Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Young ladies of the 50s had clothing choices, pt. 1

Young ladies of the 50s usually had four wardrobes. School. Sunday. Leisure/casual. Party/prom/dance. Our styles had flare and balance. Darts and starch. If you had a nice figure it would show; if you didn't you could cover it. You could sit down and not see London or France. You could twirl and swish, or run the bases in a softball game.

Today, young women have jeans, t-shirts, and slacks which they wear interchangeably for any occasion and often show their butt cracks. If it is a dressy occasion, they add some bling and 4" mules, but often it is hard to tell. Sometimes at church I can't tell if the teens have just returned from an overnite camping event, or if they just rolled out of bed. Their clothes either hang on them because they are 2 lbs shy of anorexia, or their thighs look like sausage links in jeans two sizes too small.

I wore six styles of home sewn skirts through high school and college: three tier cotton print, dark background with contrast blouse; gathered cotton print; pioneer style cotton print (one big ruffle); button down the front cotton print; inverted front pleat, usually a wool or corduroy, and back pleat, usually corduroy. These patterns are from a vintage pattern site, The Vintage Cat. I never had a full circle skirt or a poodle skirt, items that are often shown as typical of the era.

My mother often didn't use a pattern for the skirts--either she'd made so many for my older sisters, she knew the ropes, or they'd just worn out. For blazers, blouses, vests, boleros, jackets, coats and formals, she always used a pattern. She never felt she was a confident seamstress, and she told me once that when she first cut into the satin for my sister's wedding dress (which I also wore five years later) her hands trembled. For Saturdays or hanging out with friends I wore jeans or capri pants, but I probably owned one or two pair of slacks. I rarely wore shorts, but did own some.

This skirt was a beige, brown and white floral, button down the front style with a wide waist band. About a year later mother remodeled the kitchen, so these are probably the original ca. 1912 cabinets. Note the phone. Our number was 59-L and it was a party line. I seem to still have a summer tan in this photo and a pony tail, so I think it is Fall 1954. I'm sitting on one of the dining room chairs I mentioned in this entry, before it was painted. I believe by 1954 Mother had cut the legs down on the beautiful oak table to create a coffee table, bought a new dining room set, and used the old chairs in the kitchen. I'll have to check with the sibs on that.

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