Saturday, November 12, 2005

Prom dresses, pt.1

My eyes are practically crossed from reading through so many vintage pattern sites. The Cupid and the Swan has lovely vintage formal wear for the 1950s, but none of my three prom dresses made by my mother, nor the other three I remember seeing for my sisters. I've also looked through the Rusty Zipper , So Vintage, and the Vintage Cat and various vintage clothing sites that call e-Bay home and have a few patterns.

In the Spring of 1954, Mother made formals for both Carol and me. Carol was a junior that year, and the "Junior Prom" also included a banquet to which everyone came, regardless of whether they were going to the dance. Carol's dress was a lovely orchid/lilac taffeta covered with tulle net.
Mine was a mint green cotton organdy with a small white floral print, over green taffeta. Organdy is crisp and bouffant, but wrinkles easily. In my opinion, there is nothing prettier on a young lady in the Spring than an organdy dress. We each had crinolines to give the dress the proper fullness. To go with the dress, we each had a white pinwale stole lined in the taffeta fabric to take the chill off the May night.

Although Carol and I were not the same size, coloring, or body shape, Mother used the same style pattern which looked good on both of us and had mother's trademark--plenty of coverage. No one in our family ever wore one of those fluffy, puffy, full circle, strapless look alike dresses so popular at 50's proms.

Typical 50s prom dresses


Our dresses were halter style, with a high fitted waist piece, and semi-full skirt. These photos were taken in 1955 when I attended the prom. I had attended in 1954 with a junior, but don't seem to have any photos. It's a bit hard to see the detail, but you can see I'm carrying the stole (and apparently flash bulbs for the camera). This is one of the few photos of me wearing earrings (I had no ear lobes and never pierced my ears). They matched the dress and were made of rick-rack and tiny pearls.

3 comments:

JAne said...

Norma,
Your mom could have designed the summer wear for the Pauline Sisters (not 40s singing group, religious order).

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the memories. The 40's and 50's a much easier time in life.

Anonymous said...

I still have Mom's orchid stole. The reverse is a fine, white corduroy fabric. The dress and stole were a FAVORITE dress up. We only got it out at a few times, and unfortunately, the mice, basement floods, and attic heat damaged the dress beyond keep.
--Cindy