Vintage Trend I’m Predicting: The Drop Waist Dress for Spring

October 3rd, 2011


drop waist dresses

One trend which has made a “what goes around comes around” revival is that of the drop waist dress.

A drop waist is best described as a horizontal line cut across the body below the hips, instead of at your natural waist. Because the drop waist falls below the hips, it creates the allusion of a lengthened torso and arguably makes your hot bod appear longer and leaner [bonus!]

If they had existed back then, street fashion photographers would have first spotted the drop waist in the early 1920s, when the golden era of the flapper look and Jazz age had begun. It gained popularity once again thanks to 1960s fashion, emerged once again with an ’80s does ’20s fashion vibe and now back in style for spring/summer 2012.

Thanks to the time’s fun & dandy mentality and expansion of women’s rights to vote and participate as equal members of society, fashion took note and the silhouette of the female form changed to reflect these liberated times.

While you’re not seeing the drop waist in stores right this very second, you’ll be seeing them come the spring 2012 season thanks to designer influences on the runways this past NYC Fashion Week.

Keep reading after the jump to learn more about designer’s affections for the drop waist, and how you can get a few of my favorite drop waist pieces on Etsy now!

I’ve been blogging quite a lot about NYC Fashion Week [and how to thrift the trends!] because I find it inspiring to spot the “vintage trend” as integrated into the designs of today’s “runway trend.”

It’s thanks to looking back into history — and seeing how it influences who we are today and we can predict we shall become — that the connection between intellectual history and collaborative creativity can be made.

Want to learn more about a specific type of clothing that was popular eras ago, or how a cultural event may have influenced fashion today?

You know where to find me! Send your suggestions away on Twitter, Facebook or email me Sammy@Sammydvintage.com

xx, SD

DROP WAIST: THE HISTORY ’20s – ’60s – ’80s

20s vintage style drop waist dresses

DROP WAIST OF THE 1920s: Remember that thing called the “corset?” Well, it practically disappears women’s daywear as the drop waist and loose fitting, androgynous style clothing emerges as the style du jour.

Blame it on women’s rights, blame it on Prohibition, or just blame is on America’s desire to live free and have a good time. The drop waist represents society letting go of “covering up” the lady and allowing her free form [and stylish spirit] to emerge.

DROP WAIST OF THE 1960s: While the ’60s marked a whirlwind time of trends and change, it also marked a return to favor for the drop waist. Thanks to production power and the rise of department store fashion, girls and women can buy drop waist cotton and machine washable frocks in a variety of designs and patterns, like gingham, chevron stripes or oversize floral, some of the more popular patterns of the time.

Not all American women purchased their drop waist dresses in the ’60s, however. Vogue and McCall magazines released sewing patterns with every issue, which mothers and their daughters would use to sew their own clothes. So the trends of the day just weren’t a reflection of what was in the stores — but what was in your mailboxes to be made at home, too.

DROP WAIST OF THE 1980s: Fast forward 20 years into the power-hungry corporate ’80s, and the drop waist returns en vogue yet again! However this time around designers love the hip-grazing-waist because they can create a more oversize silhouette on the female form.

Bigger was better during the ’80s — sweatshirts, should pads, blazer, hair!! — so it makes sense that the drop waist would emerge as a trend yet again, because it allowed designers to add more fabric to the torso since the drop waist is not a “tight” waist like the empire or natural waist are.

TODAY’S ENTERTAINMENT: BOARDWALK EMPIRE

boardwalk empire fashion

In historical theory, it appears that the drop waist returned to contemporary collections every two decades or so, with the exception of the ’20s to ’60s, which marked closer to four decades’ difference.

Since the ’80s, we’ve seen tight, minimalist and streamlined clothing emerge as the tastes of the day. But as we enter 2012, it appears that we’re returning to the ’20s yet again as we see on the runways shown below.

Shows like Boardwalk Empire — plus next summer’s The Great Gatsby movie release, hugely reflected on the Ralph Lauren spring 2012 collection — have arguably influenced designer inspiration, too. When we begin to see vintage in the mass media outlets of entertainment, it’s safe to say that there will be a trickle down affect to how the consumer embraces vintage-inspired designs.

I predict the drop waist will re-emerge as a “trend standard” for the decade we are living now, versus just a “trend alternative” as we often see with fresh cuts and styles generally unfamiliar to the female closet. I believe that the drop waist is such a flattering and fitting cut for the flavor of what fashion means today. Women want to be comfortable — hence why the idea of wearing nothing bu leggings, Uggs and tunic dresses combos will never die — but for so many of us, want to look good and goshdarnit feel GORGEOUS!

The drop waist accomplishes all of that and more. The more? Well, keep the new pieces you buy in store today [or just get ‘em vintage, shown farther below!] so that you can rock ‘em again in the 2030s … cause as you see here, what goes around TRULY comes back around!

DROP WAIST A LA THE SPRING 2012 RUNWAYS

john galiano drop waistmarc jacobs drop waist

1 / Victoria Beckham Spring 2012

2 / John Galiano Spring 2012

3 / Marc Jacobs Spring 2012

DROP WAIST A LA THE ’20s: FIND IT VINTAGE ON ETSY

1920s vintage dropwaist dress

DROP WAIST FROM: The 1920s!

GET IT VINTAGE: $325, Denise Brain

1920s dropwaist dress

DROP WAIST FROM: The 1920s!

GET IT VINTAGE: $975, Timeless Vixen Vintage

1920s dropwaist dress

DROP WAIST FROM: The 1920s!

GET IT VINTAGE: $380, Eva Wagen Fish

DROP WAIST A LA THE ’60s: FIND IT VINTAGE ON ETSY

vintage drop waist dress

DROP WAIST FROM: The 1960s!

GET IT VINTAGE: $36, Decades Baltimore
vintage drop waist dress

DROP WAIST FROM: The 1960s!

GET IT VINTAGE: $52, Fancy That Thrift

1960s dropwaist dress

DROP WAIST FROM: The 1960s!

GET IT VINTAGE: $25, Ollie Otson

DROP WAIST A LA THE ’80s: FIND IT VINTAGE ON ETSY

80s vintage drop waist dress

DROP WAIST FROM: The 1980s!

GET IT VINTAGE: $58, Ashley Oh

'80s drop waist dress

DROP WAIST FROM: The 1980s!

GET IT VINTAGE: $97, Dig Vintage Clothing

1980s vintage drop waist dress

DROP WAIST FROM: The 1980s!

GET IT VINTAGE: $26, Lost Feather Vintage

 

MORE ’60s FASHION HISTORY

TREND: How to Style One Drop Waist Dress 3 Unique Ways
TRENDS: How Trends of Today Were Influenced by the ‘60s
PICTURES: Photos of ’60s Fashion from McCall’s Magazine
SPRING: Everything You Wanted to Know About ’60s Spring Dresses
STYLE: Your Easy Guide to ‘60s Bathing Suits
HISTORY: More on the ’60s from Paperpast
THE MINISKIRT: Its Complete History from Fashion-Era

Facebook Comments

16 Comments

  1. I’m definitely a fan of the drop waist! -DCGF

    [Reply]

  2. Gabrielle says:

    i love a good drop waist but my hips are too large, theyre always really tight on me.

    [Reply]

  3. CharityChic says:

    I am the same as Gabrielle, I have an hour glass figure and a drop waist on me isn’t flattering. Still, I adore the trend. Just discovered your site and will be coming back for more, it’s awesome. X

    [Reply]

  4. Stacey Kay says:

    Great post! I will definitely be doing this trend for the spring edition of my magazine!

    Goodwill Huntingg

    [Reply]

  5. CAG says:

    Sammy D!! I miss your life! (I totally owe you an e-mail!)

    Okay so I have always loved the dropped waist look…ON EVERYONE ELSE!! lol I’m only 5’3″ with a lot of ‘curves’ (or fat depending on who you talk to…lol) so dropped waist ‘fits’ always make me look so wide!!!

    Any suggestions for an extra short, curvacious girl constantly seeking fabness? :-)

    [Reply]

  6. I am digging your blog!!! I too love vintage and have recently started a blog about it too!!! I just wrote a piece on the Great Gatsby and how the Roaring Twenties will be making a comeback in fashion! Will definitely keep following your blog!

    [Reply]

    Sammy Reply:

    hi Debbie, so glad you found me! A pleasure meeting another vintage lover. Please say hi on Facebook (facebook.com/sammydavisvintage) XOXO

    [Reply]

  7. […] for women were born from the optimism of an era which for the first time ever, saw women wearing drop waist dresses and showing leg above the knee, cutting their hair short and dressing like a […]

  8. […] How to Wear ’20s Fashion Like The Artist, Boardwalk Empire & The Great Gatsby TREND: The ’20s Drop Waist is In for Spring 2012 STYLE: How to Wear a Drop Waist Dress 3 […]

  9. […] How to Wear ’20s Fashion Like The Artist, Boardwalk Empire & The Great Gatsby TREND: The ’20s Drop Waist is In for Spring 2012 THE GREAT GATSBY: How the Movie Influenced this Season’s ’20s […]

  10. […] drop-waist reemerged  in the 60s Mod era, reappeared in the 80s to compliment the over-sized shoulder-pads, and lucky for us Great Gatsby […]

  11. jackie wilson says:

    Ohh i love ur drop waist dresses so much especially the blue check do u deliver to the uk many thanks

    [Reply]

  12. […] to SammyDVintage.com, ”While the ’60s marked a whirlwind time of trends and change, it also marked a return to […]

  13. […] Clothing Trends PICTURES: Photos of ’60s Fashion from McCall’s Magazine HOW-TO: Style a Drop Waist Dress from the 1960s SPRING: 5 Gorgeous ’70s Dresses Wearable Right Now! CELEBS: The Influences of […]

  14. […] dropwaist dress was a nod to the adrodynous feel of the era, when girls began cutting their hair short into short […]

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