Who Is Who?

From the collection of Lizzie Bramlett. Click to enlarge

“My mother, my sister-in-law and myself,” it reads on the back of this photo.  But who is who?  I am guessing from the shape of the noses that the stylishly dressed daughter is on the left, the mother in middle, and the sister-in-law on the right.  What do you think?

Judging by the length of the shortest outfit, it must be sometime in the second half of the 1920s.  Obviously the young woman on the right has not kept up with fashion.  At first I wondered why she didn’t simply shorten her skirt, but those many pleats would have made it a lot of work.  Maybe she was betting that short skirts wouldn’t last.

The mother is occupying a different clothing universe altogether.  Her dress is very long and has no waist line at all that I can see.  Where did she get it?  Even inexpensive cotton house dresses in catalogs had some kind of waistline.  Maybe she made it herself, designed for practicality, without even a nod to then current styles.

Enid, Oklahoma. 1928. Click to enlarge

I found a similar photo years ago where the mother’s dress looked like a shapeless cotton bag next to her daughter’s clothes.  Some older women must have decided that twenties fashion was changing so fast that they would just sit out the decade and wait for things to settle down.

This might be a snap from my home state, California.  It was taken “at the farm in San Gabriel,” a place not too far from me.  Thanks, Lizzie!

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3 Responses to Who Is Who?

  1. I wonder whether the mother in the top photo was wearing a house robe or Hooverette of some kind, although the volume of the thing would suggest a sack type dress. It almost looks like a zip down the middle, but that would be way too early, given the styles the other two women are wearing.

    As for the woman in the dark dress on the right, she looks a bit older than the woman on the left, so perhaps she wasn’t as interested in following the quickly changing fashions as her younger counter part? Hard to say.

  2. Lizzie says:

    I agree with how you have identified the women.

    It occurred to me that the mother was in her nightclothes, but even in the mid-twenties photography was still a bit of a novelty, and it seems odd that a woman of her age would agree to be memorialized in her nighty!

    I love the sister-in-law’s suit. Maybe she knew she needed the extra length to make the proportions work with her figure.

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