Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Sophisticated Shirtwaist

Impeccably Cut....Magnificently Accessorized.....

Madra Lord knows a thing or two about accessorizing! She pairs the phenomenal "Reading for Rossellini", a dotted shirtwaist-style dress from Sandra Stillwell's Bellissima, Italian Style! event, with the delightful hat and purse from Ashton Drake's "Lucky Stripe" costume. Gloves are from Integrity. "Spotted in Manhattan" Madra Lord is from Mel Odom and JamieShow.

Photo courtesy

The iconic shirtwaist was one of the most popular and successful dress styles in the 1950's. Originally called the "shirtmaker" dress, it was introduced and advertised by Best & Company in New York City in 1926. The shirtwaist is a two-piece dress, stitched together at the waistline. The traditional shirtwaist borrows details from a man's shirt, however there were many variations. Shirtwaist dresses were often made up in crisp fabrics such as cotton or silk, much like a men's shirt would be. The 50's version featured a full, billowy skirt with a wasp-like waist. Women found the style easy-to-wear and flattering to most figures. It easily went from the market at eight, to lunch with the girls at noon, to a bridge party at four with just a change of accessories.

A knitted shirtwaist from a pattern courtesy

Photo courtesy The Nifty Fifties.

Dovima on the cover of Harper's Bazaar, February 1952.
Photo courtesy D.Tarantula.

An early Fashion Royalty wears a classic yellow shirtwaist from Bogue's Vogues. 
Hat and purse are from Mattel. 

Photo courtesy

Color and Design in Apparel by Bernice Chambers. Prentice-Hall, Inc.


  1. Oh my gosh, Melissa! Your styling is so gorgeous! I'm trying so hard not to buy anything but I love that BIS shirtdress! Love how you paired the hat and purse to it too! pocketbook! Megin

    1. Always happy to be an enabler! LOL. Thanks so much for your lovely comment Meg. Melissa