Tag Archives: Paris Fashions 1920s

Palm Beach Resort Wear by Lelong, January 1928

Two couture tennis dresses by Lucien Lelong, January 1928. Imagine the background in green, and the coat on the right in tucked scarlet crepella. Wow.

Lelong discusses color in the first part of this article on resort wear for America’s brighter sunlight. Delineator, top of page 32, January 1928. It’s a pity that the Delineator ran this article in black and white!

Couturier Lucien Lelong explained to the Delineator magazine how his resort wear for Palm Beach differed from the colors he would have used for French clients.

Colors for Palm Beach: “vied with the parrot and the bougainvillea flower” because the “sub-tropical sunshine … subdues the strongest colors.”

For evening he suggested lighter shades:  greens, grays, coral, pink, amber, ivory, and black and white.

Two evening gowns by Lelong, January 1928. Left, black with rhinestone bands; right, mauve pink chiffon.

His bathing costumes for Palm Beach are colorful in greens and blues:

Left, Lelong uses “green jersey banded with darker green and worn under a sponge cloth coat of string beige.” Right, “blue and white printed crepe de Chine with chartreuse bands and beach coat.”  Both have “tunic tops and shorts.” January, 1928.

For daytime, Lelong’s dress shows the graded colors popular in 1927-28. Costumes using blocks of colors were called “compose” [with an accent aigu on the e : kom-poh-zay.]

Left: Lelong’s blue two-piece sports frock with bands of graded colors. Right, a three piece ensemble in two shades of blue. January 1928 resort wear.

Let’s not forget those sleeveless tennis frocks by this extraordinary French designer:

Two sleeveless and collarless tennis frocks, plus a scarlet coat of tucked crepella. Lelong resort collection, January 1928. Delineator. Illustration by Muriel Lages.

“Design grows more and more simple in appearance, tho [sic] inner cuts are complicated. And of course, all these models, as is usual with me, induce slenderness in the appearance of their wearers. That sums it up.”– Lucien Lelong on his resort collection, in Delineator, January 1928.

When I called Lelong “extraordinary,” I wasn’t exaggerating. As head of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture during the German Occupation of Paris, Lelong managed to thwart the Germans’ plan to move the center of couture to Berlin. You can read “The Man Who Saved Paris” by clicking here.

Further reading:  The Encyclopedia of Fashion has a bibliography of books about Lelong. Click here.

 

Advertisements

6 Comments

Filed under 1920s, 1920s-1930s, Bathing Suits, evening and afternoon clothes, Sportswear, Swimsuits, Vintage Couture Designs

Shoe Wardrobe, December 1927

Opera contralto Kathleen Howard, shown with some of the shoes that make up her wardrobe. Delineator, December 1927, p. 25.

In “The What and Why of My Shoe Wardrobe,” opera singer (and multi-talented actor/writer) Kathleen Howard shared her thoughts about the shoes and slippers she found necessary for private and public life. (She owned a lot more than nine pairs of shoes!)

Howard’s shoes illustrated by Dynevor Rhys. December 1927.

The illustration was also noteworthy for the bracelets she is shown wearing:

Text describing nine pairs of shoes, plus a view of Howard’s stacked bracelets. December 1929.

This is the 1920’s shoe I found most amazing:

“White satin sandal with strass (rhinestones) and seed pearls,” by Aubert. December, 1927.

Fashion advice from Kathleen Howard, Delineator, December 1927.

Kathleen Howard’s other shoes, from top left:

Bedroom slipper (mule) from Dec. 1927. “Rose and silver brocade mule with silver heel and rose ostrich [feathers.]”

https://witness2fashion.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/netch-et-bernard-q-to-t.jpg?w=500&h=287

The laughing mask shoe at lower right ( T ) was attributed to Netch et Bernard by Delineator in October, 1928. Shoe R is a mule with wooden sole, like “sabot” mules by Perugia as described by Howard.

Click here to see Perugia mask shoes and other gorgeous Twenties’ shoes.

Some of Howard’s other “slippers” are pictured later.

White kid sandal, Dec. 1927. “A white kid sandal with yellow bands, heel, and tie ribbons” by Greco. (The original images were too small to enlarge well. The bands and heel are yellow lizard. )

“To wear with white clothes in the south there are oxfords of white lizard, the cleanest looking-things imaginable. Lizard has a peculiar neatness about it, caused, I suppose, by the tiny pattern of the poor little beast’s skin, which makes it most appealing. To wear with Southern clothes, Greco shows sandals in white kid trimmed with yellow or blue.” — Kathleen Howard

Slipper, 1927. “A scarlet, green, blue, or brown morocco boudoir slipper….” ” To wear with my house pajamas in the evening, … comforts for my tired extremities.”

Opera pump, 1927. “A black patent leather opera pump with cut-steel buckle.” “No shoe wardrobe is complete without patent leather so-called opera pumps.”

Slipper in dark blue kid, 1927. “Ducerf-Scavini slipper in dark blue kid with suede trimming and an enamel buckle.”

Patent leather, 1927. Two-strap “Ducerf-Scavini shoe of black perforated patent leather.”

Boudoir slipper, 1927. “Hellstern‘s hyacinth and silver brocade slipper with silver trimming and diamond and sapphire buckle.” “A pretty pair of brocade… to go with my prettiest negligee.”

I find the word” slipper” confusing. Howard says she wears some of these high-heeled slippers with her negligee, so they are bedroom/boudoir slippers. But perhaps “slipper” also refers to fabric dancing shoes, like this blue satin sandal with gold kid trim, or that jewelled, ankle strap, white satin shoe?

“A dark blue satin sandal with gold kid” trimming, by Greco. December, 1927.

Satin shoe, 1927. “White satin sandal with strass (rhinestones) and seed pearls,” by Aubert.

Not pictured were Ms. Howard’s golf shoes. It looks like she did not treat herself to that pair of alligator golf shoes by Perugia:

Wow, What a Woman!

In 1928, as her singing career wound down, Kathleen Howard (b. 1884?) started working as a fashion editor for Harper’s Bazaar; she also wrote for the Saturday Evening Post and Ladies’ Home Journal. (In 1918 she had written Confessions of an Opera Singer.) Several years after this 1927 Delineator article was published, Howard began another new career in the movies, most notably as a brilliant foil for W. C. Fields in several comedies, including It’s a Gift (1934) and Man on the Flying Trapeze (1935.) Sistercelluloid.com has written a delightful appreciation of the versatile Ms. Howard. Click here to read it.

1 Comment

Filed under 1920s, 1920s-1930s, evening and afternoon clothes, Shoes, Vintage Accessories

Dresses with Bows, December 1928

A bow at the hip, a bow on the shoulder, or both: Two Butterick dresses from December 1928. Delineator. The one at left even has bows at the wrist.

I confess, the dress at upper right is one of my favorites from the Twenties. Bows, and variations on bows, enhanced many dresses in 1928; here are a few from December of 1928. (Ninety-nine [CORRECTION: 89] years ago. [Thanks, Jacqueline!]  Let’s start with some bow variations:

Butterick 2373 has sections joined by fagoting, a detail attributed to Vionnet. Delineator, Dec. 1928, p. 30.

It’s not a bow, but this tie appears to be part of the neckline, and is echoed on the back of the dress, as if a narrow scarf were part of the neckline.

https://witness2fashion.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/500-v166-faggoting-between-bias-panels.jpg?w=500&h=490

Two panels of a vintage dress joined by fagoting. 1920s. For more on Vionnet and fagoting, click here.

Butterick 2373, front and back views. December, 1928, Delineator. That long back tie helps narrow the rear view of hips.

Butterick 2378 has the snugly draped hips of 1928, with the interesting not-exactly-a-bow insertion at the shoulder creating a slenderizing vertical line, and four bows — two at the hips and two at the wrists. Delineator, Dec. 1928, p. 30. If you look closely, you can see a side seam bust dart.

Front and back views of Butterick 2378. The “handkerchief girdle” is attributed to both Molyneux and the design team of Martial et Armand. Delineator, Dec . 1928, p. 30.

I like this dress so much that I wondered what it would look like on a more realistic figure. Imagine it in silk jersey:

Illustration of Butterick 2378 manipulated to appear on a more naturalistic figure. It still looks good to me!

Most Butterick patterns from the 1920’s were sized from bust 32″ up to a 44″ bust measure — that would be a modern pattern size 22, a reminder that not all women in the Twenties had “boyish” figures.  The next dress has a soft drape, rather than a bow, but it’s recommended for older (and larger) women, so I though it worth sharing:

Butterick 2381 has an interesting yoke and skirt, but no bows. Delineator, Dec. 1928, page 30. It was recommended for “the older woman.” Notice the gathers at the shoulder, which would provide some fullness over the bust.

Front and back views of Butterick 2381, which was available up to size 48″ bust (and proportionately larger hips.) Delineator, Dec. 1928, p. 30.

The vertical drapery and skirt panels in front would be flattering to a larger figure. The back view, with two horizontal hip bands? Probably not becoming to 52″ hips. Maybe it could use the clever, long, back tie from Butterick 2373.

This dress, which has a metallic (lame) bodice and velvet skirt, could be worn by misses 15 to 18 as well as women up to size 44″ bust.

Butterick 2346, a formal afternoon frock, has a tiered skirt with hip accent, and a big shoulder bow matching the skirt fabric. Delineator, Dec. 1928, p. 30.

Front and back views of Butterick 2346. Delineator, December, 1928, p. 30. I wish I could find another description of this pattern, because it was common for a very formal day dress like this to also have a sleeveless version for evening wear.

Two Formal Frocks from Delineator, December 1928. Butterick patterns 2379 and 2287.

Bows at the shoulder on evening frocks, December 1928.

Butterick 2359 has velvet bows at shoulder and hip, but it does not have the tight hip girdle seen in these other 1928 fashions.

The diagonal hip bow is appliqued to the dress and can be tied to fit the hips tightly. In back, it forms a band. The back of the dress is cut in one piece; the front panel dips well below the hemline.

Front and back views of Butterick 2359, from December 1928. Delineator, p. 31. [When I think about how I would make this dress, with the weight of the hip bow and the stress that tying it tightly would put on the crepe fabric where the velvet gaps in front…. The inside of this dress might need some engineering to make it stay bloused this perfectly when worn by an actor.**]

Illustrations are by M. Lages.

Perhaps too much of a good thing, Butterick 2312 has three bows in a line from shoulder to hip. Delineator, Dec. 1928, p. 28. This is a dinner dress for young or small women.

The hem is longer in back than in front — it has “the backward dipping flounce that marks the new mode.” The dress has the curve: the flounce is “straight.” It attaches to an upward curve in front and a downward curve in back. The shoulder bow ends in a long streamer.

Front and back views of Butterick 2312 from Dec. 1928.

** Unlike models, actors have to sit down and get up and move like normal people.  Costumers use the term “actor-proofing,” not as an insult to actors, but because it’s our job to prevent the costume from becoming a problem for the actor wearing it. “Mark Antony” shouldn’t have to worry about his toga falling off his shoulder — it took years of training for a Roman gentleman to master toga-wearing. Directors are always asking actors to do things that can’t be done in restrictive period clothing; it’s the costumers’ job to make the clothing look authentic but allow such movement 8 times a week, month after month. 1920’s two-piece dresses often suspended the skirt from an unseen bodice top (like a modern camisole.) That meant the skirt could hang straight from the shoulders, without being shaped to a waistband. If you want a blouson to stay bloused, you can attach it to that “skirt” so the blousing can’t slip down unevenly.

 

2 Comments

Filed under 1920s, 1920s-1930s, evening and afternoon clothes, Hats, Resources for Costumers, Tricks of the Costumer's Trade, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes

More Princess Line Dresses (and Styling Tricks) from the Nineteen Twenties

These princess line dresses from the 1920’s do not have the characteristic horizontal hip band of most twenties’ fashions.

In my post about Butterick styles for October 1927, I wrote,

Not all 1920’s dresses had a strong horizontal line across the hip. Princess-seamed dress patterns were available for several years and didn’t change much — except for their length.

Left, Butterick 1683, a princess line dress; Delineator, October 1927, page 31. These 1927 hemlines are just below the knee.

The rear view of the princess dress (1683) shows the characteristic princess seams, which can be shaped to follow the lines of  the body without any waist seam. The front and back are each divided into three panels. A princess line dress usually skims the body — at least, they did before the use of stretch fabrics and elasticated knits.

More Princess Line Dresses from the Nineteen Twenties

Here are some other princess line patterns from 1925 to 1928. Some combine fur and velvet for evening, but one is a day dress.

Left, Butterick princess line dress pattern 6424, Delineator, December 1925. For a young woman or teen.

Left, Butterick princess line dress pattern 6506, from December 1925.

Also from December 1925, Butterick princess line dress pattern 6428. Dresses for adult women were slightly longer than those for teens.

In 1928, the princess line evening gown has a hem that dips low in the back. So does the neckline.

Butterick princess line pattern 2257, from October 1928. Delineator.

Putting Twenties Styles on Modern Bodies

A chenille or ribbon shoulder decoration draws our eye up toward the face on these formal dresses from December 1927. Butterick patterns 1734 and 1753.

I think I’ve mentioned this before: a director once told me that he wanted “absolutely authentic 1920’s costumes” — but added, “Just don’t give me any of those dresses with the waists down around the hips!” In times (like the 1980’s) when contemporary fashion insists on narrow hips and wide shoulders, making an actress feel confident in a dress with natural shoulders and a horizontal line across her hips can be difficult — especially if she isn’t slim-hipped or is self-conscious about her figure.

Trim or fur leads your eye to focus on the top of the body in these styles from December 1928. Butterick patterns 1761 and 1757.

But theatrical designers also have to consider audience expectations — I would not do a twenties’ show in which every woman wore princess line dresses! However, the princess line dress is among the authentic possibilities for one or two characters, or for a re-creator who doesn’t have a “boyish” figure.

Illustration by Helen Dryden, Delineator cover, September 1928. A band of deep pink on the scarf lends a touch of bright color to her head and face area.

The most flattering twenties’ styles balance the hip interest with interest near the face. Butterick patterns 1745 and 1735, from December 1927.

For plays and operas, we try to draw attention to the face and upper body. (It sounds crazy, but audiences can’t hear the lines if they can’t see the faces. Humans lip-read much more than they realize.) Accessories that create a vertical line, such as lighter or brighter colors near the face, those looooong 1920’s necklaces, and those often-seen 1920’s shoulder decorations are flattering and authentic twenties’ tricks.

A scarf or bows with long ties add interest to the top of the body and, in the case of the bows, create a vertical line to balance the hip interest. June 1928, Delineator.

These three couture sketches are undoubtedly twenties’ styles, but they use a variety of styling tricks to move our attention up the body, toward the face, and to deflect interest from the hips.

French designer fashions from May 1928. 1) Renee, 2) Jane Regny, 3) Jenny. Sketches for Delineator. The coat by Jenny suggests princess lines.

3 Comments

Filed under 1920s, evening and afternoon clothes, Musings, Tricks of the Costumer's Trade, Vintage Accessories, Vintage Couture Designs, Vintage patterns

Pajamas for Girls and Women, 1920’s

Lingerie for Christmas, Delineator magazine, December 1925. Pajama pattern 6031 is lacy and ruffled, clearly for indoor wear only.

I was working on these images of 1920’s pajamas when The Vintage Traveler showed this photo of 1920’s pajamas at the beach, dated 1929. Lizzie said she is tracing the progress of pajamas from bedroom to beach in the Twenties, so this seems like a good time to share 1920’s patterns for pajamas (also spelled pyjamas) from Butterick. These are in roughly chronological order.

I have already written about pajamas from 1917, like these. The gathered ankles were also used on work overalls for women at the time. (Butterick 6031, above, has similar gathered ankles.)

Butterick pajamas from 1917. No. 9433 for girls or women.

Below: the deep, open armholes on this pair of pajamas from 1923-24 were also seen on day dresses.

Pajamas from Butterick, January 1924. Meant for lounging as well as sleeping, they have an oriental scene embroidered on the front; the pajamas have pockets, with contrasting bands at the top, the hem, and at the pants’ hems. Butterick 4639, illustrated among Christmas gifts in January 1924.

These seem to have a close relationship — except for the delicate fabric — to  the beach pajamas of 1929. Below: a pair of PJ’s from 1924 is banded with lace — for a bride’s trousseau.

Butterick pajama pattern 5309, June 1924. The trousers expose her ankles.

Below: strictly practical — but attractive, with contrasting collar and frog closings — are these pajamas for girls.

Butterick 5388, pajamas for girls aged 4 to 15; August 1924.

Much younger children might wear warm, one-piece night-drawers/pajamas with optional hood.

Night-drawers, Butterick 5506, for children 1 to 12. 1924.

Girls’ tw0-piece pajamas, Butterick 5529, from October, 1924. Pajamas for girls 4 to 15 years old.

Meanwhile, in Paris….

Glamorous lounging pajamas by Molyneux; couture sketched for Delineator, January 1925.

This 1925 pajama pattern was recommended for beach wear:

“Pajamas are smart for sleeping garments, or for the southern beaches.” Butterick 5948, April, 1925.

Here, Butterick pajama pattern 5948 is shown with satin bindings — sleeves, collar, and cuffs. The beach pajamas in The Vintage Traveler’s 1929 photograph appear to have satin binding at the hip and print binding at the ankles.

The Vintage Traveler found this picture, dated 1929, which shows beach pyjamas very similar to Butterick 5948, although I don’t see any pockets, and these pants are banded with the print fabric instead of the solid, shiny fabric used at the hip [and collar?]  Photo used with permission.

I don’t think they were made using Butterick pattern 5948, but, if I had Butterick 5948, I could make those beach pajamas.

Pajamas from Butterick: left, a lace-free version of pajamas 6031; center, pajama negligee 6093. Right: negligee 6107. Delineator, June 1925. Mid-twenties’ pajamas stop inches above the ankle.

About the “pajama negligee:” If you grew up in the nineteen fifties, you probably picture a “negligee” as a see-through robe worn by femmes fatales on the covers of  paperback detective stories. However, Yahoo mentions that the origin of “negligee” is “mid 18th century (denoting a kind of loose gown worn by women in the 18th century): from French, literally ‘given little thought or attention,’ feminine past participle of négliger ‘to neglect.’”  Encyclopedia Britannica explains: “Negligee, ( French: “careless, neglected”) informal gown, usually of a soft sheer fabric, worn at home by women. When the corset was fashionable, the negligee was a loose-fitting gown worn during the rest period after lunch. Women’s dresses were also referred to as negligés after the Restoration of Charles II in 1660, when the trend was toward loose fashions characterized by ‘studied negligence.’ “

In the twentieth century, such “at home” clothes were sometimes called “lounge wear.”

TwoNerdyHistoryGirls blogged about a painting of an 18th c. lady receiving a visitor while finishing her toilette. She wears a short, sheer combing gown (which gave us the word “peignoir.”) Peignoir, negligee, lingerie, boudoir — my, we owe a lot of words to the French!

“Pajama negligee” No. 6093 appeared more than once.

Butterick 6093, the pajama negligee, left; and pajamas 6178, right. Illustration from September, 1925. “Negligee” can mean a short robe.

Alternate version of Butterick pajama 6178, illustrated in August, 1925. Also called a “lounging-robe.”

One thing all these straight-legged pajamas have in common is their ankle-baring hems.

Butterick pajama-negligee 6093 in a short-sleeved summer version. July 1925.

Here, a luxurious, lacy version of pajama 6031 is suggested as a Christmas gift.

Lingerie for Christmas, Delineator magazine, December 1925. In this version, pajama pattern 6031 is lacy and ruffled, clearly for indoor wear only.

Pajama 6947 is scalloped, with gathered ankles trimmed in Valenciennes lace — Not for the beach. July 1926.

Butterick pajamas 6975, and child’s night-drawers, 6993. August 1926. Is it just the pattern of rectangles that gives “lounging-robe” 6975 such a wonderful twenties’ flavor? Maybe it’s the low pocket placement, too.

In 1927, Molyneux showed this lounging set:

A sketch of Molyneux’ luxurious velvet and chiffon pajamas for entertaining at home. Delineator, November 1927. In black chiffon and vermillion [red-orange] velvet, with [vermillion?] poppies and green leaf embroidery. The ankles are unusual.

These ready-to-wear pajamas have the more customary banded ankles.

Carter’s rayon knit pajamas, in an ad from November 1927.

Butterick pajama pattern 2143 was featured in the December 1928 issue. The pajamas are powder blue, trimmed in apple green — another unexpected 1920’s color combination.

https://witness2fashion.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/1925-oct-orange-blue-kitchen.jpg?w=500

[Edited 8/30/17: This color ad for Hoosier cabinets appeared in Delineator magazine, October 1925. I used it in a post about Orange and Blue in the 1920’s.]

A different Butterick pajama pattern was the centerpiece of an advertisement for Belding’s fabrics in September 1928.

This ad for Belding’s silk suggested patterns from Pictorial (dress no. 4337,) Butterick ( pajamas no. 2103,) and McCall (dress no. 5345.) Delineator, September 1928. “Two contrasting shades of Belding’s Crepe Iris make these cunning negligee pajamas.”

So: “negligee pajamas” were for lounging, and did not necessarily have the robe-like top of pajama-negligee 6093.

This three-piece lounging ensemble of pajamas and short robe was featured in the December 1928 issue of Delineator. They have “wide trousers” –something new.

My collection of images from 1929 and 1930 is not complete. I need to get back to the library, because, by 1931, pajamas had moved from boudoir to beach and even to public dances.

“Fascinating Pajamas,” Delineator, August 1931. For lounging, leisure, loafing or working. Second from the left is a special slip to wear under your pajamas.

For more about 1930’s pajamas, see The Fascinating Pajama, 1931.

https://witness2fashion.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/1931-top-of-aug-gowns-p-65.jpg?w=500

The pajamas for dancing are on the right. Delineator, August, 1931.

6 Comments

Filed under 1920s, 1920s-1930s, Children's Vintage styles, Nightclothes and Robes, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Slips and Petticoats, Vintage Couture Designs, Women in Trousers

Embroidery Ideas from 1927: Sports Motifs and More

Butterick embroidery transfer 153, from Delineator, May 1927.

The oriental motifs on the scarf look a bit bigger than 5 3/4 inches…. Artistic license, presumably.

Vaguely Middle-Eastern (“Oriental”) embroidery motifs for hat and scarf, Delineator, May 1927.

The vaguely “oriental” embroidery on this dress from May 1927 is the top right design from Butterick 153, rotated to the left. Butterick 1390. Delineator.

But for me, the delight of this particular set of transfers is the women playing sports : tennis, golf, and polo.

Sportswomen depicted on Butterick embroidery transfer 153, from 1927.

You could use this design to make your own 1920’s “Polo shirt.”

[Note: This post is dedicated to sportswear collector, mentor, historian, and always interesting blogger The Vintage Traveler. ]

Tennis players in an ad for Lucky Strike cigarettes, Nov. 1927. “You, too, will find that Lucky Strikes are mild and mellow,” said Ed Wagner to Margery Bailey.

Monogram Mania

https://witness2fashion.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/lenglen-tennis-1919-ewing811.jpg?w=500

Tennis champion Suzanne Lenglen wore many outfits designed by couturier Jean Patou in the 1920’s, which helped to popularize his sporty sweaters and skirts.  Lenglen first appeared at Wimbledon in Patou’s short white silk pleated skirt and a sleeveless cardigan in 1921. According to Brenda Polan & Roger Tredre, her outfit created a sensation and introduced the sporty, boyish look known as the “garçonne.”

“As with so much sportswear, many of [his] clothes were in reality bought by women who did not participate in sport and were more interested in showing off their Patou monogrammed cardigan sweaters to their envious friends.” — Polan and Tredre, in The Great Fashion Designers

Patou took credit for shortening skirts to the knee in 1925; he was one of the first designers to put his monogram very visibly on his designs — monogrammed cardigans, scarves, etc. This was a clever move, since without the stylized  JP monogram his relatively simple sportswear — sweater, skirt, and matching scarf — would not have proclaimed its price. [Sometimes I’d like to go back in a time machine and strangle Patou, but then I realize that somebody else —  probably his arch-rival, Chanel — would have invented the merchandising of monogrammed “Designer” everything if he hadn’t done it.] For a concise history of Patou, see The Great Fashion Designers, by Polan and Tredre.

A  monogrammed tennis dress (or just a sporty dress) from May 1929. Butterick 2621;  Delineator.

After Patou popularized monogrammed sportswear in the 1920’s, Butterick’s Delineator magazine showed monograms or other embroidered motifs on many of the patterns illustrated.

Monograms on Butterick patterns from October 1924. On the left, GAB; on the right, JK.

Monograms in vaguely “Chinese” lettering were popular, as was stylized lettering that created a spot of interest on an otherwise simple garment.

Monograms in April 1927 and 1925. The dress at left uses the monogram letters below; three letters (R S K) create a diamond shape.

Butterick lettering transfer 10309 could be used to make a diamond-shaped monogram: one large letter between two smaller ones. January 1925.

Letters in the shape of Chinese brushstrokes were also chic:

Pseudo-Chinese letters for monograms; Butterick 10245, May 1924. Two letters — one from the set at left, one from the set at right — form a (roughly) diamond shape.

The monogram on this Butterick blouse says “AG.” September 1924.

Although completely unlike the other designs from Butterick transfer 153, this idea of embroidering a posey of poppies as if the flowers are emerging from a pocket is still charming:

A bunch of embroidered poppies seems to grow from the pocket of a dress or blouse. 1927. This design could be an applique, too.

Note: I quoted the passage about Patou and monograms from a previous post about tennis and fashion. Click here to read more.

It was customary, in three-letter monograms, to put the initial of the last name in the center, in a larger size, with first and middle name initials on either side. The monogram of Betty Louise Smith would be B S L.

 

4 Comments

Filed under 1900s to 1920s, 1920s, Accessory Patterns, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Sportswear

Sleeveless (and Almost Sleeveless) in 1924

“New in New York:” Sleeveless dresses, May 1924. Delineator, p. 23.

“The sleeveless styles are to be much worn for country dresses and frocks for restaurant use…. For out of town these dresses are made of the fine cotton materials in white and delicate colors.”

Caption for “New in New York” article by Evelyn Dodge, Delineator, May 1924.

What makes this worth notice is that most contemporary fashion advice until 1924 emphasized that evening dresses were sleeveless; day dresses for city wear were not.

This dress is definitely “sleeveless,” and the parasol tells us that it is not being worn as an evening dress, but an afternoon dress. May 1924.

Although the dress in this illustration does not look short to me, editorial advice in April declared: “Dresses remain decidedly short except for evening. For day dresses sleeves can be long or short [;] evening dresses are sleeveless.” Nevertheless, the rules were obviously changing in 1924, as this drawing of a casino shows:

From an advertisement for Butterick in Delineator, January, 1924. “On the Riviera, in Paris, wherever fashionable society meets….” Dresses with long and short sleeves, as well as sleeveless dresses, are worn at this gaming table, blurring the distinction between day and evening clothes.

Often, nineteen-twenties’ lace, silk, or chiffon afternoon dresses used the same pattern as an evening dress — but the evening version was sleeveless and usually had much lower-cut armholes:

This evening dress for Misses has deep armholes. Butterick 5255, Delineator, June 1924.

Paris showed some very deep armholes in 1924 …

Soulie’s sketch of a Paris evening gown by Doucet, Delineator, June 1924.

Paris couture by Georgette, left, and Lenief, right; March 1924. Delineator.

Description of evening gown by Lenief, March, 1924. Delineator. “For more formal evening use the decolletage is deeper and the bodice is entirely sleeveless.”

Butterick evening gowns from April 1924: No. 5126, in yellow, has armholes that reach the waist. It is a robe de style in the mode of Jeanne Lanvin. No.  5110, in pink, is more conservatively sleeveless.

Sometimes the underarm opening was very revealing; it could be charming when a lace or chiffon under-dress was revealed, as in this advertisement:

Very low-cut armholes reveal the under-garment in this 1924 ad for Vivaudou talcum powder.

Not all evening gowns had extremely deep arm openings:

Not all evening armholes were cut extremely low. Sleeveless Butterick 5064 from April 1924.

However, the “sleeveless” look that caught my attention as distinctly a fashion of 1924 is this one:

A closer look at the “New in New York;” the dress on the right of the illustration of “sleeveless” dresses has an unusual armhole, cut very deep and finished with a band of fabric. Delineator, May 1924.

Several versions were offered as Butterick patterns.

Right, a different illustration of the dress in the editorial illustration: Butterick 5199, shown here in yellow, is a deep-armholed dress is made of sheer chiffon.  May 1924. Notice how far below the top of the slip is the bottom of the armhole.

Butterick 5259 appeared in April, 1924. Anyone looking at her side with the arm raised would have seen inside the dress. It could also be made with long sleeves.

For vintage dealers and historians, here’s an interesting fact: Butterick 5259 used elastic in a casing at the sides of the low waist.

In June, a similar style was illustrated as a dress for Misses:

Butterick 5253 was similar to 5259, but the dress is not printed with stripes; those are graduated tucks which get bigger near the hem.

This blurry photo of a dress by Paul Poiret shows a similar deep armhole with a wide, straight binding:

Photo of a dress by Paul Poiret, from Delineator, July 1924.

“Sleeveless Styles;” detail of Butterick dresses 5350 and 5360, July 1924, Delineator. No. 5360 was available up to size 52.

These are not “sleeveless” by today’s standards; other, more typical 1920’s styles might have a sort of cap sleeve, often cut in one with the shoulder of the dress:

Typical twenties’ dresses with short sleeves, sometimes cut-in-one with the body of the dress. These are not described as sleeveless. All from 1924, Delineator. Butterick 5375, 5368, and 5221

However, I haven’t yet found a specific word for the low, bound arm openings like this one, simply described as “bindings” or “sleeve bands” :

Butterick 5267, from June 1924.

Pattern information an alternate view for Butterick 5267, June 1924. This view (far right) has long sleeves.

These wide, band-bound armholes were also seen a blouse:

Butterick blouse pattern 5575, as shown in November (left) and October, 1924. (Yes, Butterick also sold patterns for cloche hats. See more hat patterns from 1924 here.)

Of course, sleeveless fashions helped to sell certain grooming aids in 1924:

Ads for Zip hair remover, both from Delineator, 1924.  “Those embarrassing moments… those critical looks….” Superfluous hair is “off because it’s out.”

Removal of underarm hair was not a new idea — evening gowns of the 1910’s were also revealing.

This Neet depilatory ad from 1924 suggests that “Perhaps because of an old-fashioned scruple you have hesitated to rid yourself of the disfigurement of underarm hair….Are your arms constantly pinned to your sides? …The swing of convention … is carrying America back to the old Greek ideal of womanly beauty — the unhampered, active, supple body.” It was also a body with underarms as hairless as a marble statue.

Ad for Neet hair remover/depilatory. Delineator, Oct. 1924, p. 25. “…Rid yourself from the disfigurement of underarm hair.”

Ad for Neet dipilatory, Nov. 1924. Delineator, p. 99. (That’s some party!)

In 1925, the peculiar “sleeveless sleeve” I’ve been showing was still around — this time, on a nightgown. I love the striped pajamas, too.

Nightgown 5936 and pajamas 5948; Butterick patterns in  Delineator, April 1925.

 

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under 1920s, Accessory Patterns, Nightclothes and Robes, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Sportswear, vintage photographs