1950s fashion

Strictly Stripes | Vintage Fashion Inspiration

Strictly Stripes | Vintage Fashion Inspiration

Vintage designers took stripes to places they had never been before, and have rarely been since.

Once the cloth of madmen and deviants, striped fabrics have risen to fashionable heights at the hands of Renaissance dandies, Versailles Courtiers, Chanel and Gaultier. Found among the earliest examples of woven fabrics, stripe varieties are endless (pinstripes, chalk stripes, the always chic Breton stripe) and versatile. No other pattern transfers so easily from boardwalk to boardroom.

Unsurprisingly, while Heraldic stripes and Victorian summer dresses are wonderful, we’re going to look at fashions of the 1930’s to 1960’s. Designers were inventive and playful with their stripes. Horizontal, vertical or cut on the bias, stripes appeared in bold and sophisticated combinations.

Beachwear and Sundresses

Fun and flirty, daywear displays the light side of stripes. The 50’s saw vertical and horizontal stripes combined in sundresses and swimsuits to great graphic effect. Have you ever seen a swimsuit as elegant as that long sleeved, off the shoulder number in a nautical stripe?

Accessories weren’t exempt. Beach pajamas, which are excellent on their own, could be found with matching parasols, and coordinating bags accompanied dresses. ( As we discussed in Spotlight on Spots, they were’t afraid of matchy-matchy outfits back then. Which makes me happy because I love a good matchy-matchy outfit.)

Striped from Day to Night

In case you needed convincing, here’s proof that stripes really can go from boardwalk to boardroom to bar!

Here we see stripes used to perfection in hostess sets and dresses that could walk from garden party to cocktail bar without breaking a sweat. And as for that suit? Check out those diagonal pockets and carefully placed buttons for some beautifully thoughtful design details. I’d happily wear that to every cool weather event for the rest of my life.

Evening wear that Draws the Line

We have arrived at my favourite section!

A Marie Calvet gown photographed in 1935 uses stripes to create chevrons and striking diamond patterns on the sleeves. Serpentine panels wind around a 1940’s dress, while a Dior gown utilizes bold stripes in contrast with delicate flowers at the bust.

Once again striped are laid diagonally, horizontally and vertically in the same garment to accentuate or visually reshape the body.

Accessories and Outerwear 

Not quite ready for full blown stripey glory? Add a dash of drama to your outfit with striped accessories. Pussy bows and structured cravats gave a playful touch to tailored suits and dresses ( while drawing attention to the face).

Striped, gloves and geometric garment linings all added an unexpected element of quirk to sophisticated outfits – an elegant nod to the dandies of the past.

 

We all need more stripes in our wardrobes, so get your fashion fix over on my Pinterest board for all things linear!

With Style & Sass,

Velvet DeCollete

 

Strictly Stripes! Inventive vintage fashion striped like you've never seen it before.
Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, 0 comments
Spotlight on Spots | Vintage Fashion Inspiration

Spotlight on Spots | Vintage Fashion Inspiration

From Dalmatian spots to polka dots, no one can argue that fashion went totally dotty from the 1930’s to the 1960’s. Balmain, Dior and Schiaparelli made spots a glamorous choice for well dressed women.

At some point, mainstream fashion saw spots go from stylish to childish, relegated to the playground and Disney characters. They’re still popular in vintage reproduction clothing, where in my (probably unpopular) opinion they’re horribly and un-inventively overused. A default print alongside cherries and red roses.

I’d love to see spots brought back in a thoughtful, sophisticated way, taking inspiration from our favourite fashion decades when the versatile dot was anything but twee.

Delightfully Dotty Daywear

Today’s style lovers are likely most comfortable with spotted fabrics being used for daywear. Their simple charm lends itself to casual trousers and blouses, but also to feminine shirt dresses and full skirts – silhouettes less common in 21st century ease-focused dressing.

Polka dots have also been popular in beachwear through the decades. Appearing in swimsuits and resort wear, spots seem to capture the carefree mood of vacationers. How fantastic is the woman in eye catching polka dot beach pajamas? (And why is she holding a fake pig!?)

My personal favourite garment here is the 1957 silk crepe skirt with huge balloon dots in pinks, reds and oranges. It’s a novel approach which stands out in a sea of evenly spaced polka dots.

Polka Dot Eveningwear 

Polka dots aren’t something modern fashionistas associate with formal wear, but vintage designers couldn’t get enough of the simple dot in woven or printed patterns. These gowns showcase the romantic allure of spots when paired with hourglass silhouettes, sensual off-the-shoulder necklines and romantic full skirts.

There’s nothing childish about Suzy Parker in that slinky cowl back, or the sensuality of Schiaparelli’s daintily dotted, figure hugging gown from 1953. These dots are decadent, mature and oh so elegant.

Spot On Suits & Coordinates

Woven silks, textured spots and natty polka dots made an appearance in chic coordinates, especially in fifties and sixties fashion. Layered spots made for graphic suits and two pieces, while solid colours made contrasting polka dot blouses and bows look sharp and fresh.

I’m absolutely in love with both the green outfits, from 1958 and 1945 respectively. Having gloves made to match your dress feels like the ultimate in intentional style.

 

Outerwear, Underwear & Accessories

Spots of all sizes pervaded the realm of accessories too. Spotted gloves and hats, worn with solid fabrics or matched to yet more spots. (If there’s one thing we know, it’s that the 1950’s were not intimidated by matchy-matchy outfits).  Outerwear and underwear featured decidedly bold dots in polka and irregular styles.

 

I became slightly obsessed with spotted clothes while researching for this post. The variety of patterns, colours and dot sizes is incredible, and I truly believe that the designers of the past were more inventive with how they used prints than designers are today. There were far too many photos for one post, so I’ve created a Pinterest board dedicated purely to polka dots and spots!

Do you have a favourite dotty design I didn’t feature? Slide into the comments below, or into my Facebook or Instagram DM’s so we can swoon over it together!

 

With Style & Sass,

Velvet DeCollete

Posted by velvetdecollete in FASHION STORIES, 5 comments