McCardell. With bows on.

by Erin on October 24, 2006


McCardell with bows

Now, y'all know just how much I love Claire McCardell, but even if I didn't already worship her, this dress would have made me an acolyte, even if being said acolyte involved wearing unflattering white robes and holding stinky candles through hours of chanting.

It's difficult to make bows seem sophisticated (of course, it helps to do them in black — this dress in pink might cause tooth decay) but these are without even a whiff of the sub-deb set.

I'm also impressed by the shirring of the shoulder seam. So luxurious! It's from Dorothea's Closet Vintage and is rayon faille, near-mint, B36 (and fairly expensive at $625, but for McCardell, if you were looking to splurge, this would be the best combination of whimsy and wearability that you could find).

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous October 24, 2006 at 9:56 am

The shape and the gathering, the waist cinchiness… lovely. It’s just one bow too many, Claire. Even in black. I’d much prefer a gigantic self-fabric buckle.

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Anonymous October 24, 2006 at 9:57 am

I love McCardell! She whipped up the perfect combination of McDreamy and McSteamy all in one dress.

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SDMC October 24, 2006 at 10:12 am

That is one beautiful dress!

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Ladygrande (Texas Marie) October 24, 2006 at 10:15 am

Absolutely Fabulous, Dahling!

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nanflan October 24, 2006 at 10:40 am

Oh. My. God.That’s an awesome dress. I love Ms. McCardell too, she’s right up there with Christian Dior in my book.

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Ang October 24, 2006 at 10:50 am

Its just as luscious in real life, believe me! The woman who owned it had the strangest wardrobe…..all solid colored sweaters (50s & 60s, plain, no beads or embroidery and all dark colors…and I mean at least 100 of them), a few skirts, a slew of wild scarves and 2 dresses…..both McCardells. One navy, a wrap which has already sold, and this one! I understand her name was Anne, but she went to Dorothy when she cut ties with her family. Apparently what she liked to do was to take neighborhood kids to see the Wizard of Oz and they just started calling her Dorothy, so thats what she began to call herself! She seemed to be a rather eccentric, intellectual & artsy type. Anyway, don’t whip me for the price!! Its a MC CARDELL (and a decent size to boot)! I do layaway…… :) Ang

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nancy October 24, 2006 at 11:04 am

Wow, what a dress! Not my size (or my budget) so I am merely curious: what kind of bra would you wear with this?

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Robinson October 24, 2006 at 11:11 am

love, love, love.

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Zegi October 24, 2006 at 11:27 am

Oh my gosh is that dress gorgeous. It’s equally beautiful in the back view! How great!

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sdn October 24, 2006 at 11:49 am

my god. this would fit me. must — resist — i did send the link to j. peterman. it’s just the sort of thing they like to do.

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Schweighopper October 24, 2006 at 1:12 pm

Man. Nice.How hard would it be to get some company to print McCardell patterns(Aside from the Folkwear CLoister dress, that is)?McCardell is so wearable it just seems like a natural thing. We’re not crazy, right?

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Kirsten October 24, 2006 at 1:52 pm

Beautiful. I also think it would be gorgeous in a deep, rich red.

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Anonymous October 24, 2006 at 2:13 pm

Ohhhh! WHY must I replace my garage door NOW! Oh well, I have both of the McCardell Folkwear dress patterns (the Cloister dress and the Town and Country dress) as well as two other vintage McCardell patterns. I must console myself with those. I love how that deep, deep neckline ends in little bows. Just. So. Me. Amy

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Robinson October 24, 2006 at 2:13 pm
Nora October 24, 2006 at 4:00 pm

Now THAT’s a regal dress! (And thanks, Ang, for the background on the original owner – she sounds quite worthy of it!)

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oracle October 24, 2006 at 4:31 pm

Oh, I like this McCardell dress SO much better than I like the cloister one Folkwear did! Although I love their Town and Country one. But could never wear the latter because I’m too full-busted and it would never cover the industrial strength bra I’d need to wear under it.

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Julia October 24, 2006 at 5:12 pm

What Cloister dress?

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lucitebox October 24, 2006 at 10:25 pm

This dress is so great! Thanks for highlighting it on your blog. I hope someone buys it and wears it. I think it needs to be brought back to life. This is one of my favorite McCardell dresses I’ve seen. Love it!Holly

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Floridaprincess October 25, 2006 at 1:25 am

If I lost one inch around my waist I could wear this. Dh of course would kill me if I bought it.This is a lovely dress.I just got the a wonderful sample of fabric in the mail of silk faille. Im thinking about ordering 20 yds of this.

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Anonymous October 25, 2006 at 6:49 am

Bows: checkBlack: checkFull skirt: checkOh…darn…cut to the navel…:(

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Anonymous October 25, 2006 at 6:51 am

How could a bust 36-38 woman wear this? If you have no boobs, okay, but a rack like that would be on full display.

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La BellaDonna October 25, 2006 at 9:38 am

Ugh, nice long explanation eaten by greedy internet!I believe I can answer how a busty woman could wear this without being arrested. On this mannequin, the neckline looks frighteningly low, and it is impressive. However, on a busty 36-38 woman (a C cup or a D cup, rather than a 36 A cup), this neckline is just not going to be as low; a C or D cup wearer is going to have a much longer/lower bust point. Remember what Ive said in other posts, that to make a top fit a bust thats larger than a B cup, there has to be additional length as well as additional width added to the front of the pattern? This neckline is demonstrating that additional length. On this not-very-bosomy mannequin, the additional length looks like this: l . On a bosomy woman, the additional length will be pulled out, and then down, like this: > (larger, of course). Its just not that low a neckline on a busty woman that fabric is going to be pulled out, rather than dropping straight down. Dont forget, too, there are ultra-low-cut bras out there; some are designed to provide Elvira-like cleavage, and some are just designed to support a bust in a low-cut dress like this one, without producing an overwhelming amount of cleavage.And theres always a black lace tank worn underneath, either for those who arent that busty, or those who dont want to share that much with the rest of the world. As a matter of fact, a lace tank is a nice option under a wrap top, when youre not certain how secure the wrap is.

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MinaW October 25, 2006 at 1:20 pm

LaBelladonna Thanks as usual for the info, and especially the idea about a lace tank under a wrap top. I love wraps and surplices, but that question of just how far they’ll open makes them hard to wear, without hidden snaps or hooks added. And lace would not have occurred to me.

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Ang October 25, 2006 at 3:45 pm

I think a well placed stitch would fall into the folds as well, to bring the plunge upward and a little less racy. Ang

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enc October 25, 2006 at 11:22 pm

And think of all the time you’ll save NOT ironing! That dress is SUPERB.

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sewinggirlfromtheothersideoftheowrld October 27, 2006 at 6:44 am

I am not that much of a Clare Mccardell fan but this dress is exquisite.

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Jilli October 27, 2006 at 8:34 pm

Oh, I so very much want this dress. The full skirt! The bows! The combination of the two without it looking like a dress for a toddler!

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