This beautiful portrait by Florida botanist J. K. Small shows an older woman and child on the steps of their house. I found it on the website Florida Memory. Since Small mainly took photographs of the flora of the Everglades, I would love to know why this small family group caught his eye.
Where are these two headed in their dressy outfits? Maybe they are going to a party or a church picnic. Both are dressed all in white, including white stockings. Another version of this photo shows the older woman in a white straw hat.
The little girl wears the current fashion of the twenties, a dropped waist dress complete with cloche hat. Note her bloomer underwear barely visible and the garters holding up her stockings. She clutches a tiny square purse (or lunchbox?) just in front of the cat.
It’s hard to see the details on the older woman’s dress because the white is over exposed. But this looks to me like a long shift dress, either without a defined waistline or one high up below her chest. It’s a look that I have seen on other older women in the 1920s. Perhaps she decided that a dropped waist didn’t look good her—it rarely flattered an older shape. Or perhaps she didn’t have interest or the money to keep up with current trends.