Jun 5, 2011
Friends, I need your help. What do you think of the strapless look?
Strapless gowns became popular in the Postwar Forties, ruled in the bosom-worshiping Fifties, held on through the early Sixties, and have made a major comeback recently with the popularity of the breast implant and vintage red carpet looks.
Back in the day they were considered daring, and initially only the sexiest movie stars would be costumed in them. Vixen characters went strapless; wives and girls-next-door didn't. Neglected wives or divorcees could go either way.
Ava Gardner and Rita Hayworth could definitely pull off the strapless look.
So could Dolores Gray (left) and Joan Collins (far right) in the dreadful MGM remake of The Women, retitled The Opposite Sex. Notice how loyal wife, June Allyson, by contrast, is covered up.
Lena Horne, almost always referred to as sultry, rocked the strapless look.
Judy Garland...not so much.
For day, strapless looks odd, or maybe it's just this cigarette-girl-on-top, malt-shop-date-on-the-bottom dress modeled here by glamorous Arlene Dahl. (Do buxom beauties still stroll strapless through nightclubs shouting Cigars, Cigarettes?)
Cousin Cathy loves the strapless look; I'm on the fence, especially for her. To me they're a little over the (hardly there) top and with Cathy's swimmer's shoulders....
Which of these two patterns do you prefer, Simplicity 2815 from 1949, or McCalls 9152 from 1952?
The Simplicity has sat in my Etsy favorites for months. I don't like the jacket and I loathe dirndl skirts. The McCall's, on the other hand...I don't know, maybe it's the woman-as-candy-box thing that leaves me cold. I do love the bolero jacket (View B), and done in lace, it could provide Cathy some necessary coverage.
Regardless of which I choose, I'll need to put boning in the corset, which thanks to Susan Khalje's book, Bridal Couture, shouldn't be too much of a nightmare. I'm putting Gertie on speed dial.
Friends, your thoughts. Are strapless gowns a tired cliché of feminine glamour? Do they make you think of Merry Widow corsets, road-show productions of Guys and Dolls and all things Jayne Mansfield?
Strapless gowns-- yea or nay?