“When in doubt, wear red.”

Bill Blass, noted American designer (1922 – 2002), knew of what he spoke when he expressed this savvy advice.   Red, in all its various hues, is a color which commands attention, and therefore, it is no wonder that fashion sketches and dress patterns often feature red.  Red also figures distinctly in three months whose “colors” always include red:  December’s red and green; July’s red, white and blue; and, of course, February’s red, red, and red.

To celebrate February’s red, I have scoured my Vogue Pattern Book Magazines and my collection of vintage patterns to showcase some beautiful fabric and dress/suit/loungewear designs.  No doubt (pardon the pun), Mr. Blass would approve.

The February/March 1957 issue of  Vogue Pattern Book  magazine shows two pages of “Red – deep and rosy”.  While the red coat and two red dresses are obvious “fits” for the section, the mustard yellow suit (raw silk, according to the caption, which would be so elegant!) is completed with a red and green printed silk turban and red pumps.  (Hint for viewing:  click on the photos to see them larger and clearer.)

The middle suit looks to be a blue and red printed-silk surah, while the evening gown is to be made in a silk organdie.

This coat has a high waist and deep pleats. Wear this over the black dress for a stunning look!

That same year, the June/July issue showed this lovely choice in cherry-red pique for “sight-seeing.”  No blue jeans and tee shirts for this excursion.

The wide brim hat with red flowers completes the look.

In 1958 (or in 2012), a chic home sewer could make this suit in a red tweed with self or braid binding.

Notice the stylish shoes!

Here is a suit from 1960 with a matching, reversible cape. The cape has arm openings in the side seams and is collarless so that it fits perfectly under the collar on the suit jacket.

Who says "redheads" can't wear red?

Here is a close-up of the cape. The leopard-printed lining matches her hat.

Red print fabrics have spun their own charm over the years.  Here are four, which seem to epitomize another statement from Bill Blass: “…fabric is an inspiration and a tool.” (See International Vogue Pattern Book  October/November 1971, page 27.)  I could definitely be inspired by these prints:

This wonderful giraffe print in red on white cotton, with stars, is shown in a skirt and blouse. There was no mention about the matching parasol. This design is in the April/May 1953 Vogue Pattern Book magazine.

This 1958 design features a daisy print silk lining in the coat.

The dress and coat are made in a slubbed silk barathea while the lining and hat are of silk surah, both by Couture, according to the February/March Vogue Pattern Book of that year.

This fabric is rightly referred to as "Square red of wonderful"!

This silk surah looks equally eye-catching in a slim or full skirt. I'll have one of each, thank you!

What I wouldn't do to be able to buy this printed silk! This pattern was featured in the February/March 1961 issue of Vogue Pattern Book magazine. According to the description, "this dress has a camisole top underneath its short-sleeved 'popover' top that buttons up the back." With lipstick and shoes to match, it makes a stunning ensemble.

And here are classic polka dots, white on red, in a 1957 blouse design.

A Peter Pan collar and polka dots - a winning combination!

Vogue Pattern Book’s editors often featured styles for college girls and little girls.  Velvet, gingham and candy-striped denim (yes, that’s correct, denim!), all in red, were featured for little girls in the issue for August/September 1960:

This little girl is all set to help "help Mommy cook" in a white pinafore.

These “coeds”, according to the editors of the August/September issue of 1958, were taking a 5-minute study break to model these dorm fashions!

The girl in the harlequin pedal-pusher pants and smock-top looks to me like she’s actually taking a break from her part-time job with the circus, while Miss Muu-Muu is  — chatting on the phone!   Some things never change, just like the timeless appeal of RED.

5 Comments

Filed under Blouse patterns from the 1950's, Coats, Polka dots, The Conde Nast Publications, Uncategorized, vintage Vogue patterns from the 1950s, vintage Vogue patterns from the 1960s

5 responses to ““When in doubt, wear red.”

  1. I WANT that giraffe print fabric!! Sooo cool! Thanks for sharing those sketches.

    Another note about red:
    In the film and television world, costumers work very hard to keep 3 colors out of most shots – red, bright white, and black. All three are bad on background extras because they are attention grabbing colors. And it seems that those are the three colors most extras bring in their suitcases. If you see red on camera, it was most likely put there on purpose (or someone is in trouble for not catching it during filming).

  2. Yes, that giraffe print is very cool, very 1950s.

    Very interesting about red in TV and movies – now I’ll definitely be looking at crowd scenes to see if I can spot red, bright white and black!

  3. You will probably find black most often. It’s a frustrating color because everyone owns tons of it but it looks harsh on camera because the shadows disappear creating a block of darkness. It is also why funeral scenes can look so striking on camera – that is the only time that you see a huge amount of black all together.

    (My job has ruined my ability to watch tv or movies in a normal way!)

  4. I totally agree with Brooke. I SO want that giraffe print. I’d also love some elephant print fabric in yellow and gray. Can’t you see it? So cute! Nice post, Mom! Love you!

    • I remember loving an elephant print fabric in pink and gray when I was a child – I must have been about six or seven. But I can absolutely picture elephants in gray and yellow! Love you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s