Dresses as Seen on Fifth Avenue - Spring 1913

Dresses as Seen on Fifth Avenue - Spring 1913

What I See on Fifth Avenue. (l to r) 7581 One-Piece Frock; 7587 Cloth or Silk Dress; and 7589 Plain and Striped Silk Frock. Drawings by Constance De Bow. The Ladies' Home Journal, April 1913. GGA Image ID # 1647b8f071

It looks like really, truly spring on the Avenue these days, with the throngs of well-dressed women wearing the smartest of spring clothes and such chic little hats; and every woman you meet has such a dear little posy in the lapel of her coat if she wears a tailored suit, or at her girdle if she wears a one-piece frock or a dressy afternoon gown.

Another sign of spring is the way every bus stop is crowded. The big things lumber along, every seat filled, and at each corner there is a stop to let some passenger off or to take on about ten others.

Every day is like a matinée day, with the women all dressed in their best, for the colors this spring are so bright and vivid that even the plainest little frocks have a “dress-up" and festive air.

Swinging along the Avenue, after half-past three, come the school girls, two by two, looking very gay and happy, with one or two teachers in attendance. A number of these girls are affecting the new long-waisted blouse coat, which Paul Poiret has been featuring.

A few models on this order were imported last autumn, but very few women liked them; or, perhaps, because they looked so different from the high-waisted coats in vogue, it took more courage than the average woman possesses to wear one.

Whatever the cause, only occasionally were they seen. But they are certainly popular now and are being made up in all sorts of fabrics. They are at their best on slender women and young girls who are not too short. If you are inclined to embonpoint avoid them as you would the plague.

One girl, with the most adorable Titian coloring, wore a suit of chocolate-brown silk and wool poplin, with a coat on this order and the hip yoke into which it was bloused was covered with row after row of slightly darker silk braid. She looked so well in it that I have had it sketched for you (No. 7659).

In spite of its extreme cut, you will find this a very easy coat to make. In fact, it is one that can be advised for the amateur dressmaker, as it is not nearly so difficult as a plain tailored coat, and it is so smart that it will amply repay you for your trouble.

Have you been wondering about the continuance of draped effects?  Then let me tell you they are going to be more fashionable than ever; but not the very elaborate nor intricate ones. 

Just a simple little drape, sometimes only the slightest lifting of the skirt at the side front or the side back, or both. The skirt that is illustrated with the long-waisted coat (No. 7661) will serve to show my meaning.

And this type of skirt can be seen every day on Fifth Avenue, in all sorts of wool and silk materials. The colors to be worn—well, they are pretty bright, and there is a perfect craze for different shades of red, the cerise tones, including Nell rose pink, and coral and geranium shades.

Then there are lovely soft browns and tans, dull greens, grays and violet shades, and blue everywhere, from the pale pastel to the deepest midnight blue.

For suits blue, tan and gray seem to be the most fashionable colors, and if some vivid note is liked the smart shops are showing wonderful embroideries and braids in the Bulgarian and Chinese colors that will brighten up the most somber material. I advise for the suit we are talking of pretty gray whipcord or a soft tan Bedford cord or wool poplin, with slightly darker trimming.

The brighter colors are nice for a time, but oh, dear! You do get so tired of them.  So, if you are going to have just one suit, get something a little conservative and inconspicuous. You will be much better satisfied in the end, and you will get much better service.

I had been looking for some time for a draped afternoon dress, and at last, I found just the gown I had been looking for, and where do you suppose I saw it?

Not in a small shop, nor on some plainly dressed woman, but in the showroom of one of the most exclusive dressmakers on Fifth Avenue; and it had been ordered by a young woman who is considered a leader in the best society.

So, you see, the best-dressed women like simple things too. It is No. 7643, and the material was crepe de chine—which, let me tell you, is going to be very fashionable—and the color was ashes of roses, a gray, showing purple and rose tints, with collar and revers of white moiré.

As you see, the drop-shoulder effect is featured, and there are long sleeves and a high collar. The draping is slightly at the side front and side back, and it just gives the effect of being looped up a little.

If you want an inexpensive frock, you could make this up in Challis, or in one of the silk-and-cotton mixtures that are so daintily pretty and yet are so inexpensive.

Of course, you are going to have a bordered frock this summer. Every shop on the Avenue devoted to women's wear is showing the most charming frocks of bordered ratine, voile, cotton crepe, batiste and silk, and you can get the border wide or narrow, simple or elaborate, just as your fancy dictates.

The dress-goods departments offer a bewildering assortment of materials from which to choose; but if you want a simple frock, I advise a crepe, with a border of ratine, which is just heavy enough to weight the lighter fabric above it.

If you want to make your afternoon or evening frock of bordered stuff, Pattern No. 7658 offers a pretty design, and there is something very new about the fichu which forms a Medici collar at the back.

There are long sleeves and a chemisette for streetwear, and the omission of the chemisette and the shortening of the sleeves make the frock suitable for evening.

There are so many uses in the summer for just such a frock as this that you will find it a serviceable addition to your summer wardrobe. As no trimming is needed, except ribbon for a girdle and a little net for the chemisette, you will have a very inexpensive dress.

Alice Long, Drawings by Constance de Bow, "What I See on Fifth Avenue," in The Ladies' Home Journal, Philadelphia: The Curtis Publishing Company, Vol. XXX, No. 4, April 1913, p. 37.

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