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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.