Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What a Difference 1/2 a Decade Makes


I've been fascinated with these two photos for a long time. Several things fascinate me about them. The one on the left is the hubby's Mom and her 2 sisters. The one on the right is my Mom and her 2 sisters.

Both families had hard scrabble rural roots about 20 miles apart. Plenty to eat cause they grew what they ate but not much else. These photos taken 5 years apart and just look at the difference in not only the styles of the clothing (which is amazing) but the difference in their body language. These 6 women were so much alike it's uncanny but the difference in the times really shows in their photos.

Here's what a very savvy friend had to say about the photos: "1939 could have been 1929. They want (probably need) to look like proper ladies, ie: older and home centered. Everything is homemade, handed down, or looks it. Showing your shape is taboo, at least in their world. Even their smiles are tight. Everything says Depression. 1944 is unmistakable. Youth is not quite a craze yet, but at least it's an idea. Fashions travel now, because there's some money, and because the country is all on the same wavelength. Hair is carefree, limbs allowable. These gals can go places. Nothing says World War, except that the setting is 100% female. Even the settings say a lot. 1939: weathered old house, dirt lot. It's a hard place, and not just physically. A little Sunday gingham is the only color they can have. 1944: sleek car, lush grass, open sky. The car, a not-quite-late model (late being 1942), hints at what the '30s really had to offer that many never got to have."

I admire both eras of fashion. They each have something to say about the times. in the 30's the Great Depression was upon us and Europe was already a war...........would we get involved? Those thought are reflected in the attitude and style of clothing. Longer more sedate clothing (although I actually find the longer skirts and no distinct waistline more flattering)..........and look at those shoes.........

The mid 40's was the middle of hard times but everyone was pulling together in the war effort. Skirts are shorter due to cloth rationing, nylon's are non existent but by 44 there was an optimism that the light at the end of the tunnel wasn't a train.............and you can see it. The boys were gone but they'd be coming home soon...........at least there was hope.

If either of these eras trip your trigger my friends have lots of goodies for you.From Dandelion Vintage a 1930's Gingham Day Dress


And from Sydney's Vintage Clothing This dressy sheer 40's dress.

And of course for the Do It Yourself'er.....there are patterns galore for both the everyday house dress and the more glam dressy dress.

This 1939 Glamour Dress...........skirt's just a bit fuller and wider and the waistline is more defined.............but isn't it smashing? From Dandelion Vintage .


Or a more sedate Day time dress from Fast Edie's Retro Rags




From 1944...........Suit dressing........not only did it conserve fabric, but conserved energy due to being able to launder the blouse and save the jacket. Also you could wear multiple blouses for different looks. And.....more women were entering the workplace..........Rosie didn't just Rivet, she also took over clerical jobs previously held by men. Dorthea's Closet has this cute little suit pattern.


And of course your's truly Cemetarian has gobs of 40's sewing, knitting and crochet patterns............but I'm really partial to this adorable Maternity Dress from 1944




Or if research is your thing and you just want good illustrations.........you can always resort to Pattern Brochures and Magazine Advertisements.........find these and many many more at Cemetarian


Born Too Late Vintage http://www.specialistauctions.com/auctiondetails.php?id=976254 has this 1940's Purple and Pink Sheer Dress
http://www.mainstreetvintage.com/store.php?ref=8 Alley Cats Vintage has this wonderful 30's Black Satin Rayon Hand Beaded Party Dress
Also at http://www.mainstreetvintage.com/listingview.php?num=5116&ref=8 Alley Cat's Vintage this 1940s Two Piece Rose Embroidered Skirt & Bolero Jacket by Life Savers - Very Unusual! I can see my Mama wearing this one.

7 comments:

Sydneys Vintage Clothing said...

I just love old family heirlooms. Thanks so much Rita, for sharing your family with us. Those pictures are priceless! Hard to believe what a few years can do for a person!

BigAssBelle said...

what a great post! i love those photos, and your analysis of the differences was spot on.

i think, too, of those 1944 gals as having a brand new can-do spirit, having been called into service of the country with most of the men overseas.

rosie the riveter was a phenomenon in more ways than one, and building confidence and self esteem was a real by product of that effort to get women into the workforce for the war effort.

Hoardmeister said...

Dahling -

Absolutely correct assessment of the times. I myself prefer the longer flowing lines of the 1930s, and part of the reason for the look of the 1944 dresses was not only conserving fabric, but imitating the look of uniforms. Simply marvelous! If you would like more specific information, you can look at my (ugh) Ebay guide to Jean Harlow, Rita Hayworth and Marilyn Monroe, which explains these differences in some detail. Keep up the good work!

Judy said...

Belle says it well, the 1944 photos shows a "brand new can-do spirit." It's in their posture and expressions. The Greatest Generation at its prime.

CEMETARIAN We Dig Memories said...

Thank you all for your comments. It means a lot to know that my thoughts are read and maybe agreed with. LOL

Carol@Dandelion Vintage said...

Hi Rita,
I love these two photos, what a great piece of your families' history to have. This is probably my favorite time for fashion from the late 30s into the early 40s. I like a little bit from each time.
Thanks for featuring my dfress too!

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