Fashion Backward/Fashion Forward, 1934

Family photos are a wonderful source to reveal the range of clothing options for different generations.  This particular found photograph, labeled “Bonnie Crisco 1934” by an unknown hand, shows a stark difference between old and young.  The mother or grandmother on the left appears to be wearing clothing from an earlier era.  Not only does her dress have the dropped waist of the previous decade, but the very high collar and austere parted hair add to her old fashioned look.

By contrast, the daughter or granddaughter on the right has on a boldly printed pants outfit. It looks like a jumpsuit, but more likely it was a shirt and pants combination with a tie waist. By the mid-1930s, you could buy these sets much everywhere, from in major catalogs to stores. They were first worn outside the house as beach wear. Wide pants were also recommended by stylish magazines for evening parties. However, choosing this look for a daytime family event was probably unusual.

Given their extremely different styles, I wonder how well these two women got along. Did the young woman pick her outfit to irritate her relative? Judging by the look on the older woman’s face, she had succeeded.

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3 Responses to Fashion Backward/Fashion Forward, 1934

  1. Susan says:

    Wonderful photo! Thanks for sharing it. I try to remind myself that older women often have financial constraints, so their “good dress” wouldn’t get worn out often enough to warrant replacing it. But that high collar would have been a fashion choice. She looks like she has “starch in her spine.” Or maybe she is just squinting because we always had to face the sun for photos “back in the day.”

  2. Its amazing how modern the jump suit looks! Its nearly like a time warp that she was ‘beamed’ in from the 70s. No wonder this style is still so popular for vintage makers. Of course the wide smile of the wearer is also lovely.
    I often think I am like the older lady in photos, I tend to get rather self aware (a habit I am trying to shake off still!)

  3. Lizzie says:

    A four-generation photo, perhaps?

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