This 1943 pink day dress is typical of wartime fashion, simple yet smart, constrained by clothing rationing but creatively elegant within the bounds of the restrictions. It has a straight skirt to mid-calf length, pleated at the front to provide easy freedom of movement. The elaboration is all in the bodice. Characteristic is the padded shoulders above short sleeves, amplified by the pleats at the cuffs, which accentuate the puff around the upper arm. The main decorative feature is the appliqué cording in self-fabric and small sections of floral pattern fabric. This is restricted to the upper arms and either side of the bodice almost like a decorative bolero. The faceted tubular glass buttons add a final flourish. It is beautifully tailored, the work of a professional seamstress.

This dress was purchased from Regency Gowns, a dress shop that was in Princes Street opposite the Savoy. Florence Norris (née Kerr) wore the dress to celebrate her twenty-fifth wedding anniversary in January 1943. Florence, was born in Invercargill and had worked at a draper’s there prior to her marriage in 1918. This left her with a lifelong interest in dressing well. Florence’s husband, Sidney Norris, worked for the Post Office and was transferred to Dunedin following their wedding. Florence and Sidney settled in Grove Street, St Kilda and remained there for the rest of their lives. Florence died in 1969 aged 79.
Regency Gowns
Production Date
1,140 (h) x 450 (w) x 230 (d) mm (on mannequin)