Monday, 13 July 2015

Vintage Fashion - 1930s Ladies Suits

Between watching 'Upstairs Downstairs' on Netflix, and reading Jacqueline Winspear's Maise Dobbs series of books on Scribd, I have been immersed in the 1930's this week.

Upstairs Downstairs Cast, season 2
The 1930's are one of my favourite decades for fashion and design. I love the dining setting in Upstairs Downstairs (above), and of course the evening gowns are divine.  But I also love the day clothes, and I just wish there were more ladies suits featured!

Keeley Hawes as Lady Agnes, in a suit
I really can't wait to live in a slightly colder climate than tropical North Queensland so that I can get back in to wearing suits. A plain woollen suit is so versatile, especially in Spring and Autumn. On colder days you can wear a woollen jumper under the jacket, and on warmer days a little sleeveless blouse. Of course suits are not all the same - a skirt may have a long jacket or coat, a jacket with or without buttons, a self or contrasting belt, a matching or contrasting dress, wide lapels or none at all, and large feature pockets or hidden ones in a seam. Below are some examples of suits from 1935.

A range of ladies suits, July 1935
A range of ladies suits, Australian Women's Weekly July 1935
In 1933 checks and tweeds were popular -

Ladies suits, Australian Women's Weekly July 1933
The popularity of checks continued in 1934, and capes were also popular as a jacket alternative.
Ladies travel suits, Australian Women's Weekly July 1934
These suits from 1936 feature a 3/4 length 'swagger' coat, as well as jackets with large shoulders.
Ladies suits, Australian Women's Weekly July 1936

By 1937 skirts were a little shorter - I love the kick pleats for practicality!

Ladies suits, July 1937
Ladies suits, Australian Women's Weekly July 1937

In 1939 the Gibson Girl Suit, modelled after the Gibson Girl Fashion of the late 19th and early 20th century and featuring a fitted bodice and sleeves puffed at the shoulders, was all the rage.

Ladies suits, Australian Women's Weekly July 1939
I do sew, but I am not sure if I am up to the challenge of a suit, especially given the price of wool fabric. I have found a few patterns on Etsy, but I am still not sure.

1936 Suit Pattern
I think I'd rather buy one - like this reproduction suit from 'Puttin' on the Ritz."

Weekend in the county Suit

In this fabric -

But at $440 I will be saving for a little while......

Have you ever made a suit?

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