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Can you please assist me in dating this dress?

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Fashion - Ask Questions Get Answers' started by Circa Vintage Clothing, May 28, 2011.

  1. Hi vgirl, as with the other one I think this is a costume piece - in this case of the style of the mid 19th century. It probably requires a full crinoline underskirt. I think the sashes on the bodice should not sit as low as you have them, I think if you move them upwards, they may cover the straps.

    It was probably made for theatre- theatrical costumes often have hooks and eyes to fasten like this one because they're more reliable than zippers and easier to use when you're in a hurry changing the perfomer.

  2. peaceful vintage

    peaceful vintage Administrator VFG Past President

    Nicole, Thank you again. It is very small in the bodice. The fabric does not feel like a fabric used for costumes. Is boning used in costume pieces? The materials used inside do not look modern.
  3. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    I'm going with c. 1947 evening dress
  4. Rue_de_la_Paix

    Rue_de_la_Paix VFG Member


    I agree with the 1948 ish...post WWII pre 1950 date that Jonathan gave. It does appear, as with your other garments, to be an original vintage dress but has had some modifications and may indeed have been used for costume/film purposes.

  5. peaceful vintage

    peaceful vintage Administrator VFG Past President

    Thank you Jonathan and Barbara. What kind of fabric do you think this is? I am afraid to steam this.
  6. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    Black rayon taffeta shot with metallic thread - it was a very popular cocktail and evening dress material in the late 40s.
  7. Rue_de_la_Paix

    Rue_de_la_Paix VFG Member

    Looks like a raw or Tussah silk tafetta with Lurex metallic threads....or a synthetic made to look like silk...

  8. Rue_de_la_Paix

    Rue_de_la_Paix VFG Member

  9. Linn

    Linn VFG Board Member Staff Member VFG Past President

    I agree with very late '40's and the fabric "looks" like silk in your photos.
  10. peaceful vintage

    peaceful vintage Administrator VFG Past President

    Yes,yes, yes. That is what is feels like. It feels like silk tafetta and metallic threads. The metallic threads are raised. Thank you.

    Do your kids, sisters, brothers, parents, hubby's, wive's, and friends know how smart you folks are? :) Seriously
  11. I agree with the others that the fabric is a silk taffeta with metallic threads - and I agree that the fabric is of the late '40s.

    But I still feel that it's a mid 19th century style costume rather than a late '40s ballgown. The late '40s - early '50s were heavily influenced by the mid 19th century styles but the reason I think this is an earlier style is because of the hook and eye tape and interior construction of backing the taffeta onto cotton which is similar to costume, rather than fashion construction - as well as the very deep V to the waist. The '40s-'50s styles were constructed differently and the waists did not dip as deeply, that was a Victorian style. You can see an example of the deep V in this image:


    I'm not sure when hook and eye tape was invented, but I don't think it was around as long ago as the '40s, the earliest I've seen it was '80s but if you can see signs of it being added after construction (where perhaps there was a zipper removed) that would suggest that it could be late '40s and updated/adapted, perhaps for the stage.

  12. MyVintageCocktail

    MyVintageCocktail VFG Member

    Lovely dress, and while I'm not as expert as those who have replied, it "looks" 40s or even early 50s to me. And could have been a costume piece.

    I am confused, though, Nicole about your statement re hook & eye tape. I have dresses with hook and eye tape. I believe it's been around for quite some time. Or, is it the style of tape that looks more modern? I'm quite curious about this....
  13. Anne, I'm happy to be corrected on the hook and eye tape, as I've only seen it since the '80s. I was quite excited when it became available as it made my life a lot easier - but it may be that it was available in the US much earlier.

  14. peaceful vintage

    peaceful vintage Administrator VFG Past President

    Hi Anee, Thank you for posting.

    Hi Nicole, Yale hook and eye co. says they have been providing hook and eye tape for 90 years. See this link.


    I think the hooks and eyes were sewn into the fabric in the top and in the band in the skirt of this dress though. I don't think it is hook and eye tape.

    I have found several images of dresses from 1948ish that have looked very similar.
  15. MyVintageCocktail

    MyVintageCocktail VFG Member

    How funny! In trying to figure out the mystery of hook & eye tape, since I have NO idea when it was invented, I've written to Yale Hook and Eye and asked that question! Since it's a holiday weekend, I doubt I'll hear back for some days, but I'll post their response if they reply! In any event, I was under the impression that it had been around a good long while. But perhaps more in undergarments than outer apparel?

    I have 2 Edwardian bodices that at first glance "look" to be hook & eye tape, but on further inspection, the are, quite possibly like this piece, stitched into a kind of tucked placket that resembles tape at a glance.
  16. peaceful vintage

    peaceful vintage Administrator VFG Past President

    Nicole, If you were selling this would you be confident in listing this as a dress made in the 40s as a costume?
    Thank you
  17. Rue_de_la_Paix

    Rue_de_la_Paix VFG Member


    I will post this in all 3 threads.

    My last word. I think all 3 pieces you have kindly shared with us, are all original antique or vintage garments. However, all 3 have been altered at some point to make them fit a new wearer, and a strong possibility is that this was done for use as a costume for a film or play...both to fit a new wearer/s and possibly to alter the style to fit a time period.

    All the fabrics used in these dresses are clearly antique or vintage. The alterations are shown and obvious. I certainly respect the opinions of the others, and this forum has room for all to share, but my 35 years of researching antique clothing (including working with professional costumers for film and theatre) tells me they are not reproductions.

    Although they may have been altered or used as a costume, to sell them as simply as "costume" may be a mistake, in my opinion. You would miss reaching the antique clothing collectors market who would still be very interested in these garments, regardless of the alterations.

    OK...my two cents has been spent.

  18. peaceful vintage

    peaceful vintage Administrator VFG Past President

    Hi Barbara, I will not make that mistake. I will describe all three pieces accordingly noting the time period they are from and the possibility of alterations being made over time.
    Thanks on all three.
  19. mingus107

    mingus107 Registered Guest

    I can offer you no advice or opinion on any of these dresses. The amazing vintage Goddesses and Gods (Jonathon!:wub:) have spoken! I am truly humbled by the observations and information on this site.

    I just wanted to say that you have stumbled across some really lovely and interesting pieces! Good luck with them!

  20. vgirl, this dress has such strong indicators of the late '40s, upon reflection I think it's likely to be late '40s with alterations, perhaps for theatre. I'm still confused by that hook and eye tape - has anyone else seen fastenings like this in a gown of the late '40s?


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