Shirt Waist Fashion, 1903

Ladies Shirt Waist and Skirt, 1900,

Ladies Shirt Waist and Skirt, 1900,

Edith says, “I am sewing a good deal just now – Yesterday after lunch I went up to Kilmers and sewed all P.M. and we stayed well into the night and this A.M. finished my blue and white gingham waist, which I now have on”.

The fashion for 23 year old Edith when she was living in New York City in 1902-1903 was an elaborate “shirt waist” that was paired with a skirt. For evening dresses she most often bought a tailored “costume” from a seamstress, but if she could set aside the time she had the skills to sew an entire outfit suitable for either day or evening events. Her mother Helen Sophia Beals Ross and her Grandmother Beals also worked on shirt waists for her in Rutland, Vermont which they sent in packages by mail to Mrs. Schirmer’s in the City. Edith writes home upon receiving one such care package, “The package came this A.M. before I was up and when I opened it and saw the pink waist so beautifully made and so pretty I nearly fainted with surprise. I haven’t tried it on yet but I know it will fit O.K. I tell you -you are a pretty smart woman. Mamma – I like the way it is made very much and shall be crazy to wear it though I don’t suppose I shall dare except for very dress up as Mrs. S is just like Madame B and believes in putting things away until they are out of style. The green waist is fine too. Now Mamma let up a little. I have enough to keep me going now and you can take your time about finishing the others and do some work for yourself first.

Find out more about shirt waists fashion on these links:

About Guenevere Crum

Guenevere Crum is an artist and a great granddaughter of Edith and Paul Eisler. She has been actively sleuthing her Eisler - Vail Ross heritage since 1999.
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