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Vintage dress 30s or 50s *scratches head

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Fashion - Ask Questions Get Answers' started by GemGem, Jun 8, 2021 at 10:21 AM.

  1. GemGem

    GemGem Registered Guest

    Hello all,

    So I have two dresses which have a similar design which is confusing me on the decade they belong to. The tulle makes me think 50sbut the body style makes me think 30s, metal back zipper not particularly short or long. Also to note is that the mannequin is very tall, about 5ft9/10 so I think this would usually be calf length rather than just below the knee.


    Apologies that the photos are terrible, i think I will re-photograph outside in the sun!






    The similar dress I have has a short side metal zipper. And the same fabric lining. Pictures below (Think I will also re-photograph this in the sun-gah, light colours are so difficult)

    30s dress.jpg

    side zipper.jpg
  2. Vinclothes

    Vinclothes Alumni +

    Mid-back zippers were not used in the 1930's. Have you considered 1960's?
    GemGem likes this.
  3. Linn

    Linn Super Moderator Staff Member

    There were some back zippers used at the very end of the 1930s. They were not used frequently but they did appear. There are some shown in the movie "The Women." This is a late 1930s dress in the University of Hawaii's "Historic Costume Collection."

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I volunteered there for a few years - mostly in the 1930s section. I asked about it and Jonathan knew about back zippers - and "The Women."

    I "think" the first dress looks '50s but the second one could be earlier - could you please show a close up of the zipper pull.
    GemGem likes this.
  4. Flocked nylon spots and satin ribbon trimmed tiers was a thing in the early '70s and even though I can see earlier style influences in this dress, there was a lot of '30s and '40s influence at that time too. The construction is consistent with home sewn '70s too, especially regarding the seam width, finish and the lack of a facing on the bodice.

    Here's a dress I used to have. It also has a centre back zipper.

    GemGem likes this.
  5. Rue_de_la_Paix

    Rue_de_la_Paix VFG Member

    The second dress looks post WWII late 40s to maybe very early 50s to me.
    GemGem likes this.
  6. Yes, like Linn I've seen quite a few centre back zippers in the very late '30s. They were all in dresses that had straps, like Linn's, or plunging back.

    This one had a celluloid zip and another had a zip with a pull similar to the one that Linn's had. The zipper in the one above looks more like a '50s-60s pull but close ups would help. Apologies for the enormous photo. I can't see the option to make it a thumbnail.
    GemGem likes this.
  7. GemGem

    GemGem Registered Guest

    Thanks so much for the wonderful replies!

    Here are pictures of the two zipper pulls.

    First dress (dotty dress) White metal zipper pull, with circular base, square end long rectangular shape to pull, no name

    dotty dress zipper.jpg

    Second zipper pull (flocked dress) Long square end zipper pull by AERO

    flocked dress zipper.jpg
  8. Thanks, yes the first zipper looks to be '50s-60s as per my original assumption. The second is in keeping with the rest of the dress, which appears to be late '40s to early '50s. Is it flocked nylon too? You'll note the construction is different than the first dress, and the neckline has a facing.
    GemGem likes this.
  9. GemGem

    GemGem Registered Guest

    Great info everyone, thanks so much! I think it's the cusp clothing that still gets me but grateful for the knowledge imparted here which will add to the bank!
  10. GemGem

    GemGem Registered Guest

    Just posting a pic of each in the light because it makes soooo much difference! Model is 5ft 9 so I think both dresses would have fitted longer back in the days when 5ft9 was an exception! :)


    mags_rags likes this.

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