DAY DRESSES

During the day, stylish women wore afternoon dresses to luncheons, teas, matinees, and daytime dances. Sometimes called “tea-gowns”, these dresses featured long flowing sleeves in the early years of the 1920’s. (1)

A Posh Picnic, c.1926
A Posh Picnic, c.1926

By 1925, though, the afternoon frock had become much more streamlines and slender, with a knee-length skirt and short or fitted sleeves. Afternoon dresses came in a variety of bright colours and varied patterns. Often they were adorned with narrow belts, sashes, bows, or artificial flowers at the dropped waist. (1)

Outfits to be seen in for the racing season, 1928
Outfits to be seen in for the racing season, 1928

In 1926, a stylish addition to afternoon dresses was the “gypsy girdle” – a wide sash fastened over the hips and accented with a clasp studded with rhinestones or other faux jewels. (1)

Vogue - 1926 . by Edward Steichen
Vogue – 1926 . by Edward Steichen

An even more casual element of a woman’s wardrobe was the morning dress, also called the house dress. These informal frocks were usually made of cotton fabric in various striped, plaid, or checked patterns, and women wore them in the home while they did their domestic chores. (1)

House dresses, Sears Catalogue 1922
House dresses, Sears Catalogue 1922

House dresses loosely followed the fashion of more formal dresses, and by 1925, they were shorter and slimmer than they had been before. Mail order catalogues featured page after page of these house dresses, which indicated they were popular and necessary component of a middle-class woman’s wardrobe. The 1927 Sears catalogue even featured an entire wrapround fronts that could be reversed when they became soiled. Needless to say, were not the kinds of dresses typically seen in up-scale fashion magazines of the day. (1)

Please have a look at my 1920’s skirts post to learn more about the 1920’s hemline.

Source:

(1) The 1920s (American Popular Culture Through History) by Kathleen Drowne, 2000

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