If we didn’t have the title, “NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People], Los Angeles, 1949,” it would be hard to guess the context of the photo. This looks to be an organizational event taking place in the meeting room of a club or church. An attractive, but nameless, older woman stands giving a speech next to a portrait of a young man. She is apparently only one of many set to speak. Is it a eulogy for the young man? Whatever she is reading has certainly made her happy.
When the New Look style emerged in the post war years, some commentators wondered if it could flatter the older, wider figure. One fashion writer complained that, “[T]iny waist lines, bulging hips and overfull, overlong skirts made most mature women look short, squat and dumpy.” (C. Crosby, Ebony, September 1948, p. 53). However, this woman’s beautifully tailored suit shows that a gently revised version could be quite beautiful. The slightly nipped waist gives her a nice shape, and she has drawn further emphasis to it with the beautiful pocket detail. The long, slim skirt makes her look tall. And what a perfect hat!