In an old book listing careers in fashion, one of the possible jobs described was to work for a pattern company and travel around the country showing the company’s designs to interested women. That is precisely what is going on in this photo from North Carolina State University’s Rare and Unique Digital Collections. The caption reads: “‘You and Your Clothes’ demonstration at Farm and Home Week, 1957.” The woman on the left, draping fabric, is listed as “Mrs. Jane Scott, teacher, Simplicity Pattern Company, New York City.”
It looks like the woman in the middle is getting more help with fabric than she is with patterns. (Or is Mrs. Scott perhaps suggesting a slightly looser fitting bodice?) She is wearing a striped dress, while Mrs. Scott offers a floral design. Flowered textiles were all the rage in the fifties, so this would definitely be a nudge in the direction of current fashion trends. The happy woman in the center wears eyeglass frames with a strong metal bar at the top, popular in the fifties, but not the cat eye kind favored by the more fashion forward. Mrs. Scott wears black, or another very dark color, proving that New York sophisticates have been wearing black for a very long time.