Fashion in Song – Alice Blue Gown (1919)

The song was written in 1919 by Harry Tierney with words by Joseph McCarthy for the Broadway musical Irene. Edith Day, the start of the Broadway musical, first recorded the song in 1920.

Alice Blue is an icy white blue colour that was popularized in fashion by Alice Roosevelt Longworth, the oldest daughter of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt. Alice Roosevelt was beautiful, a high-profile socialite, and a”New Woman” who smoked, rode alone in cars with men, and was even seen placing bets with a bookie. In 1902, Alice’s debutante gown was in this pale icy-blue colour that was named for her. She wore the same colour for her wedding dress in 1906.

I once had a gown, it was almost new, 
Oh, the daintiest thing, it was sweet Alice blue, 
With little forget-me-nots placed here and there, 
When I had it on, oh, I walked on the air! 
And it wore, and it wore, and it wore, 
‘Til it went, and it wasn’t no more. 

In my sweet little Alice blue gown, 
When I first wandered down into town, 
I was so proud inside, 
As I felt every eye, 
And in every shop window I primped, passing by. 

A new manner of fashion I’d found, 
And the world seemed to smile all around. 
‘Til it wilted, I wore it, 
I’ll always adore it, 
My sweet little Alice blue gown! 

The little silk worms that made silk for that gown, 
Just made that much silk and then crawled in the ground, 
‘Cause there never was anything like it before, 
And I don’t care to hope there will be any more! 
And it’s gone, ’cause it just had to be, 
Still it wears in my memory. 

In my sweet little Alice blue gown, 
When I first wandered down into town, 
I was so proud inside, 
As I felt every eye, 
And in every shop window I primped, passing by. 

A new manner of fashion I’d found, 
And the world seemed to smile all around. 
So it wouldn’t be proper 
If made of silk were another, 
My sweet little Alice blue gown!

About Jonathan

Jonathan Walford is a fashion historian and co-founder of the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario. The FHM maintains a collection of nearly 12,000 artifacts dating from the mid 17th century to the present. Jonathan has authored various books and museum catalogues, including The Seductive Shoe, Shoes A-Z, Forties Fashion, 1950s American Fashion, and Sixties Fashion.
This entry was posted in Fashion in song. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.