Monday, January 4, 2010

4 January 1956 “Spring Suit and Woman’s Roles”

vogue feb 56 I think I have found my February Sewing Challenge. I saw this image on one of our followers sites (check out the new links page on the website) Isn’t this simply Deevy! Though, I have to say I can begin to see the ‘slight’ look of the models as we grow closer to 1960 as opposed to our shapely girl from 1950. Even this Dior from 1955 (last year)dior 55 Seems a little ‘fuller’.

This dress, by the way, is also so Dreamy! I don’t know what it is, but I just cannot get sick of a full skirt.  I will be talking about this more on the website on the sewing page, when I make the pattern and before then on the Fashion page.

I think the website shall really give me the ability, that I did not find on the blog, to elaborate over time on specific topics, such as this move from 1950-1960 of the female form and the thinning of  the silhouette. This could make it helpful if I decide to do a book (as I might do from last years 1955 project) from this year, I shall have so much categorized and laid out for me. It seems an interesting idea.

I think that my blog, here, however seems a good place to still hash out and propose ideas that then can be elaborated more on the website. They shall aide one another nicely, I hope. Will you, as my readers, find it odd to have both the blog and website? Does it seem redundant?

On that note, I figured I would also post my first ‘doodle’ here as well as it can also be found on the Challenges pages.drawing2 copy The initial idea was just to do scribbles, but for some reason I keep seeing them as cartoons, not sure why.

I had a follower ask me today if I thought I would have had as much success and fulfillment from this past year in 1955 had I not had such a sympathetic husband. It really got me thinking. I certainly think it would have been harder, but it is a tough question because I am not sure I would be in a relationship with someone who was not supportive of me.

Of course, I also have a very, “I’ll just jump into a project headfirst, care I little where I land” mentality, so I tend to not hear or pay attention to others when they say, “That’s silly, stupid, odd”.

I am definitely happy that hubby is so sympathetic to the idea and we really seem to have hit a sort of easy running momentum. I think clearly defined roles in the home are not a bad thing. It is not as if either of us were forced into the roles we now have, as we chose them, so that is good. Yet, having freedom means not throwing out what works, therefore roles THEMSELVES are not bad, only if we feel forced into them. Thus, it makes sense if one has the freedom to choose the roles, then the roles themselves still work. One person the breadwinner, the other the manager caretaker. It makes for much more free time together and a much smoother running home.

I cannot imagine having a child normally, but since I have had this project my heart goes out to working mothers. It must be SO hard to both be out working and also have a child. I suppose if one could afford a nanny or some live in help, it might not feel as bad as you would feel your child has some constant and similar attention, but to have to work, shop, cook, take care of the house and the child, I am not sure how modern woman does it. We may scoff at old roles of womankind, but if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!

Again, now we have the CHOICE, but when the choice arises, do we really have the choice of the old workable roles? I am not sure, as I have heard from SO many woman over this past year that would love to be SAHM or SAHW and yet feel they do not have the choice. Be it money or what have you. Again, I feel if we could ,as a society, look at what is important to us we might find that most of the THINGS we are working for our plastic/media/easy use items that are replacing our own free time and enjoyment. Are we working harder so the new flat screen TV with 150 dollars worth of cable a month can stay  home all day while we toil away at jobs we hate? Are those premade frozen foods happy and content in the freezer while we are out working so they have a nice cool home to live in? I don’t know. I think if many of us ask that question and really evaluate our lives we may be surprised at the answer.

If I may go back to the aspect of fashion, as an example, as we move closer to the 1960’s the feminine form is becoming slighter and more masculine. Soon, pants will be the norm. Now, I am not saying, again, that we should not have the CHOICE of what to wear or that we should be DICTATED to what the female form is, but the early 1950s silhouette is much more feminine in that is has a fuller look which is actually how women look. Certainly High fashion exaggerated this, but the daily outfit of a middleclass homemaker was a comfortable dress that allowed movement and yet still made one feel pretty and feminine. Do our current fashions dictate the role of woman as a free woman or as a sham version of a man who, in fact, also has to have the babies, cook the food and clean the house? It would be an interesting study, don’t you think.

I think the more we evaluate what is important to us as individuals, then a family and then a community, we will begin to see that focusing on rather or not this or that is fair we should be focusing on what makes sense and works efficiently. We then can be happy individuals who make a happy family of caring nurtured people who then go out happy into the community and want to help out there and be neighborly. I just feel somehow we have become consumer clones mindlessly trying to fill the void of our sadness with more items, having to work more to continue that practice and then no one is home to help and foster a better feeling at home. Then this breeds a sort of laziness of body and spirit. We might work hard at work but then in our own private lives we are lazy where we should be spurred on the most to make our home life wonderful and important to us. We deserve it and yet it is ‘easier’ to just veg in our ‘comfort clothes’ eating our prepackaged food watching others lives go by on tv. I really do think this action, which we have been told is our ‘reward’ , (we “deserve to relax now after work” )is just part of the lie of the 21st century. It is robbing us of our lives and happiness.It allows us the luxury of excuses which will never let us fulfill and make our own happier lives. We can spend a lifetime of excuses of why we did or didn’t do this or that, but why should we? Don’t make excuses, make a home. Then, whilst there you will be happy doing more and more and find yourself more in control and happier over all. And THAT is contagious in a good way. That is a pandemic that would really help this country and the world.

So, let’s not look at roles, such as homemaker, as an oppressed position but as a choice that SOMEONE needs to make in order to foster a better home and community. If we don’t want a country and life ruled by the corporate ideal or the media-fed version of life, then we had better pay attention and choose some role rather than letting the roles be chose for us.


  1. Greetings,

    I do NOT find you Blog/Website redundant. I am an avid reader of your blog and love reading you ideas about and views of different things in the 1950s and contemporary times. As an American history scholar, and reference librarian (before my career shift to homemaker/Mother), I find your whole experiment/experience fascinating. I like the fact that your website has expanded ideas an views of others as well - via the forum. I anticipate that it will prove to be a great reference/resource for recipes, household tips and a wealthy of other information. I view both projects as two branches from the same tree, each with its own unique colour and style.

    Keep up the GREAT work!

    *Kindred Spirit*

  2. Thank you so much Kindred Spirit. I have to say I am glad. It is true, they are two branches of the same tree. I really like to espouse and rant and the blog seems the place for it, while the site can have practical tactile information and fun 'coffe klatch' moments. Thank you so much.

  3. I love the blog, and tend to gravitate towards that. But that is mostly because I find I am slow to change on some things. I have wandered around the website, and I can see so much potential...I just have to motivate myself to be there. haha

    "Do our current fashions dictate the role of woman as a free woman or as a sham version of a man who, in fact, also has to have the babies, cook the food and clean the house? It would be an interesting study, don’t you think."

    BRAVA!!! I love this comment. I have felt for many years that women are being pushed further and further into being 'men', and yet, men haven't changed significantly in their roles. Other than many of them are becoming more feminized. Why can't women be women and a man be a man. *sigh*

  4. Hey Honey! I found you through Jessica at Chronically Vintage. Your blog is too sweet! I am following you now. Check me out if you get a chance at

    Kori xoxo

  5. Yes 50sgal bring on the pandemic of making a home and all that entails! Your writings are an efficient and delighful 'carrier'.

    We're so fortunate to have your blog and website and if you can keep them both going with everything else you do, who are we to choose. Why not have both if we can. Lucky us. Linda

  6. Welcom Kori!
    Linda-thank you so much, for I would hate to give up my blog, we have become fast friends. And a gal likes a place to rant, doesn't she?
    Back to work.

  7. 50s gal,

    A most excellent post! wonderful insight, indeed.

    How much time a day would you say that you spend on your sites? I was curious for myself, as you get a lot done at home let alone on the computer.

    Also, you asked if we find it redundant to have the blog and the website both. For me, it is more a matter of taking more time to read through everything, and now that your husband has a site… It is all wonderful information; I am just hoping to be able to keep up with it all on top of life and a few other good sites that I visit.

  8. Anonymous, I enjoyed your comments on the branching-tree analogy. I feel the same. My challenge is to manage my time well enough to be able to take it all in.

  9. I am finding myself scheduling time in the morning and evening when I would normally be asleep, as now at midnight, to do the website and blog. I want to give them their due time and I know I can do it and still maintain my home. As I have no children, this is doable. Luckily any newer ideas of children were put on the back burner, as I said, this site will have to be the 'baby' for awhile. But, all in all, I feel it time well spent and I enjoy it. I do feel my quality of life has gone up and the people I am getting to connect with is wonderful. We all have different ways of dealing with or making schedules that is why we shall all learn so much from one another. Well, off to bed.

  10. You are very diligent, indeed. Please don't get burned out.

  11. Fantastic post that raises so many relevant issues! I for one, completely agree that the 'choice' of working/staying at home - for many, many women - is just not there. Here in Australia it is literally impossible for the average household to buy a house of your own unless you do it on two incomes - ie unless the woman is also working. Our society is set up so that you NEED two incomes to survive, and you either tackle this hurdle long before you even think of having kids so the mortgage is cut right down by the time you want to start a family, or, you do as so many are forced to do, and the Mum takes a few months off work to have the baby, and then goes right back to work. No choice there. At least in the 50's you didn't need two incomes to buy a house, and the woman could enjoy staying home and raising a family. Food for thought imho!

  12. It raises the question, as well, that the increase in real estate costs could be tied to the reduction in other costs. I want to do a post about this, as we are all so happy to have items become so cheap at the local box stores, but what is the cost we are truly paying to our small towns, the animals now farmed on corporate sized farms, and does it impact the economy in a way that LEAD to the rise of real estat? I for one would rather have a 5 dollar dozen of eggs and cheaper real estate as then I could also raise a few chickens and sell back into the system, as was once the case. This really does need further investigation and discussion.

  13. 50sgal,
    I just checked your updates...your blog is not forgotten. I know for myself, just getting used to the new website, etc. leaves me little time to check your blog. Once I am familiar with everything, I will be able to work my way through everything more quickly and have more time to check/read what I need to. Your blog is one of my favorites! I love your rants!!

    Off to catch myself up on this blog and comments. Talk to you in a little bit.

  14. Wonderful thoughts! This part struck me as very sad..."We might work hard at work but then in our own private lives we are lazy where we should be spurred on the most to make our home life wonderful and important to us."

    How is it that we do not put the best of ourselves/most of our energy and attention into the things that matter most? I'm guilty of this many times myself, and it's sad. Before I found your blog, I thought I was doing good just being able to stay at home, being a good mom/wife, making homemade meals, etc., but your blog has opened my eyes to how much more life has to offer and how many other things there are that can enrich our lives, and help us to grow as a person. You have humbled me, and I don't mean to embarrass you by saying that, but it's true. I am constantly amazed at the "no fear" attitude you have and the things you take on. I feel empowered as a woman/wife/mom just seeing all that you accomplish and think to myself, "Well, why not? She's doing it." There are so many things I have never even considered doing that I'm now realizing that I can/could. I think we so easily get stuck in a mental routine/way of doing things that we don't think outside those parameters...until someone comes along who does, and it opens our eyes to how much more there is.

  15. I view both projects as two branches from the same tree, each with its own unique colour and style.

    Work from home India

  16. PL-I just read your comment and my goodness how lovely of you to say. I feel so wonderful and also humbled to think that my ramblings and 'crazy attempts' at things can help others to feel empowered. I know how important it is to feel you really can try and do. Succeed is not even necessary. If you do not, then you laugh at yourself, look back to see what mistakes you can learn from, share those with whomever will listen, and then charge ahead again. Thank you again one hundred times over, all of you for your wonderful and kind words. I really do feel we are a great community that can grow and really change at least our little bits of the world for the better. Apronites!

  17. I just love that you have both a website and still your blog! I feel like being pampered this ways, and I think they supplement them each other in such a great way, and I will not do without any of them. I will send you as much scans and info to post on your site too, as I think we all should share our great tips.

    I also think that I deserve to relax after a hard day at the job, but I always do it AFTER I have finished my daily tasks in my home, be it laundry, tidying up the kitchen, or whatever is on my to-do list.

  18. The problem is that one is usually too exhausted after work to do anything but veg in comfortable clothes. Maintaining a home is a full-time job & if you aren't independently wealthy, you don't have the luxury of making it your only job.

    Also, it may make practical sense for one spouse to work & one to maintain the home but it is dangerous, not to mention humiliating, to be financially dependent upon someone else. Back in the 50s, women didn't have a choice & they were left indigent when their husband's traded them in for younger models. Today women have a choice to stay home but, if they do, they risk not being able to earn a living if they must in future. They also have no money of their own to buy anything or do anything for themselves. How humiliating to ask your husband for money if you want to see a movie or buy a book or take a class!

  19. We can spend a lifetime of excuses of why we did or didn’t do this or that, but why should we? Don’t make excuses, make a home. Then, whilst there you will be happy doing more and more and find yourself more in control and happier over all....

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