Mother of the Bride, 1947

John and Bessie McHugh at their daughter Marge’s wedding, October 18, 1947. Click to enlarge

The Mother of the Bride dress above, worn by Bessie McHugh, is a good example of post war fashion on the eve of the “New Look.” The skirt is longer than the length fixed during World War Two, which was regulated to hit just below the knee in order to save fabric.  The draped panel on the front is another example of fabric exuberance. As the very knowledgeable Jen Orsini pointed out, one big difference between immediate post war styles and Dior’s designs was the hand of the fabric.  Dresses in the immediate post war period were made of drapey fabric, while Dior’s designs were often made of stiffer textiles that held their shape.

Simplicity 1830, 1946. Click to enlarge

Bessie is probably in her late forties or early fifties here.  She has another figure style sometimes seen on older women—the missing waist.  Did she have her well fitting dress made for her? Did she make it herself?  The Simplicity pattern on the right above from 1946 has some similar lines.

Refashioner extraordinaire Eimear Greaney from Ireland sent me this photo.  Her relative John McHugh emigrated from Ireland to the United States, joining the vast Irish American community.  My great grandmother and grandfather were among them.  I have many more photos from Eimear to share. Stay tuned.

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5 Responses to Mother of the Bride, 1947

  1. bellneice says:

    Your blog posts often mention the menopot and the loss of the waist in as you age (in reference to the difficulty in finding nice clothes to wear). That body-shape change seems to be the common experience of all the women I know. I can never reconcile that reality with the US medical establishment’s insistence that waist circumference (less than 35 inches) and waist-to-hip ratio (at least a 10 inch difference between your waist and hip measurement) must remain at the same throughout your life. Even if you remain the same weight, those numbers will change as you age.

  2. eimear says:

    I had to do a double take when I saw the photo – seeing the photo with the simplicity pattern really does place it well – . I had not noticed how flattering those small gathers downwards from bodice and sideways on the wrap were until now.
    (thank you also Lynn for the link and flattering title!)

  3. Dee says:

    What a nice photo. Mother appears to be wearing some fabulous feathers! By the way, that doesn’t look like a peplum, more like a draped panel over the main skirt.

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