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Square shouldered cape and suit ensemble, ca. 1943

Contributed by Maine Historical Society
MMN Item 105714 Item Details
Square shouldered cape and suit ensemble, ca. 1943
MMN Item 105714 Zoom


This stylish suit and matching cape evoke 1940s Hollywood fashions. The square, broad shoulders first gained popularity during the 1930s, while the shorter, knife pleat skirt is indicative of war-time fashions. The coordinating cape is reversible—brown on one side and gold on the other. While a modern audience might associate a suit with business, the mid-century suit, paired with a stylish hat, was a popular choice for social outings and events.

An avid world traveler, perhaps Lucile Atkinson Baker (1892-1976) wore the suit on one of her many trips. Born in Iowa, Lucile lived in Tokyo, London, and New York before settling in New Jersey. An author, she traveled and lectured extensively on East Asia. Her daughter Helen Baker Cushman donated the ensemble to Portland's Westbrook College in 1977, along with other pieces from Lucile and her husband Ivan Baker's wardrobe.

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