Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fashion on the Cusp

When people discuss the various eras of vintage fashion, we usually talk about the often drastic distinctions that define the typical 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s silhouettes and so on. The more I've immersed myself in vintage, though, the more I've found myself in love with the styles emerging in the years that fell sort of between decades, especially fashion of the very end of the late 20s and the early 30s.  One of the things I especially love about this little "tween" period in fashion history is the way the designs reflect a bewitching combination of both details associated with 20s style and elements many have come to see as central to 30s deco fashion aesthetics (a fact which confuses many people who find these dresses--I find they often get labeled as 1920s).  Since I've got a soft spot for both flapper and depression dame fashions, it is no surprise I love it when a frock is a fusion of both.  Although I plan on putting the little dress shown below into the shop soon, I wanted to post about it here (and try it oh hehe) today, as a sort of example of the kind of "cusp" fashion I adore.  The first thing about this frock (and others from this time period) that makes me swoon is the seaming.  Designers around this time seem to have enjoyed integrating awe-inspiring patterns into the seams joining bodice to skirt (usually around hip to upper thigh level). I don't *think* they are godets in the traditional sense (or are they? does anyone know what the term for this design element is?).  Another aspect of the dress below that I think well represents popular fashion of the 20s/30s cusp is its colour: I believe it was called "marron" or chestnut?  Given the number of frocks and knitwear from around 1929-33 or so I've come across in this colour, I would say this was a very au courant hue in its day...and it's one I think is so striking and rich. I'm not an expert here, but I'm just going by things I've seen and/or acquired.  I could go on and on here, but the last thing I will mention for now is the amazing collar of this dress, which consists of what look like autumn leaves and little nuts (maybe oak leaves and acorns?).  When anyone asks me why I love vintage fashion from 'tween the 20s and 30s, these are the sorts of details I point to--as well as the hats (but I'll save that topic for another day).  Now then, what is YOUR favourite vintage fashion era or style?








18 comments:

Carys said...

That is quite possibly the most amazing dress I've ever seen!! I have recently discovered styles of 'in-between' periods of fashion, and they're some of my favourite silhouettes!
I just love what an expert you are about vintage fashion.
From Carys of La Ville Inconnue

Miss Rayne said...

I love the post ww2 era, there were so many ideas of which way fashion would go and with the easing of restrictions lots of experimantation, then Dior came along and said 'this is they way it is going to be.' and after that in england, at least, there was the moral struggle and the ingenuity that made patterns for new look dresses using only 3 yards of fabric.

Lolita Haze said...

Wonderful post! I prefer the late 30's early 40's when it comes to day wear and daily wear, but early 30's evening gowns are amazing!

LandGirl1980 said...

For me - as little as I know about it - its the mid WW2 era - when things really were to the knuckle and gals were donning frocks made of curtains. I love the ingenuity of some women to literally "make do and mend". I also love the "cobbled together" aspects of some outfits. It might not match - but with the hair and makeup done - the outfit is always complete.

Lovely dress - fits you a treat.

Penny Dreadful said...

Exactly - defining styles by decade might be convenient, but it totally ignores the way things work in the real world. Style fuses into style, and there are shapes that are still used today which originated in the 30s. I very often list things as 'late something to early something' because it isn't accurate to just dump it in one era willy nilly.

You know I am a vintage tart, and love all eras - don't ask me to decide. Lovely dress, too (if you find out what that decorative seaming is called let me know!

Madeline said...

I too love dresses from late 20s/early 30s, this dress is beautiful...the collar! Its too hard to pick a favourite era though...i like so many for so many different reasons! I do adore 30s and 50s...but I also love earlier fashions from past centuries hmmm...

The Dreamstress said...

That is a wonderful dress - I really love how beautifully put together vintage dresses are. They were really meant to be seen and admired up close.

And great point about fashion transitions. I find that people most associate the fashions from the end of a decade with that decade, so when people say '20s' they mean 1926-1930, and all the early 20s stuff gets ignored.

The Dreamstress said...

Oh, and my patterns from the early 1930s call that type of seaming 'inset gores'. Hope that helps!

BaronessVonVintage said...

Oh, thanks for the lingo, Dreamstress!! I'm going to be trying to make an early 30s spring/summer dress from a pattern copy soon, and I'll bet there will be "inset gores" to deal with, too!! I totally agree re: the fashion transition categorizing, too.

Stephanie Lynn said...

I like 40's and 50's styles, but lately I've been drawn to late 50's early 60's stuff.

Wearing History said...

Divine!!
I saw a similar dress at an antique sale last month. It was only $20... I can't believe I passed it up! But it had several holes and I couldn't figure out how to remake it without loosing the stylelines. I *love* the detailing just like that!

For me it's mid 30s :) They're my absolute favorite. But I do like about 33-40 the best out of all vintage fashion.

Beth said...

My mom made my prom dress from a Vintage Vogue pattern, and it had bias gores, kind of like your dress. They made it nearly impossible to adjust the fit, and we had to recut the dress a couple times. I think that was the last time she was ever willing to make anything for me. Whoops!

I like the silhouette of the late 30's better, but I love seamline details popular in the early 30's too. It blows me away how creative designers were then, really pushing boundries that had never been broached before.

Kate said...

The late 1920's and early 1930's is by far my favourite period. Most of my vintage dresses tend to be from the early 1950s though, since they are tend to be more flattering on my figure (and are cheaper which is always nice for us starving students).

Penny Dreadful said...

Inset gores, aha! *thankful for my own Baroness comment stalking*

garofit said...

everything about this dress is wonderful!

*Katia* said...

i totally agree with you when you say"Since I've got a soft spot for both flapper and depression dame fashions, it is no surprise I love it when a frock is a fusion of both." i feel the same!!
i'm going to copy your outfit Baroness,hope you don't mind :)

Miss Matilda said...

I actually like the early 1900's the best all titanic and then just verging onto the flapper era, beautiful clothing.

But, I like to wear 30's designs the best.
Of course my beloved vert early 40's too pre war! xxx

BaronessVonVintage said...

Oh, yes, Miss Matilda: I agree! Titanic era fashion and beyond is just dreamy!