Monday, August 23, 2010

23 August 1956 “I Am Proud That My Silhouette is Curvy…I Adore Being Dressed In Something Frilly…I Adore Being A Girl”

I was thinking about my last post and uniforms. And also considering all your responses, which I was surprised no one scolded me and said, “Don’t be silly casual is better”. I think many of we modern gals (and gents) do appreciate dressing up. We appreciate and admire clothes. Many of us, when we watch old movies or even modern shows like Mad Men, do so in many ways because of the clothes and sets. Yet, there is nothing stopping any of us from having such ‘sets’ and clothes in our daily life. As someone who did dress very modern I have to say my overall body image and simple daily joy has increased 100%.

I  find that there is no ‘modern look’. I mean there may be skinny jeans or slouchy tops, or those tight fitting sweat pant thingies I always see teens and mums alike wear (which are shockingly tight in certain areas!) Yet, there is no “go to” silhouette for today. I think many of us may also find ourselves sometimes wondering, “Well what should I wear?” While it seems in the 1950’s one KNEW what to wear. Dinner and dancing? Hat, evening/cocktail clothes, man in white dinner jacket. Movies? Nice cotton dress, cardigan, hat gloves. You just knew and there was a look.

I now find that by allowing myself the entire decade of the 1950’s my choices are great, yet narrowed to a certain silhouette. This really allows one to build a wardrobe and style quite easily and to not worry about being ‘out of style’. And for any sneers, I have probably received 80% more compliments and encouragements.

Let’s face it gals, we like to dress up. Lace and petticoats, frills and bows, or even slim lined boucle suits or fitted jackets. We ENJOY being a girl , as the song goes:

( I also love this Doris Day version of that song, but I could not embed it, but go HERE if you would like to hear it.) Think how many gals love to plan their wedding, imagine their prom or dream up ‘dress up’ evenings. Well, not long ago, we gals had that ‘dress up’ time every day of our life! Sure, it is wonderful that we have the choice to wear what we like today, but that also means we can choose the petticoat and creamy chiffon dress as easily and rightfully as the jeans and T. “As the song says, I enjoy be curvy! I enjoy being dressed in something frilly!”

Speaking of dresses, here is my latest finished dress.bluedotdress1I used the same pattern as I did for my dress with the stiff collar. However, this time I wanted to use to types of fabric to almost make a new design. I was only able to get a small amount of this lovely blue dot fabric. So, I chose a cotton to match the lighter blue dot (there are red white and blue dots). It made it a bit tricker, but was worth it in the end.

I also wanted to have a different neckline than the pattern gave me as options, so I used my trusty home-made mannequin. bluedotdress3Here you can see that I simply cut the bodice as the pattern called for and then, after placing it on the mannequin, used the large ric-rac to drape a new neckline.bluedotdress4I wanted the back to sweep down a bit and come to a point. Here is the finished result in the back.bluedotdress2I think it a rather flattering neckline and when I wear my hair up in a French twist, it looks lovely. This also gives you the opportunity to wear a darling vintage necklace that has say a jewel or some little cameo or something that hangs off the clasp. I have one triple strand of pearls that has a clasp shaped into a rose made of albacore shell. These little details get highlighted with such necklines. It also has a gal keeping her eye out for fun vintage jewelry with cunning little clasps.

Rather you are going grocery shopping or just having the gals over for coffee, why not have fun with your clothing. Make the ‘uniform of your life’ be what you like and want to wear.

It IS fun to be frilly and curvy!


    50sbalenciaga dress 50sdress2

vogue (photo from myvintagevogue)And don’t forget your hat, gloves, and jewelry. Have fun gals.

Until tomorrow, Happy Homemaking.


  1. love the dress! Great job! it is a shame that so many girls today take so much shopping time to look so ugly. When I was small I looked up to my 15 year old sister and her beautiful 1950's wardrobe. I wanted to be like her.

  2. Pardon my interruption, but I am looking for folks that have either "Retro Sewing Blogs" or "Nostalgia Blogs" for an article I am working on . Please send your suggestions to me at THANKS

    kitsch n Stuff

  3. It is funny to me that this is where you have been topic wise for the last few days. My daughter had a bit of a 'meltdown' a couple of Saturdays ago. When I asked her why she was so upset, she said "I don't want to dress all popular..." She went on to explain that one of the girls from church had been making snide comments about how she dresses because it isn't 'popular' or in 'style'. These girls are EIGHT, mind you. So I sat and spoke with her for a long time about style, clothing and what is considered beautiful. She thinks that Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn are lovely ladies she wants to emulate. She doesn't want to dress like 'Hannah Montana'.

    And my heart sang with JOY!

    Then, last Tuesday, we were at the fair in our dresses (per an agreement, we are now wearing dresses to be more ladylike and I let her wear a MINIMAL amount of make-up --- all in VERY pale pink) and she leans over and whispers "MOM! Don't these girls see just how bad they look?"

    And again, my heart sang with joy.

    My little girl is beginning to grow up. As I explained to my hubby, we can either embrace it or ignore it. If we embrace it, we can teach her the correct way to dress, wear make-up, have manners, social conventions that suit our beliefs, etc. Should we ignore it and try to force her to stay 'little' she will rebel around thirteen or so and it will turn into a nightmare.

    Thanks for the great post. I need to dig out my sewing machine and get busy. It is hard to find dresses that work for my size in the style I want, so I need to bite the bullet and just make one. I sometimes think that just coming up with my own design would be easier that working with a pattern for me, for I find them confusing. We'll see. I do need to make some skirts, and that is simple.

  4. Lori- What a wonderful story. I love that concept as well, that by embracing your child's desire to be a 'grown up' you can now help her to be an actual 'lady' and have manners and dress appropriately. That was what it once was and young girls looked to older sisters who looked to mothers as models of adulthood. Today I see mothers simply copying their daughters style. Today at the market I saw a woman late 50's with the exact same long bleached blond hair in the same style as her teen daughter. They both had on those track suit pants, I am not sure what they are called but they are skin tight and are really snug in the bum (excuse my frankness) and then tennis shoes/trainers and they both had that sort of angsty 'teen posture'. It actually made me a little sad because I thought, "Once a daughter would have looked forward to being allowed her first pair of heels like mother and her first real strand of pearls. The moments to be that adult lady and now the mother is trained to try and emulate the look of youth. And it is the look of youth, as it cannot be flattering as the body ages. I am glad to know there are mothers out there that do want to actually teach and help their children to adulthood. And what a fine lesson to teach your daughter that is matters little what the majority may say to you, but to do what is right for you and your family. Great story. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  5. I just love these posts! I too enjoy looking a little bit nicer day to day, and the gracefulness of being lady-like. I really enjoyed your post today!

  6. Thank you Lori for sharing your story with us. I know it must be hard for young girls today. This has been a very hot summer and girls here have been wearing night gowns. oh ok they may not really be night gowns, but the are shear with thin straps and very short. They show everything if they bend over ,Top or bottom. On Sunday a young college girl had on hot pants in church! I told a girl I work with that 1960's mini skirts covered more than regular dresses today.
    I was about to say that I am not old fashioned in my thinking ,but maybe I am.
    Today was back to school at our house so I got up and fixed hubby and sons ham and eggs and cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Hubby left for work in a white and brown linen shirt. Now that is summer wear.

  7. It's fun to see your sewing! I hope more ladies wear hats and gloves.

  8. I just love this post. What a good admonition. You look adorable in that dress, btw. How clever to use a mannekin!

    I wore my dress that I made to church Sunday and got a couple of compliments. Giving compliments on someone's clothing is "not done" here in the midwest (I'm from Long Island, N.Y, originally), because it is thought to promote jealousy, but I did get two! It was fun to wear it. Sewing your own clothing is almost a lost art.

    You and your readers would LOVE the early 60's book, "Secrets of Loveliness" by Kay Thomas. You can get it in used book stores or on e-bay. It tells all the rules for what to wear, where and when.

    LOL: it also admonishes girls to wash their hair "at least every two weeks," (whether it needs it or not, right?).

    Would love to wear gloves. My grandmother had a drawer full of them, nylon ones in every color. Unfortunately, her hands were bigger than mine are. ("Secrets of Loveliness" says that nylon gloves are tacky, but my family was never high class -- just ordinary people!)

  9. The dress turned out so well! I love the new neckline!
    It DOES fell better to be nicely dressed. We have a day at work yesterday which required wearing clothes to get dirty in, so I wore my jeans (with a frilly blouse), and I was miserable. Today, I'm back in my dresses!!

  10. Isn't it funny how, when given the liberty to be well dressed, we cling to it like a life raft in the sea of modernity! Good for you, Su, jeans may have their place, but a gal does love "dresses dripping in lace".

  11. Lorie - great story!

  12. You. Look. FABULOUS!!! Absolutely stunning!
    And this is a fabulous post. I love my curves too, have never ever wanted to look like a tooth pick.I’ve just had some great reactions on my vintage look and a funny story from my job to share – I’ll do so very soon in the Forum.


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