Although I know that it is foolish, I love to imagine a fresh start with the New Year. Last year, I resolved to ride my bike more. I was somewhat successful since I advanced from zero to about ten times…but not exactly a transformation. This year I want to become serious about learning Spanish. It is ridiculous to live in Southern California and not know what half the people around me are saying. Wish me luck.
With my new resolve, I was reminded of this photograph from the National Archives of a White House Spanish class. They have dated it as 1950, but the fashion tells us that it must have been a few years earlier. I don’t believe that not a single woman in this large crowd was unaffected by the changing silhouette and skirt length introduced by the New Look in 1947.
To the right of the dapper Professor Ramon Ramos stands First Lady Bess Truman, around sixty here. She is not remembered for her fashion sense. According to Robb Young in his informative book Power Dressing, she was the only American first lady since the 1930s who refused to be featured in Vogue. Compared to the other women, she is very casually dressed without a hat or gloves. Perhaps she was pulled out of the White House at the last minute to be part of this group.
Note how few women wear printed dresses and how many are in dark colors. The fun comes in the hats—a veritable garden of flowers!