Summer Afternoon Gowns - 1912

Summer Afternoon Gowns (l to r) Striped Voile with Printed Border and Net Underdress; Black Dress with Flowers and Green Satin Vest with Lace Collar; and Black Voile with White Dots and Fringe Over Satin.

Summer Afternoon Gowns (l to r) Striped Voile with Printed Border and Net Underdress; Black Dress with Flowers and Green Satin Vest with Lace Collar; and Black Voile with White Dots and Fringe Over Satin. Harper's Bazar, July 1912. GGA Image ID # 164b86e258

In designing gowns, there is always to be borne in mind the woman who will be comfortable in summer at any cost of pride or fashion. This woman terribly distresses her ambitious dressmaker by her perfect disregard of summer finery.

If in any way it is to destroy her comfort she is firm in her refusal to become a slave of fashion. The designer has had her eyes opened to the importance of combining a smart effect with the assurance of perfect comfort, and so today, we really have arrived at the point of solving this most difficult dress problem. 

It is refreshing to consider for oneself a gown of thin summer fabric, such as voile or chiffon, which this first model suggests.  A voile, with fine stripes of black, will do nicely, provided that the somber effect is relieved by a narrow border of gay colors.

For economy's sake, the gown may be made over a slip of plain white or dotted net, unless one wishes to make a more important gown of it and chooses a satin lining. This, with the numberless bargain counters in full view of the shopper, can be bought with little more expense.

For the girdle choose a green taffeta—one of those soft, cool sea-foam colors— making the flat rose of the same silk. The sleeves show still what faith many have in the kimono for a bodice of this sort.

The other two designs here are especially adapted for the use of the middle-aged or elderly woman. The first is made of supple taffeta, black with sprays of Pompadour flowers. The lines are long and simple, which always become the woman who has no longer the grace of slim youthfulness. A set of cream lace collar and cuffs will combine well in color with the green satin vest.

A gown of much the same order is designed to be made of black silk voile with raised dots of white agaric. The becoming bertha is bordered with white silk network and fringe.

The large bow and V-shaped vest are made of the same satin as the underskirt. The skirt can be finished at the waist by a cord or sash of the satin. This depends entirely on which is most becoming, for some women dare not mear the girdle that is suited to slighter figures.

With the increasing desire for sheer sleeves and yokes, an excellent chiffon has been substituted by the makers for that perilous quality which gave way with the slightest suggestion of wear. This is more readily found in black, white, and flesh color and will undoubtedly bring joy to the heart of the woman who has longed for but bravely denied herself the luxury of chiffon sleeves.

"Summer Afternoon Gowns," in Harper's Bazar, New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, Vol. XLVL, No. 7, July 1912, p. 348.

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