Monday, August 7, 2017

#anAWWyear: August 1947 - Fashion, Jewellery and early Capsule Wardrobe advice

I'm kicking off my journey of a year through the Australian Women's Weekly with a tour through the fashion pages of August 1947.
Chic matching beret and jacket on the cover of Aug 23 1947

This month is dominated by French fashions, as the Women's Weekly was promoting their French Fashion Parades. While the parades were running twice daily in Sydney for the first half of August before moving on to Melbourne and Adelaide, showcasing over "100 frocks suitable for any occasion", the magazine was presenting pages of the frocks and shoes and jewellery for their readers.

My stand-out favourite outfit is this stunning wool suit by Robert Piguet -the details of the drape of the jacket are a little lost in the photograph but the curve of the jacket edge and the way the lapels sit pleases me greatly.
Gorgeous wool suit from the AWW French Fashion Parade
Australian Women's Weekly, Aug 9 1947, p5
Then at the other extreme of formality is this casual yachting outfit  with cute shorts, a belt "with pouches for powder, handkerchief and cigarettes" and those shoulders! I am very tempted to see what shorts with the "impudent notes" of rounded hips look like on me, as my hips are my proportionally smallest part. The original ensemble features a white and burnt orange striped top with green shorts.
Yachting costume, Australian Women's Weekly, Aug 2 1947, p11
The jewellery shown here was designed to accompany the fashions from the "great dress houses of Paris" and heavily features beads and pearls. I think the single strand tied into a bow high on the neck is rather charming, although I try to avoid such high necks myself.  I'd be far more likely to wear the two strands brought together in a large cluster just below the collarbone in the other picture below. 
Just two of the jewellery fashions on this page.
Australian Women's Weekly, Aug 9 1947, p21

As well as the more aspirational fashions from overseas, every issue of the AWW contains details of more achievable frocks and patterns which can be ordered through their fashion service. Some of the August highlights for me include this scalloped neckline dress, which looks amazing but would, let's be honest, be nerve-wracking and/or tedious to sew. Those scallops would take ages to sew accurately, and with the prominence around the neck and on the short sleeves you would definitely notice any flaws.
Dress featuring scallops from the Fashion Patterns service
Australian Women's Weekly, Aug 16 1947, p30
There is also this "Rita" frock which looks striking and more original than many such offerings, but I slightly worry one would end up looking like puzzle pieces.
Rita Frock from the Australian Women's Weekly, Aug 2 1947, p30
The advertisements this month didn't yield much fashion that I coveted, but there was one sketch of a coat in an Australian Wool Board advertisement that caught my eye

Australian Women's Weekly, Aug 30 1947, p17

Recently I've been doing a lot of reading and thinking about a capsule wardrobe (verdict: has been very useful in narrowing down what I want my style to be, but I am no closer to implementing it) so I was interested to see some advice in Dress Sense by Betty Keep to a reader asking about basic rules to help her make sure she had things to actually wear from her 'plenty of clothes'.  The response is very simple capsule wardrobe advice
The way to organise your clothes life is to buy only clothes that do harmonise. 
You should plan not only for the moment, but for the season ahead.
Never buy any garment without thinking "Have I the necessary accessories, or can I afford new ones?" 
Always select a basic color and be sure it is becoming. 
Lastly, take into consideration whether the greater part of your life is spent out-of-doors, in an office, or at home, and plan the biggest part of your wardrobe for that purpose.

Which, sadly, means that both the chic wool suit and the yachting outfit really shouldn't be making an appearance in my life any time soon! 


  1. I'm so excited for this! Yay! These are some great fashions to start with. I like the puzzle piece dress but perhaps you are right! The wool suit is lovely too, and the pearl ideas are very clever.

  2. It's interesting that the idea of a capsule wardrobe has been around for so long. Can't wait to see what's next.