Older Women in Shorts–Helen Hokinson’s View

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After my last post on the proper etiquette of shorts, I thought I would reprise this satirical drawing by cartoonist Helen Hokinson.   She had a keen eye for the missteps of women of a certain class (and post-menopausal heft).  One of her running gags shows these women trying to keep up with current fashion, often with the sly aid of a much younger saleswoman.

This cartoon comes from Hokinson’s posthumous collection The Ladies, God Bless Em!  Although drawing isn’t dated, I mostly likely comes from the early to mid forties given the saleswoman’s style.  It was also a time when pants and shorts as casual attire gained popularity, especially among younger women.

The customer is meant to look ridiculous, in her odd overall shorts combo worn with sensible shoes and elaborate jewelry.  And what would the husband make of such an outfit?  Detached and baffled husbands are another standing joke for Hokinson.  Perhaps somewhere there is another drawing of the hapless woman showing off her outfit to her astonished spouse.

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