Garment Fashions for Spring 1915

Garment Fashions for Spring 1915

Despite the fact that suit manufacturers and designers are depending mainly upon their ideas for the construction of their spring models, it is evident from the few models seen at the end of the year, that there will be quite as much diversity of style in the spring lines as has characterized the lines for the last three or more seasons.

What effect this continued diversity of style will have upon the buyers’ minds, is not difficult to forecast. Therefore, buyers should use their utmost endeavor to obtain a general survey of the style tendencies as regards length of suit coats and fullness of skirts in their communities, before they visit the market.

Thus they will be well fortified to listen to the tales of style narrated by the various firms, and so be able to form their conclusions as to what will best meet the wants of their customers.

Chaotic Fashion Situation

That measures are being taken to control to some extent the present chaotic style situation there is a good reason to believe, and buyers for their sake should encourage and support such an organization.

The mass of American women does not care one iota for the individuality of style. They have been so long accustomed to the standardization of fashions, that they lose confidence in the fashion situation in a season which shows every possible length of a suit coat.

The majority of them have now learned that it is impossible to keep up with the fashion edicts, which change two or three times in a season, and so they are content to either wear classic tailored styles or their old clothes.

Had there been a firm grasp on the style situation, some organizations that would have given out the right news at the right time, particularly to the consumer, had there not been such keen competition among retail departments to show something different, and among newspaper correspondents to write and picture something different, we would not have been suffering for the last few seasons from undigested fashions.

Short Suit Coats

Suit coats are shown anywhere from the waistline length to the knee length. While some of the longer ones are very excellent models and serve to give the buyer a greater variety of choice, it is hardly probable that much business will be done on them.

Lengths that will be highly desirable for the spring are those with waistline anywhere from twenty-seven to twenty-eight inches. The latter will be mostly in the form of the Norfolk jacket or the Service coat, which is a style that finds its inspiration in the very practical coat now worn by the English officers.

It is not so military in flavor as to repel those women who are strong peace advocates. It is a natty practical affair with patch pockets and is well suited to the majority of materials employed in the construction of spring suits.

Tailored Styles

Tailored styles of classic severity are to come into their own again. It is in this line that the American tailors made their first success, and in which they have no rivals. The tendency towards simpler forms of dress, both at home and abroad, brings the tailored styles into great prominence.

One of the suit coat styles shown in the early lines is an Empire body with the lower section in flare effect. While this is reminiscent of some of the later fall styles, it has been well adapted to spring use and is one which should gain considerable favor in the more formal suits, as it will require little if any alteration and the length renders it suitable for both tall and short women.

For Southern Tourists

Then there are the Etons which reach barely to the waistline, and loose box coats which come to the waistline or one or two inches below it. A retail collection just shown for the southern tourist trade consists of all these styles, except that the Empire model is not as correct as it might be.

These suits are developed in white serge, gabardine, and broadcloth, white cotton and linen, corduroy, and natural colored shantungs.

The skirts of this retail display are fuller, somewhere from two to two and a half yards. The tunic is conspicuous by its absence in them. All have flare bottoms. A few are made with inset plaited sections; others are in the gored style.

Always the skirts are smooth fitting about the hips, some being made with yokes. There is little if any effort at ornamenting these suits, aside from button trimming.

The linen Eton suit was the sole exception to this rule, being embroidered directly to the material of both skirt and jacket, and the latter being edged further with a deep openwork embroidery.

Separate Coats

The separate coat reaching to the knee or a trifle below it seems to be a favored length. Dressy jackets have not yet made their appearance in any significant number; they are made mostly of silk, and the styles are a mingling of a cape and full coat effects.

Belted styles in sports and motor coats are made of tweeds, mixtures, colored and white chinchillas, as well as checks. The Empire body with full flaring, knee-length skirt, is already commanding considerable attention. Sleeves are generally sufficiently large to permit of the coat is easily slipped on and off.

Many are made with set-in sleeves with a reasonably large arm-size. Some are made with modified kimono sleeves, and others with raglan effects.

Separate Shirts

Separate skirts are of three general styles—the circular, the circular gored, and the plaited effect. The one-piece circular skirt was tried and found wanting years ago because it was so apt to sag even when hung on the line, hence the introduction of the three-piece circular skirt.

The practical skirt is made of covert, serge and poplin, in severe tailored style with a side front patch pocket, often with a buttoned flap. The silk skirt with wide horizontal tucks from ankle to hips is a smart style which has already been received with much favor.

This is also a good style for voile. A few of the more dressy models are being made in slightly draped effects, and others with long circular tunics, because some of the foreign models are made in these styles.

Charming New Blouses

There is much to be said in favor of the new blouses, which are generally made with extended sleeve, collar high in the back and low in front, while some are buttoned to the throat. Lines are simple, and trimmings generally of the same character.

Some most beautiful moderate priced blouses are developed in crêpe de chine. The new sand, putty, Sphinx, Dutch blue and battleship grey, black and white combinations and all white are the colors most strongly indicated for the Spring Season.

Faille and yarn dyed taffetas are being used for the construction of blouses for the more exclusive trade. Crêpe Georgette and chiffon blouses are combined with lace and net.

The washable blouses are made in white and colored cotton, such as voile, fancy cords, shirtings, Madras, lawn batiste, and pique. Some linen waists are being taken in both white and dark colors.


The fuller skirt is now an accepted fact in dress lines. This may be either the ruffled skirt with a narrow foundation or the full flare skirt ornamented with plain or puffed bands.

Others are made with graduated folds or ruffles of silk from hem to waistline. High-waisted and the new normal waistline models vie with one another for the buyer's favor.

Wanted Dress Fabrics

Silk finds the first position in dress lines, the leading favorites being taffeta and faille, which lend themselves best to the construction of the new styles. Crêpe de chine and satin are used for the less expensive merchandise.

A few shantung dresses are noted in tailored dresses, where covert cloth, serge, and gabardine are the most wanted dress goods. A goodly number of models are shown in plain and fancy linens and cotton fabrics.


The return of the fuller skirt makes for renewed interest in petticoats of both silk and cotton materials. The shapes in petticoats follow the styles conservatively in outer skirts. They are somewhat broader about the bottom, and many are trimmed almost to the knee.

It is a pity, indeed, that the skirt manufacturer does not make his deep flounce to come just above the knee. That is the French style and a most excellent one for service and comfort.

While there is some talk of the necessity for material with more body, in the spring lines, to hold out the outer skirt, this is a requirement more talked about than necessary. For an adequately cut dress skirt will stand out of itself and needs no assistance from the underskirt.

Petticoat Widths

Gathered and plaited flounces are both being used for the ornamentation of the new styles. Taffeta, mescaline, satin and crêpe de chine are the materials most used for silk petticoats, while colors are more subdued than they were a year ago.

The safer width for the skirt, whether it be of silk or cotton, is from two to two and a quarter yards. Last summer white pique and other heavy materials were favored for the plain styles in summer skirts.

This year there is liable to be a return to the flounced and furbelowed lingerie petticoat of cambric or nainsook with an embroidered flounce or lace trimmings. On account of the probable big season on white dresses during the warmer months, the outlook is particularly promising for the wider white cotton petticoats.

Children's Dresses

There are many pretty styles in children’s dresses, the chief of which are the Dutch dresses. These have the white waist made of lawn, voile, organdie or novelty cotton, while the skirt, girdle, and bretelles (suspenders) are of a plain color, or check or plaid designs.

Some few show the blouse of plain color, and the skirt of fancy material, but these are neither so dainty nor so attractive as those with a white guimpe.

Subdued military effects are shown in children’s dresses. These have trimmings of wash braid, loops, and buttons. Some are ornamented with belts, which are fastened with army buckles.

Both long and short waisted dresses are shown in the new lines, and it is generally believed that the latter will command more attention. Bolero effects are among the novel ideas demonstrated in long waisted dresses.

Colored embroidery is used for the ornamentation of some white dresses, while others are embroidered in white upon white pique or linen. Russian dresses will also come in for a considerable amount of attention.

Children's Coats

Covert, serge, gabardine, poplin, and checked cloths are shown in the early spring coats for children. These are built on simple lines, the trimming consisting almost entirely of collar and cuffs in matching color or white and made of faille satin. Lingerie collars will also be used and will be of linen, pique, organdy, or lawn.

The more dressy coats will be of taffetas, satin faille, and poplin. The flare effect promises to be particularly suitable. In some jackets it will start from the shoulders, in others, it will begin just below the yoke.

For the early spring, navy blue, army blue, Belgian blue and Russian green promise well, as do the sand colored covert coats, some of which are exact reproductions of the top coat.

Paris Conditions

A rumor was borne possibly of the desire for imported merchandise, that the leading Paris dressmakers would migrate to London en masse.

This would have been a mistake of judgment on the part of the French firms, and the move now proves to be only one of the many false rumors that have been current since the first of August.

For those who are supplied with the latest thing in passports, it is quite easy to visit Paris as it is London. Moreover, it is not so long since a few retailers in this country found from several season's experiences that it was a mistake of judgment to buy English costumes instead of the original French garments, even though they could be procured for a much lower price.

Featured in the departments, they admirably illustrated the fact that for real value in the line, construction and color the New York costume manufacturer has the English dressmaker beaten a mile.

The English costumes had to be practically given away, and never served even the purposes of models, for the New York costume houses had the original Paris models before the English ones were received. American designs are by all odds the best substitute for Paris models under existing conditions.

While all Paris dressmakers are not open for business, those who are working are generally of the right sort, the real creators of fashions. Callot, Martial et Armand, Redfern, Drecoll, Beer, Buzenet, these are working for their private trade a considerable amount of attention, as well as the American buyers.

“Garments” in Dry Goods Guide, New York: Black Publishing Company, Vol. 35, No. 1, January 1915, p. 41, 43-44.

Note: We have edited this text to correct grammatical errors and improve word choice to clarify the article for today’s readers. Changes made are typically minor, and we often left passive text “as is.” Those who need to quote the article directly should verify any changes by reviewing the original material.


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