This photo shows six women honored by the Mexican American Opportunity Society, a non-profit devoted to education and economic assistance in California. It began in 1963 and still exists today. What had these six women done to be honored? Were they donors, administrators, or especially successful recipients of aid? Newspaper searches came up empty.
If not for the corsages, the women in the front don’t look all that dressed up to me. The gray haired woman bottom left right wears the outfit I most clearly associate with the seventies, a raised waist dress with a slightly peasanty look to it. Knitwear was popular in the decade, displayed front and center. And I see a the sheen of polyester to the blouse worn by the woman on the right, the most ubiquitous seventies textile.
Although fashion in the seventies was known for incorporating “ethnic elements,” I think the shawls worn by the two women in the front were not simply an on-trend accessory. Instead, I imagine a conscious decision to don something that evoked the handwoven rebozo, a historic feature of Mexican women’s dress. The ones above aren’t hand woven, but perhaps they are hand crocheted?