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Claire McCardell: the American look.

claire_dollblu_suitbeach_sweatred_stripesmonasticClaire McCardell (1905-1958), pioneered a style of modern sportswear that embodied a functional, casual elegance that endures in American design today.

What happens when you add a bit of whimsy to your business suit? The result just might look like Claire McCardell’s vivid blue wool suit with black chenille stripes. A McCardell trademark wrap-front jacket is secured with her brass hook-and-eye closures. The same hook-and-eye closures can also be found on the ribbed-knit waistband on the skirt. In-seam pockets, of course.

Simplicity is defined in this black wool jersey Beach Sweater, which Claire McCardell designed with active women and maximum range of motion in mind. When this item debuted in 1954, swim attire had also become a necessity for social gatherings, making it common for women to own 3 or more suits.

Claire McCardell’s signature brass round hook-and-eye closures are evidence that utility and beauty do mix. This evening gown features a wrapped bodice and hidden, in-seam pockets—elements that McCardell used often.

Claire McCardell’s Monastic dress was first presented in 1938. Princess-seamed, with ample room for movement, the wearer defines the shape with, in this specific example, a tied leather belt.