In 1918, a New Yorker by the name of Frank L. Shur called for a “dressing club” to be built in New York, and a lot of women were looking for something to look at while they waited tables as the first “chic” restaurant. Their “chic” was a term first used in 1920 by Mary McCarthy for women and young folks in restaurants. She described the women “who, when they first saw the new dress, felt a sudden change in their mood- the change that brings about a new sense of dignity and of the importance to their bodies and to the way they were perceived, at least for a while, that one could be a lady and not dress a certain way.”
Another New Yorker and one of the founders of the Club, Edith Gombart (a.k.a. Edna Beak), also called for a club to take off when the fashion was becoming more “chic.” She stated that: “We can’t afford not to talk so much about it. I mean to spend our time and effort, with all available means, and to try to make some new and attractive changes that you think will come in the next few weeks.”
Another member of the Club who went off the rails with an unhealthy obsession with fashion was Marjorie Wallace (the wife of the famed fashion photographer William Wallace), who dressed to impress everyone. In 1921, she wore a long black dress, a “high-ball” or silk dress (no word on what “nautical” was), a high neck, low slits, a “wreath of roses” and a full, colorful shawl on her shoulders. The outfit was a hit with the women who were dining and they began to wear black dresses with wide shoulders as fashion dictated and as a response to this, the Women’s Fashion Council of New York, formed in 1922, banned the wearing of long sleeves, a dress with a dress shirt and no ties, and also banned the use of makeup, earrings or jewelry.
Marjorie Wallace, a founder of the New York Club and the First Lady of the United States, wore a beautiful gown which read like a magazine cover. For years, the United States had one of the most well established women’s organizations, and Marjorie Wallace was a pioneer in fighting for women’s rights in the country.
In 1924, a woman named Helen E. Davis attended a party at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York and decided
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