Updated: Mar 5, 2022
I was reading up on Dior's history during the 1950s. It was an exciting time just after the war, and there were plenty of women that hated the New Look. It mean't women had to buy a whole new wardrobe of clothes. Many of these women became resourceful during the war in the 1940s, making do with shorter hems and fewer yards of cloth went into making the clothes during this decade.
There were significant protests because many women couldn't alter their clothes into the shapes and layers of the new silhouettes. A significant problem was finding enough material, especial for the matching top and skirt.
They also had to find corsets to create a new shape. Even the dressmaking and shop mannequins had to be changed to accommodate the new look.
Dior was lucky and had many good machinists and pattern cutters who worked at many older couture houses that could cut and sew the new looks.
Many of the dresses had many layers of support and lots of yards of the outer fabric. This would include interlining of muslin, calico and horsehair for hems, boning, lining, waist stays and padding. Gowns were over 3 kilograms, and the corset had to come back because the desired tiny waist shape could not be achieved without structure and support. (the corsets also held the garments in place on the body). Often these dresses had the corset inbuilt creating many layers. It wasn't until later that the corset was worn as a separate piece.
Many clever women used the same skirt for day and evening wear but changed the top or jacket. These garments were connected with either hooks or buttons at the waist, so the two-piece sat as one piece on the body.
Women had the freedom to dress themselves during the war; they wore garments with easy closures and slips, not corsets; dressing was easy and practical.
The new Dior dresses need more than one pair of hands to get into and fasten the closures of the gown. Servants were no longer in the household, and it was up to the family, mainly husbands, to zipping and button women into their garments. It also took a lot longer to get ready; for the 1st time in 10 years, women had the time to indulge in being and looking like a woman. I wonder if men may have appreciated the effort women took to look good as, for the first time in a culture, they were involved in dressing and undressing someone other than themselves.
The average size 12 American model was Bust 32 Waist 26 and Hip 35. The average size 8 Australian model during the 2000s was Bust 34 to 36, Waist 25 to 27 and Hip 35 to 37.
The bust measurement may have grown recently due to women having bust enlargement surgery.
It makes me wonder what we will look like or be wearing in 50 years.