Sunday, 1 May 2011
According to my list, when I start to build my wardrobe I should already possess a simple evening gown in black crepe and for the spring wardrobe an evening gown in a dotted fabric should be added. For the next spring, a blue evening gown is to be acquired, as the dotted gown clearly just lasts one season before it is to be made into a short dress. The blue one though, it is pointed out, is suitable for all seasons. Now having two evening gowns to change between, the authors clearly feel that the evening wardrobe is filled and for year three and four these two gowns will be used as well.
Remember that even if this wardrobe is for a relatively well to-do woman, it I still not a particularly fancy one. Clearly it is considered normal for an ordinary woman to have to evening gowns. Do you own two? And how often do you wear one? I have one that I made four years ago when I was invited first to a 1940’s party and then a big wedding the same month. I can truthfully say that I haven’t had occasion to wear it since. A pity, because I’m really pleased with it- I think I shall try to make an effort to wear it a bit more often. As I already have a blue 40’s evening gown I’m going to make a little shift and make do with it this year and then make a black one in year two instead.
Going back to the real 40’s, evening gown were used a lot more. Nowadays I think most people’s perception of formal wear is a big ball gown with a lot of clevage- the distinction between white and black tie are still around, but less people know, or care about the difference. The really fancy evening gowns are really just for the fanciest occasion and if you look at pictures from the forties there are a lot of rather simple evening gowns with very modest necklines. To be fair, the simple lines were probably due to fabric restrictions as they were responsible for allowing rather simple fabrics into evening wear, but the war influenced all fashions, after all. Still, you used long gowns far more extensively then than we do know. I won’t rehash all those occasions though, but simply point you to my previous post on the subject.
Rita Hayworth in a rather modest and oh so 40's evening gown.