The Origin of Sundresses

Sundresses sauntered out onto the fashion scene in 1956 with the initial adaptation of red, blue, and yellow colors, plaid cotton, and an A-line style produced by American stylist Claire McCardell just two years before her passing. famous for popular designs with ready-to-wear attire, Claire McCardell created wear which was affordable, practical, and chic. She is credited with creating the American visage of contemporary fashion, perceptible in the nonchalant apparel approach, embracing of democratic principles and circumventing traditional French fashion trends. After her collegiate life at Hood College at the age of 16, this designer entered into at the time was referred to as the New York School of Fine and Applied Art, initiating her fashion vocation and starting along the path that would eventually bring forth the creation of sundresses. She took her first steps by simplifying first profiles that caused her attire to be further accessible for the everyday girl. Her diploma in Fahion Design was issued after 3 years. McCardell was appointed to run Townley Frocks, Inc. after the president had passed and invented a collection displayed in the spring of 1931. Hattie Carnegie contracted her after the corporation filed for bankruptcy, but her want to abstain from French influence ended while living there and participating in European fashion conventions. On re-opening, McCardell returned to her past employer and was rewarded with her own label. This development vaulted her to the status of one of the first American stylists and female stylists to be known by name. World War 2 terminated all contact with France as far as fashion was concerned and the wartime apportionment of material liberated McCardell to incorporate material made of ballet slippers. She was issued two of the most famous laurels in the apparel industry and her “American Look” brand was in vogue internationally. The then-president Harry S. Truman bestowed upon her with an award in 1950, just a few years prior to the production of sundresses. By 1952 she was an exectuive herself of Townley but this did not stop her from finalizing her line and forevermore steering the course of women’s clothing lines. Her most well known designs were her Monastic dresses from 1938 which sported untailored and comfortable sleeves with patch pockets and a belt to create the hourglass around the waist, oftentimes seen today. 4 years later she produced the well-known Popever dress that was a versatile wrap dress meant to cover up a swim suit, a housedress, a party dress, or a dressing gown. The diaper bathing suit was a further celebrated style which had a panel wrapping below the waist, cut from cotton. She streamlined wool bathing suits, used ballet slippers for every day foot wear, and then pressed onward to create pleats and pants pockets in women’s clothing. Subsequently, she integrated loosely worn cloth, bound as one to accentuate the hourglass curves of a female anatomy and this made room for the birth of revealing sundresses. The sundresses McCardell produced have belting which permits the roundness of the skirt to be recognized with the perfect hourglass body. The bustline is projected making an outline with the modern halter top. The cloth frequently used by McCardell contained cotton, denim, jersey, twill, and gingham. Using no corsets, girdles, or crinolines, her sundresses were less structured but still complemented as they were form fitting to the inherent beauty of each woman’s body. By all of the awards for progressive creations such as sundresses, McCardell received the Mademoiselle Merit award, the Distinguished Achievement award, the Women’s National Press Club award, the Coty American Fashion Critics award, and the Neiman Marcus award. She published a book on her newest vision of American apparel and sundresses titled “What Shall I Wear? The What, Where, When, and How Much of Fashion”, issued the same year as sundresses were made public. She is now credited with making known the lifestyles of American women who were contemporaries who were modern and common-sensical while still informal, practical, feminine, and at ease. World wars removed access to expensive French fabrics which compelled McCardell to configuration less complicated, low-priced wear. Her sundresses used her trademark use of spaghetti ties, decorative hooks instead of buttons, double top-stitching, full patch pockets, as well as the popularization of denim, mattress ticking, wool fleece, and calicos. Depending upon the intuition that there were functionality problems with women’s wear which were required to be solved, McCardell implemented the changes in vacation travel by configuring women’s wear that would travel well, could be mixed and matched, and could be coordinated with various pieces of an outfit. Sundresses, for example, may be worn on their own with flats, or worn formally with high heels and a knit sweater and pearls. No matter the theme, McCardell’s sundresses integrated featured an uncluttered and utilitarian look without padding or understructures, fitted nicely to a women’s build. a number had adjustable components for alternative build types.

Keoki Tanagashi is an avid fashion styleer, photographer and collector of native Hawaiian artifacts. He and his wife design prints for fabric companies in Malaysia and his body of photography has been exibited in North and South America, Europe and Asia. You can find his newest sundresses at et

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