Tag Archives: house dress

Domestic Scene, 1954

This snapshot evokes happy childhood memories for me.  Some of my fondest recollections of my grandmother are when she was at her sewing machine.  One Easter she made matching dresses for me, my sister, and my four cousins.  For an … Continue reading

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A Fabulous House Dress, Early 1920s

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 … Continue reading

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American Gothic, 1942

Gordon Parks, photographer, artist, and later filmmaker, was hired as a trainee in the Farm Security Administration’s photography program in 1941.  As an African American, he used his position to document the living and working conditions of blacks in the … Continue reading

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At the Sewing Machine, 1932

This portrait, a gift from the wonderful Lizzie Bramlett, is apparently a practice photo by a budding new photographer.  On the back the maker has listed the day (June 25, 1932), the time (4:00 pm), the camera setting (F6.3, 1 … Continue reading

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House Dresses and Street Dresses, 1941

In her fascinating book Ready-Made Miracle, former Vogue editor and fashion historian Jessica Daves explains why it is hard to tell house dresses from street dresses in photographs from the 1930s and 1940s.  During the Great Depression, the federal government … Continue reading

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Building a Better House Dress, 1952

If you have spent any time bemoaning the fact that ordinary clothes don’t fit older women’s bodies, you are not alone.  I have found complaints stretching back to 1900, the start date of my research, and I am sure that … Continue reading

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Claire McCardell’s Pop-Over in the Montgomery Ward Catalog

If any designer came to embody a streamlined, no fuss “American look” during World War Two, it was Claire McCardell.  She was famous for her innovative designs and inventive use of humble fabrics like gingham and denim. One of her … Continue reading

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A Patented House Dress, 1915

Since I find so many photos of older women in house dresses, I’ve become very interested in their construction. How could I resist this ingenious little flier for a patented version by the M. Alshuler Co., discovered by chance on … Continue reading

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