Tuesday, February 08, 2011


The other day, my very fashionable friend visited the store and we were admiring the Claire McCardell dresses currently available at Decades. She looked amazing in all of them. I am a huge McCardell fan. McCardell is regarded as the Queen of American Sportswear. Back in the 1940s and 50s, women really wore their McCardell pieces so they can be difficult to find in wearable condition, but when we do, I am a very happy camper!

This McCardell is in a terrific cream textured cotton that feels like gauze but is much more substantial in weight, yet has the benefits of being pre-wrinkled so travel with this and leave the steamer at home. Can we talk about these amazing sleeves? Fully fabulous and designed 30 years before Ossie Clark would capture romantic sleeves in his collections. McCardell was a fan of chemise dressing (still such an integral part of a modern women's wardrobe in the 21st century) and the pleated front bib almost reminds me of a men's tuxedo shirt. McCardell was a brilliant manipulator of fabric and truly an engineer of design as rationing of fabric during WWII necessitated very astute decisions in the design process. The smooth back frames your torso in a very flattering and slimming manner (who doesn't want to look longer and leaner?) which is only further enhanced by the belted full skirt (with pockets of course!). This is completely effortless day dressing that is as relevant and modern today as this dress was over 60 years ago when it was first presented to the public.

Claire McCardell cream gauze belted and pleated chemise dress, c. late 1940s. Flexible size 4 to 8. SOLD

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