Category Archives: Femininity
The straw purses on the lower left remind me a lot of Barbie’s purse.
My mother never carried one like that, but some of the ladies at Sheridan Road Baptist Church did, and I thought they were so glamorous.
Polka-dot gloves? I had to look twice to make sure. A girl would’ve had to have been very confident to wear something that outrageous and snazzy. Even though these are 52 years old – they’re new to me.
After having had the measles, it never occurred to me than spots on the hands could be stylish.
Images taken from the Spring/Summer Montgomery Ward Catalog, 1960
Barbie – Four Decades of Fashion, Fantasy, and Fun by Marco Tosa
To achieve the bouffant looking skirt, like this:
However, it took something a bit more stringent for this look:
or this one:
One of these was required:
The bouffant look was the easiest to achieve – you just needed a really full half slip. More if you could. These slips were called crinolines or, as we called them in Oklahoma: Can-Cans.
They were sold in tubes and would expand like a rubber dinghy when removed.
One girl could fill a whole seat on the schoolbus if she’d really gone all out. A friend of my sister wore a cancan made by her mother which had used 12 yards of netting.
Slips were a lovely, feminine part of a lady’s wardrobe. Montgomery Ward’s 1960 Spring/Summer catalog featured 10 pages of all sorts of slips: half, full, lacy, utilitarian, and maternity in a wide range of colors.
Years ago I bought a very nice half slip with a wide border of lace, but alas, it became as tattered as a flag left out in the wind.
When I went back to Dillard’s to get a replacement – they had one style. One. And it was ugly.
I’m afraid modern women have been sold a bill of goods (taken for a ride; cheated; swindled) by fashion setters. It’s not easy to find feminine designs.
However, a Lady of the Night no longer needs a speciality store. She can get her work clothes anywhere.
Okay, on to the girdles.
Those slender skirts like Audrey Hepburn wore needed something more than just a slip underneath.
A “foundation garment” was used to slim those hips. Smooth out those bumps. Hold in that tummy.
That same MW catalog had 25 pages of girdles and slimming undergarments.
For a timeline perspective, think of Ricky Nelson’s girlfriends on Ozzie and Harriet.
Described as Bouffant, these dresses were towards the end of the New Look style of very full skirts introduced by Christian Dior in 1947.
Thirteen years is really quite a long run for one particular style. In fact, I can’t remember any other style that has been popular as long.
As to the prices, what would $19.98 be in 2012 dollars?
Go here for more specific information, but the list below will provide a brief comparison.
In 1960 a new house cost $12,700. Median price in 2012: $235,700.
A gallon of gas was 25 cents, then. Gas this week: $3.32.
In 1960 the average cost of new car was $2,600.00. Average cost of a new car in April 2012: a whopping $30,748. This is an all-time record.
Kraft Miracle Whip 51 cents Maryland 1960. Current price is about $3.00.
Jello 35 cents for 4 pks Maryland 1960. Don’t know on this one because I don’t buy Jello.
Del Monte Peaches 29 cents per can in 1960. Seems like they’re about $1.29 now.
Fresh Eggs 49 cents per dozen Maryland 1960. Just paid about 2.50 for free range.
Land O Lakes Butter 67 cents per pound Maryland 1960
Corn 6 for 25 cents Florida 1960.
Pack of chewing gum 5 cents Maryland 1960.
Pork Chops 59 cents per pound Maryland 1960.
The average house is 20X more costly, but that might not be a fair comparison because houses are bigger and grander (though not better built).
Gasoline is probably a good one to compare; it’s current price is about 13 or 14 times what it was in 1960.
So, let’s take the lower inflation rate of 13X the 1960 costs.
That $19.98 dress would have a price tag of $259.74.
Oh, my. That doesn’t include new shoes, purse, or jewelry.
But aren’t they cute? And so lovely swirling around on the dance floor.
The Audrey Hepburn Treasures by Ellen Erwin and Jessica Z. Diamond.
It’s a totally different kind of book than I’d ever seen before. Not just prose. Not merely prose + photographs.
Each chapter has a glassine envelope with reprints ranging from contracts to letters to the program from one of her early shows to greeting cards she sent. And lots, lots more.
Such an interesting format.
And here is the reprint of an early fan letter she received. I think it’s touching that she kept it.