Woman in a Shirtwaist Dress, 1967

shirtwaist67The shirtwaist dress, one that buttons in the front from the collar to the waist seam and sometimes beyond, is a popular American style that keeps going in and out of fashion. One period where it definitely wasn’t on the “what to wear list” was the 1960s, when sheath dresses ruled the fashion scene.

This older woman didn’t seem to care, though. She continued to wear this comfortable style. Where did she find it? The Sears catalog was still offering shirtwaist styles in the early 1960s, so maybe she was wearing an earlier purchase. Or maybe she made it herself.

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5 Responses to Woman in a Shirtwaist Dress, 1967

  1. Marilise says:

    This blog entry brings back a memory. Once, when I was a young whipper-snapper in college in the 1970s, I worked a temporary job in an office. Most of the women there were in their forties or fifties. I felt pretty isolated until one day one of the women started asking me about the denim skirt I was wearing. I had made it and we got to talking about sewing. This woman, who was probably around forty, had adopted a sort of uniform that she wore day in and day out. Her “uniform” was one of several shirtwaist dress with a jacket or a cardigan. As I came to learn, she sewed all her dresses by hand from one pattern in the style of the woman in your photo. At the time I was astounded (1) that anyone actually sewed an entire garment by hand (little did I know about couture sewing then) and (2) that anyone would willingly make (and wear!) one style of garment over and over again. Now, what I wear would probably fall into the uniform category; and I really only sew a very few tried-and-true patterns for myself.

    • Lynn says:

      My sewing is the same–really only a few patterns that I’ve had for years. If you think about it, a shirtwaist dress with a sweater is a comfortable office uniform. And it’s back in style again!

      • Marilise says:

        I can remember how old-fashioned and dowdy I thought that dress and cardigan combo was back then. Even some of the older women in that office thought it was a bit eccentric that she clung to that style. I guess she (Helen? Ellen? Eileen?) has gotten the last laugh, though.

  2. Lizzie says:

    In the early 1960s my grandmother was still making shirtwaist dresses for herself from a favorite 1940s pattern.

  3. Fabrickated says:

    Another fascinating post and I love the commentary too. Initially those short skirts and shift dresses would have looked out of place; then it would have been the turn of the shirtwaister.

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