Wednesday, September 1, 2010

1 September 1956 “Casual Clothes 1956 and Make Your Own Oil Cloth”

I had intended a longer post today, but I now have my new tenants moving in tomorrow (the 2nd) and therefore took an opportunity this morning to go to the house.
I decided to take most of my lovely hydrangea plants from there. It is silly my making it lovely for people only to have them trash the place nor not care a fig for the yard. I dug up and brought home five large (5-7’ tall) hydrangea bushes. Of course today it was almost 90 degrees, while last week we were in the 70’s, my sill luck. But, I have brought them home and they are in various tubs filled with water, getting their strength back. I shall wait for cooler days this weekend and post Hurricane Earl to dig up their new home. I am going to take them and some of my other bushes here and make a nice hedgerow.
Therefore, I thought some photo’s of people here in 1956 in their ‘casual clothes’ would be fun:
56jerseyfamily I really do just love candid shots such as this New Jersey family from this year .(Thanks to Shorpy for phot0.) Just that intimate moment. It is very enlightening to see what the generations are wearing. Grandmother looks rather fine in her homemade shawl. I wonder how odd this modern world seems to a woman who wore corsets and long skirts as a girl and was probably courted in a Surry with the ‘fringe on top’. The mother is comfortable in her dungarees, so we can assume this was a day ‘at home’. The other woman is most likely a sister I would imagine. I see many women, when relaxing at home or possibly cleaning, wear rolled ‘bobby socks’ and loafers or bucks or saddle shoes. The metal legged matching end tables are placed between their sectional sofa and I really love the fabric on the curtains.
dinnerprayer I am not sure if this was staged, although I can’t imagine who would be taking the photo while the family is at prayer. I love it for all the kitchen items. I am a sucker for red in a kitchen. We notice, however, that though it is a warm summer and most likely NOT air conditioned ( I see the screen door in the back) this family is dressed comfortably and nice for dinner.
I think that pattern on their table cloth (which I am sure is oil cloth) is fun. You cannot buy actual oil cloth today, at least I have not found a source. They have a product now they call oil cloth which is actually cotton covered in PVC and it is similar in many ways and I have some of it for sale in the store HERE. It is easy to trim and make table cloths, aprons, and placemats.
I also really want to have the authentic cloth as it was actually very ‘green’:
Originally, oilcloth was made of sturdy, natural fiber fabrics such as cotton duck, linen or cotton canvas which had been treated with a linseed oil based coating. Often it was dyed, painted or printed prior to the oil treatment, or sometimes colored designs were added during the treatment process. Oilcloth was commonly used in years past for tablecloths and picnic cloths because it was durable and relatively waterproof.
I found this site that gives you directions to make your own. I really want to try this, especially as you can then make any design you like! If I do try this, I promise to photo the process and give a tutorial. I have some fun ideas. HERE are the instructions.
1956casual I also like to see photos like this, because it lets us see how one might be dressed on a casual day in 1956.  I see no stockings. Lovely low comfortable sandals. Nice comfy linen and cotton. Now I think this group looks quite cool and comfortable. What I notice is if this were today the man would most likely be either in jeans or those horrid long wide short pants or long shorts not sure which they are meant to be, some bright white and neon puffy sneaker/trainer, a shirt with something printed on it. And the ladies either too showy, or skinny jeans and printed tops. I am sure there would also be a plethora of baseball caps, also imprinted with insignia of some sort. That is the main thing I notice here in 1956, the LACK of emblems, images and imprints on clothing. We are walking billboards and a hodgepodge of images all over us. Simple easy to care for yet sturdy clothing seems as old fashioned in 2010 as a horse drawn carriage. If we did an inventory of our wardrobes, I wonder how many items would be imprinted with logos, brand names, sports teams, bands etc?
casual1956 This casual group look comfortable. I am sure this is not how they would go out, but relaxing at home. Mother is even in slacks, though not dungarees. And her simple little button up sweater looks sweet with a little tie. I think another obvious difference here compared to today is look at Father. He is wearing trousers, belted and a nice button down shirt. Son is in a t-shirt (no images or band name) dungarees rolled and converse sneakers. Today, dad would be dressed like son. Jeans, Tshirt, maybe even ‘baggy too low’ jeans. And while then son would dress like father for going out or to church or school, today, father would copy son in his ‘cool’ attire for most anything. We can see it is not very hard to dress ‘vintage’ and be casual and comfortable, but we are loathe to let go of our jeans and our printed items! I wonder why that is? It certainly cannot be comfort, because how is it more comfortable to have images on clothing than not? I also think light cotton or linen loose fitting trousers are more comfortable and also cooler than jeans on a summer day. Do you find yourself emulating your child rather than they wanting to be ‘like mummy and daddy’ and dress up?
casualcouple55 Now here is a cool couple (cool as comfortable not hep). The young lady is wearing quite short shorts but they are nice and high waisted. Her sleeveless top looks fresh and pretty. Her hair is done and she sports darling comfortable flats. The young man is wearing a nice jersey collard top with a t-shirt under it. (My hubby always wears an undershirt even under shirts such as this in the summer. I see so many people who just wear the one shirt.) They look nice and NO insignia/printing.
It goes on and on like that. No ads or images or sports teams or bands. Everything is so emblazoned with artwork today. Even children’s bedspreads, backpacks, anything is often covered with their favorite character or toy. There were occasional Howdy Doody items here in 1956, but not in the way they are today.
Now, I am not necessarily saying it is bad, but isn’t it rather odd? Are we so used to images and ads that wearing them is normal? I thought of the scene in Back to the Future when the main character’s mother as a young girl in the 1950’s thinks his name is ‘Calvin’ because his underpants say “Calvin Klein”. Everything is branded.
Do you know what else gets branded? Cattle. Something to think about.
Well, until tomorrow then, Happy Homemaking.
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