What a girl should wear, ca. 1907

I’ve been digging around in my stash of pages from the Girl’s Own Magazine, and came across these glorious evening gowns:



Aren’t the butterfly gathers across the bust of dark one just delicious?  And the decorative band on the light one, ducking in and out behind the bodice and sleeves?  And those droop puffed sleeves!  Fabulous!

I’m not sure about the merits of having a big circle on your chest though!

And just so you can read the fabulously hilarious write-up (“nothing flops this years but our sleeves”), here is the whole page in large size.

Evening gowns featured in the Girls Own Magazine thedreamstress.com


I’m 90% sure this is from sometime between Aug-December 1907.  Unfortunately my Girl’s Own Magazine pages from 1905-7 are an incomplete set of loose pages.  I’ve put them in the best order I can, but some I just have to guess at.


Rate the dress: girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes

This week’s Rate the Dress is going to be slightly truncated, because I’m away on a long overdue holiday, and (as per usual) I had a million things to do in the run-up to leaving, and didn’t get everything sorted.  And I have very limited internet while away.

So no add-up of last week’s Rate the Dress for now.

This week, I’m showing you a dress that takes a romantic classic: white dresses with blue sashes, and gives it a twist in white & ecru, with a bright ocean blue sash, and fringed neck ornamentation that reminds me of a flower lei.  The sea and sand colours and garland of flowers seems quite appropriate given my holiday (can’t tell you where yet, but there are going to be lots of exciting photos to show you!)!

Evening dress, ca. 1910, via Kerry Taylor Auctions

Evening dress, ca. 1910, via Kerry Taylor Auctions

Evening dress, ca. 1910, via Kerry Taylor Auctions

Evening dress, ca. 1910, via Kerry Taylor Auctions

Evening dress, ca. 1910, via Kerry Taylor Auctions

Evening dress, ca. 1910, via Kerry Taylor Auctions

The beaded fringe amuses me, because it’s such a (mostly misplaced) cliché of ’20s fashion, but here we see it a decade earlier.  What do you think?  Would it sway and sparkle and add a bit of difference to gown?  Or is it just a bit ridiculous?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10

Rate the Dress: Youthful chic in 1935

Last week I showed you an 18th century inspired 1880s dress, and you liked it, except for the shirring and sleeve trims, but thought it a trifle insipid, so it rated a rather meh 6.9 out of 10.

This week, let’s brighten things up a bit with a 1930s fashion plate, featuring a skirt and trim in deep orange.

This outfit is described as:

Jaquette mi-ajustée en flanelle rayée perpendiculairement, garnie de soie écossaise. Jupe en lainage chiné blanc sur fond orange. Boutons orange. Chemisier en flamisol blanc.

Or in English, roughly (since my ability to speak/read French is confined to knowing all the textile words!)

Girl’s street ensemble: A semi-fitted jacket in vertically striped flannel, trimmed with plaid silk.  Skirt of orange wool, flecked with white.  Orange buttons.  Blouse of white flamisol (a midweight plain weave silk popular in the ’30s, with a twisted crepe weft, and a rough silk warp, giving it an aesthetic that modern fashion writers would describe as ‘luxe casual’).

What do you think?  Elegant and suitably youthful, with the double whammy of ’30s & French chic?  Or is it too matchy-matchy, with every accessory in orange or white?  Do you prefer the orange hat, or the white one?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10.

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Leimomi Oakes is the Dreamstress, a textile historian, seamstress, designer, speaker and museum professional. Leimomi is available for educational and entertaining presentations, textile and fashion advice, special commissions and events. Click to learn more

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