Vintage late 1930s rayon crepe ensemble in white-piped navy pairs a short-sleeved, slim-skirted dress and jaunty, lapelled cape. From the estate of a local woman who wore this in her early 20s, the set’s colorway, fabric and silhouette would have made it the height of fashion in Spring ’38.
The fitted bodice of the dress has gently-puffed shoulders and two Deco-snazzy blue and white plastic “novelty fasteners” (as they would have been called), the top one functional and the bottom purely decorative. Photo #3 demonstrates how they open, with the white “latch” of the fastener sliding down to “unlock” a pair of blue Lego-like rectangles mounted on half-circles.
Gathered by the top fastener into a “V”, the neckline forms a flirty keyhole between the two fasteners, after which the two channels of piping lay smoothly side by side to the waist. The curve-hugging skirt has a pintucked panel down the center front which surrounds the inverted pleat that eases motion without disrupting the slim line.
Dress has an underarm to waist metal zipper on the left.
The cape’s contrast-piped lapels and edges frame the bodice prettily. In front, pintucked panels on either side combine with shoulder gathers to create sleeve-like definition which echoes the puffed shoulders in the dress underneath. Similarly, a pintucked panel down the cape’s center back echoes the one down the center front of the skirt.
Dress is unlined; cape is self-faced and lined (ie stitched in a double layer of fabric), to keep it hanging smoothly.
No labels of any kind. Measurements are:
Dress bust 36”, shoulders 14.5”, waist 26”, hips 32”, sleeve length 10”, sleeve opening 11”, bodice shoulder to waist seam 16”, length shoulder to hem 43”.
Cape “shoulders” approx. 15”, sweep at hem 60”, and length center back to hem 21”.
Cape is in excellent condition. Dress in is good condition, with discoloration at the armsceyes (photo #7; please note that the lightened closeups greatly exaggerate this flaw, which in “real life” is fairly well camouflaged by the fabric’s dark color).
Photo #8 shows some catalog and newspaper clips, all from Spring 1938, of dresses and dress/cape sets in similar silhouettes.
Proud Member of the VFG Vintage Fashion Guild