Yesterday, I was at the Baum School of Art working on my cataloging project. I’ve photographed and created a numbering system for over 100 outfits in the Stieg Collection. This is a really important part of creating a fashion archive. As I was checking that each garment had the right number, I kept getting distracted by this suit:
Jane Stieg had her wardrobe custom made by the Utah Tailoring Mills from 1958 – 1968. But this suit reminded me so much of Christian Dior’s New Look collection! In 1947, Dior really revolutionized fashion. Wartime restrictions during WWII had limited the amount of fabric used in individual garments. Money was also tight for many people, so they simply had to “make do” with what they had. Women altered and repaired their garments. Hemlines were higher than in the 1930s to conserve fabric. So when Dior introduced longer hemlines and full skirts, it caused an uproar. Women were literally forced to buy new garments to keep up with trends. After all, you can always shorten a skirt. But making it longer usually won’t work.
The Bar Suit, above, was probably the most iconic piece from Dior’s 1947 collection. Sloped, padded shoulders descend to a small, nipped in waist. The coat then becomes full again and covers the hips – almost like a peplum. The full, shin-length skirt is in a dark, contrasting color.
Jane’s suit was most likely made in 1958 or 1959, because it follows the silhouette of the New Look must more loosely. Dior’s suits required numerous underpinnings to give it that sharp, sleek, and impossibly small torso. Throughout the 1950s, women went on serious diets to try to achieve this ideal body
. Garments during this period were very structured, and very tiny!
Jane’s suit isn’t as structured, and has softer shoulders, too. It also doesn’t have a collar. Her jacket does have a similar length, like Dior’s. And the color combination is a nod to the Bar Suit, for sure!
has a copy of the original Bar Suit in it’s collection (below). They have great mannequins, and really emphasized what the outfit would have looked like on the body. Jane’s suit (above) probably would have had a crinoline or tulle petticoat, which would have given it more shape. The shot above is has no reinforcements, so it just hangs straight up and down.
And like Dior, Jane’s suit was custom made just for her based off of her measurements.