In the 1940’s and 1950’s, wool was widely used to make everyday clothing. Not only was knitting hugely popular, fashion designers loved wool fabrics versatility - it could be used for suits, and wool jersey could be draped beatifully for dresses. Many women had a tweed wool suit in their wardrobe - a basic item that could be dressed up or down.
|1940's stylish tweedy ladies|
Fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli was famous for her wool suits in the late 1930s, including this slightly feminized version of a man's tweed suit.
|Pantsuit, c. 1939 |
Suit, fall/winter 1938–39
In this ad from 1952, Schiaparelli advocates 'an all-wool' wardrobe (for the Australian wool board).
Also available in other colors. I also love this suit with cape style jacket from Puttin' on the Ritz, $350 - available in a lighter grey than in the photo - how cosy for travelling!
Can we replicate that wardrobe today, still keeping a vintage feel?
1. A real tweed country suit
|The Weekend in the Country Suit|
The Weekend in the Country Suit by Puttin' on the Ritz, $385, a a wonderful 1930s feel.
2. A grey travel and informal suit
Selvedge: Baron Boutique Collection $399
|The walk in the park suit|
3. A grey tweed travelling sports coat
|Womens Tweed Jacket|
|Mid 40s to 50s style cropped gab jacket|
4. A grey jersey dress
|A wool/lycra 'dance dress' by Stina Sayre $350|
5. A black formal suit
|Grace suit from Bombshell Vintage|
Single breasted suit, with slight flare over the hips and pencil skirt. This suit is made to measure in a tweed like cotton blend fabric (available in black and many other colors) and available from Bombshell Vintage in Australia for $150.
6. A bright red town coat
This one is in wool polyester, but I just love it!
|5th Avenue Coat by Hey Day Vintage Clothing $450|
7. A black jersey cocktail dress
Glamorous appliqués along the right shoulder and neckline of this dress make it a perfect 1940s style cocktail dress. It's made in a black crepe fabric, but a rayon/poly mix with a touch of spandex rather than wool.
|1940s style swing dress, about $250|
I love this pencil dress, also available from Bombshell vintage, made to measure in your choice of fabric, including black, $150.
|Pencil dress from Bombshell Vintage|
8. A long navy evening dress
A navy wool evening dress is something that doesn't seem to exist - it would definitely be a made to order or make your self item today. I did find this lace/chiffon dress from the UK, which I quite like. It has a vintage feel, and doesn't show 'the girls' quite as much as some!
|Lace Floor-length V-neck Sheath Dress|
|Schiaparelli Evening Dress, 1950|
If you can find a copy, let me know!
9. A white flannel housecoat
So I am pretty sure that Elsa had no children, and didn't have to do her own dishes. White? Really? Today housecoats have been replaced by terry-towelling robes. Not something you want to be wearing when the neighbours pop in. There are a few vintage patterns to be found for housecoats, this one is from Etsy.
|1950's Vintage Pattern Lovely Wrap Housecoat|
It appears that unless you want to sew your own, it is fairly difficult to have a wardrobe made entirely of wool fabric. But then again, wool blends and look a likes are easier to launder, and less itchy!