Unsung Heroes of My Closet: Why the 1940’s Make Me Feel a Little Bit Fat

Recently, I’ve been sending out a lot of resumes. For those of you who have never had to deal with the gauntlet of stress that is the summer internship, it is essentially a hyper-competitive summer job in which you are at the very bottom of the totem pole. The advantage is that taken a job like this can help you climb that totem pole later on in your career. I’ve been angling for something fashion-related this summer, to make the whole process a little bit more appealing. So far, I’ve been able to work my vintage collection into my resume, so I’m off to a pretty good start!

Talking about my rabid need to buy more and more clothes also inspired a new blogging topic for me: Unsung Heroes of my Closet. This may even turn into a repeated segment for me, because even though my whole fashion ethos is about trying to wear everything I own, no matter how weird, there are a few items that never make it out into the real world, no matter how hard I try.

Today, I’ll be talking about a gorgeous black velvet sheath from the 1940’s. Its the gem of my vintage collection, but its never been featured on this blog, because there’s no way to wear this to class without looking like I’m going to a medium-fancy Christmas party, or to a funeral.

Here’s the front…

And the back!

This is an example of something that I saw, knew that I would never have a use for, and bought anyway because I couldn’t resist. Its by Bobbie Brooks, which, by my understanding, was the dElia’s of the 1940’s. It was one of the first companies that made clothes specifically for the teeny-bopper set, and established the idea of the juniors department. Its also extremely tiny, probably because it was designed for a time period where all food was rationed for the war, and Americans hadn’t become the heavyset bunch we are now. This dress is a size 8, but you would never know it by today’s standard. I’m a fairly petite person, and I can barely fit into it. Plus that belt you can see in the shot of the back is designed to tighten it still further. I think the message is that, if I want to wear this dress for real sometime, I’m going to need the accompanying girdle.


This unsung hero says: “Dress like its 1947. Because real women don’t need to breathe. Or sit down.” Over even smile, in my case, because I could tell the back seam was seriously considering busting open, in protest of my non-war-era hips. Plus, if I’d opened my mouth, I might have accidentally exhaled. I have never sucked in my stomach quite so emphatically.


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