Tuesday, September 01, 2009

A Little Inspiration from Claire McCardell

Just a quick stop to share with you this book about one of my favorite designers.

I admire Claire McCardell for her innovative approach to clothing. She elevated "common" fabrics like denim and canvas, which had previously been used only for work clothes, and constructed elegant, fashion-conscious clothing from them. She designed for the American woman, and her clothing was modern and flattering while still enabling the wearer to move freely at a time when most designers still relied on rigid structure to their clothing, which restricted movement. Claire McCardell's clothing was made for every-day wear, and she invented sportswear as we know it. As a result of her innovative work, I think she drew many people's attention away from the big-name European designers of her time and helped to establish the idea of American fashion.

Beautiful designs, yes? I found a Claire McCardell dress in a vintage clothing store a few years ago. It needs a little work, but one of these days I'm going to wear it proudly. It's a timeless and interesting design, which is something I think fashion is lacking today.


  1. Anonymous11:25 PM

    I just watched the movie 'Coco Before Chanel' with Audrey Tatou as Coco; it's a delightful movie that's also inspiring for seamstresses and spends a lot of time on the shift in the comfort and practicality of clothing. Also featuring the delightful snip snip of scissors through fabric.

  2. I love McCardell too! This looks like a lovely book to go on my Christmas list!

  3. I totally agree with your comment on how style and timelessness are lacking. Also lacking is consistent sizing and quality unless you have a huge clothing budget. I started sewing my daughter clothes, and because of my frustration with trying to buy clothes that I love (I do occasionally find something, like in the small designer shops, which I cannot afford ($400 for a cotton skirt is out of my league)). I find that sewing lets me have a good fit, timeless style, and beautiful fabrics. Sometimes the clothing doesn't always turn out as I hope, but usually it is wearable, and sometimes it turns out even better than I could hope and I have something beautiful, fitted for me, and out of lovely fabric.