Byt Costume

Among the photo plates in Fannina Halle’s 1932 book, Woman in Soviet Russia, one is captioned “Patterns of the Soviet Uniform Dress (Byt Costume).”

The author explains, ““For nearly two years there has been an institute in Moscow known as Nishi (abbreviation for Scientific Institute for the Clothing Industry) in which expert research is conducted into the question of occupational clothing.” Halle interviewed Nishi’s principal, an artist named Mashurina, and quotes her as saying that, “’Dress is a reflection of the economic and social structure of society. The form of our garments ought to express the character of the industrial age. In Soviet Russia to-day it demands simplicity, plainness, and a close fit.’” Noting that science- and study-derived best dress models have already been produced for tractor drivers, milkmaids, and farm workers, Halle adds:

“Most interesting is probably the intention of introducing a standardized dress of which the separate parts, sleeves, front, and the like, can be changed and replaced at any time. The standardized garment is also to have the advantage that on various occasions it can be partly turned inside out and worn differently, having a colored (red) lining. There are already finished designs of this byt dress too.”

Patterns of the Soviet Uniform Dress (Byt Costume)Honestly, as I compare this byt costume to what I see every day as an office worker and commuter in New York, I wish some unscrupulous designer would steal it and make it catch on. Especially the long sleeves I like.