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The suit has a long standing history with fabulous girls. In particular the skinny, fitted hourglass silhouette of the 1940s and early 50s is one that has been repeated since its introduction through to designs hitting the runways this week in NYC. There is just something fabulously sexy about a suit cut to perfection. Nipped in waists, tight fitted to the body pencil skirts with a longer skirt, creating the perfect hourglass silhouettes.

In W magazine Madonna wore this vintage Dior suit.

And Dita Von Teese wears countless versions - both old and new
She is also one of the few that stick to the longer length skirt - even when it is a recent version of it, she keeps to the original silhouette

The main reason the length of the skirt changed was due to fabric shortages during the war. Woman had to work with what they had and the skirts inched up in length and get as narrow as possible. You can see this in the three suits just posted at Shrimpton Couture

This one is the earliest. Its a fine gabardine, heavily beaded at the collar and hemline. The skirt is long and lean

This one is a little later and the hemline a bit shorter. The fabric is still gorgeous but a bit more military in look and feel and the beading is a touch sparser. This suit was made in Canada where fabric was available for a bit longer then it was for the US dressmakers so even though its a bit later then the first one it is not as stark as some suits you see from this period.

And then we enter the early fifties with this gorgeous little number. Lots of fabric gets used through the back and bust creating a gorgeous blousing effect and the fabric is an alpaca type wool - very soft,very luxurious. Though this one lacks beading it more then makes up for it with its beautiful lines and cut.

It also is a nice example of the direction that came next - the Dior New Look silhouette. Like this for example from approximately 1955. See the similarity in the cut of the jacket? But the skirt became full as fabric became more abundant and easy to get again.

I love the skinnier silhouette myself and often wear vintage suits for my "corporate" life.
Vintage ones are just made so extraordinarily.
There is just so many extra seams and attention to detail!
If you do not have one in your wardrobe yet, then you might just want to consider looking for one. You can start at Shrimpton Couture - all the suits pictured here have just been posted and range in price from $350 - $425. Not bad for a pristine, hand tailored suit. I challenge you to go to somewhere like a Banana Republic and see how much a full suit costs there these days - they are a good approximation of a suit in the same price range (or a bit higher). Then check the fabric and the seaming and the lining and the buttons and the million other details that make my vintage suits scream quality and luxury and tell me which you would rather pay for.
Vintage wins for me hands down

Close up of the pocket and seaming detail
1940s wool beaded suit


LJ said...

I swoon too.
xx-LJ from SOS!

Jillian said...

Madonna looks really good like that. I think it is the hair and makeup combo that look great on her skin. That suit is also beautiful. This is a very interesting article. Thank you :)

Shrimpton Couture said...

You are welcome :-)

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