Monday, February 22, 2010

22 February 1956 “Dress Challenge Debacle, Spring Fabrics, Marilyn and Daisies, Automobile’s Across the ‘Pond’, And A Bus Boycott”

I had intended to be sharing my February Dress Challenge success with this post, but I have been having some trouble with it. I have pinned and repined it on myself and changed it three or four times and now it might be a completely different looking dress. But, I promise it WILL be done before the 1st. of March and I will share my results with you.
springfabric1 Here are some fabrics I recently purchased to start my Spring dresses. This is my color palette for the season. The first is actually a lovely spring green but it looks more yellow in the photo. I love the second fabric so much, here it is closerspringfabric2 and it looks so vintage. It is actually a new fabric but it was marked down and might be discontinued. I think I have enough to do a short sleeved dress.
Speaking of Fashion,56 vogue
look how fresh and modern this 1956 Vogue photo looks. Vintage does not have to be frumpy and whip creamy. It can be tailored and smart. Though I do like a bit of froth and twee as well, which is why I love the fashions of the 1950’s.56frocks It seemed to embody both the classic clean lines as well as frippery and fantasy. It did not take itself too seriously, yet seriously enough that you knew you better look darn good when you went into ‘town’ and even if you were taking the dogs for a walk in a pair of trousers, you’d still have a hat, gloves, scarf and some jewelry to make the ‘look’.
56marilyn NPG x40268, Marilyn Monroe (Norma Jean Mortensen) Here are two lovely Cecil Beaton Photos of Marilyn Monroe taken today, 22 February 1956. It shows the innocence of the early part of the decade and the sultry sexuality that will ultimately form the 60’s and onward. Even the use of the daisy has an odd foretelling of design and style in the coming 1960s.daisyclock 60’s daisy clock 60's daisy fabric 60’s daisy fabric and even Pyrex daisy pyrex It is interesting to view the stages of fashion, art, photography and so on during the end of one decade to see it slowly evolve into the next’s ‘latest thing’.
fiat600 The Fiat 600 was released this year, 1956, in Europe. When you see the compact size and almost modern lines, you wonder how it was that we were making such larger cars.fiat6002 And the Fiat 600 Multiplafiat600multipla could seat six and was a recreation type vehicle, yet look at how small it is. Then compare what the USA was making the same year. As this Chevy 1956Chevy-ad and this Ford.56fordv8
I wonder why it was that we just made larger cars? Could it be the endless space we had and the increased production from after the war? We also had a great burgeoning highway system forming at this point as well. And of course gas was becoming even more big business. It is interesting that small compact cars were being made in Europe this early.
56 mg It looks as if any idea of Foreign cars are considered a sports or luxury car at this point in time. This 56 Feb edition of Sports Cars Illustrated features MG’s. I love MG’s. I am much younger (20 years) than my older Siblings. I remember when I was very young, about 5 or so, my sister had a lovely racing green MG convertible. I have fond memories of she and I going shopping together, and I would love to wear a scarf on my head, as she did. Once they had children, the car went away. It was a darling little thing.
kingarrestphoto This is a photo of Martin Luther King’s arrest this month in 1956. As mentioned in my 1955 year, when Parks was arrested (and even preceding her in the 1940’s a woman was also arrested for not giving up her seat) the year long Montgomery Bus Boycott is still continuing. Blacks had to fill the bus by sitting at the back to the front and the whites sat filling the front to the back. The two races would meet halfway. When the bus was full and a white person got on, a black person in the rows behind the last white row HAD to get up for that white person, no matter if you were male, female, young or old. This year, later in the summer, the Alabama laws of bus segregation will be declared unconstitutional.
I have said it before and I will say it again: if we would try and treat one another as we want to be treated and to respect each other as human beings and then follow the manners of age (such as an older person should be offered a seat by a younger) and gender sometimes ( A man letting a lady have his seat) so much of the hate and violence may not have had to happen.
What is interesting is we see things now that have been changed, yet how badly they have had to come about because of people not wanting it, fighting it and there being horrible violence. Even the rights of women to vote etc was at first intensely objected. Then to the point of horrible cruel treatment to women, but in the end they won the rights. The same with blacks in our country. Yet, we continue, in the case of people who are considered not justified to have rights equal to all, to fight such things. Do we really not see that in the end those rights will out and that the unnecessary hatred and destruction could be easily avoided if we buy consider we are all allowed our own freedoms. We may not all agree on the same religion, politics etc, but we are ALL of us humans and Americans and I do wish people could be more kind, rational and just better mannered. Because we were not in the past, now we have people who are rude and angry for not having their rights. It is not right for them to have that anger, per se, but if we could just, even now, try to be more tolerant of one another, than we might be able to stop future problems such as this.
If we are, each of us, strong in our own convictions (rather it is religion, politics, etc) privately, then what matters it if there are people who live or act differently? If we raise our children to respect one another and to understand our own beliefs, than we cannot live in a world of fear that they will be affected or wronged by ‘those people’ now matter who or what ‘those people’ are. Acting cruel and irrational because we fear, do not understand, or personally loathe another person’s actions is not only damaging but only serves to show us up as brutes. Let us not try to coerice others into what we want, let us show our points of view and feelings through example. If we live as we see fit, as kind, considerate and thoughtful people, than others may wish to emulate us. If we see what we do not like or fear or loathe and then shout and throw mud at that which disgusts us, have we not then, ourselves, become disgusting?
I know I am going off on a tangent, but I really do think if we could think with kindness and consideration first our actions could be better served to a brighter future.


  1. 50sgal,

    I may have posted this before…possibly even on your 1955 post. Today, there certainly is no chivalry from men (generally speaking) or respect from younger people (also generally speaking) in regards to giving up a seat. I ran into this on the Max (commuter train) in Portland a couple of times.

    One of the times this happened was with my daughter, who was at the time quite pregnant, her small son, me, the diaper bag, another bag, and a stroller. Not one soul would stand and let the poor girl sit. And there were plenty who could have.

    The last time was the same situation only this time it was her three boys, her, me, the stroller, and bags. Some young kid sat right in front of us staring at us while we each tried to hold onto the children’s hands with one of ours and the pole with our other hands, as we careened through the suburbs. That really blew my bonnet back! He was single, no children in tow, and seemingly able-bodied. That kind of disrespect just blows my mind. I know that my son would have hopped up in an instant and offered his seat.

    It actually happened a third time. This time, there were a couple of different single men that just sat there, one calmly reading his book, as we attempted to keep us, the stroller, and our bags all upright. Blows my mind that does.

    Possibly what will change these types of actions is as you say, to be better examples to those around us rather than partaking in their mud throwing.

  2. I think cars in Europe have always been smaller because the roads there are narrower. America is so relatively new and when you think about all the building in the 50's it's no wonder big American cars were build for our open highways and soon to be sprawling suburbs. I also think that on perhaps a subconscious level many products, including cars, were made differently from those in Europe to put the war even more into the past.

    Zebu, wow. Even in Chicago where I remember crowded buses and long waits in the cold I remember riders giving up their seat for those in need. I also remember an ederly black woman asking politely for someone to offer her a seat as she was afraid she'd hurt herself struggling to hang on. At least 4 riders offered. She thanked us all and took the closest one. I can only imagine how she'd felt.


  3. Donna, forgot to mention, Iove the fabric! I can't wait to see the finished dress.


  4. Wise words as usual!

    That side-buttonned grey dress is fabulous! I would die to own one alike it.

    Those black and white rules are so stupid that they sound like they come from a cartoon! I’m glad we’ve never had such a thing in Denmark.

    Ahh, Marilyn, she has been my all-time favourite since my childhood. To me she is the most beautiful woman ever, and I love that she had curves. Who invented the toothpick-woman!?!

    The Fiat 500 is my favourite, but the 600 is also lovely, the next vintage car I would include in my “collection” would be the 500. Did you know that the Multipla is callled “marzipan loaf” in Denmark due to its shape. Cars in the US are still much bigger than European ones, I own a VW Polo as Winter car, which is considered very small to US norms. I, on the contrary, think it has grown much larger during the last 15 years. In fact my dad has bought an MG TF 1500 last year, red and gorgeous. I envy all his cars, but they keep him busy, he does not have time to grow old.

    Now I’ve been thinking of a question for you:
    Will you live in the fifties forever? Last year was 1955, this year is 1956 and I almost expect next year will be 1957. I will follow you to 1964, but I have to admit that I hate the sixties! The ugly flower-power fashion and the new egoistic way of thinking. I have chosen to live a fifties styled life, but I would like to hear if you feel the same way or you will continue the years ahead?

  5. 50's Gal-I've been meaning to you have a dress form?

  6. Zebu-that is too bad. It does reinforce the ideal that we should live and act as we want to be treated. If we spend more time being true to ourselves and acting as we think a person should, it just might wear off.
    I would notice sometimes rudeness by people on the T (our subway in Boston) but was rather surprised and pleased by peoples general consideration. Many times I would see a youth, who might be viewed as a 'trouble maker' get up so an elderly lady could have a seat. There is some chivalry and kindness left in the world, if we make sure WE and those around us whom we can influence act that way, it might spread like a ripples in a pond.
    Saray-that is true about the roads, except for here, NE especially Boston which, in many ways, is laid out like a European city. We had a car when we lived there, a Land Rover of all things, I know but it was appreciated in the roughland of NH, but it was riduculous in the city. I rarely drove, as you can walk and take cabs or subway anywhere I wanted to go in the city, but sometimes I did drive and those little carriage path cobblestone and brick streets with two SUV's coming at one another is almost comical. I wonder now with gas prices still very high and the recession, that so many large cars are still made. I have a station wagon now and it must certainly seem big in comparrison, but it really does hold a lot gets good gas mileage and is not as bulky and large as was my Land Rover.
    Oh, I love that fabric too, but that is not the fabric of my FEB challenge, it is a brown man's shirt and a pink and brown fabric. You shall see it. I have a pattern picked out for that fabric and am rather excited about it. I think it will be my MARCH Dress.
    Sanne-yes the clash between the black/white has always been a contention in this country. The little Fiat is a darling.Lucky Father with so many lovely vintage cars!
    I am not sure about how long I shall 'live' in the 50's You can bet I will NOT live into the 60's although the fashions of up to say 63 are darling, but I don't like the genearl patterns, art, color, fashion, even way of thinking of most of the 60's even most of the music with some exceptions does not excite me. So I shall not go there. I am not sure really. Sometimes I wonder if I shall just end up in a sort of stasis or 'locked in time' way of living as Tasha Tudor did, though she lived in the 1840's in the 20th century, I have it much easier with modern cookers, electricity, washer and dryer etc. I don't know, I just feel comfortable in my current state and would like to learn to continue to reduce the modern things to a comfortable point, so I might even move back a littel from the 1950's. We shall see, I suppose.
    Jenn-no I don't! I was just discussing with a friend possibly making the homemade type with duct tape, and packing tape. They are so expensive to buy, but since I am making my own clothes to my size it would be so nice. For example the last two days of pinning, putting on readjusting taking off with pins in my (OUCH!)made we long for one! I repinned hand pleats in the skirt of this dress 5 times so far! With a dress form it would have been done right the first time and probably worked out better in the end. I might see if I can start saving towards a dress from (as I did with my lovely Roceteer sewing machine) Do you have a dress form and do you like it if you do?

  7. Wonderful post! I really wish we could go back to the days of less-casual dress. Where I live, it's common to see women in jeans at what would previously be considered a formal event! No one wears hose anymore and "casual Friday" has taken on a life of it's own. *sigh* It's quite depressing to those of us who enjoy dressing up for the occasion, whatever that may be!

  8. A small car in 1950's rural America, unless one lived in a "larger" town, would have been ridiculous since most denizens were farmers/ranchers. We actually had a small Renault in the 60's, but our whole family couldn't fit in it. It was just for Dad to drive back and forth to work. Remember Americans tended to have larger families. And, many lived, worked, camped, hunted, and fished in areas too far from civilization to run in to the local "post office" for daily supplies.

    Love the fabric. Hope you can get the dress made.

  9. I think cars in europe are smaller because those are small countries, I mean, the terretory is small, streets are small, so there's no space for parking...well, that's what I think!
    Love the fabric, hope to see photos of the dresses!

  10. Yes, the car size is true. And in UK for example, the also hunt, farm, fish and live a 'country life' (most likely where we got it from originally) and they did have their land rovers and range rovers even then, but they were stripped down utility vehicles. My hubby's mother, when she owned her farm in maine, had an old 50s utility vehicle like this and in the back you could sit facing each other and there was, in the center, a heater with a chimney that you used kerosene in to keep it warm, most likely for long treks out into the woods, hunting and driving over the land. We wish she had kept it, as we would love to have that in NH someday. NOW a range rover is like a plush hotel inside with navigation, tvs/dvds/ computer hookup etc. I'd almost hate to get my mucky wellies or throw hay in the back for the horses! I do one day want an old land rover very old for NH that is stripped down, rugged and wants to have horse smell and maybe a dead rabbit or pheasant hanging in the back.

  11. and a loud amen from ohio. pretty fabric too.

  12. I have a dress form. Uniquely You. it's a soft body form that uses a 'dress' that you adjust to your body. I like it better than the hard forms, since I don't have that hour-glass-like shape. It is a little difficult getting the dress pinned to fit your body without help, so I recommend having a good friend help with that. Also be prepared for a minor struggle to zip the dress onto the form. Otherwise, once it is done, it is simply fantastic. Good luck with your dress challenge!

  13. Those Fiats are adorable!

    Rapunzel, I live in the South, and while our summers are sweltering, I still wear hosiery year-round because I think it helps to make an outfit look so much more finished and "dressy". I work with ladies who do not wear hosiery to work with their suits, and I always think their outfits look unfinished. Ugh.

  14. Christine-I agree with the hoisery, though before my 1955, I did not. Yet, in the summer, here as it is a seaside resort area, I will wear my summer dresses without hose unless it is a particular party or something.
    Anon-I have not heard of that type of dress form. I think part of my next month's Dress challenge is going to INCLUDE making my own dress form. I would like to purchase one, but they are ruinously expensive. If it succeeds I shall share my results.

  15. The duct tape forms are effective. My sister made one for herself.

    I think part of the problem with rude/uncaring young men these days is the failure of their mothers to teach them manners. Which I trace to the 60's/70's brand of feminism that said men were unnecessary and stupid. If a man has women telling him he's useless and has no purpose, of course he's not going to care about them as he should. We all know that's not true, but there's an entire generation of men and women who truly believe that.

    But if a woman treats him like he's a real man, then he'll bend over backwards to be nice and amazing to her.

  16. 50's gal -- Oh, yes, for a sundress or other casual dress worn with sandals, I have no problem with being hosiery-free. Should have been more specific to point that out. It's bare legs with business suits and business dresses that I am not crazy about.

  17. I forgot to say that my dad is the proud owner of a mid 70's MG B. It's up on blocks right now while he slowly rebuilds the engine. He almost bought one before I was born, but it had an oil leak and he was a poor med student. So my siblings and I all pitched in money and bought him the B about 5 years ago.


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