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Jackets & Coats

1920’s Jackets & Coats – Fabulous Photographs

Good morning! The amount of pictures I post showing the gorgeous fashions of the 1920’s is never enough!

Claudette Colbert about London, 1928.
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Girls Rifle Team, Drexel Univ. c. 1925

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1922. “Group of women with automobile at White House.”
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Jan. 22, 1922. Washington, D.C. “Woman in three-wheeled vehicle.”

You can find more on my pinterest – here or tumblr – here!

1920’s Women in Suits

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Scotland, 1926
Scotland, 1926
Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel - 30 may 1929 - Modelling a Chanel Suit at Fauborg, St. Honore, Paris - Photo by Alex Stewart
Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel – 30 may 1929 – Modelling a Chanel Suit at Fauborg, St. Honore, Paris – Photo by Alex Stewart
Wearing Chanel at the races by Frères Séeberger 1920’s
Wearing Chanel at the races by Frères Séeberger 1920’s

See more here and here.

1920’s Women’s Jackets & Coats Pt. 3

WOMEN’S SUITS

Cultural critics were not incensed about ladies’ suits, which had hung in ladies closets since the fin de siècle and had loose jackets and full skirts in the Après Guerre. As designers made slimmer, straighter suits in the mid-1920’s, many critics found their tailoring and cut masculine and, when accessorized with shirts and bow ties, deviant. Some critics, like Eugene Marsan, who called suits “virile”, were being humorous. Marsan surely recognised that no one could fail to notice the gender of women wearing suits. Fashion reporters offered more serious commentary. They insisted that the suits were versatile and made from durable fabrics, hence practical, but also that they were “pretty” and “chic” – hence, feminine. They reported that well-cut suits in sturdy dark-hued woolens were the preferred city costume for spring and autumn walks in the park, shopping, and visiting. Society and women’s magazines alike recommended “morning suits” for travel on trains. The color range extended from black in 1918, to black with white or beige trim in the early 1920’s, to gray in the 1930’s. Long before that, a gray suit was de rigueur in the provinces. (1)

1. Les Modes (Paris) May 1921
1. Les Modes (Paris) May 1921 “Matinal” Costume Tailleur par Charlotte. 2. Les Modes (Paris) 1926 Tailleur par Bernard

By the mid-1920’s, some fashion arbiters simply recorded without further comment that many ladies were wearing “mannish cut” suits. Those who remarked on the emancipatory implications of the suit insisted on its “coquetry” and reminded readers that coquetry in costume “is one of the most exquisite feminine qualities”. (1)

Bessie Love, film actress, on board the SS Majestic - 4 November 1925
Bessie Love, film actress, on board the SS Majestic – 4 November 1925

During the 1920’s, women’s suits contained many of the same features found in men’s clothing styles. Women’s suits were practical but elegant, usually made of wool, with straight, hip-length suit jackets worn over straight matching skirts, and typically came in the standard colours of navy, brown, tan, or black, possibly with white pinstripes. Jackets might be single-or double-breasted, or “edge-toedge”, which meant that the two front panels just barely came together and were fastened with a single metal link button (like a cufflink).

Actress Mildred McCoy in 1929
Actress Mildred McCoy in 1929

Coco Chanel introduced what has since become known as the classic Chanel suit: a boxy jacket trimmed with contrasting ribbon or braid, worn over a straight skirt. The jacket was lined in the same material as the matching blouse, and the jacket and skirt were made of soft jersey or tweed. (2)

Designer Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel ‘(1883 – 1971), wearing one of her suits in the grounds at Fauborg, St Honore, Paris.1929
Designer Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel ‘(1883 – 1971), wearing one of her suits in the grounds at Fauborg, St Honore, Paris.1929

The neckline was collarless, and the fabric around the neckline and front of the jacket was trimmed discreetly with narrow braiding or ribbon. The jacket occasionally had buttons or fasteners but was worn open. Tailored blouses often were worn untucked with a fabric or leather belt at the hipline. The Chanel suit was appropriately accessorized with matching scarf or some expensive jewellery. Women’s suits were considered appropriate attire for work or for travel, but not typically for entertaining. (2)

Sources:

(1) Dressing Modern Frenchwomen: Marketing Haute Couture, 1919-1939

(2) The 1920’s by Kathleen Morgan Drowne, Patrick Huber http://www.fashionencyclopedia.com/fashion_costume_culture/Modern-World-1919-1929/Tailored-Suit-for-Women.html#ixzz3cTI8A73c

1920’s Women’s Jackets & Coats Pt. 2

1920’s MOTORING COAT

Motoring was still an activity for the elite, however the privations of driving in a vehicle that broke down frequently and provided no retreat from the elements, meant clothing had to be functional and warm.

Lucy Doraine, hungarian actress in front of a Mercedes Benz, 1927
Lucy Doraine, hungarian actress in front of a Mercedes Benz, 1927

By 1920, the modern women made her appearance on the American road. The cumbersome picture hats and veils of the early motoring period had given way to snug-fitting cloches, and tailored motoring coats replaced heavy dusters. Whether a sedate housewife or a high-spirited jazz baby, the women motorist of the twenties announced with her very clothing that she took mobility for granted. (1)

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Women continued to favour male motoring dress and this also crossed over into high fashion. Fur was still popular, with a fashion correspondent noting that the Motor Show in Olympia was transforming shop windows around London. She recommended the latest craze for fur-lined coats in tweed, wool velour and cheviot. Musquash and nutria were also being chosen by women motorists, while in Knightsbridge, one new store was offering women’s coats suitable for motoring made from men’s suiting cloth.

A British fashion photograph of motoring and sports coats, 1924
A British fashion photograph of motoring and sports coats, 1924

Accessories also followed the unisex trend; The Times described the arrival of neat leather caps as a fashion accessory for women in 1923. This style of sporty hat was worn in the iconic Tamara de Lempicka self portrait of 1929 in which she is driving a green Bugatti with leather cap and driving gloves – reputed to be based on an Hermès set that she had seen on the cover of the magazine Vu. As this portrait suggests, and Peter Thorold has noted, the car had become the ultimate symbol of modernity and emancipation, something that was reflected in the styling of clothes. Although no coat is visible in the de Lempicka portrait, by the late 1920’s the latest motoring coats from France were worn long, made of tweed or flannel with narrow leather belts and collars in fur or flannel. Wide raglan sleeves were popular – allowing freedom of movement – and collars could be military in style with buttons up to the neck.

Self-Portrait in the Green Bugatti,  Tamara de Lempicka - 1929
Self-Portrait in the Green Bugatti, Tamara de Lempicka – 1929

In 1927, after Charles Lindbergh completed his historic transatlantic flight, the leather aviation jackets and helmets became the last trend on motoring coats, specially when riding in open automobiles.

Margot Burke wearing a leather motoring coat, by E. O. Hoppé 1922
Margot Burke wearing a leather motoring jacket, by E. O. Hoppé 1922

Sources:

(1) Taking the Wheel: Women and the Coming of the Motor Age By Virginia Scharff

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Car_coat

1920’s Women’s Jackets & Coats Pt. 1

Women’s outerwear reflected 1920’s in its entire glamour – these were luxury garments that not everyone could actually afford, however, they also became popular in different, and less expensive, fabrics and shapes.

Wrap over coats were the essential style, especially in the winter – large buttons and belts galore.

Some women’s jackets and coats also followed a more masculine and classic design adopted from previous decades.

All 1920's Coats found on metmuseum.org.
All 1920’s Coats found on metmuseum.org.

Smart top coats with kimono sleeves either cut in one piece with the body sections or separately, and stitched into the main parts of the coat were very fashionable during the first half of the 1920’s. Sometimes low waisted pouch styled coat bodices topped slightly gathered or even frilled skirt sections. Winter coats with large shawl collars and roomy sleeves, patch or inset pockets, that buttoned high or low, were made in blanket-like materials as well as tweeds and fancier velours. (1)

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Miss Lorraine Bunch, 1923
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Model wearing Chanel. Photo by Cecil Beaton for Vogue. 1927

Short, knee length, coats worn during the period, circa 1925-29, usually had straight, or ‘bolster’ shaped, collars, topping unnotched softly rolled reverse that buttoned on the hip line. Smart young flappers often ignored the fastenings and wrapped their coats tightly about their hips, causing the back of the coat to pouch. (1)

In the late 1920’s patterned chiffon was coming into fashion, and chiffon coats were worn over afternoon dresses. (2) 

Berlin, 1920s. Photo by Herbert Hoffmann.
Berlin, 1920s. Photo by Herbert Hoffmann.

WEARING FUR/FEATHERS

During the 1920’s, then, the idea of glamour evolved from its associations with Orientalism and the exotic into something approaching a distinctly modern, feminine style. It was a style that continued to connote artifice, luxury and sensuousness, signally particularly through the wearing of feathers and fur. (3)

Mildred Davis & Pauline Garon.
Mildred Davis & Pauline Garon.

Fur coats were of kolinsky, moleskin, musquash, squirrel, etc, and fur collars and cuffs were added to coats. In 1922 monkey fur was used as trimming; from 1920’s fox was the vogue, worn as a stole or for a coat collar. (2)

Gloria Swanson wearing a black and white monkey fur coat.
Gloria Swanson wearing a black and white monkey fur coat.
Eleanor Boardman, Circa 1925
Eleanor Boardman, Circa 1925

There was a steady demand for feather from farmed and non-endangered species such as ostrich and marabou, for use in stoles and boas. But during the 1920’s the demand for fur rose rapidly, completely eclipsing that for the feathers. By the beginning of the 1920’s, the fur craze in the United States was so frenzied that writers were comparing it to the Dutch tulip fever of the 17th century. (3)

Les Modes (Paris) January 1926 "Pour Chanter" robe du soir par Martial & Armand
Les Modes (Paris) January 1926 “Pour Chanter” robe du soir par Martial & Armand

Capes were also a very popular garment and, in the same way as coats, lighter and delicate fabrics like velvet were worn during spring and summer, and for the colder days, women would prefer heavier fabrics and fur.

These outer garments would also feature new designs influenced by the new art styles of the period. Amazing brocades, exotic, folk motifs and bold geometric patterns were beaded, embroidered, and even painted on garments.

Russian-inspired summer fashion from Paris, Het Leven magazine, 1927
Russian-inspired summer fashion from Paris, Het Leven magazine, 1927

Sources:
(1) Women’s dress in the 1920’s: an outline of women’s clothing in Canada during the “roaring twenties” by Eileen Collard, 1981
(2) The Cut of Women’s Clothes: 1600-1930 by Norah Waugh, 1994
(3) Glamour – women, history, feminism by Carol Dyhouse, 2010
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Car_coat
http://www.fashionencyclopedia.com/fashion_costume_culture/Modern-World-1919-1929/Clothing-1919-29.html#ixzz3cVRwOl00

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