black and cinnamon brown reverse calf, the stocking matching the brown and completing the contrast.  Just behind is a splendid simple oxford of brown suede, trimmed with reddish brown calf, the exact color of the hairy tweed of the suit. The same color is chosen for the stockings.”

Green and brown service shoe, Gray Monk Shoe  , Brown Three Strap Oxford. LHJ, Oct. 1936.

Green and brown high-in-front shoe, Gray Monk Shoe , Brown Three Strap Oxford. LHJ, Oct. 1936.

“The grand dark blue-green that is so smart this fall somehow suggests combination with brown. So, for a brown wool suit, we selected the green service calf high-in-front shoe,  with buttons and trimming of alligator calf. The stockings are a deep reddish brown, just a shade lighter. With the wine-colored skirt we show a monk shoe with a slightly higher heel, in a fairly dark gray reverse calf, with gun-metal calf. The stocking is a pinkish gray which takes on an even warmer tone over the skin.  The three-strap oxford in tan calf, [far right] with stockings in a lighter tan shade, is suggested for a coat of green curly-surfaced wool. Can you see what a difference the right shades of shoes and stockings make?” [I’m having a hard time figuring out why the three-strap shoe is called an “oxford.”]

“Attending a tea party below are some shoes for afternoon silks and dressier suits.” Starting from the left:

Wine Gabardine Pump, Black High-in-front black eyelet tie shoe, Black Suede and Patent Two-Strap. Afternoon shoes, LHJ, Oct. 1936.

Wine Gabardine Pump, Black High-in-front Eyelet tie shoe, Black Suede and Patent Two-Strap. Afternoon shoes, LHJ, Oct. 1936.

[Left:] “A wine gabardine pump, trimmed with kid, is worn with a matching crepe dress. The little whirligig ornament can be turned to tighten or loosen the instep. The gray stockings have enough pink to harmonize with the shoes. [Center:] With a black rough crepe dress, next, we suggest a high-in-front one eyelet tie, piped in silver. A warm, bright, tan stocking for contrast. [Right:] The black-suede-and-patent two-strap might go with a fuschia-red crepe dress, in which case it might have gun-metal gray stockings, very sheer.” [This is the darkest stocking mentioned in this 1936 article. Women with thick ankles and calves generally look best in stockings matched to their shoes, but the strong matches of the 1920’s seem to be a thing of the past.]

Brown Step-in Pump, Darkish Gray Dress Shoes, Brown Suede One-eyelet Tongued Shoes. LHJ, Oct. 1936.

Brown Step-in Pump, Darkish Gray Dress Shoes, Brown Suede One-eyelet Tongued Shoes. LHJ, Oct. 1936.

[Far Left:] “The brown step-in pump, worn with a soft green dress . . . is calf combined with suede, gored to fit high over the arch. The stocking is a lighter brown, still on the reddish cast. [Center:] Dress shoes in darkest gray are very nice. We show them with a royal-blue dress, and gray stockings a little lighter and a little pinker. [Right:] The one-eyelet tongue ties at the right hand corner, worn with a red-brown dress, show the combination of red-brown suede with brown kid.”

“From hemline to heels, you have a chance to show the utmost discrimination in your use of color harmonies and color contrasts.”

Stockings came with either pointed or rectangular heels, as in the nineteen twenties.

Enna Jettticks Ad, October 1936

This full color advertisement for Enna Jetticks (not a real person’s name, but “energetic” — a little branding joke) shows some shoes in gorgeous colors. It’s from the same copy of the Ladies’ Home Journal. The image of a chic young woman is a way of persuading women that Enna Jetticks are not “old lady shoes.

Enna Jetticks Shoe ad, Ladies' Home Journal, Oc.t 1936.

Enna Jetticks Shoe ad, Ladies’ Home Journal, Oct. 1936.

Enna Jetticks ad, top right, Oct. 1936.

Enna Jetticks shoe ad, top right, Oct. 1936. The shoe on the top harks back to 1920’s styles.

Enna Jetticks shoe ad, Oct. 1936. Bottom right.

Enna Jetticks shoe ad, Oct. 1936. Bottom right.

Enna Jetticks shoe ad, bottom left. Oct. 1936.

Enna Jetticks shoe ad, bottom left. Oct. 1936.

“. . . Shoes so comfortable that they require no difficult breaking in. For Enna Jetticks, you know, are designed for ease in the first place, and then they are thoroughly-hand flexed by master craftsmen before you ever try them on.”

“Sizes 1 to 12 and widths AAAAA to EEE. $5 and $6. Slightly higher in Canada.”

One Dress, Three Shoe Options

In December, the Woman’s Home Companion showed three different accessory choices for one claret colored dress, made from Companion-Butterick pattern 7115.

Companion-Butterick pattern 7115, December 1936. In claret colored silk, perfect for "holiday festivities."

Companion-Butterick pattern 7115, December 1936. In claret colored silk, perfect for “holiday festivities.”

Suggested accessories to wear with a claret colored silk dress. Dec. 1936.

Suggested accessories to wear with a claret colored silk dress. Woman’s Home Companion, Dec. 1936.

Black suede is shown on the model, but gray or dark brown shoes, bags, and gloves will provide “variety.”

Accessory description, Woman's Home Companion, December 1936.

Accessory description, Woman’s Home Companion, December 1936.

Both the Ladies’ Home Journal and the Woman’s Home Companion agreed that, with a wine-colored dress, black suede or dark gray shoes were appropriate.

For examples and illustrations of shoe styles such as “monk,” “sandal,” and “oxford” in the 1930’s, click here. Then scroll down for a vintage article defining styles.


Filed under 1930s, bags, Companion-Butterick Patterns, Gloves, handbags, Hosiery, Hosiery & Stockings, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Purses, Shoes, Vintage Accessories