1923 Fashion ‘Preview’

In the 1923 February issue of The Gentlewoman Miss Ethel Boston writes (and sketches) a fashion preview for her readers. I find it most interesting to read comments on fashions of the times, in the times — even if they do not mention unmentionables…

“This very tight straight-line effect continues to a little above the knee, below which are added these various decorations, And it gives one a most delightfully straight — I might say — oval line, most satisfactory to us who do Mr. Wallace’s reducing exercises by Victrola every day.

A surplice drape may also be used, which forms a side opening and develops a marvelous straight line. Dresses are all minus a girdle, but huge bow effects at the back are being used similar to those worn by children. One hardly dares suggest the return of the bustle, but if one is brave enough, one does. It is quite true the bustle is returning under the nom de plume of children’s bows; but they are luscious bows of ribbon or chiffon velvet and not a bit forbidding.

Bows are used in eight (8) various ways:

A large ribbon bow on the skirt just at the left knee gives a decided French air. If a black dress, a grey bow is very effective. One may choose one’s own color combination.

Dresses are eight (8) or ten (10) inches from the ground for street wear. Evening gowns are longer. Drapery and panels are passe’.”

You may read the whole article, as well as see the sketches Miss Boston made, here.

Also interesting to note that 1923 is part of “The Lost Years” of fashion (1921-1925) because these years are post-Edwardian yet pre-Flapper.

And just what was a lady wearing under her fine fashions at this time?

Well, vests, bloomers, step-ins and union suits, silly.

The first, a simple elegant version by Munsingwear (from Woman’s Home Companion, May, 1924).

And this ad below, for Gossard Corsets is an image from an ebay listing (from a magazine dated 1922).

This one is stunning and must have cost a small fortune! Look at that wrap too!

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