Do you have a favorite fashion decade? I'm obviously a 50s-loving lady, given that I have a blog devoted to the patterns of the era. I adore a dramatic circle skirt silhouette as much as a fierce wiggle dress. But lately, my eye has been wandering to the fashions of the 40s. And given that fashion is so steeped in history, it's interesting to think about what draws one to a certain decade.
It's certainly possible that I'm hitting a bit of 50s fatigue. I've been tirelessly searching for the patterns featured in Vogue's New Book for Better Sewing for many months now. After so many Google and eBay alert e-mails for 50s patterns, I've started to feel that there's a certain amount of sameness to the designs, a level of superficiality, I suppose. (Granted, it's important to note that I'm talking about the patterns of the early 50s here, and that things were definitely shaking up by the end of the decade.) At a certain point, I actually began to feel like I'd had enough of looking at pretty dresses, that I crave something with a bit more substance.
The 40s are an intriguing secondary pursuit, and I'm starting my research with the fabulous Blueprints of Fashion: Home Sewing Patterns of the 1940s. This fascinating book proves that, in terms of fashion history, you would be hard-pressed to find a more interesting era. War rations placed on the garment industry were so strict that they influenced everything down to the number of pockets allowed on a blouse and the circumference of skirt hems. Bias cut layouts were forbidden. Pattern designers had to be extremely inventive within these strictures, and I think it's interesting to see the creativity that can come from restraint.
The fashion world was turned on its head, to say the least. Women entered the blue collar workforce, and their clothes reflected it. Conservation was key, and sewing patterns showed how to cut dresses out of old men's suits. And really: in what other decade can you find sewing patterns intended for refugees and tuberculosis nurses?
So that's what's inspiring me these days, both aesthetically and intellectually. What decade most inspires you?
P.S. Isn't the little suit pattern at the top of the post just adorable? It's available from this lovely seller, and I would totally buy it myself if it were a couple sizes bigger (it's a 30" bust). Wah.