Viewing entries tagged
black party dresses


Extraordinary ca.1940 dress & jacket

I have just added this outfit to my web store, and I think it really deserves special mention.

The two labels are great indicators of the quality and style of this outfit. One is from Los Angeles’ late-great Bullock’s Wilshire store, the other reads An original design Registered by a member of Fashion Originators Guild. This organization existed from 1932 to 1941, with members pledging to only deal in original designs.

Two distinguished labels
Circa 1936 view of the Bullocks Wilshire department store. Photo by Richard Stagg, courtesy of the Title Insurance and Trust / C.C. Pierce Photography Collection, USC Libraries. (from
The gown and jacket appear to date from the end of the 1930s to 1941 (and what I wouldn’t give to walk into that great Art Deco department store to choose this when it was new!). The dress is a timeless creation of black chantilly lace layered over tulle, over taffeta, over crinoline. The jacket is satin, lined in lightweight faille. 

The fitted jacket has nine tailored buttonholes and covered buttons. The shoulders are padded, with darts at the tops of the sleeves for shape. There are also darts at the elbows. 

The dress has pairs of crossed straps made of lace, and there are tiny bra strap holders. With lace pleated over the bust, the top of the bodice is ruffled. The wide black satin band goes up to a point in front. The satin band is held smooth by boning (two bones in front, one at each side seam). The dress has a side covered metal zipper.

The boning keeps the dress's satin band smooth
There are four tiny bra strap holders 
The chantilly lace was pieced where needed along the lines of its flower patterns
The outfit is really breathtaking, both in being so beautifully constructed, and in being so timelessly chic—worthy of Old (or New!) Hollywood.


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The First Lady wears vintage...what are you waiting for?

I was thrilled at the concept of a First Lady wearing a vintage dress, but even more thrilled at the reality of our most stylish Michelle Obama in a 50s-era Norman Norell dress, looking arguably as beautiful as she's ever looked.

In case you missed it, here she is, helping to keep a flock of elves together:

What a great vintage dress for Mrs. Obama, so flattering and timeless!

If you feel like giving a similar look a try, here are some great vintage choices available online right now. (click on photo to link to the item for sale)

Mill Street Vintage has this Suzy Perette dress on eBay:

The back detail is as compelling as the front on this dress (by Janet Leigh for Natlynn) at Vintage Devotion:

If you could use a tiny hint of a sleeve, there's this organza and lace number at Past Perfect Vintage:

Strapless lace is to be found at Fast Eddie's Retro Rags:

Simple and elegant in chiffon and taffeta, this dress is among the offerings at The Vintage Vortex:

Palm Beach Vintage currently lists this Seymour Jacobsen gown:

This Emma Domb gown, complete with lace snowflakes (well, that's how I see it) is at Dress:

Sheer black lace layers over peach taffeta in this beauty at Blue Velvet Vintage:

The swirling detail looks very lovely on this dress offered by alitza-trends on eBay:

This dress at Viva Vintage Clothing is cotton, nonetheless very party-worthy:

Finally, for the all-out party girl, this gift of a gown comes with its own bow, available at Couture Allure:

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