Tuesday, 15 May 2012

my dresses: late 1930's and early 1940's

late 30s early 40s a
I promised you a little while ago that I'd write about some of my older vintage dresses, and here is a start: my late 1930's – early 1940's dresses. I love this era and hope to add more to my collection soon.

Well, calling it a collection is a bit of a stretch, really. I have three from this era that I tend to think of as being "cuspies'; that is, they are bordering on the change of those decades. There are similarities and differences, of course, between the '30's and '40's, and here I will tell you about my three dresses and what I have learned from them so far. If there is anything you'd like to add (or ask?) regarding dating dresses from this era, please do so in the comments – there is always more to learn and it's wonderful to hear about new tips and tricks!

late 30s early 40s b These dresses all share quite a 1940s look, with strong shoulders and a slim, flared skirt, but the emphasis is on the puff in the sleeve and not the shoulder itself. This is often a good sign that a garment is from the 1930's. These three dresses all have some form of enhancement to their puff sleeves; very small, slim pads in the pink and black ones, and a stiff gauzy fabric in the green floral one. The shoulders themselves are not padded or exaggerated, and, in these cases, are the right width for my frame. Hooray!

black green details They all have beautiful details which would have taken some time to produce, such as careful pleating at the bodice, and pocket details. I've had to lighten the photos of the black dress quite a bit to show these details. As you can see, it is a red-based black, and does have some colour fade in places, but it is not as obvious in real life as it is here. Which is good, of course!

black dress label The black dress has a label which I looked up on the vintage fashion guild. The label shows the dress is from between 1932 and 1941. The same label is shown to have appeared in an early 1940's party dress, and so I believe black dress is from either 1940 or 1941, too. See how it has a press stud inside the collar? It also has some inside the cuffs, and I think they are for adding different collars and cuffs to change the look of the dress for different occasions. I'd love to know what ones there were!

pink dress label I couldn't find anything on the label in the pink dress. Everything looks very classically 1940's, but the slim little pads supporting the puff in the sleeve suggest it's possible it's earlier. I love this dress; the colour is great and self covered buttons and loops are among my favourite detail in vintage dresses!

late 30s early 40s shoulders I am thinking of doing a post on how I care for my vintage clothes – would that be something that interests you? Please let me know as I'd be happy to share all my information (and mistakes I've learned from, ha!) with you.

28 comments:

Miss Tallulah Porkchop said...

I love the 1940s look, but I always feel very frumpy, whereas I feel very vavoom in 1950s garb. It must be to do with body-shape.

Your dresses are lovely.

Dakota said...

What a lovely little collection you have! I just adore the floral pattern on that green frock... it's so beautiful.

And I'd certainly love to hear how you care for your vintage clothes! I can never pick up enough tips on the vintage maintenance front; that's the one drawback to old frocks, they're such a devil to clean & care for ;)

Nettie said...

Thanks for this post! I would love to see more like it! I am tasked with sewing something from the 40s this week (for the Sew Weekly) and I am at a bit of loss about what style I want to go with. I'm not sure I have the patience for all of those delicate gathers and such.

Jamie Rose said...

Great post! I love learning things about vintage clothes. I didn't know a whole lot about 30's/40's clothes so this was very informative! I'd definitely love to learn more about how you care for your vintage clothes.

Anonymous said...

A post on caring for vintage garments would be fabulous

thorne garnet said...

Hello, your dresses are lovely. You may want to change the hangers to padded ones. The weight of the dresses over time can cause the shoulders to shatter (rip and tear). Another way of telling age is, 2 zippers, one in the side and a short one at the center back. And snaps instead of a zip.

Dashfield Vintage said...

Adorable dresses! Oh and yes please new care instructions are always very handy!

Kahani said...

That pink dress is truly lovely, but gosh I hate loops and buttons. Can you do it up yourself?

ro said...

I love the three, but the pink is wonderful!

Kisses.

bridget anne said...

SUCH beautiful details.

ourdailydress said...

Thanks so much for this - I find it so hard to date my clothes as most of mine are opshop finds and so not clearly marked like at vintage shops. And I would love to hear about how you care for your clothes. I have a delicate 40s sick dress and I always unsure how to store it - is hanging wrong?

abendstern said...

Your dresses are wonderfull, especially the green one!
I would love to hear something more about your experiences (and also mistakes) on your vintage clothes ...

Peachy Keen said...

I would love to see a post on caring for vintage clothes and more posts like this. Great tips and really interesting at the same time.

Jade

Sara said...

These frocks are so beautiful! My favourite is green one :) And YES, would be so great to read how you take care for your vintage pieces!! :))

Nika Chick said...

what I adore the most about 30-40's dresses is buttons! pink dress is sooo lovely because of these buttons.

Dulcie Emerson said...

Ahhh I just LOVE posts like this! :) thank you x

Lynn said...

Love, love this! Thanks so much! The pink dress is amazing. Pink is one of my favorite colors ever, and this dress is so feminine, so exquisitely detailed! Isn't it fun to search for vintage and antique things? I never tire of it!

xoxo
Lynn

PS -- would love to hear how to care for old clothing.

Circus Girl (Zoë) said...

Gorgeous! I am most obsessed with these eras! :) I love the print on the green dress, you look so pretty in your last post wearing it! :) x

Lexy Mademyday said...

You definitely shoud do a post about how to care for vintage dresses. Actually this comment is very selfish as I just ruined a vintage dress that got stuck in the weels of my bike...there's a big greasy stain and I really don't know what to do with it. A friend of mine told me I should start with dishwashing liquid... please do save my dress dear Esme!!!!;)
ps: if you wanna have a look at it "she"'s on my blog (first post that appears), it's light blue with white dots.

Carrie Liz said...

Please, please do a post on caring for vintage dresses. I've just gotten a trio of lovely things from the 1940s and I'm terrified of them.

Miss Maple said...

All the three are so pretty!

Jessica Cangiano said...

Each one is beautiful, feminine, and so, so timelessly lovely. I'd gravitate towards those same frocks in a heartbeat, too.


♥ Jessica

Alli said...

Gorgeous dresses....so vibrant for their ages.
My question is, where do you tend to find dresses like these? Do you find them in Melbourne, or from a particular store on etsy/eBay/ online shop? Do you have any particular favorite places to get them from? Don't worry, I wouldn't be pinching anything in your size (I'm 5'10).....I wouldn't have a hope of fitting into any smaller sizes ;) (much to my dismay :( )

esme and the lane way said...

Miss Tallulah Porkchop: I know what you mnea, I used to feel like that too, but I think some 1940s (and 1930s) work for me too!

Nettie: hehe they definitely took some time to do!

thorne garnet: oh, I know, hangers are such a problem! Some of the ones I've used here are just to help photograph them for this post, but I don't have many padded hangers. I'd love to get some more :) Luckily these dresses are light and the wooden hangers are quite thick :)

Kahani: hehe I can with this one, but it takes a while – and is definitely easier having someone else do them! One of the woes of vintage dresses... I need a lady's maid!

Alli: thanks! I bnuy almost all my vintage on etsy at the moment, but there are some great places in melbourne that I plan to visit (and buy from!) more often. I just don't make enough time to shop in the real world ;) I don't have any favourite shops but if I did I'd be more than happy to share! :D x

esme and the lane way said...

(did not mean to press publish just now..!)

And thanks for the feedback about doing a post about caring for vintage. I need to wash my green rayon dress and will do a post about that this week! x

Anthea said...

I would love to see more pictures of the pink dress.

I'm taking a sewing course and next year I have to do some smocking in a garment. This pink dress really inspires me.

Michelle Marie said...

I hadn't known about the Vintage Fashion Guild site. How incredibly useful! Thank you for sharing it with us.

Each of your dresses (shown here) have such personality and elegance, in each its own way.

Don't you sometimes wish your vintage clothing could tell stories of where they came from, what lives they've been a part of before they came to you? I seem to always wonder these things.

wardrobeexperience said...

great post! i can't wait to read more about your older vintage dresses and how you care about them.

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