Article: The Origin Of Sundresses
Sundresses made their way onto the fashion scene in 1956 with the first construction of red, blue, and yellow colors, plaid cotton, and an A-line design produced by American designer Claire McCardell not but two years before she passed. Known for working with ready-to-wear clothes, Claire McCardell designed clothing which was affordable, functional, and stylish.
She is credited with creating the American look today, noticeable by the casual fashion approach, encompassing of democratic ideals and rejecting formal French couture.
McCardell took control of Townley Frocks, Inc. after the owner had passed and designed a collection shown in the spring of 1931. Hattie Carnegie hired her after the company closed, but her desire to abstain from French influence ended her time there and attending Parisian fashion shows.
The then-president Harry S. Truman presented her with an award in 1950, just a few years prior to the production of sundresses. By 1952 she was partner within Townley but this did not stop her from finishing her collections and forever changing female clothing lines.
She streamlined wool bathing suits, utilized ballet slippers for every day foot wear, and then went on to create pleats and trouser pockets in women’s wear. Soon, she integrated draping fabric, gathered together to accentuate the natural shape of a female body and this led to the creation of revealing sundresses.
The sundresses McCardell created have belting which allows the fullness of the skirt to be recognized with the perfect waist to shoulders dimensions. The bust is projected creating a silhouette with the modern halter top. The fabrics commonly used by McCardell included cotton, denim, jersey, twill, and gingham. Without corsets, girdles, or crinolines, her sundresses were less structured but still flattered as they were form fitting to the natural curves of each woman’s body.
She is now credited with expounding upon the lifestyles of American women during her time who were sophisticated and functional while still casual, practical, feminine, and comfortable. Wars removed access to expensive French fabrics which forced McCardell to design simpler, inexpensive clothing.
Her sundresses encompassed her trademarks of spaghetti ties, decorative hooks instead of buttons, double top-stitching, large patch pockets, as well as the use of denim, mattress ticking, wool fleece, and calicos. Relying upon the intuition that there were functionality problems with women’s clothing which needed to be solved, McCardell implemented the changes in easier travel by designing women’s clothing which would travel well, could be interchangeable, and could be coordinated with separate pieces of an ensemble. Sundresses, for instance, could be worn on their own with flats, or dressed up with heels and a knitted sweater and pearls.
No matter the concepts, McCardell’s sundresses boasted a clean and functional look without padding or understructures, fitted neatly to a women’s body. Some had adjustable components for different body types.