Russian-Inspired Fashion Suggestions

The Winter Olympics start this week in Sochi, Russia.  As a way to learn more about the host country, Modern Graphic History Library presents some Russian-inspired fashions straight out of Ladies’ Home Journal.

Because it’s cold outside, you will need a coat.  The latest Russian coats are tunic-styled.


Soft wools and velvets are the latest novelties in coats and work well with the typically Russian embroidered braids and fur trimmings.

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Fancier coats can use embroidered gold braids and larger fur trimmings, in addition to pearl buttons.

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The tunic styling also appears in Russian dresses, including the afternoon housedress made of silk or novelty cotton (on the left) and the elegant velvet dress suitable for entertaining (on the right).

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Diagonal lines are also very common in Russian fashion, accentuating the tunic look.  Both of the day outfits shown below illustrate this technique.

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This single-piece day dress features a gauntlet-shaped sleeve over a circular puff.  Fur trimming lines the edges of the narrow sleeve.

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The diagonal tunic-style can also be seen on men’s wear.  Silk sashes are very common and help to accentuate the lines of the tunic design.

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Patterns for most of these Russian-inspired outfits are available from Ladies Home Journal for 15¢.


The women’s outfits were illustrated by Abby E. Underwood for the September 1913 Ladies’ Home Journal article, “The Russian Note In New Clothes.”

The dolls were photographed by Frederick W. Martin for the December 1913 Ladies’ Home Journal article, “Christmas Dolls From Russia.”  The dolls were created by Russian orphans for the Russian Peasant Handicraft Center.

These  issues of Ladies’ Home Journal are part of Modern Graphic History Library’s Periodical’s Collection.

About the author

Andrea Degener is the Visual Materials Processing Archivist in the department of Special Collections at Washington University Libraries.