What an amazing outfit—but where did it come from? I turned to the experts at the Vintage Fashion Guild for help. Jonathan Walford, noted fashion historian and head of the Fashion History Museum in Canada, came back with the most specific determination—an early 1920s house dress, perhaps from 1923, with sleeves added. Maybe she included sleeves for modesty, or she might also have suffered from the cold. I love the bold, geometric 1920s print and the many layers. You can see a big pocket on the side. Note also her Mary Jane style shoes.
Now why did she have an umbrella with her? Was it about to rain? Or maybe she used an umbrella in lieu of a cane, trying to show her friends and family that she really wasn’t all that old.
If you look carefully at the dress, you’ll see that someone took care to match the pattern across several sections, not easy to do with such a large print. I like to imagine that as evidence that she made the dress herself.