December 27, 2015

Party like it's nineteen twenty-....

Hi everyone! I hadn't planned to leave for the holidays without notice but it just sort of happened. If you celebrate at this time of year, I hope you had a lovely time. 
I spend Christmas with family but, as I mentioned before, we don't really dress up. I wore my recently completed 1950's suit-like thing and was easily the most dressed-up person there. 
As I have mentioned before, Dutch people today are just not that into dressing up. People who wear jeans to a wedding don't even really stand out...
Of course, this is as much a good thing as a bad thing. However, I have plenty of proof in my magazine collection that it wasn't always this way.

So today, I thought I would share some December party looks from the 1920's. All from the pages of sewing magazine Gracieuse.

1920 itself is still pretty tame. There are no real party looks in this issue but it does open with a bridal party (which is a bit unusual in itself. Usually, they concentrate on bridal wear somewhere in late spring or early summer). So, if you don't look at the bride herself, you can get an idea of what formal and festive clothes would have looked like at the time.

The magazine does have this amazing evening cloak on the cover though. Now, it is not really something you could still wear but it sure is glamorous.

Unfortunately, there are lots of years from which I have just a few magazines, and often no December or January ones. So, the next pages of winter party wear come from 1927:

And they are pretty good. These are no gowns for formal occasions. These are flapper dresses! Loose fits which show off the wearer's slim lines, daringly short skirts, stunning decoration and flirty floating panels. This is the kind of 1920's party wear we like to think about.

December 1928 starts with something completely different:

Don't be alarmed. This is not some crazy hype which did not make it into the fashion history books. It's for a fancy dress party. Gracieuse usually offers lots of fancy dress patterns in early February, in time of your carnival balls, but occasionally, they throw some in at other times in the year. 
I guess this is 1920's-does-18th century...

Inside, we get some serious party looks though. First, there are these dresses which can be made from now-unfashionable dresses from previous years (I don't know if you can see it but some of those are depicted in the little drawings). The alterations mostly seem to be about raising waistlines and creating wider skirts which hang longer in parts.

And then, there is a page with all-new festive dresses. Here, the text even mentions that for the new evening gown, bodices fit more closely and skirts are longer. Maybe less quintessentially 1920's but very likely more flattering to more ladies...

And just in case you were wondering what any of these dresses might look like in real life, the late January issue of 1929 shows us two lovely ladies in evening gowns, photographed and printed in colour on the front cover.

I won't be going to a big party for New Year and I will not need a party dress but it is nice to imagine an occasion to dress up like this, and to party like it is nineteen twenty... seven?


  1. An occasion to dress up where everyone makes an effort would indeed be lovely. A 1920's dinner party or such. I love those scenes in old movies where everyone is on the dance floor looking glamorous.

  2. Just wish I had the fabric shown in some of these illustrations--it drapes so beautifully. Just want to wish you all the best for the New Year! I don't comment very often, but enjoy reading your blog.