The Early Teens Walking Suit- A Brief Look

 

The walking suit represented a major step in the evolution of women’s wear during the late 19th and early 20 Centuries. Starting in the early 1890s, the walking suit was considered an essential part of a woman’s wardrobe and by the Teens, it occupied a prominent place in fashion. Style details, construction, and fabric varied depending on price point but the objective was always the same- a outfit that a woman could wear out in public that was practical yet stylish. In response to the growing popularity of walking suits, clothing manufacturers produced walking suits in a variety of fabrics, colors and styles. Walking suits became to widespread that even the major couturiers couldn’t ignore it.

Walking Suit 1910

Walking Suit, 1910

In response, couturiers began to offer an ever-expanding line of practical day wear of which the walking suit was a key element and each couturier put their own twist on the basic design as with this walking suit by Paquin:

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Paquin, Walking Suit, 1912; National Gallery of Victoria (2015.670.a-b)[National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Purchased with funds donated by Mrs Krystyna Campbell-Pretty in memory of Mr Harold Campbell-Pretty, 2015 © Paquin]

The above example illustrates one jacket style was designed to give the effect of a robe or kimono; naturally, this effect tended to work better with a lighter fabric such as a linen.  Here’s another one from Maison Worth:

Walking Suit Worth c. 1913

Worth, Walking Suit, c. 1913; Metropolitan Museum of Art (1980.16.3a, b)

Jackets also followed more conventional styles such as with this one:

Paquin Walking Suit 1910 Front

Jeanne Paquin, Walking Suit, Spring/Summer 1910; Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009.300.474a–d)

The walking suit below from Redfern features a more tailored jacket (which would come as no surprise given Redfern’s background):

c. 1911 Walking Suit Redfern

Redfern, Walking Suit, c. 1911; V&A Museum (T.28&A-1960)

c. 1911 Walking Suit Redfern

Three-quarter rear profile.

And jackets could also have more of a greatcoat style:

Walking Suit Redfern c. 1910

Redfern, Walking Suit, c. 1910; Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009.300.107a, b)

And just to round things off, here are a few from unknown makers:

Walking Suit c. 1912

Walking Suit, c. 1912; McCord Museum (M976.35.2.1-2)

Walking Suit c. 1912

And here’s one from 1915:

Walking Suit 1915

Walking Suit, 1915; McCord Museum (M983.130.3.1-3)

Walking Suit 1915

And sometimes, it was hard to tell where “suit” left off and “dress” began…here’s an example from 1911:

Walking Suit 1911

Walking Suit, 1911; Metropolitan Museum of Art (1976.290.7a–c)

The above examples are only a small fraction of what was out there but it’s clear that the walking suit had arrived as a major wardrobe item. We hope that this will serve as a source of inspiration for those looking to recreate the day wear of the early Teens. And finally, just to tie this into something more contemporary, consider this:

Boarding Dress3 Titanic Movie Walking Suit

Enjoy! 🙂

At No. 11…

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We’ve arrived in Tombstone for Helldorado Days and now it’s time to get the house in order after all the renovation that’s been going on…

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Angus is checking everything out…he’s not too crazy about the mess…

Things were in a bit of a disarray in the front room (formerly the bedroom) but the plan is to restore it to its original purpose as a parlor, complete with a few working sewing machines- yes, it’s meant to be a functional room. 🙂 And here’s a progress picture:

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Making progress in the parlor…

And of course, Angus has already chosen his new resting place…

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And here Angus is expressing his concern over all the disorder…

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Stay tuned, there’s more coming… 🙂

 

And For Some Style From Maison Rouff

Maison Rouff Card 1910.

Recently, we came across this interesting evening dress style that was offered by Maison Rouff from circa 1895:

Rouff Evening Dress c. 1895

Maison Rouff, Evening Dress, c. 1895; Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009.300.2339a, b)

Rouff Evening Dress c. 1895

Three-Quarter Rear View

The interesting thing about this style is incorporation of a short sleeve jacket/vest into the bodice, reminiscent of an 18th Century waist coat. This is a feature that’s not usually encountered in evening dress styles of the 1890s (at least what we’ve come across so far). Here’s a close-up of the back of the bodice:

Rouff Evening Dress c. 1895

Close-up detail of bodice back.

The dress and under-bodice look like a fairly conventional silk chiffon with a silk underskirt but where the jacket/vest definitely gives this a unique look. We would love to know more about this imaginative dress. 🙂

 

Fabric Safari in London…

 

It’s been a busy August between a buying trip to Oregon for all manner of vintage lace and fabrics and renovating No. 11 in Tombstone but we’ve gotten it all under control and turned our attention to our upcoming trip to London. With no costumes to bring with us this time, we’ll be travelling light (relatively speaking). We’ve created a bit of itinerary, focusing on some promising fabric stores along with some museums that we missed the last time. Of course, we’ll flying out on our favorite airline…

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Some tentative stops on our fabric safari are:

  • MacCulloch & Wallis, Ltd.– This one has admittedly mixed reviews and is priced a bit on the high side but you never know until you look.
  • The Berwick Street Cloth Shop– The reviews are better here and it’s a short walk away from MacCulloch & Wallis so we might as check this one out too.
  •  The Silk Society– The name says it all…we’re always on the lookout for the unique and different and especially when it comes to silk. 🙂
  • Kleins– Looks more of a generalist establishment but it may be worth hitting just because.

I’m sure there’s a lot more out there and I realize that the pricing is on the high side but we’ve always had the philosophy that if we come across the right piece for our clients, we’re willing to pay a little more. So with that said, it’s really more about the search and if we walk away empty-handed, that’s OK too. 🙂