July 13, 2016

En Vogue

Are you enjoying summer weather yet? (if you are in the northern hemisphere, of course) Do you have to try and keep every-day-life going in the heat or are you longing for sunshine? 
Here in the Netherlands, the weather is still only a bit summer-y and, on some days, we get quite a bit of rain. I'm not great with hot weather so I don't really mind. But I did think it was time to share some seasonal vintage goodness.

So today, I have this for you: 

French Elle from 14 July 1955 (it was a weekly magazine back then, can you imagine? Thinner than it is today but still a fairly thick magazine. And I'm surprised the magazine was published on "Quatorze Juliet". Surely printers, postmen and magazine sellers didn't have to work on the national holiday...). 

I'll mostly stick to showing you the fashion pages but I thought you might like these ads:

Playtex lingerie and a glamorous lady in a beautiful bathing suit to sell suncream.

Despite the cover which suggests sun-soaked beach holidays at the beach, the contents of the magazine are rather more normal.

There are two spreads on the practical combination of dress and jacket to get a lady properly dressed through the whole day. Some of these are really nice but to me, those jackets just look very warm for France in July.

This feature, about the influence of science on fashion (in the development of new textile fibers) is very common throughout the 1950's. Usually, they are singing the praises of things like nylon dresses... 

And we get the low-down on 1955's hit-dress-shape: the drop-waist. This style is pretty elegant and actually even better at showing off a tiny waist than the more common shape with the seam at the waistline. I always wonder about the practicality though: To make it look good, the bodice has to fit closely but how does that hold up to normal wear? 

The answer is given here, at the corner, bottom right.

I've enlarged that bit for you. This is how you wear a dress like this: closely fitted over the right kind of lingerie corset. Of course, that would work. This way, the lingerie will take the strain of your body's movements and the dress just sits on top of that. Of course it would be a bit confining for the wearer (although many ladies in 1955 were probably quite used to wearing this kind of thing). And warm.

Then, we get the sewing projects! Back in the day, Vogue offered designs for which readers could order the patterns.

In this case, there are two mix-and-match sets of four pieces each. I like the first one best because it offers the greatest variety in shapes. And who doesn't love a good stripe? 
Oh, and these pictures are blurry because of anything I did. The colour printing in these old magazines is often less than great and this particular spread really suffered from that. 

And then, finally, there is a page dedicated to holiday wear. We're still not getting anything for the beach though.

Lovely dresses for work in the garden (top left), vacation in the countryside (bottom left) and in town (right). But you could order the sewing patterns for these too!

Oh, and if you noticed the line on the cover about a "new Barbar". Here is it:


  1. Why do I want a white one pencil-skirt now? Though that would be as I practical as those drop-waist dresses...

  2. do you have air conditioning? In the US, just about everybody does. And we use it.

  3. thank you for the share - gorgeous magazines...... rather a damp summer so far in ireland although this morning is strangely sunny!

  4. Really lovely to see those 1955 pictures. I always wondered about my Mum and what she would have read she was a teenager in 1955 and probably has many 1955 ideas even now with respect to clothing. I can just imagine her and my Grandma reading this magazine. Its quite warm in the UK today and no rain so far.