Preparing for the Prom, 1959

There won’t be a senior prom for many this year, so this 1959 photo seems especially poignant.  The daughter is all gussied up—is it the actual day of the prom or was she just posing to document the dress? It is a filly concoction, strapless with gathered ruffles across the breast.  The main body appears to be some kind of dark brocade, with a layered tulle petticoat underneath.  Did she make it herself? Or perhaps her mother did, standing proudly next to her?

Sears catalog, Fall/Winter 1959

The fit and flare style was no longer the height of fashion, but I found plenty of similar dresses in the 1959 Sears catalog.

The mother has also stuck to a 1950s classic.  No chemises or experimental shapes for her.  Instead, she has chosen a button up shirtwaist dress.  Sears offered a wide array of these dresses in all sizes and price points in 1959.

Although she looks quite casual next to her daughter, I think the mother also dressed up a little for the photo.  Note the pretty collar and decorative bow.    

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2 Responses to Preparing for the Prom, 1959

  1. Susan says:

    Nostalgic! I bet that black and white dress had “flocked” black flowers — a velvety finish that was much cheaper than embroidery. The pink dress would certainly have kept her date at a distance….

  2. JS says:

    I graduated from high school in the 1970s. Our class, probably reflecting the then-current disillusionment with conventional ceremonies, voted not to have a prom. That worked out well for me as I had no boyfriend and finding a dress would have been very difficult. When I see the modern-day excesses of this American rite of passage, I don’t regret my class’s decision.

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