1940s Swirl Wrap Dress

Last week when I asked for some photos of Swirl wrap dresses, I knew I’d get some really nice ones.  The one I’m showing today is from Jezebel Amazon, a collector who has ten Swirls in her closet!  I wanted to show it because of the unusual label.

The Swirl story starts in Philadelphia with the L. Nachman and Son Company, which was located at 10th and Berks Streets.  This company had produced clothing since the early days of the 20th century.  By 1940 they were making a product called the Neat ‘N Tidy, a pinafore apron.  In 1944 the Swirl name was added to the label.  When Lawrence Nachman registered the Swirl name with the US Patent and Trade mark office, the product was listed as “WOMEN’S AND GIRLS’ WRAP-AROUND APRONS”.  The wrap-around apron was a common garment of the day.    Though the Neat ‘n Tidy and the Swirl were  conceived as aprons, the Swirl functioned as a dress.

You can see another Swirl by Neat ‘n Tidy label on the two late 1940s or early 50s dresses I showed last week.  I’m of the opinion that Jezebel’s dress is a little earlier.  The shorter length, the design and colors of the print and the shape of the shoulder and arm opening look 1945-46 to me.  In that case, this just might be the earliest Swirl label that was used by the Nachman Company.

Another thing worth noting is that this dress does not have the swirly button that is associated with the Swirl wrap dress.  I’m beginning to believe that the swirly button came into being about the time the plain “Swirl” label came into being, which, if one can believe the US Patent and Trademark Office records, was in 1951.

All this analyzing of such a common garment label might be a bit of over-kill, not that that would stop me from such a pursuit!

All photos copyright Jezebel Amazon


Filed under Vintage Clothing

14 responses to “1940s Swirl Wrap Dress

  1. This dress is just adorable. When I went to college, I lived very close to 10th and Berks. I lived at 15th and Susquehanna, and Cecil B. Moore Ave and 13th, It’s hard to imagine a dress manufacture being in that neighborhood, although there were several industrial buildings that were converted into apartments when I first went there.


  2. Oh this is so darling!!! I love it!

    You are so very knowledgeable about vintage, it continually amazes me. Thank you for your consistent posts that provide details into dating vintage as well as more on the garments and history of the brands post after post!


  3. Looks like a great summer dress-
    I love your posts very much but haven’t commented before.


  4. Teresa

    I’m loving this Swirl wrap dress series of posts. Definitely not over-kill!


  5. Those are some wonderful photos she sent you! I wish it were easy to find fabric in prints like that today. Thanks for sharing! I love all info on Swirl dresses – I don’t really think you can overdo it. =)


  6. I’ve really enjoyed your posts about these super-cute Swirl dresses. You’re a fountain of information. Thank you Lizzie! And this one is sooooooooo adorable! I love the pretty colours and print.

    Forgive the silly question, but these Swirl wrap dress styles appear years and years before the Diane von Furstenberg version. I appreciate that they are different in the way that you would walk into the Swirl dress, wrap it and then tie it – and Ms Furstenberg’s version is slightly different. However, isn’t she credited with coming up with the whole idea of the wrap dress?


  7. That was a very nice piece of dress.

    In my first impression, the bottom part of the dress seems like a modern day pyjamas and the top part seems like a tribal viral gold accessories which women wear in the tribes.

    The print complements well with the dress too, an overall great designed dress.


  8. Janey, Theresa, Brooke, Louise: Thanks for reaffirming my belief that no fact, no matter how trivial, shall remain undiscovered!


  9. A very cute print on this Swirl!


  10. Sandy/Graceful Antiques

    Adorable. I sold a Swirl and directed them to your blog. Fabulous information. Sandy
    Graceful Antiques.


  11. What a great and informative post! I just listed a Swirl Wrap Dress in my Etsy shop and linked this post – thank you!

    – Shannon @ Sonder Vintage


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