I thought it would be fun on this fine Sunday morning, here in 1956, to share with you the types of uniforms and people I would meet during my days.
The milkman. The milkman around my New England Area. HERE is an interesting article about Hood and New England in milk delivery heyday.
The supermarket checker. She dons a lovely dress-like uniform over her clothing. The young baggers would also be in a bow tie and a hat especially when they show up at the door with a delivery in a wooden box for me.
The Butchers. Though they wouldn’t greet customers in these dirty aprons, I love that even while working the men have ties and the ladies skirts. I think, because it is so normal to me now, that I really don’t think it odd for people to wear what is now considered ‘formal’ attire to do basic chores. I clean in my dresses all the time and not just my house dresses. I even garden in a skirt more often than my dungarees. I guess I just don’t understand how it is any more difficult to put on a pair of nice cotton trousers as opposed to jeans for men (hubby feels the same way). In fact when we are doing yard work hubby has ‘work pants’ that would be considered ‘dress up’ today, I am sure. Just heavy duty cotton. I guess when you become accustomed to something it seems normal. But, when I see photos of us or sometimes just realize these moments, it does make my life feel better or more special. Sometimes the simplest things such as what you wear really can affect your life and your over all outlook. It seems we are always chasing the special time and perfect image while we, ourselves, may be rather tatty in old jeans and T’s. I think the ‘special’ times should be our every day.
Uniforms were just part of the day in the 1950’s. Your Doctor might have this button up full top their version of scrubs, I believe or tie under a more jacket type uniform. Nurses, as well, had uniforms with darling little hats. I have to say, for me, I like the look of this rather than the garish over colored and odd imaged smocks and scrubs I see nurses wear today, but that’s just me. Certainly one could say comfort, but how did these people, for their entire career, work in these clothes? Simple, the idea of comfort and ‘relaxing’ was meant to be at home or on holiday. You were ready, professional and looked a certain ‘part’ in your line of work and your slouchy pajamas and comfortable shoes were for home with family. Even then, pajamas and robes and dressing gowns were more a ‘home uniform’ than today. I am sure many people simply sleep in their under things.
Now, I am not saying there is some moralistic or ‘being a better person’ associated with ‘dressing the part’, only it seems, to me at least, to make one’s life feel more important or real. There is a certain personal dignity and feeling of worth and joy in dressing the part. We are such a covetous generation, watching shows about wealthy people and drooling over nice clothes and objects, yet we can, very realistically, have these things as part of our daily life. And not break the bank in so doing. A few nice things for your various occasions and tasks is better than a closet full of 25 pair of jeans that, technically, all look the same.
It isn’t for nothing that so many of us enjoy looking at old photos. Or feel something special when watching vintage TV shows. Because we see in them something we want to possess and take on into our own lives. And, I am telling you, clothes, outfits, uniforms of life, they honestly make a difference. They can make your day feel more special. Many people love the show Mad Men mostly for the clothes and interiors. Well, you know what, we can have those things. As there really is not set ‘fashion’ for the day anymore (except jeans and t-shirts) why not make your wardrobe what you would like it to be. If you love Doris Day movies, then why not live one as best you can. You might find yourself happy over things you would think silly and caring less about things you cannot control.
Even this image, which shows two ladies in casual clothes in the late 40s, can show the style of simplicity. The woman on the left is in trousers, a halter top and saddle shoes. But look how ‘put together’ she looks even in this ‘gad about’ outfit. And I am sure she would not wear this to the movies or out to dinner. For that, she would dress up because it feels good and you are worth it.
I just think if we look at our lives more seriously they can actually be more fun. Because, to allow ourselves the ‘right’ to dress up for occasions and work gives our life that missing element we modern people seem to lack en masse: Style. The amount of time we take to watch tv, play on the computer or text could easily be shared with a few minutes to get ready, do our hair, put on that slip and dress. Hey, why not even pop a hat on every now and then?
I didn’t mean for this post to be a ‘lecture on dressing’ far from it. I just wanted to share some fun photos of what I would encounter in my 1956 life from people in my day from grocers to doctors to the gals outside the grocery store. Fun and inspirational, I think.
So, when we see an old family photo such as this (thanks to jewelsfiles) We realize, even something is casual as an at home birthday for just the immediate family still was an occasion to look our best. The mother and daughters are in lovely dresses though it is just a family affair.
I think there is a lot to be said for our appearance. We spend so much more today on clothing and yet look so much less put together.
Well, enjoy the fun images on this Sunday morning here in 1956.
Until tomorrow, then, Happy Homemaking.