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.
I bought her a few years ago from an ebay seller. After buying other paper dolls from her, I wrote her inquiring about odd lots, incomplete sets, even dolls without clothes and vice versa.
This 1940s girl was one of those purchases.
Very sweet and I just love her shoes.
Was that the name of the doll, the little girl she belonged to, or both?
“Silk drawn or poke bonnet, ca. 1815 – 1840
Bonnets like this one were stylish up to 1840, although the brim’s shape varid somewhat. This bonnet measurs 13″ from back to front; the brim measures 8″ from the crown to it’s edge. $600 – 1,000.00”
“London head-dresses of around 1800. There is much talk of hats in Jane Austen’s letters. Top cenre in this illustration is the ‘Marmeluke cap’ which became fashionable after Nelson’s victory at the Battle of the Nile. Jane Austen’s letters tell us that she wore such a cap at Lord Portsmouth’s Ball. Victoria and Albert Museum, London.”
Cartoonist’s drawing of a hat shop and the sketch of London headresses are from “Jane Austen” by Brian Wilks, 1978.
All other photos in this post are from “Vintage Hats & Bonnets 1770 – 1970” by Susan Langley, 1998.
“This charming plate depicts a milliner’s studio, ca. 1807, showing many fashionable hat styles. Note the straw poke bonnet on the girl in the pink gown, and lingerie cap on the girl to her right. A poke bonnet and a round straw bonnet rest on hatstands in the background. The girl on the extreme right is fashioning a turban on a wonderful milliner’s head; she wears a wonderful gold ornament in her hat. A wonderful “skimmer” is on the floor beside her chair.”
Wikipedia defines a Poke Bonnet as “a women’s bonnet (hat) in the shape of a hood, featuring a projecting rim on the front side, which would shade the face of the wearer.
The poke bonnet came into fashion at the beginning of the 19th century. It is called a poke bonnet because all of one’s hair could be poked inside it.”
Trim on this hat is turquoise silk ribbon. “The original lining is intact. Due to their large size and fragility, they were difficult to store so few survive. Dimensions 11″ end to brim horizontally, 9″ across the eyes, and 6 1/2″ brim edge to crown join. $800.00 – 1,200.”
…”straw poke bonnet of intricately woven bands of braided straw in an openwork design, similar to fashion plate No. 42 (above left). This hat retains its original silk lining and is trimmed with two sheer silk ribbons (original?). Dimensions 12″ back to front horizontally, 8″ width across the eyes, and approximately 11″ vertically from top to chin. There are several breaks in the straw edge. $400.00 – 800.00.”
Above left is wallpaper box (circa 1820). Value: $800.00 – 1,200.00.”
Now, that’s a great box (and I love old boxes), but twice the value of the hat??
This rare bonnet has “overlapping layers of straw, the fancy openwork, and long, slightly angled crown. The ribbons present are probably not original. The hand-stitching is clearly visible in the close-up. This bonnet came from Massachusetts. Dimensions: 14″ horizontally (side back to side front), approximately 8″ wide across the eyes, and 9” from top front to chin. $1,000 – 2,000.
The Kyoto Costume Institute’s wonderful book, Revolution in Fashion 1715 – 1815, pictures on page 99 a hat very similar to this one. It also resembles an early nineteenth century straw bonnet at the Rhode Island Historical Society, made by the famous Betsy Metcalf. In 1798, Betsy, at the age twelve, made what is believed to be the first documented American straw bonnet. She the ‘learned all who care to make bonnets,’ launching the American straw hatmaking industry.”
All photos and quotes in this post are from “Vintage Hats & Bonnets 1770-1970” by Susan Langley. These prices are only a guide and were set in 1998 when it was first published.