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 suit. Until the 1960s, fashion advertising announced each year’s version with expressive details. “Not Last Year’s Suit, with its ‘below-the-knees-heaviness’ and ‘pointedly slim’ pleats, but This Year’s Suit, with the ‘new more-hat silhouette’ or the ‘frisky, almost giddy kickiness of the schoolgirl,’” they write. (97) We can see a 1957 version in the photo above. The woman appears to have dyed her hair to match.
In my sporadic reading of Women’s Wear Daily from the twenties to the fifties, fashion writers often recommended navy blue as the must-have base color for Spring, an idea that is new to me. Perhaps it was seen was more colorful—and thus more Spring-like—than black, brown, or grey.
Most of my photo collection before the sixties is in black and white, so it is hard to trace whether or not older women embraced this idea.
But who knows? Perhaps the cheerful woman above was also wearing a new navy blue suit for Spring. Lest you confuse the season, it even has flower embellishments on the sides.