October 9, 2013

Cigarette Girl Costume

My friend Julia of Basya Berkman Vintage Fashions learned through the grapevine about a woman with a stash of vintage clothing.  This is one of the amazing items that Julia acquired.

The woman said that her mother had been a performer in her early life.  It's likely that several of her vintage things, like this outfit, were costumes worn during her mother's career before her marriage.  Her mother was most likely dancing in the 1920s.  A real find!

I reattached the braid where it was loose, replaced a couple of buttons, stitched up some seams, and replaced some hook and eyes that hold the shorts to the inside of the blouse at the waist. 

The braid trim is actually metallic, i.e. not just metal-colored.  I'm guessing that there used to be one more strip on the bodice above the two that remain.

Here's the back view.  The top has a halter neck and open back.  Since the cape is sewn in at the shoulders, the only way to show the back is to give the cape the Marilyn Monroe whoosh treatment.  (The red is the lining of the front of the bodice.)

It is silk, and in amazingly good condition for its age.  It also is quite tiny, even for a dancer, supporting the statistics that we are, on average, getting bigger and bigger as the decades go by.  

Here are the photos Julia took with one of her models.  Majorette?  Cigarette girl?  Chorus line?  This works for any of those.

This outfit is listed at the Basya Berkman shop here.

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