Ski Suit, 1930s or early 1940s

I bought this white and blue ski suit some time ago, and until I posted about the late 20s suit, I had forgotten that I’d not shown off this one. There are a lot of similarities between this suit and the 1920s suit, but the differences are what makes placing a date on this set easier.

The biggest difference is probably the use of the zipper as an important part of the garment. The late 20s top has a short zipper at the neck, but  with its prominent tassel, I tend to think it was more for decoration than function. Remember, that earlier set was knit, and this one, made five to ten years later, is a woven. There is a need for garment openings, and both the jacket and the pants have zippers.

The 1920s knit pants were stretchy enough to pull on without an opening. There later pants with the tightly woven wool, require an opening. By the time these were made, probably after 1935, zippers were coming into common use in garments.

This set does have knit cuffs on the sleeves and pants legs.  The touch of color really adds to the attractiveness of this set.

This little tab under the collar keeps the jacket securely closed.

There is also a tab at the top of the pants zipper. Could it be that the maker just did not trust the zippers to hold securely? Remember, the zipper was just becoming commonly used. Maybe they were like the early adopters of the nylon coil zipper in the 1960s, when zipper failures were a very real problem.

That metal buckle also helps in adjusting the waist size.

Another clue that this suit is later than my 1920s one is the emphasis put on the natural waistline. You see that same feature on the ski suit in the 1941 photograph of Geraldine Kirkendall that I posted earlier this week. Actually these two suits are alike in every way except for the puffed sleeves  and surface decoration on Geraldine’s suit.

So, what keeps this ski suit from being from the later 1940s or even the 50s? Mainly, it’s the fabric used. By the time WWII started for the USA in 1941, manufacturers were turning away from heavy, fuzzy wools like the one used in my suit. Wool gabardine was found to be more resistant to water and wind and was lighter in weight. Ski pants lost the knit cuffs, and under-the-foot straps were added to keep the legs tucked into the boots and socks.

Okay, the gabardine suits might have been more practical, but I can’t imagine anything being cozier for a snowy day.

8 Comments

Filed under Sportswear, Vintage Clothing, Winter Sports

8 responses to “Ski Suit, 1930s or early 1940s

  1. pamela j

    So Grace Kelly! Love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely. Enjoyed reading about both suits. Thanks.

    Like

  3. Christina

    This is a lovely ski suit. Looking at the previous red suit and this one, when do the pant cuffs start appearing?

    Like

    • I think the knit cuffs were a carry-over from tweed knickerbockers, which often had knit cuffs. Images of women skiers in the 1920s almost always show them in knickers rather than long trousers. That started to change near the end of the decade. As the 1940s approached, the look of the trousers became sleeker, and the knit cuff was eventually replaced with a strap that went under the foot, with socks worn over.

      Like

  4. jacq staubs

    I think your 1950’s guestimate may be correct? The throat latch / hip strap ‘borrowed” from military jump suits from WW2? And the contrast piping / knit cuffs look 50’s. The zippers look like it now! As you say fabric looks cozy.

    Like

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