Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Look of Suits - 1951

In 1951, ladies suits were tailored to show off a tiny waist. Design details were used to great effect to fool the eye and make waistlines appear even smaller than they were. Hem lengths for straight skirts fell 3"-4" below the knee. While fuller skirts were finally starting to become popular, most women opted for the classic straight skirt when purchasing a suit. Enjoy these beauties from 1951!

How can you not go crazy for this suit by Schiaparelli? 4 diagonal pleats all converge at the waist with a big button right in the center. It appears that the hipline of the jacket is flared just slightly with the use of stiff interlining. That technique also makes the waist appear tiny.

Adele Simpson wool suit in black and white tweed with black velvet lining the neckline. The black buttons end right at the waist and your eye is drawn right to that point. The hips stand away just slightly to make the waist appear small. Suit sold for $155 in 1951 (about $1297 in today's dollar).

Swansdown offered this wool tweed suit. The jacket has a subtle stripe that co-ordinates with the skirt. Those big pocket flaps accent the width of the hips, making the waist appear smaller. The suit sold for $80 in 1951 (about $670 in today's dollar).

Famous furrier Revillon offered this suit in wool with an attached Karakul lamb fur stole. Here the jacket flares into a pleated peplum and the waist is belted, all to accent the appearance of slimness.

Another Adele Simpson suit, this time in black and white micro-herringbone check with black velvet at the collar. Here Simpson makes a V with the buttons, fooling the eye into thinking the bust is large and the waist is tiny. The hipline of this jacket is definitely wider than that of the skirt. Suit sold for $155 in 1951 (about $1297 in today's dollar).

8 comments:

Catwalk Creative Vintage said...

Fabulous images Jody! My favourite suit is the Schiaparelli. It's so beautiful. Thanks for the inspiration!

Kathleen said...

I like the Schiaparelli best, too. The play of the darts is just so unique, and, yes, very much gives the illusion of a small waist. One always has to appreciate that!

Sheila said...

Those are all such gorgeous suits - I love this era of suiting. I don't envy women all the undergarments needed to fit in them, though!

The Novelist said...

The suits are beautiful! I just keep staring at those incredible waist lines!

K.Line said...

These are spectacular. I love the Schiaparelli best too...

Gladys said...

Beautiful~ I love the last Adele Simpson suit. So classic and simple.

Vix said...

It's definitely hard to pick a favorite, but I have to join the chorus of Schiaparelli lovers! Amazing, clever, gorgeous.

As one who lacks a defined waist, I am always on the lookout for modern jackets that do even 1/1000 of what these do. And of course any vintage ones that fit!

[In 5 years I have come across all of one modern jacket--a very heavy stretch wool with vertical seaming front and back, a slight peplum, and yes, a vintage "flavor"--that came anywhere near my budget.]

I know RTW manufacturers don't want to spend the money needed to create these gorgeous silhouettes, but surely they could lift a *few* of these ever-so-flattering design details!

Thanks for the wonderful-as-usual images.

Stacyverb said...

I love the effect created by the "V" placement of those buttons. Genius!

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