Summer Fashion

Summer fashion is about keeping cool, but  spare a thought for the women of the 19th century.  Western Victoria is at the bottom of mainland Australia yet that makes  little difference once summer comes, with temperatures reaching 40 degrees on some days, even in the far south-west.  Imagine arriving from England in February, often the hottest summer month, and having to adapt to  heat never experienced before, whilst dressed in inappropriate clothing.

Clothes found in the shops came from overseas made from materials unsuited to the Australian climate.  Throw in a crinoline, corset, petticoats, bloomers, boots and it all made for an uncomfortable summer.  Eventually women did shed some layers but it did take time.

This advertisement from the Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser is from 1842, early days of  colony’s settlement.  James Gladwell was due to take possession of a range of summer clothing fresh off the boat from England.  For those that did not want clothing, they could always buy a framed print of “His Majesty George the III, hunting”

Advertising. (1842, November 19). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876), p. 2. Retrieved November 24, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71568834

In 1844, a Pardessus,  a type of coat, was a “most useful appendage to a lady’s outdoor costume”.   Italian taffeta was popular and pink, blue and violet were the fashionable colours.

SUMMER FASHIONS. (1844, January 4). Launceston Advertiser (Tas. : 1829 – 1846), p. 4. Retrieved November 24, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article84772233

Fashion reports cam from England and were for the wealthier woman, with much of the clothing too impractical and expensive for the average pioneering woman .  The following article is about June fashions (English summer) and published in September 1849 for the Australian summer.

sum72sum73

LADIES' FASHIONS FOR JUNE. (1849, September 27). Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1847 - 1851), p. 2 Edition: MORNING. Retrieved December 1, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article93139412

LADIES’ FASHIONS FOR JUNE. (1849, September 27). Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1847 – 1851), p. 2 Edition: MORNING. Retrieved December 1, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article93139412

In 1856, a visit to Miss Reed on Main Road, Ballarat was a must for the latest summer clothing from the Fashion houses of Paris and London selling at a range of prices.

Advertising. (1856, December 27). The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), p. 1. Retrieved December 1, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66040226

Advertising. (1856, December 27). The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 – 1864), p. 1. Retrieved December 1, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66040226

The following sketches are from an article from the Illustrated Sydney News of December 9, 1876  subtitled “Seaside Dress and Bathing Costume”

THE FASHIONS. (1876, December 9). Illustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1853 – 1872), p. 5. Retrieved November 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63334047

The accompanying description of the outfit third from the left is below:

THE FASHIONS. (1876, December 9). Illustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1853 – 1872), p. 5. Retrieved November 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63334047

For the ladies of Horsham in November 1889, news was that a cord loop on the end of a parasol was a fashionable accessory for summer 1889.  Cashmere was popular as was the  “Greek polanaise” dress and mosseline delaine, a material which was taking the place of nun’s veiling.

Ladies’ Column. (1889, November 5). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 2 Supplement: SUPPLEMENT TO THE HORSHAM TIMES. Retrieved November 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72862812

In 1892, the Portland Guardian’s regular column “World of Fashion” reported summer fashions as “likened to a flower garden in full bloom”.  A dress in peach blossom striped silk perfect for an afternoon by the water.

WORLD OF FASHION. (1892, December 16). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 – 1953), p. 2 Edition: EVENING, Supplement: Supplement to the Portland Guardian.. Retrieved November 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65441419

During a New Year’s heat wave, the Williamstown Chronicle argued that the summer fashions were unsuitable for the climate and it was time for clothing specifically made for the conditions.

sum76

OUR LADIES' COLUMN. (1892, January 2). Williamstown Chronicle (Vic. : 1856 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved December 2, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article68595885

OUR LADIES’ COLUMN. (1892, January 2). Williamstown Chronicle (Vic. : 1856 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved December 2, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article68595885

A bathing costume from 1894.

A Bathing Costume. (1894, September 28). The Broadford Courier and Reedy Creek Times (Broadford, Vic. : 1893 – 1916), p. 5. Retrieved November 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article58882443

Voile was a popular material for summer 1904.  This dress was brown, yes brown, but there were varying shades of brown such as tabac and earth.  Where did the blooming flower garden go?

GOSSIP. (1904, September 16). The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 – 1918), p. 7. Retrieved November 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article89708376

A lady’s blouse from 1909.  Patterns were available by mail order from M.Thorp & Co. of Collins Street, Melbourne.  Horsham ladies could get the same look as those from the city.

LADY’S BLOUSE. (1909, October 22). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 6. Retrieved November 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72962676

A lady wouldn’t want to walk too close to a horse in this hat.

A FIELD-FLOWER HAT. (1909, October 22). The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 – 1918), p. 8. Retrieved November 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91852132

Another pattern from M.Thorp & Co. This dress is from their 1911 range.

LADY’S COSTUME. (1911, February 24). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 9. Retrieved November 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73159315

A hat is an important part of a summer outfit in Australia and in 1912 wide brims were in.

FOR WIVES AND DAUGHTERS. (1912, October 2). The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 – 1918), p. 4. Retrieved November 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87620359

It gets hot in Horsham and in 1913, the Horsham Times were offering tips on cool clothing.  Wool was too warm while silk was the coolest of materials.  The advice to ladies was to put their black clothes away until winter and bring out their white attire.

COOL CLOTHES. (1913, October 10). The Horsham Times Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 9. Retrieved November 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72888408

A bathing costume from 1913.

THE LADIES’ COLUMN. (1913, January 21). West Gippsland Gazette (Warragul, Vic. : 1898 – 1930) , p. 5 Edition: MORNING.. Retrieved November 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article68662168

More tips on keeping cool, this time from The Argus of 1913.  The “Women to Women” column advised not to wrap babies in blankets during summer and young children should be dressed in fewer clothes.  “Women themselves have realised the comfort of the scanty clothing that they have been wearing during the last two or three years.  It is only a very old-fashioned woman nowadays who ever wears two petticoats”

WOMEN TO WOMEN. (1913, December 31). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 9. Retrieved November 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article7274211

Advertising. (1913, December 31). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 9. Retrieved November 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article7274208

The Port Fairy Gazette of January 19, 1914 advertised a pattern for a Ladies’ Bathing Gown.

Advertising. (1914, January 19). Port Fairy Gazette (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 4 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved November 29, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91987072

Fur trimming was popular in the summer of 1916.  Really.

FROM NECK TO FEET. (1916, December 7). Port Fairy Gazette (Vic. : 1914 – 1918), p. 5 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved November 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article88008299

This is a great photo from the State Library of Victoria’s collection.  The ladies are on Sorrento beach, Victoria.

Group of women standing ankle deep in water at Sorrento courtesy of the State Library of Victoria  .http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/44447

Group of women standing ankle deep in water at Sorrento courtesy of the State Library of Victoria .http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/44447

The following dress was an English design.  The article from The Argus of August 27, 1919 notes that it would have to be adapted to suit the Australian summer with a longer sleeve needed to prevent burning.

SUMMER CLOTHING. (1919, August 27). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 12. Retrieved November 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4700420

SUMMER CLOTHING. (1920, August 11). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 12. Retrieved November 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4590862

I don’t know what to say about the next photo so I will say nothing at all…

A young woman wearing a bathing costume ca 1920 Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia – PRG 280/1/17/559 http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/searcy/17/PRG280_1_17_559.htm

Summer fashions from 1924.

WOMAN’S REALM. (1924, January 8). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 14. Retrieved November 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1932240

Get the knitting needles out and whip up this royal blue surf suit made from 4 ply wool.

JUST SEE What We Have Secured FOR YOU… (1935, August 31). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 47 Section: THE AUSTRALIAN WOMEN’S WEEKLY HOME MAKER. Retrieved November 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article52247098

An earlier article from the Horsham Times of 1913, proclaimed wool too warm for summer wear.  Twenty-two years later, designers had learnt the secret of sheep – wool really is cool.  Good for the sheep farmers of the Western District and Wimmera too.

“COOL WOOL”. (1935, October 1). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 10. Retrieved November 25, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article75237170

Prints were everywhere in the summer of 1936 and I mean everywhere.  Not only were there print dresses and blouses, but also bags, belts and gloves.  Not just floral prints but also animal prints, musical notes and even fish.

The Fashion Parade. (1936, September 5). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 8. Retrieved November 27, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47477428

Let’s not forget summer shoes.  Shoes from 1939 were metallic, mesh and lace up.

SUMMER SHOES… (1939, August 19). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 31 Supplement: Fashion Portfolio. Retrieved November 27, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article51942459

SUMMER SHOES… (1939, August 19). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 31 Supplement: Fashion Portfolio. Retrieved November 27, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article51942459

Also from 1939, news that cotton playsuits could double as swim suits.  There were also towelling two piece numbers and woollen swimsuits.  Also, just for those who wanted an even tan, boned tops, that stayed up even when the straps were slipped off the shoulder.

ALLURING SWIM SUITS—. (1939, November 4). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 10 Supplement: The Argus Week-end Magazine. Retrieved November 27, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11289777

Beach outfits from  the 1940s.

1940

FUN on the BEACH. (1940, January 6). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 8 Supplement: FASHION PORTFOLIO. Retrieved November 27, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article46935395

1941

Summer play togs gayer than ever… (1941, November 15). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 23 Section: Fashion Portfolio. Retrieved November 27, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47482941

1945

SUN SOAKERS… (1945, September 29). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 27. Retrieved November 28, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article51281589

WW2  was over and cotton was in short supply but it had taken a step up the hierarchy of fabrics.  Not just for tea towels or cheap knock-about frocks, cotton was being used for “finer clothes”.

Topics Feminine. (1946, November 16). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 12. Retrieved November 28, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article79864845

American fashion houses, set up after WW2, were sending their beach wear Australia’s way in 1947, even those made from plastic coated aluminum yarn.

Topics Feminine. (1947, January 4). Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954), p. 12. Retrieved November 28, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article78134282

Strapless swimsuits were fashionable in 1949 as were pedal pushers, although judging by the photo which accompanied the article, I’m not sure why.  But as the article suggest they were perfect for those  with “not too slim” or “not to shapely” legs.  Tan, caramel, navy and black were the popular colours.

WOMEN WILL BE WEARING. (1949, September 13). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 2 Supplement: The Argus Woman’s Magazine. Retrieved November 28, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article22778225

What every girls needs, a swimsuit that double as a cocktail dress!

For cocktails —or bathing!. (1954, November 25). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 5. Retrieved November 28, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23461427

Corsets were back in 1956, if only for swimsuits.  A relief for the writer of the “Woman’s Page”, who was glad to see an end of, she thought, swimsuits looking like a couple of handkerchiefs knotted  together.

Woman’s Page. (1956, January 17). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956), p. 9. Retrieved November 28, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72530649


One response to “Summer Fashion

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 148 other followers

%d bloggers like this: