The History of the Suit: Dior and the “New Look”
As Europe and the US emerged from the economic, physical and emotional destruction of World War II, businesses in every industry started to rebuild themselves as civilians began spending money on consumer goods once again. Although there were still limits on the fabric that was being produced, most of the restrictions on fabric usage and silhouette had been lifted, and fashion designers had the freedom to be more creative and lavish in their clothing.
France was one of the countries hit hardest by the war, but the post-war economic upturn was a chance for the country to get back on its feet and in the spotlight for fashion. Because of international restrictions during the war, Parisian fashion could not be exported to the United States and much of the rest of Europe, which gave The US and England a chance to develop their own fashion scenes. Now that the war was over and France was free to import and export luxury goods, French designers flooded the market with fresh designs, the most influential from this period being Christian Dior.
Though Dior’s career as a fashion designer lasted barely ten years, his “New Look” shifted the direction of the fashion world. The New Look was characterized by his first collection in 1947, and represented a new hope after the somber attitudes of the war period. Dior sought to develop a look that was playful and elegant without being frivolous or immature. The collection had a much more feminine appearance than women’s fashion during wartime, as women were being encouraged to go back to being homemakers once their husbands came back from war. Dior called his idealized feminine homemakers “flower women” and hoped that they would embrace femininity with soft, rounded shapes in their clothing.
The “New Look” silhouette was primarily an exaggerated hourglass. Dior’s “bar suit” featured a tiny nipped waist and padded hips to accentuate the hourglass. The jacket was highly structured to keep it’s curved form, and the pleated skirt that went with it was heavy, full, and used up to 20 yards of fabric, a dramatic change from the two and a half yard limit on skirts during the war. Dior also loved evening gowns, creating them to need outlandish amounts of fabric, and creating volume by using excess tulle. His structured hourglass required corsets, girdles, and waist cinchers, squeezing the body into an artificial shape. This was a complete 180 from the 1920s, where a slim, straight and shapeless silhouette was favored, and loose clothing allowed women to move around freely.
While Dior’s “New Look” was a step forward in expanding the fashion world and bringing France back to couture dominance, his ideals and his silhouette was a step back in encouraging women in the workplace. His designs were used to encourage women to return to the kitchen and look feminine and elegant as a full time job. The necessary corsets involved in his designs restricted ease of movement, and were a throwback to the 1800s when women wore elaborate and restrictive clothing to prove that they did not have to work. Dior’s “New Look” idealized the hourglass and created a new standard of beauty that would affect the way women approach fashion and work for years to come.
Breakfast: Is it Really the Most Important Meal of the Day?
We are constantly hearing everyone, and we mean everyone, say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And we totally agree – a healthy meal is the best way to start the day, especially during the work week. But just how beneficial is this morning ritual? We found a very handy (and tasty looking) infographic from OnlineColleges.net that explains exactly why you should be chomping on fruit and scrambled eggs before embarking on your morning commute. The verdict? People who eat breakfast are both smarter and skinnier. But don’t believe us, check out all the breakfast facts in the handy infographic below and discover why you should make a change if you’re waiting until lunch to eat your first meal.
Hot Summer Weather Calls for Skirts
It’s hot here in NYC as August is a mere few days away, and we can’t even think about wearing pants to work right now. In all honesty, summer may be the most difficult time for professional women and men alike, when a suit is the last thing you want to put on in the morning. Lucky for us ladies, we have the option of a pencil skirt.
This power suit staple is unique because it is the one piece that acts as the dividing line between women’s and men’s business attire. It gives more options when dressing for the office, especially in the hot summer months. How can you find the perfect pencil skirt? Keep these three tips in mind when shopping, and you can’t go wrong.
Length: Just look at the ladies of of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce for hemline inspiration. A pencil skirt should hit either right above the knee or directly below as not to cut your legs in half and make them look stumpy. Remember, a hem shorter than an inch or two above the knee should be kept from the conservative workspace.
Lining: Have you ever stepped into a silk-lined pencil skirt? If so, you know you could never go back to your old ways. A luxurious lining is the most important part of the skirt, providing both structure and all-day comfort to the wearer. Lined in 100% pure silk, our Bryant Skirt look chic and feels so comfortable, you’ll have to try one on to believe it.
Fit: There is one cardinal mistake many women make when choosing a pencil skirt. They buy it too tight and it stretches tightly across the body, causing it to bunch and ride-up. Make sure your pencil skirt is fitted enough to accentuate curves, but you should be able to breathe as you lead that board meeting too.
Angel Investing and a Gurjot New York Fashion Show at the Core Club
On Wednesday, July 17, Gurjot New York teamed up with 85 Broads to host a panel on angel investing with Karen Griffith Gryga, Jennifer Hill, and Katherine Wolf. After the panel discussion, real corporate women stormed the runway wearing Gurjot New York’s Summer Collection! See images from the event below:
Our favorite First Lady Michelle Obama has been in the news the last couple days as she continues fighting the good fight in America’s uphill battle with nutrition and obesity. And even after the President’s rating fell slightly in recent months, Michelle remains popular among the American public. So today, we take another look at Michelle’s working wardrobe and show you how to channel her professional style below.
Statement making tanks: A simple tank and pencil skirt become an extraordinary combination when colorblocking is involved. Here Michelle uses bright pastels and a contrasting white bag to make solid colors pop for a truly standout look.
Modestly cut, yet fitted dresses: Michelle always rocks a sheath dress, and so should you. They flatter your figure, are easy to pair with a jacket or cardigan, and the high cut neck is appropriate for professional and social settings. A large scale necklace can add a bit of fun to this look.
Belted Waists: Michelle loves a flattering waistline. She is tall, so adding a belt breaks up a solid color or adds dimension to a different colored top and bottom. Belts also make her polished look more interesting without straying too far south of conservative. You can mix up any dress or set of separates with a thick leather wrap belt for a look that will whittle a waist for you in a matter of seconds.