Butterick dress 5391 from March 1934 has a great big collar with matching cuffs. Delineator magazine.
A while ago I posted a collection of fashions that featured over-sized bows, which were “Very Thirties.” Today’s featured nineteen thirties’ look is Great Big Collars.
Great big collars didn’t necessarily have that “Puritan” look, but many of them did.
Butterick 5688 from Delineator, May 1934.
Butterick 5870 claimed to be based on a design by Lanvin. (I wouldn’t care to sit for long on all those big, big buttons….) Left, illustration from Delineator, September 1934, Right, photo of the pattern constructed, from Delineator, August 1934.
Digression EDIT 3/18/18: In response to a question from Christina, I looked for more information on these two images, and found that, in August, the dress design was supposedly from Lanvin, and in September, it was attributed to augustabernard:
From Butterick’s Delineator magazine, August 1934, p. 62. “Jeanne Lanvin’s button-down-the-back dress….”
End of Digression.
Photography was just beginning to be used in the less expensive fashion magazines. I love seeing the “fashion ideal” alongside the fashion reality. What an awkward pose that model has had to take!
The illustration on the left seems to show a double collar, which was definitely a fashion “thing.”
Versions of Butterick collar pattern 5952, Delineator, November 1934.
Collars and scarves could change the look of a dress for the office; Delineator, November 1934.
Butterick dress pattern 5854 has a double collar and “don’t order soup while wearing these” cuffs. September 1934. Photo by Arthur O’Neill.
Butterick dress pattern 4564 has a soft, sheer double collar. June 1932.
Butterick dress 5785 from Delineator, July 1934. This sheer double collar is probably a stiff organdy — which would be crushed by a winter coat.
Butterick dress 5854 has a double collar and double cuffs. Delineator, August 1934.
These collars would make any woman look like the perfect secretary or executive assistant.
Some collars could also be changed from one dress to another, which helped to make a small number of dresses look like a more extensive wardrobe. This was practical fashion for the Great Depression. [For other examples of changeable collars, see One Good Dress in the 1930s, or More Button-On Collars.]
Here are some Great Big Collars I have shown before, but these are clearer images:
A great big double or triple-layered collar, Butterick 4797, was featured in an article about “new life for old clothes.” Very timely, in December of 1932.
Another version of Butterick collar pattern 4797 from Dec. 1932.
A new collar was cheaper than a new dress, and several collars could make one dress seem like a larger wardrobe — this was during the massive unemployment of the Great Depression, after all.
This V shaped collar has a high neckline to cover whatever “antiquated” neckline was already on your dress or sweater. Delineator, December 1932.
This similar V-shaped collar was part of the dress:
This vintage dress with a great big collar reminds us that black and white images don’t always give a true idea of what was being worn.
Butterick dresses from November 1934. Delineator. One has a great big collar; one has a great big bow (two, actually.)
Not all great big collars were so attention-getting. These dresses were recommended for the college girl:
September 1931: a dress for college. Butterick 4058 has barely a trace of 1920’s fashion. Delineator.
Butterick 5812, another double-breasted dress for college, from August 1934.
Sometimes crisp and business-like, a big collar could also be soft:
This big collar is an important part of the dress’ asymmetrical design. Butterick 4564 from June 1932.
Butterick 4558 from June 1932 also has a surplice closing. Delineator.
This big collar appeared on an evening dress for women over forty:
Butterick 5924 — “smartness at forty’ =– uses its large, cape-like collar to camouflage upper arms. Delineator, November 1934.
Big collars were not just for grown-ups:
Butterick girls’ dress pattern 4416 from April 1932. Delineator.
And, remember, big collars did not have to be white:
A woman in a big, checked collar visits her butcher. [Prime rib was probably not on everyone’s menu in 1934.] Delineator.
Speaking of dresses for secretaries: I can never resist a plug for the pre-Code movie Baby Face.
Movie Recommendation: Baby Face, 1933
If you watch the movie Baby Face, from 1933, you’ll see Barbara Stanwyck in many variations of the simple dress with accessories, as she literally sleeps her way to the top. This is a Pre-Code picture, a lot more frank about sex than movies were 20 years later! (In some versions, it begins with this teenaged girl’s father clearly prostituting her to the patrons of his dive bar.) Armed with determination, cynicism, and a series of ‘secretary’ dresses, she works her way to the penthouse suite – and a much more glamorous wardrobe.