Guests at the Wedding Click to enlarge

Family snapshots are my bread and butter, so I was very happy to discover a new source on the website  Scattered throughout the pages were several photos of the same wedding. Someone dated them 1948, but the clothes tell a different story.  Sheath dresses with slim skirts, a popular look at this wedding, were not in style in the immediate post war years. Unfortunately dates on home photos can be wrong.  My guess is that the wedding took place about a decade later. What are your thoughts?

Above is the only picture of the bride. The older woman next to her, perhaps her mother, wears coral sheath dress with hat and rouge to match. The dress has wide neckline with a pretty ruched bodice.

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The woman in light blue on the left looks a lot like the bride.  What do you think their relationship might be? Her neckline is so wide that her dress appears to be falling off her shoulders. Is there some kind of netting holding it up?  The woman on the right in black also shows a lot of skin around her face. Only the older woman in the middle is buttoned up. Although her outfit is quite conservative, take a look at her shoes.

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On the left is the oldest woman in the wedding party, possibly the bride’s grandmother.  I’m guessing that she didn’t own a cocktail dress, so she chose her best suit and her best hat. The younger woman on the right wears the shortest skirt. Her black dress has a beautiful open collar.

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The goofy red headed kid in the red jacket takes the fashion prize. The woman right beside him stands out with her high collar and fur stole.

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And here we have the rouged lady in coral again, posing with someone who might be her sister.  I like the simplicity of the dark blue dress with its boat neckline.

So what can we learn from these photos? The women, whose ages ran from maybe forty to over seventy, wore a wide range of skirt lengths. Most were somewhere near mid calf, while the youngest woman’s dress was closer to her knees.  This is another clue  pointing to the late fifties. While all of the dresses had sleeves, many of the women were not afraid to show a lot of skin around their neck and chest.  The oldest woman, the grandmother, wore the most out-of-date clothes.  Was this her favorite style or did she not have the money for a fancier outfit?

And a lesson for today–it is unwise to overdo the coral rouge when you wear a coral dress.

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4 Responses to Guests at the Wedding

  1. I’d wear that dark blue dress–it is so elegant and classy. The rouge on the coral-dress lady might be a weird after-effect of the photographic process, but I agree, she probably overdid the application a bit. I’d agree also with dating the wedding a bit later, although perhaps not as late as 1958. It is a fascinating array of fashion choices for a wedding, though! The color photos really pop. (I just found a colorized photo array of female Soviet snipers in WW2 and the color really popped and seemed to make the girls seem contemporary to me. It was interesting that just adding color did that).

  2. what great style at that wedding. the bright colours and simple silhouette are so effective, I am thinking that may be the last red blazer ever worn by the kid (if he had his way!)

  3. This is pretty much mid 50s, probably 1956. Skirts had started to rise, but still well below the knee. After 1957 you’d expect them to be less fitted as well.

  4. You’re right about the dubious accuracy of dated family photographs; the more I try to catalog my aunt’s photo collection, the more often I find contradictions. I agree that this wedding is mid-1950’s. In All About Eve (1950,) Bette Davis’ off shoulder cocktail dress was an accident — which she and designer Edith Head were smart enough to use. Ms. Davis had a large bust — like the woman in the off shoulder blue dress. (And my, what white shoulders that lady has!)

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