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A look at Granny’s summer wardrobe


My Granny didn’t have much growing up, or when she was a young bride for that matter. She did have a camera, though, and a love for hamming it up in front of the lens…and her photo albums and shoe boxes full of snapshots are some of my most prized possessions. Since Summer has come on fast and hot here, I thought I’d look at a few of her summertime images. Photos are a great way to learn about the wardrobes of the past, and how everyday gals dressed.

This is one of my favorite shots, in fact, I have it super-enlarged on the wall of my sign shop (the day job), not only because I like it, but to show the awesome details from a film-shot image that was printed on a 2″ tall photo paper. Granny is on the left, wearing a smart striped cotton dress, with her friend in a similarly cut day dress and head wrap. They are sitting in a park not far from her home at the time. A lot of people would congregate there under the comforting shade of the tall old trees. You can see them in the background, centered around a fountain.

From what I can tell, there were a lot of car rides and picnics on Granny’s summer schedule. Here’s one I wish I’d found when she was still around, just so I could ask why she’s sitting in the trunk of the car. I’m guessing shade and a place to sit. Who knows? However, let’s look at that smart cotton dress! Vertical stripes from shoulder to hem, with the exception of a panel of horizontal stripes at the shoulder and hem, each trimmed with giant buttons. A tie belt and cap sleeves would have made this a comfy summer option.

This picture is a hoot! I use it as a button icon on my home page here, so let’s take a closer and larger look at it.
This is Granny and her three good friends, dressed in typically fantastic dresses of the day. On the left, a smart white blouse and high waisted bold floral patterned skirt are casual for the day, almost dressy looking by modern standards. She appears to have her hair pulled back with a flower at the center.
Next, wow…I’d fall over if I found this dress! A lovely pattern with wide bands of a light toned solid fabric and solid across the shoulders and neck.
Granny, third from the left, is wearing polka dots! Her dress has a drop waist over a lightly full skirt. The bodice appears to have an interlaced band at the shoulder and waist, ending at a bow each.
Our fun-time gal on the right is wearing a naval-inspired design. This image was taken just after WW2 ended, and military inspired designs were common. I love this jaunty little frock, with it’s pleated skirt and sailor styled collar, complete with neck tie. I spy what I believe to be a headband hat, too.

Shorts and pants were becoming more common for women in the 40s and 50s, and Granny shows a fun pair here.The design is still wide at the leg to give an illusion of a dress, but short and comfy. The pattern appears to be gingham with a plisse treatment, and triangle-edged fold-over pocket treatments. Paired with a light cotton blouse, the ensemble looks similar to some of the playsuits that were becoming popular.

A few years later, we see how shorts are starting to really look like shorts. Granny is shown here, along with her three sisters and mother…and look at the gams! The older gals and mom are still wearing cotton dresses, still a great choice for summertime, but the younger two are in separates, and Granny, being the youngest, chooses the boldest option. Note the low heel slip on shoes on the aunties to the left. Don’t they look comfy with the skirts?

Let’s not forget the men here in our little vintage fashion tour! First we have brother to the four gals above, Uncle Eugene, shown with their mother, again in a smart cotton print dress. He has chosen light toned slacks and a short sleeved striped cotton shirt, topped with a straw fedora.

And here’s my handsome Grandpa, ready for a day at work. Simple pressed slacks with a turned up cuff and some awesome two toned shoes. A white undershirt and light cotton collared shirt, with the sleeve cuffs rolled.