Thursday, July 9, 2015

Wearing History's 'Smooth Sailing Trousers': A Review

Finally I've gotten around to writing my review of Wearing History's read-to-wear Smooth Sailing Trousers which I have owned since December last year.

Before Lauren embarked on her ready to wear line, I had actually been eyeing off the pattern that these are based off (that Wearing History's pattern store also sells) for quite some time. So naturally when the Kickstarter campaign to fund the line was announced I jumped at the chance to back Lauren's business venture and to get myself some pre-made trousers.

These trousers are based on mid 1930s to early 1940s women's sportwear styles. Similar to these  styles below:

Image courtesy of Wearing History
Image courtesy of Wearing History

Katherine Hepburn, c. 1940s

As modern bodies are a bit different to those of our grandmother's generation Wearing History has taken the time to slightly alter the design of these trousers, namely shortening the crotch length for ease of wear, whilst still staying true to the aesthetics of the era.

Image Courtesy of Wearing History

I was super excited when getting these trousers in the post as I don't own anything like them. I absolutely adore the way that they look with tied blouses and cropped tops, although you could definitely wear them with any top you choose (I personally tend to shy away from period blouses as I find I look a bit too costume-y, but that's just my preference).

The trousers are extremely well made and I was lucky enough to get mine with the lovely shell button that came with the first production run. The sizing is true to what is listed on the website and the length is perfect for my average 5'5" height. The fabric is a lovely soft, lightweight denim so perfect for spring or a mild summers' day (Australian weather that is, if you're in northern Europe you could wear these all summer long!)

Side view - trousers are paired with a cropped top from Forever 21

The only problem that I have with the trousers is the fact that the fabric is non-stretch. Let me start by firstly saying  that issue with the fabric has NOTHING at all to do with the style of these trousers or their production, but rather with my body shape. I completely understand why Lauren at Wearing History chose to design these trousers with a non-stretch fabric as it is period correct and her clothing aims to be as authentic to the 1930s/40s as possible.

I don't have a very defined waist, so rather than the nice hourglass that most vintage and modern styles and sizes are designed around, my torso is a rectangle. So, I always have problems when it comes to fitted clothing. Particularly when it comes to choosing a size when I'm buying or sewing 1930s to 1960s styles.

Wearing History has a pretty great sizing selection and when I ordered these, I got the size 28 (for 28 inch waist). The problem is, my waist is actually 29.5 inches, which means I probably should have got the size 30. HOWEVER, my hips are only 38 inches. So technically my waist measurement corresponds to the size 30 but my hips measurements correspond to the size 26-28.

Wearing History Size Chart

Although the site states that if you are between sizes to go up a size, I'm not only in between but completely out of sync with the size guide (as I am with most). This is not the fault of Wearing History, but simply down to my non conventional anatomy (although it seems I am not the only one, Lauren from American Duchess also recently outlined the issue she has with vintage styles and her similar body shape here). So, if I buy clothes to fit my waist they are too big in the hips and butt, if I buy clothes to fit my hips and butt, they are too small in the waist. It's an ongoing issue!

One way I might remedy this is to wear some period correct shape wear such as girdle, which I will try in the future. Until then I just avoid wearing them when I plan to eat a lot whilst sitting down, as the waistband tends to get a bit tight! I'm even thinking of buying the pattern to these so I can make them in other fabrics and better tailor them to my body shape in a way that you can only do if you make them yourself.

Overall I do love these trousers and I can totally recommend them and Wearing History to anyone who is interested in 1930s and 1940s fashion. Also, I cannot wait for Lauren's next line to come out and see what else she has up her sleeve!

Back view
Smooth Sailing Trousers are available here on Wearing History's website for US$94.99. I've also attached the product description from the website below:

Product Description
The Smooth Sailing trousers were inspired by mid 1930’s to early 1940’s sportswear fashions
A mid-point between modern and vintage trouser fit, rise (crotch length) is slightly longer than modern rise, but shorter than the very low rise of authentic vintage trousers. (For more info about rise and vintage trouser fit,  check out my blog post by clicking here)
A slim fit through the waist and high hip, and a looser fit from the hip down
Two front release pleats with topstitching detail
An invisible zipper at the side, with a button and buttonhole fastening at the waist
Made of 8 oz 100% cotton indigo denim with a generous hem- pre-wash before altering length.

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