Supple Silhouette of Fall Outerwear 1922

Midsummer Outerwear 1922

Novelties of Interest Introduce the Unbelted Line and Varied Lengths in Coats, Suits, and Cloaks.

The first collections having arrived from Paris for adaptation to American tastes and needs, both their predicted and their more or less surprising features are, ere this, well-considered amongst the designers.

It gives a general satisfaction that the nipped in and straight silhouettes are facts, as is the elimination of belted and wrapped lines.

Closing lines are in the main well to the left, à la Russe, with shoulder and waist buttons, or clasps. The inset line of the sleeve is angular rather than circular.

Panel backs show the panel broken, not draped, at the hip line. There is also a wide square-cut panel collar which hangs loosely, dropping to the waistline.

Paneled sides are shown in both fabric and fur. A panel of pintuck applied self-fabric is, in one model, stitched flat to the body of the coat. In these effects, it is thus early made plain that panels have considerable vitality left despite long and approved service.

The "new look" which appears as the mark of individuality in the Helen Mack collection is due to the released line from underarm to hem, in the straight-line types.

Another model shows the new nipped in waistline with pinch pleats taken in under the arm, or shirrings held flat by a belt stitched across the back, melting into the undulating lines as part of the fabric itself. While the pouf back model is intimated, it nevertheless is slight and confined to suit jackets.

The fronts are equally flat and vary the clasp closing lines by infrequent use of a narrow fabric girdle which runs through front slashes, tying at the left.

It is, therefore, plainly to be seen that the decorative closing line is not of the importance it has proven to be in the draped frock. One coat in this collection closed employing four fabric covered buttons and loops but, it was the sole effect obtained in this practical manner.

While the belt is generally disposed of, one coat was conspicuously effective in showing a series of upstanding fur inserts, around the waist section, simulating a girdle line perhaps twelve inches deep.

Shoulder and Hemline Changes

The most radical changes in coats apart from belt questions are indicated at the hemline and shoulders. Smoothly fitted shoulders merge into the 1830 lines, which are accented by trimmings in braids, picot edge fabric trim, glimpses of high color and lame effects, fine embroidery and fur bandings, scallops, points, fluted and cut-out effects in the fabric.

While the straight-line coat is in the ascendency, the side godet is not wholly eliminated and finds itself additionally brought into prominence by applique fur sections in vertical lines, which replace the former horizontal borders.


Sleeves are bell style, close line, wide, medieval and circular-flounce forms, in nearly every instance showing a fur section and occasionally the cloth strapped fur cuff.

Panels are in no small measure replaced by the outstanding wide tuck, and it is by this means that the panel back is occasionally suggested. This tuck is from one to three inches in width and carries from the shoulder seam to the hem.

Overlapping sections show angular breaks in the surface by their beautiful lines. They may be further accented by inlay lines of color or tinsel, or by contrasting shades of the chosen color.

In such cases, these details are repeated upon choker collar, and cuffs, with the sideline closing, marked either a part or the whole of its length.

Pin tucking carries over in exhaustive developments.

All-over embroideries are of fresh interest as they melt into the cloth by simulating matelassé effects in solid or two-tone color developments, while black is applied to navy blue.

Braiding when used in all-over effects is also allowed to melt into the ground tone in this way. Tinsel embroideries are undoubtedly open to many hitherto unutilized developments, but smaller patterns in close geometries will replace the vast motifs and branching traceries.

The Tailor-Made Suit

From the standpoint of evolving lines, the Tailor-Made Suit of French origin offers more notable departures from last year's characteristics than does the separate coat.

Although the jackets include the hip length, fingertip, and knee-length types, each of these undergoes fundamental changes in greater or lesser degree.

The essential change in the youthful short jacket is in the abandonment of the Chinois, or swinging paletot line, in favor of the close hip section, whether bloused or smoothly handled above.

Emphasizing this line, which hugs the figure, are fur bands or other devising such as stitched or pin tucked sections.

The Suede Novelties

The leading novelty is the development of the suede suit because of the remarkable improvement in the handling of the leather. Today it is often combined with broadcloth which, in black, it resembles. It is also shown in the Mack collection, as a development with kasha and in highly striking colors.

It lends itself readily to needlecraft effects, such as the buttonhole stitch ladders over contrasted colors, the machine stitchery section developments, and the full range of utility fabric handlings of the most practical nature. It is; therefore, a new and convincing Tailor-Made Suit note.

As both short and long jackets are promoted in this medium, an excellent idea may be obtained as to its future possibilities given its newer flexibility and color range.

The Cape Jacket

The cape jacket promotes a new note in youthful suits. While this feature has infrequently made its appearance in separate coats and the longer jackets, it has this year been given a rather extraordinary development in the restoration of the suit to its place of former prestige.

The jacket itself upon which it appears is of fingertip length as a rule, although it may be longer. The cape may vary in the cut of its sweep and mode of adjustment under the collar, but its most striking point of interest is its relation to the jacket sleeve of which it often becomes a part, or from which it appears to flow. In gowns, this effect has been gaining ground for some time.

Both pile fabrics and shaggy textures are thus employed, while the velour variations are allowed a marked fullness at a shallow yoke line or in fluted pleats, which are cartridge pleats in newer guise and rival of the pintuck and sun-ray pleat modes.

The Frill Cord Hem

An outstanding note is struck in carrying on a silhouette which has been developed in Paris in the silk Tailor-Made Suit for Summer—the full line at the hem of both coat and skirt gathered into a cord.

In the heavier fabrics, this gathered lower line is marked by a three or four-inch band of fur, usually the foxes, skunk, martin, or sable-opossum. In bringing out its novelty light shades are introduced in the cloths in combination with the dark furs. This is the slender woman's silhouette and a distinctive fashion intimation.

The Belt Question

The heirless coat and jacket prevail. When a belt is introduced, it relates itself to the silhouette and does not do its old-fashioned duty in holding in fullness to the figure.

A belt today is a decorative feature and is so employed across the front of a jacket rather than the back and, as a rule, confined by a medium size fabric button and buttonhole.

Fabric is also employed in tying side sections in the manner of inch wide ribbons occasionally, but the melting or yielding line is achieved without such aid as a rule. The all-around string girdle and metal variations have practically disappeared.

Collars and Cuffs

The chin-chin collar with its trim lines is the current preference, fastening at the left side with loops and small fabric buttons. It is equally useful in fur and fabric. In the later developments, the color of the lining or an inner rim of color is allowed to show.

Cuffs are oblong sections applied at the outer side of the sleeve or circular in type. Occasionally the butcher boy cuff is shown, which closes down to a narrow wrist line.

Of the group, the circular cuff of suggesting four inches was frequently noted.

Overall, the Fail Tailor-Made Suit offers much that is interestingly diversified and fresh in its fabrics, colors, fur choice, and silhouette tendencies.

Skirts offer hip pleats and gathers with flat fronts and backs; panels of narrow box pleats; of pin tucks with plain surface areas; outstanding tucks at the sides; fur bands at lower edge and a new scalloped hem.

Evening Cloaks

The dégagée line is replaced by the cape wrap or straight-line silhouette which is quite changed in both its actual cut and the mode of wearing by the mannequin who no longer draws up her shoulders and pulls the folds up to accent the pose.

This is equally true of the Gaufred velvets, the lame fabrics and plain velvet and satin wraps.

The padded hem is shown, many contrasted sleeve developments and the chin-chin and high shawl collar. Also, a bolster collar showed last season at the Fur Show as an Elizabethan collar.

Fabric interest outdistances the quest for embroidery novelties, but the use of embroidered furs brings forward a blending of interests which promises good things.


A paletot is a French topcoat etymologically derived from the Middle English word paltok, meaning a kind of jacket. It is a semi-fitted to fitted coat with peaked lapels, a flat back, and no belt. Its double-breasted 6×2 button arrangement has top buttons placed wider, although they are not buttoned. (Wikipedia)

“The Supple Silhouette and Sparkling Details Mark Fall Outerwear: Novelties of Interest Introduce the Unbelted Line and Varied Lengths in Coats, Suits and Cloaks,” in The American Cloak and Suit Review: Devoted to the Women’s and Children’s Ready-to-Wear Trades, New York: John M. O’Connor & Co., Vol. XXIII, No. 5, May 1922, p. 112-114.

Editor's Note: Some terminology used in the description of women's clothing during the 1800s and early 1900s has been changed to reflect more modern terms. For example, a women's "Toilette" -- a form of costume or outfit has an entirely different common meaning in the 21st century. Typical terms applied to "toilette" include outfit, ensemble, or costume, depending on context.

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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