On Zippers


Zippers were invented in the early 20th century as a way of closing clothes. Zipper is attached to a dress or skirt as unnoticeably but sturdily as possible, usually hidden in a seam and a flap of fabric arranged to protect the underwear from snags of zipper teeth. The recent innovation of “invisible zipper” is one of the rare agreeable cases of progress in the field of clothing in the last 40 years (no other springs to mind, but perhaps they exist). Zipper should be carefully chosen to match the colour of the garment. Were this all there was to say about zippers, I should be contented. Unfortunately, the age of ugliness has taken the humble zipper from its natural place demurely hiding between folds of fabric, and arranged it as the center point of interest of many a garment. In skiing or motorcycling jackets or builders’ overalls this might be understandable, from a practical point of view, but to see zippers boldly displayed in cocktail dresses – town coats – evening wear … words fail me. It is nothing short of indecent.

Zippers are not meant to call attention to themselves. Although I would not for the life of me give them up, so valuable services they render in closing dresses and skirts without bulk, but to display them – especially on other clothes than purely utilitarian workwear – is at variance with good taste. I would not part with my very useful spleen or liver either, but that does not mean I should like to present them for all the world to see.

Also novelty zippers with lacy cutwork sides have been popular lately. This is an innovation that cannot be too strictly reprehended or too soon abolished. I do admit that they might be amusing, and stir the fancy of an innocent girl with a taste for anything ornate and pretty, but I’m afraid I must warn you against them. No person of really fine culture delights in an exhibition of the internal mechanisms of her dress, to which class zippers belong together with buckram and other interlining. They are all absolutely necessary materials of making good, real clothes of quality, without which it would be impossible to achieve clothes of beauty and value. However, to fulfill their mission, they absolutely must stay hidden, or their purpose is defeated.


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