Monday, October 26, 2009

Full Skirts - 1951

Dior may have introduced the full skirt with his "New Look" collection of 1947, but the look wasn't adapted by most American women until 1951. In fact, it wasn't until the summer of 1951, that American Vogue magazine declared "The Full Skirt is the New Skirt". And it wasn't until 1951 that lingerie makers started offering crinoline petticoats in various shapes and fulnesses to be worn under these new full skirts.

Things to consider when wearing full skirts? They look best with high heeled, sleek shoes. Think about the coat you'll wear - a waist length narrow jacket or a long full coat that is the same length as the dress is required. To avoid too much bulk at the hips, consider a drop waisted style with the fullness flaring out from a hip yoke. And choose the proper petticoat with a shape and length that compliments the shape of your full skirt. Wear it inside out if the seams snag your stockings.

Here, some designer styles from 1951.

Black silk organdie suit by Jacques Fath.

Larry Aldrich's black faille dress has the hip yoke referred to above. Sold for $50 in 1951 (about $410 in today's dollar).

Adele Simpson silk brocade suit. Sold for $175 in 1951 (about $1435 in today's dollar).

Castillo white rayon net over silk faille party dress with contrasting silk faille "apron". Sold for $265 in 1951 (about $2173 in today's dollar).

11 comments:

casey said...

It's really interesting that it took a few years for the very full skirt style to filter down from high fashion to general acceptance. I know a lot of fashion books have theorized on why it took so long--do you any insight into this? :)

- Casey
elegantmusings.com

violetville said...

isn't that always the case though, in a way (that the general population takes awhile to catch onto the high-fashion trends)?

Sal said...

I ADORE the look of a full skirt. The petticoats are a bit much, but I'm always seeking modern styles that emulate this silhouette.

Gladys said...

I think it is a gorgeous look. My problem is I already have big hips how do you wear this look with big hips? I mean I would be knocking lamps off of tables and clearing aisles in the market.

Deja Pseu said...

I adore this full-skirted look, even if I can't wear it. It's so feminine!

So interesting that the New Look took as long as it did to filter down. Nowadays, it seems as though there's a split second between runway and H&M.

Belle de Ville said...

I love these "New Look" outfits so much. Thank you for posting these photos.

Ms. B said...

The full skirt silhouette will always be the most flattering to me and the New Look era is my favorite era in fashion!

la belle fille said...

I'm pretty obsessed with these lovely full skirts!

Couture Allure Vintage Fashion said...

Casey, it wasn't until the 70s that fashion became influenced by what teenagers were wearing on the streets. Before that, the Paris runways dictated what styles would be. The New Look was such a drastic change, it's not surprising it took so long to catch on. Remember too, that at that time, women would expect to wear a garment for years, so it would take some time for a new style to cycle into a woman's closet.

Couture Allure Vintage Fashion said...

Gladys, I too have big hips and I do have a couple of full skirts in my wardrobe, but not TOO full. That's the secret. And don't wear a full skirt that is gathered at the waist! You want soft, flat pleats, or a skirt that flares gently from the waist. And, those of us with big hips do better to forgo the crinoline.

Gladys said...

Thanks for the tip. I have tried to wear crinolines and I end up looking like the liberty Bell. :)

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