Because so many white vintage blouses from this era have survived, I needed this reminder that many brightly colored blouses were also worn in the nineteen “teens.” Perhaps the lacy white “lingerie blouses” have survived in greater numbers because most of the blouses pictured above were made of silk, which is more likely to shatter with age.
These delicate white cotton voile or batiste blouses from the World War I era have survived nicely.
Construction details like these would cost a fortune today — but they were mass-produced one hundred years ago.
Those last two blouses, which have a center front insert, are the style are often called “Armistice” blouses after a Folkwear pattern that was very popular.
Sears sold many versions of this style.
It seems extraordinary to me that such luxurious, embroidered items cost less than two dollars. (For perspective, manufacturing jobs paid about $0.53 per hour in 1918. ) Some blouses were even less expensive:
Fern waists came in two price categories, “Fern,” for $1 and “Fernmore” for $2.
But why make your own blouses, when these could be bought so cheaply?
Women could also buy lacy blouses for about $1 from the Sears catalog.
The one at the bottom center, No. 27K2230, was available in three colors:Compared to the dollar blouses from Bella Hess and Knickerbocker, Sears offered some “waists” at several times the price.
The Sears catalogs for 1919 showed beautiful silk blouses — some costing nearly $9.00.
If you couldn’t afford the pink one with horizontal tucks, you could make your own from patterns offered by Ladies’ Home Journal or by Butterick..
I have many other World War I era blouse images to share, but I think that’s enough for today.
Wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2018!