Tag Archives: style moderne

Caught in the Twenties

Cover of Delineator magazine, September 1928. Illustration by Helen Dryden.

Cover of Delineator magazine, September 1928. Illustration by Helen Dryden.

Caught isn’t the right word; “enraptured” might be more accurate. I finally have a chance to visit bound volumes from the mid-nineteen twenties and photograph them, and I wish I could post everything I find. By 1928, Delineator magazine is filled with the styles we think of as “the twenties.”

Butterick patterns for January 1928. Delineator, p. 33.

Butterick patterns for January 1928. Delineator, p. 33. Composite from original illustration. I’ll return to these patterns in a later post. Love that coat!

There’s a strong Art Deco influence in the geometry of day dresses, and there’s drama, beading, and a flutter of chiffon in the evening.

A beaded gown from Paquin, Frbruary 1928, and a jewel studded gown from Lanvin, March 1928. Delineator magazine.

A gown from Paquin, February 1928, and a jewel-studded evening gown from Lanvin, March 1928. Delineator magazine.

For a knock-out evening coat by Lanvin, circa 1927, click here.

Perhaps it’s because I’m a sixties’ girl that the proportions of 1928 look “right” to me.  Not that I would ever want to wear a straight-torso-with-hip-belt dress, but the knee-length skirt balances them better than the skirt lengths of 1925 or 1926.

Print fabrics, Butterick patterns; Delineator, August 1928.

Print fabrics, Butterick patterns; Delineator, August 1928.

With my library time machine, I’m currently “visiting” 1926, 1927 and 1928.  I try to bounce around from decade to decade in this blog, but getting out of the late Twenties is going to be hard.

Joyful geometry: Butterick patterns in Delineator, February 1928.

Joyful geometry: Butterick patterns in Delineator, February 1928. I love the way the angle of the trim on the bodice is echoed by the angle of the pleated skirt panel. Interesting that the button is located at the natural waist….

I’ve already written about the fashion shift of the mid-twenties (click here.) Just to review, fashions for young women (15 to 20) were slightly shorter than those for mature women in 1925 and 1926.

Patterns for adult women, Delineator, December 1925.

Patterns for adult women, Delineator, December 1925.

Patterns for girls 15 to 20, and small women. Delineator, December 1925.

Patterns for girls 15 to 20, and small women. Delineator, December 1925.

Left, teens 15 to 20; right, adult women. composite based on Delineator, December 1925.

Left, teens 15 to 20; right, adult women. Composite based on Delineator ilustrations, December 1925.

Because teens and adults were drawn differently, it’s hard to get an exact comparison, but the hems on the adult women seem to be a couple of inches farther below the knee. When I compare the two dresses in the center, the orange one on the right looks dowdy to my modern eyes. All four figures are drawn with impossibly long torsos.

Here are some Butterick fashions from 1926:

Pictured are two little girls, and four girls aged "8 to 15 years." Their dresses are quite short, but look like young adult fashions of a couple years later. Delineator, February 1926.

Pictured are two little girls, and four girls aged “8 to 15 years.” Their dresses are quite short, but look like young adult fashions of a year later. Delineator, February 1926.

The proportions on these knee length skirts look “right” to me, but they are not dresses for young women; they are for girls under 15. I especially like that plum colored outfit on the far left.

Two adult women and two girls 8 to 16 years. Delineator, February 1926.

Two adult women flanked by two girls aged 8 to 16 years. Delineator, February 1926.

These are Butterick patterns from 1927:

Women's fashions with straight silhouettes. Butterick 1329 and 1317, Delineator, March 1927.

Women’s fashions with straight silhouettes. Butterick Nos. 1329 and 1317, Delineator, March 1927. I love the use of graded values of the same color, and those repeated geometric, Art Deco jogs on the dress at left — with matching cuffs. Skirts end just below the kneecap.

These couture designs for evening, 1927, use metallic fabrics and beading, and look quintessentially “Twenties.” It would be hard to mistake the dress on the left for any other era.

Left, a fringed and beaded evening gown by Paquin; right a straight metallic dress with ruffles, by Jeanne Carette. Delineator, January 1927, p. 16.

Left, a salmon pink-and-silver fringed and beaded evening gown by Paquin; right, a straight gold metallic cloth dress with finely pleated ruffles, by Yvonne Carette. Delineator, January 1927, p. 16.

Two evening dresses by Chanel. Left, a metallic brocade; right, a dress completely covered with black beads. Delineator, January 1927.

Two evening dresses by Chanel. Left, “deep orange” lace; right, a dress completely covered with black beads. Delineator, January 1927.

1927 jan p 16 designer Chane ltext black beaded J Desvignes illus

Detail of paillette beading on black Chanel dress; Delineator, January 1927.

Detail of paillette beading on black Chanel dress; Delineator, January 1927.  Apparently the beads change direction, giving a checkerboard effect.

If you love the Twenties, it’s hard not to think, “Now, we’re getting somewhere!”

The Metropolitan Museum has a beaded dress from 1926 attributed to Chanel; click here — and don’t forget to click on “Additional Images” for a a close-up of the beading and spangles.

A few images from 1928:

Two women's dresses from October 1928. Butterick 2243 and 2267.

Two women’s dresses from October 1928. Butterick patterns 2243 and 2267. Note the zigzag formed by the skirt panels at right. It’s hard to see, but the band on the left dress is two colors, or two shades of the same color.

This young lady appeared in an ad for Fleischmann’s yeast, which, she said, restored her health. The fabric of her glittering dress is quite striking:

Fleischmann's Yeast ad, Delineator, May 1928.

Fleischmann’s Yeast ad, Delineator, May 1928.

Butterick patterns for women from teens to bust 44". The coat came in sizes 46 and 48, too. Delineator, November 1928. Hems area already on their way down.

Butterick patterns for misses and women (from teens to bust 44″.) The coat came in sizes 46 and 48, too. Delineator, November 1928. Hems are already on their way down.

For more about 1928 “Hems Going Down,” click here. This cartoon dates from 1929.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

9 Comments

Filed under 1920s, Children's Vintage styles, Hosiery, Vintage Couture Designs, Vintage patterns, vintage photographs, Vintage Styles in Larger Sizes

The Twenties in Color

Ad for Kellogg's Pep Cereal, Delineator, April

Ad for Kellogg’s Pep Cereal, Delineator, April 1927.

As much as I love watching old black and white movies, I’ve always enjoyed reading vintage magazines because of their colorful advertisements.

From an ad for Mazola corn oil, Delineator, June 1927.

Colorful evening dress from an ad for Mazola corn oil, Delineator, June 1927.

It’s hard not to think of the 1920’s and 1930’s as “black and white,” because they were usually photographed in black and white, but the people who lived then did not see their world that way.

A colorful world in an ad for Durkee's salad dressing. Delineator, JUne 1928.

A colorful world in an ad for Durkee’s salad dressing. Delineator, June 1928.

I first embarked on my exploration of vintage Delineator magazines when I discovered over 400 bound copies in storage at my public library. Since I am really interested in everyday fashions, I would have preferred a stack of old McCall’s Magazines, but so many old fashion magazines have been converted to black and white microfilm that I’m happy to have found any bound periodicals in color.

"How do you like your coffee?" A family eating breakfast, Delineator, May 1927. Advertisement for Borden's condensed milk.

“How do you like your coffee?” A family eating breakfast, Delineator, May 1927. Advertisement for Borden’s condensed milk.

Back in 1980, I found a bound volume of Delineator, January to June of 1925, at a library book sale. It had formerly been in the research library at Columbia Studios. I intended to sell it a few years ago, but when I really examined it I was amazed by the number of full color fashion illustrations, so I kept it. As it turns out, 1925 and 1926 were the last years when Delineator printed so many pages in full color.

This amazing shawl is not a fashion illustration, but a soap advertisement from 1927:

This "Aztec" pattern hand painted shawl was made in the Samuel Russel Studio, New York, and illustrated by Katharine Stinger for an Ivory Soap Flakes ad. Delineator, March 1927.

This “Aztec” pattern painted shawl was made in the Samuel Russel Studio, New York, and illustrated by Katharine Stinger for an Ivory Soap Flakes ad. Delineator, March 1927.

As times got harder, The Delineator cut its cover price, decreased its size from large format to the size of a modern magazine, and eliminated color except for full page advertisements like these. By 1933, even ads were scarce, and the magazine was mostly black and white.

But, if you were alive in the nineteen twenties, this was the world you saw.

Woman golfer in an ad for Bromoquinine laxative. Delineator, April 1928.

Woman golfer in an ad for Bromoquinine laxative. Delineator, April 1928.

Casual clothing in an ad for Camel Cigarettes. Delineator, September 1928.

Casual clothing in an ad for Camel Cigarettes. Delineator, September 1928.

This woman washes her fine fabrics in Ivory Soap Flakes, Ad from Delineator, May 1927.

This woman washes her fine fabrics in Ivory Soap Flakes. Ad from Delineator, May 1927.

Ivory Flakes were also recommended for woolens:

Wash your woolen clothing in Ivory Flakes.... An ad from Delineator, October 1928.

Wash your wool clothing in Ivory Flakes…. An ad from Delineator, October 1928. Notice her stockings, which match her suit.

The text at the left tells the story of Biltmore Industries of North Carolina, preserving the craft of hand weaving; “In order to protect the sensitive woolen fibre, we allow no cleaning substance other than Ivory to touch it.”

From an ad for Puffed Wheat cereal, August 1928.

From an ad for Puffed Wheat cereal, August 1928.

That red and blue outfit would look much more sedate in black and white:

The same puffed wheat ad in grayscale.

The same puffed wheat ad converted to  grayscale. 1928 ad.

Even ads for household appliances can be illuminating:

A cheery interior in an ad for Johnson's Paste Wax. March, 1928.

A cheerful and expensive interior in an ad for Johnson’s Paste Wax. March, 1928.

Lavish interiors in silent movies always look dark and heavy — but they were not really black and white.

This woman may have gotten a little too colorful — but it’s an ad for Valspar paint, with “before” and “after” images:

Kitchen colors in an ad for Valspar paint. October, 1928.

“She thought she had a model kitchen, but ….” Kitchen colors in an ad for Valspar paint. October, 1928.

An up-to-date kitchen, October 1928 ad for Valspar paint. Delineator.

An up-to-date kitchen, October 1928 ad for Valspar paint. Delineator. Note the pink sink.

A white kitchen transformed. Valspar paint ad, October 1928.

A white kitchen “modernized” with color. Valspar paint ad, October 1928.

Although the sink appears white in the second illustration, pink sinks were available. This bold yellow and black dress — from an ad for window shades — would be drained of its power in a 1920’s photograph:

"Restful Rooms" thanks to window shades, in an ad from March, 1928. Delineator.

“Restful Rooms” thanks to window shades, in an ad from March, 1928. Delineator.

A lovely rose colored dress in an ad for Feen-a-Mint laxative. March 1927.

A lovely rose-colored dress in an ad for Feen-a-Mint laxative. March 1927.

"Grandmother is still dancing," thanks to Feen-a-Mint. Detail of ad from Delineator, May 1927.

“Grandmother is still dancing,” thanks to Feen-a-Mint. Detail of ad from Delineator, May 1927. Grandmother is wearing a flattering, not-black (!) gown.

Grandmother's secret: Feen-a-Mint. Ad, May 1927.

Grandmother’s secret: Feen-a-Mint. Ad, May 1927.

Digression: There was a time in the 1980’s when directors of Shakespeare’s comedies thought it amusing to costume them completely in black and white and gray to evoke old movies. These black and white “silent movie”/”Fred and Ginger” productions quickly became so commonplace that they signaled “desperate director.” After sitting through one-too-many of these productions, I was delighted to discover that the first English play to be costumed entirely in black and white was A Game at Chess, by Thomas Middleton. It played at The Globe theatre in London in 1625 — long before black and white movie film was invented. It was quite a novel idea.

 

 

5 Comments

Filed under 1920s, 1920s-1930s, Menswear, Musings, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Resources for Costumers, Sportswear, Vintage Accessories

Classic French Fashions of the Twenties, a Dover Book

Two plates from Classic French Fashions of the Twenties, Atelier Bachwitz. A Dover Book.

Two plates from Classic French Fashions of the Twenties, Atelier Bachwitz. A Dover Book. Sporty Styles for 1929. Images from this book are used for purposes of review only. Please Do Not Copy.

I have had hours of pleasure studying the images in this book.

My first real design job, in grad school, was a production of The Royal Family, a play about a multi-generational family of actors [any resemblance to the Barrymore family was definitely intended]. It was originally performed December 1927 through 1928. Here are the real Lionel Barrymore and his brother John acting together in the film Grand Hotel, 1932.

Lionel and John Barrymore in Grand Hotel, 1932. Image from Pinterest.

Lionel and John Barrymore in Grand Hotel, 1932. Image from Pinterest.

A digression:  This generation of the Barrymores successfully transitioned from stage to film: Ethel as a mature actress, her brother Lionel as a character actor; and John, who was the American Hamlet of his era, was a matinee idol in the twenties and also a notoriously successful ladies’ man.

 A Shakespeare student, hoping to get some insight into the characters’ motivations, once asked  John Barrymore, “Did Ophelia sleep with Hamlet?”

“In my company, always,” Barrymore replied.

Ophelia (Mary Astor) and Hamlet (John Barrymore), 1925. Photo by Albin from Vanity Fair.

Ophelia (Mary Astor) and Hamlet (John Barrymore), 1925. Photo by Albin from Vanity Fair. This Ophelia did, as revealed in Mary Astor’s very frank autobiography.

Now, back to designing costumes for a play set in 1927:

My first meeting with the director was going very well; I hadn’t owned many books as a teenager, but one, which I read over and over, was Vanity Fair: A Cavalcade of the 1920s and 1930s, edited by Cleveland Amory and Frederic Bradlee. I loved the twenties, as I knew them. I “got” the references to popular culture in the play. I knew who the characters were, read “their” biographies and understood the character types. I even knew that a man who appears partially undressed in a 1927 comedy would be wearing stocking garters — good for a laugh in 1980.

Boston Garter ad for man's stocking garter; Delineator, Jan. 1917.

I knew how a successful theatrical producer — or actress — in the twenties might be dressed.

Producer Florenz Ziegfeld and his wife, actress Billie Burke, from Vanity Fair, 1927.

Producer Florenz Ziegfeld and his wife, actress Billie Burke, from Vanity Fair, 1927. Photo by Steichen.

I was delighted when the director told me he didn’t want “musical comedy” costumes; he wanted real, authentic-looking 1920’s clothes — absolutely true to 1927-28. And then, just as I packed up my notes and put my hand on the doorknob, he said,

“Just don’t give me any of those dresses with the waist down around the hips.”

Three Hattie Carnegie outfits from July 1928. Delineator.

Three Hattie Carnegie outfits from July 1928. Delineator.

I couldn’t help thinking about this experience while looking through the beautifully illustrated collection of styles from Beaux-Arts des Modes, 1929, which is published by Dover Books as Classic French Fashions of the Twenties. The author credited is Atelier Bachwitz. (Was it a sketch studio or a magazine publisher? The Met has another Atelier Bachwitz publication.) The fashion plates, with each design given an entire page in full color, are lovely, and so detailed that you can study their construction. From sporty outfits like those white pleated dresses at the top of this post, to afternoon dresses, fabulous coats, and evening wear, you can dream about an entire 1929 wardrobe —  and how you’d make it — while studying these pages.

Plate 31 from Classic French Fashions of the Twenties. This ensemble has a 3/4 length coat to harmonize with the skirt's asymmetrical hem.

Plate 31 from Dover’s Classic French Fashions of the Twenties. This ensemble has a 3/4 length coat to harmonize with the dress’s asymmetrical hem. The sleeve cuff echoes the pocket.

I’m glad I bought this book, just for the pleasure of analyzing lovely renderings like this one. The vertical seam lines down the back of the coat are a slenderizing touch….

…Which just goes to show that the costume designer probably studies them with a skewed viewpoint. For one thing, you are “Shopping in Character,” trying to think like the characters in the play or script, and choosing appropriate clothes for them. You think about their age (and how they feel about their age,) and their personalities. You think about what happens in the play to the woman wearing this dress. You think about her budget (the women who could afford these dresses were not shopgirls or schooteachers.) And you think about the actor’s figure, and how the audience will perceive her clothes. After all, “Costume Communicates” is a First Principle, and the audience will have a smaller style “vocabulary” than a costume historian. You try to remain true to the period, while keeping audience expectations –based on modern clothing  — in mind.

I’ve shown this picture before, and asked, “If you were an actress — whose next job might depend on being shapely — which would you prefer to wear?”

These three outfits from a 1917 catalog not only express different personalities — the girl on the right seems super-feminine, compared to the less fussy clothes on the left — but only the center outfit would not make the actress look overweight to modern eyes. [It has a long, vertical jacket opening, and the belt doesn’t create a horizontal line across the semi-fitted waist.]

That problem — making the star attractive to modern eyes — is always at the back of your mind when designing for real bodies, especially when looking at research from the 1920’s. I think it’s natural to look through a book like Classic French Fashions of the Twenties searching for ways the original designers dealt with the same problem.

One way was to introduce vertical design lines:

Authentic 1929 designs with strong vertical lines. From Classic French Fashions of the Twenties

Authentic 1929 designs with strong vertical lines. From Classic French Fashions of the Twenties.

Another good idea, especially for actors and singers, is to attract attention upward, toward the face.

Plates 9 and 39 from lassic French Fashions of the Twenties. The center of interest in these dresses is close to the face, not the hip.

Plates 9 and 39 from Classic French Fashions of the Twenties. The center of interest in these dresses is close to the face, not the hip.

The seam lines on the left dress are ingenious, literally pointing toward the center of the body, away from the hip width.

plate 4 scarf297

“Focus on the face” is the reason we see so many bright scarves and contrasting collars on 1920’s and 1930’s clothing.

On the two dresses below, the area near the face and shoulders is much lighter than the area near the hips. Cleverly, in front the designer has avoided “cutting the body in half” with a horizontal color change at the waist or hip.

Plate 44 and plate 14 from Classic French Fashions of the Twenties. The top part of each dress is lighter than the bottom hip area.

Plate 44 and plate 14 from Classic French Fashions of the Twenties. The top part of each dress is lighter than the bottom part. Again, the eye is led toward the face. The dress on the left doesn’t have to be made in red….or have such a wide buckle.

I was delighted to find this very similar dress — via Instagram (thank you, Vintage Traveler!) — from the NYUCostumeStudies site. It has a strong family resemblance to these dresses, which bridge the seams between dark and light fabric with coordinating embroidery. The evening dress from Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens belonged to etiquette maven Marjorie Merriweather Post. Their online dress collection is superb.

I just have to share this Art Deco coat design. It is much simpler to make than it looks.

This coat is made of "silk rep, with incrustation forming scallops. Open sleeves, shawl collar."

This coat is made of “silk rep, with incrustation forming scallops. Open sleeves, shawl collar.” 1929.

“Incrustation?” Also used about other designs in the book, “incrustation” appears to be a translation meaning “applied trim.” The “scallops”, which I would call zigzags, would be absolute hell if they were seam lines. But this coat is not pieced together; the lines appear to have no structural purpose (see its back view) except, perhaps, on the collar. Again, look how tall and slender she appears in the back view. (Vertical lines….)  And there is no “waist down around the hips,” either. Unfortunately, I didn’t have this book in grad school, but I did solve my problem back then by asking the director to move the date of the play to 1929! By then, some dresses had belts at the natural waist.

Another thing to keep in mind:  If a dress seems too frilly, too silly, or too fattening for the leading lady, it might be perfect for another character — like the 50-ish matron who wears clothes that are too young for her, or the scatterbrained socialite who moves in a cloud of fluttering chiffon. Classic French Fashions from the Twenties has plenty of ideas that might not be right for everybody, but which may be perfect for somebody.

Three versions of a frilly chiffon dress/ Left, as drawn, center, on a more realistic figure, and right, as it might look on a character who overdoes everything.

Three versions of a frilly chiffon dress: Left, as drawn; center, on a more realistic figure; and right, as it might look on a character who overdoes everything.

I wasted way too much time playing with that in a photo program!

7 Comments

Filed under 1920s, 1920s-1930s, A Costumers' Bookshelf, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Resources for Costumers, Tricks of the Costumer's Trade

Butterick Pleated Dresses with Hats from 1926

Four Butterick designs from December 1926. Delineator, page. 43.

Four Butterick designs from December 1926. Delineator, page. 43.

I love the art deco “arrow” trim on the dress at center left, and the asymmetry on the dress at center right (it’s not a suit). Both are chic and probably influenced by Gabrielle Chanel, whose jersey tweed outfits were making news. She was also using pleats in 1925 – 1926.

"Sports Frock" by Chanel, illustrated by Soulie in Delineator, January 1925.

“Sports Frock” by Chanel, illustrated by Soulie in Delineator, January 1925.

“Chanel makes her famous sports frock of mixed beige and tobacco wool with a sweater blouse and an inverted plait at the front and back of the skirt which is not excessively narrow.”

In a later outfit, from July, 1926, the same year as the Butterick dress patterns, Chanel uses many pleats:

On the right, a Chanel ensemble from July 1926, drawn by Soulie for Delinator magazine. The ensemble on the left is by Premet.

On the right, a Chanel ensemble from July 1926, drawn by Soulie for Delinator magazine. The ensemble on the left is by Premet.

Text describing the ensembles by Premet and Chanel. Delineator, July 1926.

Text describing the ensembles by Premet and Chanel. Delineator, July 1926.

Butterick’s pattern illustrators also put their models in hats that resemble the ones shown with the Paris fashions.

Hats shown with Premet and Chanel fashions in July, 1926. Delineator.

Hats shown with Premet and Chanel fashions in July, 1926. Delineator.

Their dented and fold-over crowns seem to be inspired by the Phrygian cap which was a symbol of the French revolution. (Liberty, leading the people, wears a Phrygian cap in statues, paintings, and on these French stamps.)

Phrygian caps influence cloche hats; Delineator, 1926/

Phrygian caps influence cloche hats; Delineator, 1926. The color image is from Etsy. The top of the hat can be flipped to any side.

Butterick 1163

Butterick pattern 1163, Delineator, 1926.

Butterick pattern 1163, Delineator, December 1926.

Butterick 1163:  “. . . Square neck in front and a tab yoke in back are Paris signing off  [on this] frock. The arrangement of plaits in front of the straight skirt, the wide belt . . . and neck-band give the frock an air of individuality. Size 36 requires 2 1/4 yards of wool jersey 54 inches wide. Lower edge, plaits drawn out, 1 3/4 yard. For women sizes 32 to 44 inches bust.” [There are no pleats on the back of the dress. The front pleats seem to be stitched down.]

Butterick 1176

Butterick pattern 1176, delineator, December 1926.

Butterick pattern 1176, Delineator, December 1926.

Butterick 1176:  “The smart woman spends most of her life in sports clothes and evening clothes. A frock with the two-piece look in front and a flat, one-piece back, an unusual collar and a tab closing is an excellent style for worsted, wool crepe, or flat crepe. The lower edge is straight. Size 36 requires 2 yards of 54 inch tweed. The frock is suited to women 32 to 44 bust.”

Back when I had a sewing machine that didn’t do buttonholes (it was straight stitch only!) I would have been attracted to this dress because all the closures could be done with snaps.

Adjusting the Fashion Ideal to Reality

I’ve written before about how deceptive fashion illustrations can be (For “Fashion Illustration versus Fashion Reality, 1934” click here.) Just for fun, I drew Butterick 1176 on a more “normal” eight head figure by Jack Hamm:

An eight head figure, and Butterick 1176 as it might look on a living person.

An eight head figure, and Butterick 1176 as it might look on a living person.

In the illustration from Jack Hamm’s book Drawing the Head and Figure, which I have modified to show the “heads” as a unit of measurement, there are four “heads” from crown to bottom of the torso and four “heads” from there to the ground. The heel — supporting weight — is at 7 1/2 heads.

A cutter/draper working from the original fashion illustration would have to work from a few fixed points, as I did: the longer lapel comes to about the bust point (scroll down to see); the bottom of the “jacket” probably stops at the top of the thigh, or it will crease when she sits. (The button tabs ought to have been scaled down on my sketch.)   I personally believe that costume sketches should be drawn on an eight head figure, so the director and actors — and the costume shop — will have a more truthful idea of what the design will look like on a normal human being. It’s cheaper to solve problems on paper than in fabric.

Without computer generated imagery, an actress will never look like this:

An impossible ideal.

An impossible ideal.

If she’s never seen the impossible ideal, an actress may be willing to look like this:

Butterick 1176 as it might look on a normal body.

Butterick 1176 as it might look on a normal body.

In fact, since this dress has a long front opening, the sides can be tapered to look less bulky and more flattering. The sleeves can be tighter. A costume shop would probably build this dress with an inner lining that enables the skirt to hang from the shoulders, keeping the blouson in place, rather than depending on the belt to do it. [Tricks of the trade!]

 

 

 

 

9 Comments

Filed under 1920s, 1920s-1930s, bags, handbags, Hats, Purses, Sportswear, Tricks of the Costumer's Trade, Vintage Accessories, Vintage Couture Designs, Vintage patterns

Shoes and Age

I wrote such a long post about shoes from the Spring of 1936 that today I’m just going to share a great quotation from Leah Garchik and some color pictures from an Art Deco shoe ad dated 1929.

From an advertisement for Arch Preserver Shoes:

Arch Preserver Shoe Ad, 1929.

Arch Preserver Shoe Ad, 1929. Note the stockings colored to match the dress.

The caption: 1929 june arch preserver shoe  leave foot aches at home

The quotation:

“According to the Table of Shoe Hotness, any brand that promises comfort will add 10 years to one’s WEA (Wearer’s Estimated Age.)” – Columnist Leah Garchik, writing in the Style section of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Some Arch Preserver Shoes from 1929

Arch Preserver Shoe, 1929: ROMANY -- Sunburned beige with decorative strap underlay of brown pearlized kid.

Arch Preserver Shoe, 1929: ROMANY — Sunburned beige with decorative strap underlay of brown perlustre kid.

Arch Preserver Shoe, 1929:  JANZIA -- An afternoon model in Lido Sand kid, accented with perlustre kid strap in stone color and brown piping.

Arch Preserver Shoe, 1929: JANZIA — An afternoon model in Lido sand kid, accented with perlustre kid strap in stone color and brown piping.

I wouldn’t mind wearing either of them – except that I had to move on to prescription, flat shoes with rigid orthotics in them years ago. My WEA – and my actual age — are now both too high to lie about! The travel-themed designs (a navy blue print fabric?) behind the shoes is very jazz-age.1929 june arch preserver shoe ad logo 10 to 15 prices small

 

 

5 Comments

Filed under 1920s, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Shoes, Uncategorized, Vintage Accessories

Rapid Change in 1920s Fashion: Women, 1924 to 1925

Women's dresses: December 1924 and December 1925

Women’s dresses: December 1924 and December 1925

1925 was  a year of rapid change in women’s fashions. In addition to rising hemlines, this year marked the beginning of the end for tubular dresses worn over bust-flattening undergarments, and the introduction of a more feminine silhouette. To give an idea of how quickly styles changed, I’ll show some images from Delineator magazine that appeared just one year apart — some from the end of 1924, and some from the end of 1925.

Women’s Coats:  1924 and 1925

These two coats — pictured one month apart — were the latest styles for the end of 1924.

Left: Butterick coat pattern, Dec. 1924. Right: Lanvin coat, Jan. 1925.

Left: Butterick coat pattern, Dec. 1924. Right: Lanvin coat, Jan. 1925.

“Lanvin’s coat of beige raily kasha flares into godets at the lower part and is trimmed with a very small collar and very large cuffs of antelope and leopard skin. With it is a muff.”

Here are three coats from December 1925, Just Twelve Months Later:

Butterick coat patterns from December, 1925.

Butterick coat patterns from December, 1925.

These three coats look modern (or moderne) — the way we usually picture the 1920s. In one year, subtle changes in fit and proportion have severed the connection with the long, tubular fashions that began the decade.

December 1924 and December 1925 Fashions Illustrated in Color

Here is a closer look at some women’s dresses from December 1924:

Women's Dresses, December 1924, from Butterick's Delineator magazine.

Women’s Dresses, December 1924, from Butterick’s Delineator magazine.

These 1924 tunic dresses are ‘tubular’, falling straight from the shoulders over a low, flattened bust (especially noticeable at far left.) Tunic styles often show indecision about skirt length: there is a short hem and a long hem.

Women's Dresses, December 1925, from Butterick's Delineator magazine.

Women’s Dresses, December 1925, from Butterick’s Delineator magazine.

Twelve months later, the difference in hem length is not the only big change; while the tunic dresses of 1924 got narrower at the bottom, these dresses have some flare from the waist or hip to the hems. The real innovation can be seen in the red gown; it is a new “princess line” dress. The vertical seams allow it to be shaped to the body, curving out slightly over the bust and curving in slightly at the loosely fitted waist. There would be little point in flattening your chest to wear such a dress, although some older women clung to their familiar undergarments.

Evening Dresses and Wraps, 1924 and 1925

Evening Wrap Coat and Evening Dress, January 1924.

Evening Wrap Coat and Evening Dress, January 1924.

Later in the same year, 1924:

Evening Wrap Coat and Evening Dresses, December 1924.

Evening Wrap Coat and Evening Dresses, December 1924.

There is more hip interest, and a surplice (diagonally closing) gown. These are minor changes compared to the drastically different look of December, 1925:

Evening Wrap Coat and Evening Dresses, December, 1925.

Evening Wrap Coat and Evening Dresses, December, 1925.

The loosely belted columnar dress (January 1924) has been replaced with dresses that have distinct bodices and skirts, a strong accent at the hips, and geometric, Art Deco details. The effect is crisper and shorter. All the models now wear the mannish, ‘shingled’ hair style.

Surplice Closing Dress (right) from December 1925.

Surplice Closing Dress (right) from December 1925.

Surplice gown, Dec. 1924.

Surplice gown, Dec. 1924.

In one year, the surplice dress has gone from baggy to streamlined.

Coming soon:  Dresses for teens and young women, 1924 and 1925.

 

5 Comments

Filed under 1920s, Vintage patterns

Striped Coats for Women, 1924

Striped coats were apparently quite stylish in the spring of 1924. Butterick pattern #5181 suggested a boldly striped fabric for a woman’s coat, illustrated in misses’ sizes, and Ford Motors featured an equally bold striped coat in its March advertisement in The Delineator magazine.

Ad for Ford Tudor Sedan, Delineator, March 1924

Ad for Ford Tudor Sedan, Delineator, March 1924

A 1920s Striped Coat Pattern for Misses and Ladies

Butterick’s Delineator magazine, May 1924, pattern # 5181

Butterick’s Delineator magazine, May 1924, pattern # 5181

“5181 – At this season the débutante is in need of this type of coat with a straight lower part joined to a long body with a choice of inside pocket. It may be a longer length if one prefers a full-length coat. Use striped coatings, soft twills, rep cloth, heavy silk crêpe, satin. Lower edge in longer length 46 inches.

17 years or 34 bust requires 2 5/8 yards 54-inch striped wool. The coat is for misses 16 to 18 years or 33 to 35 bust, also Ladies.”

Striped Coat in a Ford Tudor Sedan Ad, 1924

Ad for Ford Tudor Sedan, Delineator, March 1924

Ad for Ford Tudor Sedan, Delineator, March 1924

Ford was late to enter the closed car market, but when it did, a whole series of advertisements aimed at women appeared in the women’s magazines. These ads always showed a woman driver, taking her children to school, shopping, or, here, giving her friend a ride on a rainy day.1924 march p 53 ford tudor 500 dpi striped coat woman driver striped coat

1924 march p 53 ford tudor text striped coat

“Not even a chilly all-day rain need upset the plans of the woman who has a Ford closed car at her disposal. Knowing it to be reliable and comfortable in all weathers, she goes out whenever inclination suggests or duty dictates

“The car is so easy to drive that it constantly suggests thoughtful services to her friends. She can call for them without effort and share pleasantly their companionship.

“All remark upon the graceful outward appearance of her car, its convenient and attractive interior, and its cosy comfort. And she prides herself upon having obtained so desirable a car for so low a price.”

The Tudor Sedan pictured cost $590; the Fordor Sedan cost $685, and a Coupe, $525.

I love the woman’s embroidered hatband. Incidentally, notice how long hems were at the beginning of 1924. The miss who opted for the  7/8 length shown  (#5181) would be wearing it as a full-length coat in 1925.

4 Comments

Filed under 1920s, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Vintage patterns