November fashions, 1916

The weather took a change for the worse here in Roanoke yesterday.  It started out at 52 degrees this morning, and by 4 this afternoon, it had dropped to 36 degrees.  It was dark and stormy: puffy gray clouds rolled over top and underneath lighter gray.  A chill hung in the air.  Weather like this makes me want to huddle under some blankets with a vat full of coffee, my kitties, and a really really good book. But I digress.

As the weather turned darker and chillier, my thoughts drifted to all my fun scarves, coats, hats, and mitts I can now pull out.  And today’s post highlights those, except in 1916.  I’ve often referred to The Gentlewoman magazine with past ads (like this one, this one, this one, this one, or this one), but I’ve included a couple of excerpts from the November 1916 issue’s ‘Shopping Letter’ considering women’s fashions for the coming cold months.

shopping with the gentlewoman

As most women’s magazine’s today, The Gentlewoman used its cover as well as the shopping letter to illustrate the highest fashions of the day.

gentlewoman, nov 1916

As Effie Shepperd states in the opening section of her article: “November is the first real winter month, isn’t it, when we take our fashions more seriously than at any other season.  Every woman has to arrange her winter wardrobe suitably and feel that her family is practically clothed according to the new departures, also before she can settle down in winter housekeeping plans. ”  The women that grace the front cover of November’s Gentlewoman magazine are follows this claim of being clothed in new fashions, seen through their large hats, muffs, and fur capes and stoles.  And just like most magazines today, women most likely lusted after every article discussed within the magazine’s pages.

'Photograph' of Juanita Hansen

‘Photograph’ of Juanita Hansen

Winter is always a hard season to dress appropriately yet fashionably for.  This was just the same almost one hundred years ago, maybe even more so then, since women wanted to stay as close to Parisian fashion when possible, even though “America is usually three months behind Paris in the adoption of a style.”

'Photograph' of Bessie Barriscale.

‘Photograph’ of Bessie Barriscale.

Effie Shepperd continues: “We feel that everyone wants to know what Paris says about clothes news; for although our American designers are influencing all fashions in this country by their wonderful ready-mades, still they in turn are influenced by the artist-designers of Paris, where fashion really has its birth.”

Paris is still the fashion capital of the word.  Even though women don’t religiously follow Parisian fashions as they used to, most of the famous designers hailed from Paris (like Frederick Charles Worth in the late 19th/early 20th century), and are still in high demand (like Yves Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Dior, Givenchy, Hermès, and Balenciaga to name a few).


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