1914 Dresses

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Friday, January 23, 1914: Don’t remember what I did today. My memory is rather leaky.


Source: Ladies Home Journal (January, 1914)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Sounds like a slow day.  Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I’ll share some dress pictures from 1914 issues of Ladies Home Journal.

Source: Ladies Home Journal (October, 1914)

Source: Ladies Home Journal (October, 1914)

Source: Ladies Home Journal (October, 1914)

Source: Ladies Home Journal (October, 1914)

Source:: Ladies Home Journal (October, 1914)

Source:: Ladies Home Journal (October, 1914)

This is the fourth year that I’ve shared dress pictures from Ladies Home Journal. You might also enjoy some of the previous posts.

1913 Dresses

1912  Dresses

1911 Dresses 

41 Responses

  1. Hard to remember, looking at these images, that we’re on the cusp of WW1

  2. I love the Victorian dresses and hats. They weren’t what you would call “practical,” but they sure were stylish. Most of all, I love what your grandmother said about having a “leaky” memory. I’m adding that phrase to my vocabulary. Cute.

  3. Beautiful dresses. I especially like the blue dress 8523. Oh, Helena, I have a leaky memory too :D

  4. I love these, especially the top image, far left (#8074).

  5. I love the fashions of that time period. So beautiful but not overly impractical for the active woman. Your grandma’s phrases really make me laugh. I could visualize her sitting there and a kind of mist is coming out of her ears, her memory leaking away.

  6. Gallivanta already wrote EXACTLY what I was going to say, both about my favorite dress and my memory! I guess I need to get up earlier to beat her . . .

  7. Such an elegant time. Our ancestors wouldn’t believe the way we dress these days…. But, everyone is correct with the comments that these dresses were impractical. I’m sure women of that day would have loved to have the freedom of a pair of jeans!

  8. Sometimes I feel like her diary entry.

  9. Yeah, how fashion has changed! The length of women’s dressed has really gone up and down over the years. These are beautiful, but I still like my jeans and T-shirt! :)

  10. Love it! If senior citizens can’t immediately remember what they did, then they’re senile. Eighteen year olds are just leaky.

    • I agree! Your comments remind me of one time when a young woman I worked with was having an off day, and she couldn’t seem to remember anything. She just shrugged her shoulders and said, “I guess I stayed up too late last night.”

  11. I like those dresses quite a lot, actually! Thanks for sharing the pictures!

  12. Perhaps her ‘leaky’ memory has something to do with the ‘he’ she referred to? Just a thought…
    Love those dresses. Do you suppose they were ready-to-wear, or patterns to be ordered?

    • I bet you are right. . . she probably was day dreaming of “him”.

      The pictures are of patterns that could be ordered. I get the sense that most women were very good seamstresses a hundred years ago.

  13. My memory is leaky too Helena! Some of this dresses look like fancy nightgowns!

  14. Amazing – just a few years before the flappers arrived with their polar opposite fashions.

    • It is really amazing how soon (and how quickly) after this that some some major societal changes took place. .. flappers, women’s voting rights, etc.

  15. She sounds like many of us :) I love the beautiful outfits!!

  16. I love Helena’s reference to her “leaky” brain. Must remember that to excuse my lapses. The dresses are lovely – remind me of Downton Abbey.

  17. Love her “memory is leaky!”

  18. Those leaky memory days come more often now than when I was her age :-)

  19. I just love those fashions – so elegant. One reason I love Downton Abby! Now that they are moving on into the 20’s I can’t wait to see the fashions of the 30’s and 40’s too – if it is on that long. ;) But that is beside the point….to get back to Helena, I wonder if she dressed up like that for fancy functions and church? I also like her little sayings and “memory is leaky” has to be my favorite one so far. Blessings

  20. I’m pretty sure women didn’t wear these outfits when doing the laundry or farm work. Wonder what the house dresses looked like. Probably much less narrow and filmy for starters.

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