Category Archives: 1950s

The Sheer Dress at Thanksgiving

No turkey on the table, but I’m guessing this must be Thanksgiving. When else is pumpkin pie the only dessert?  As is obvious from the woman who is dolloping out whipped cream, sheer dresses were not only for the old.  … Continue reading

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Anna May Wong, Aging

By now, everyone must have heard that Chinese American actress Anna May Wong has earned a place on American quarters.  Key elements of her famous look, including the bangs and high eyebrows, remained with her as she aged.  The photo … Continue reading

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Auntie Chris at Jones Beach, 1955

My husband comes from a small family, so he doesn’t have a vast supply of stories about wacky relatives to enliven dinner parties. One exception is his great aunt, Edith Christine Smith (1888-1968), known to the family as Auntie Chris. … Continue reading

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Hope Skillman Fabrics

I’ve been wanting to write about textile designer and manufacturer Hope Skillman (1908-1981) for a long time, but pictures of her—especially with any sense of what she wore—are hard to find.  This Vogue advertisement, featuring her fabric on a dress … Continue reading

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Family Road Trip

In honor of summer holidays, I give you this photo of what I’m guessing was a family road trip.  It could just be a Sunday outing, but only the son with his tie looks dressed up enough to have come … Continue reading

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A Very Colorful Kitchen

For those fond of pattern mixing, here is one for you!  We have plaids and geometrics on the walls and floors, flowers on the table and apron, a paisley dress, and a figurative drawing on the curtains.  In short, there … Continue reading

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The Navy Blue Suit

Reader and contributor Nann Hilyard recently sent me a page from the humorous book Going, Going, Gone: Vanishing Americana by Susan Jonas and Marilyn Nissenson.  Among their list of things gone the way of the milkman is the navy blue … Continue reading

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Domestic Scene, 1954

This snapshot evokes happy childhood memories for me.  Some of my fondest recollections of my grandmother are when she was at her sewing machine.  One Easter she made matching dresses for me, my sister, and my four cousins.  For an … Continue reading

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What to Wear to a Cold War Summit, 1959

During the late 1950s, when Nikita Khrushchev came to power in the Soviet Union, there was a brief thaw in the Cold War between that country and the United States.  One sign of the shift was a big exhibit of … Continue reading

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A Stylish Stout Woman at the Beach, 1953

In the 1920s, makers of plus size clothing, what was then called “stoutwear,” invented different names and sizes for different kinds of larger bodies.  A big breasted figure with a relatively small waist was named a “stylish stout.”  It was … Continue reading

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