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Vintage Wool Dresses

July 28, 2015

As staid and frumpy as a wool dress might sound, a vintage wool dress is a superior choice of garment as it clings to the figure so well. There’s not enough hours in the day to go through the various shapes and styles  of vintage Wool Dresses over the past few decades, therefore our post this week will focus on 2 designers that made wool sexy – Coco Chanel and Christian Dior. Although we’ll feature some images from Jacques Fath too, from the same period.

This one by Dior with beige bolero over wool dress

This one by Dior with beige bolero over wool dress

Vintage Wool Dresses-Chanel

We have a lot to thank Coco Chanel for, especially in terms of knitwear. Chanel wasn’t afraid of using new fabrics and her love of Scotland is no secret resulting in the use of wool, Shetland at first and then moving on to a woollen cloth handwoven in the Highlands – this was to become more famously known as boucle rather than tweed. She would use it for sportswear, suits and coats. She also loved tartan and used it lavishly.

1960s wool Chanel dress and jacket

1960s wool Chanel dress and jacket

 

For dresses Chanel would combine wool with silk, or it would be embellished with white beaded sequins, and silk blend boucle has and still is a popular blend for dresses, jackets and skirts. Of course if you can find one of her vintage boucle blend dresses all the better.

Another wool that Coco loved to work with was Jersey, originally seen as a fabric often associated with the working poor, used for work clothes and underwear, she took a liking to the wool and used it to create sportswear – jersey was a knit fabric mostly but is now often combined with cotton and synthetic fibres. Jersey comes in different types, such as single, double, interlock, jacquard and clocque jersey.

1990s Chanel wool dress

1990s Chanel wool dress

 

Some of Chanel’s most famous little black dresses were made using jersey wool and combined with other fibres to make it more stretchy and versatile. Some of her Vintage Wool Dresses would be embellished with beads and finished off with silk piping. If you’re after Chanel vintage wool dresses take your time and choose well, it should be in immaculate condition and offer years more wear.

figure hugging fath wool dress, 1950

figure hugging fath wool dress, 1950

Christian Dior Wool Dresses

As you may already be aware, Dior gave the 20th century the ‘new look,’ a look that accentuated a woman’s curves with a tiny waist and enhanced bust line, giving her a pronounced silhouette and a more ultra-feminine look. It also heralded a new golden era of couture that many believe has not been surpassed since. This probably accounts for the love of vintage for the 40s and 50s, the cut of the clothes from this period are beautifully made and any dress, be it wool or otherwise is hard to beat for detail, cut, quality, and decoration.

 1950s wool dress

1950s wool dress

 

Like Chanel, Dior wasn’t afraid of using Jersey, wool, and tweed to create some of the most exquisite dresses and with his eye for detail, he too, created some beautiful wool frocks. The Dior catwalk for 2015 – 16 still contains the essential fabrics of silk, jersey, cotton, tweed and of course wool.

wool dresses with jackets - Dior 1954, Chanel 1956 Jacques Fath 1955

wool dresses with jackets – Dior 1954, Chanel 1956 Jacques Fath 1955

 

If you’re looking for some Dior vintage wool dresses, again, look carefully, they’ll be dressed for their decade with high collars, ¾ length sleeves, maybe bell shaped, or narrow and tight at the hips. Think of a 60s Dior wool dress with ¾ length sleeves, button detailing at the waist and the skirt gently skimming the calf. Or perhaps a wool grey coat dress from the 50s with buttons, and tight belt at the waist.

Whether you prefer Dior or Chanel or any other designer that’s worked well with wool over the years, such as Jacques Fath, if you choose well, you’ll have a dress that should offer plenty of wear for a million different occasions.

 Alpaca Dior dress

alpaca Dior wool dress beneath a tight jacket Dior

 

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