Hiking in Pearls, Late Fifties or Early Sixties

Found photo

From the recent showing of The Crown, I know that some older women (Queen Elizabeth, for example) hiked wearing skirts well into the 1980s.  However, Elizabeth’s outdoor outfits looked considerably more rough and ready than the sheath dress worn by the woman in the forefront.  The trail couldn’t have been all that difficult since her younger companion has on Keds, not great support on uneven terrain.  Even so, the older woman looks unusually well dressed for an outdoor adventure.

I’m struggling to make up a story to go with this undated photo.  The father and daughter have on casual clothes, suitable for a walk that was not too difficult.  The mother, however, looks like she is dressed up for shopping with friends.  Did the other two pick her up from some outing, reminding her that she had a pair of sturdy shoes in the car?  Or was this her protest against clothing becoming more casual? Did she insist that hiking was only an option in a good dress with pearls?

I welcome your stories—and your ideas about a more precise date.

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6 Responses to Hiking in Pearls, Late Fifties or Early Sixties

  1. Allie says:

    Could be a Sunday hike after church; the father and daughter changed, the mother didn’t. Or perhaps the father and daughter didn’t go to church, in which case it’s similar to your story about picking the mother up from another outing. I’m curious why they seem to be posing with a hand on the knee, though.

  2. JS says:

    I don’t have any theories. Yours, that the older woman was picked up, makes sense.


    In regard to The Crown, I found it hard to believe that someone as punctilious as Margaret Thatcher would not have asked for a thorough memo about the clothing she needed for a Balmoral holiday, as well as all the protocols. She may not have been impressed by them, but had no reason to offend them, especially right at the beginning.

  3. Nann says:

    It did seem unlikely that Margaret Thatcher wouldn’t have twigged to attire-for-a-country-house-weekend. I also noted Diana’s attire when they were hiking/walking at Ayers Rock in Australia — in a dress and heels for back country touring? And it was the 80’s when women wore trousers/slacks a lot.

  4. Lori says:

    It may have been warm (based on center lady), and the woman in the foreground wouldn’t wear shorts. The necklace may have been worn because she ‘felt naked’ without it. I knew many ladies like that in the early 70’s when I was a kid. What I don’t understand is why the man is dressed for cooler weather. To be honest, it looks more like a photo at an overlook than a hike to me.

  5. Alyssa says:

    While rugged shoes were available for outdoor activities to some degree for women, I think a lot of women simply didn’t own them. The expense probably wasn’t justifiable if you weren’t a regular hiker. Grandma Gatewood hiked the AT multiple times, always in Keds, and that’s some tough terrain, plus it wasn’t as well kept back then. The railing could indicate it is an outlook with a road going to it. You wouldn’t build a railing on a hiking trail.

  6. Black Tulip says:

    Mr Tulip and I used to go hiking in north Wales a lot, in the area where he spent a lot of childhood holidays. We always went out in boots and walking gear, complete with waterproofs etc. Then in a family photo album we found some pictures of his parents and various family friends, taken in locations we recognized. The women were all in cotton dresses and white sandals and carrying handbags, and their idea of ‘poor weather clothing’ appeared to be to take a cardigan along as well!

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