Author Topic: Fashionable elder in 1940/ 1950 s  (Read 587 times)

Offline brigidmac

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Fashionable elder in 1940/ 1950 s
« on: Thursday 04 October 18 06:31 BST (UK) »
Hello
I'm reenacting aspects of my great grandmothers life but nobody knew her and we don't have photos

She was a drapers assistant in her 20.s a milliner in her 40's and a housekeeper aged 50
She may have had links to theatre

What would she have worn in 1940's and 50.s

Does anyone have photos of their elder relatives in this era ?
Fashion books only show how the young dressed

Roberts,Fellman.Macdermid MCDERMID McDiarmid Gardner Jones ,Bloch,Irvine,Hallis Stevenson ,McKay

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Offline Mckha489

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Re: Fashionable elder in 1940/ 1950 s
« Reply #1 on: Thursday 04 October 18 07:21 BST (UK) »
are you saying she was 50 in the 50s?
currently concentrating on NUTCHER & MARSHALL families, Hampshire.
and family of Thomas ANDERSON a Tailor of Perth, Scotland

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Offline Ruskie

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Re: Fashionable elder in 1940/ 1950 s
« Reply #2 on: Thursday 04 October 18 07:44 BST (UK) »
3rd photo down here on the right of the picture https://glamourdaze.com/history-of-womens-fashion/1940-to-1949 is an older lady at Paddington Station.

I would say they wore the same as the younger ones in most cases. 40s and 50s fashions were fairly conservative so there would be no reason for an older person to tone the clothing down.

Depending on how interested you are, I would suggest digging out a few old 40s and 50s films where, apart from the glamourous stars, you might be lucky enough to spot some older women. There are probably tons of them on youtube.

Offline Gillg

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Re: Fashionable elder in 1940/ 1950 s
« Reply #3 on: Thursday 04 October 18 11:44 BST (UK) »
Clothes rationing was introduced in 1941 and lasted till around 1950, so people were ingenious in their use of clothing.  Home dressmaking was popular and some women used furnishing fabrics, as these weren't rationed at first.  Blackout material was popular (my mother once made me a skirt out of it in the 1950s, trimmed with ric rac braid) and parachute silk was much desired for underwear!  Make do and mend was a popular motto and some women were very clever at recycling material.  Styles were mainly figure-hugging, as this saved material.  Watching old films is a good idea for tips.  Women (and men) nearly always wore hats, too.

In 1947 Christian Dior launched his New Look, creating outfits which hugged the waist but had very full skirts.  This celebrated not only the availability of fabrics, but also the return of feminity, after a period when women had taken on men's work, wearing sturdy work clothes, and had been restricted by rationing.  It took a little while to take on in Britain, particularly as rationing limited the amount of material available.

My grandmother was also a milliner and was a skilled needlewoman (sadly I didn't inherit this skill from her).  She made clothes for herself and her daughter, even in adulthood.   Most women in their 50s in the 1950s were fairly sober in their clothing, as they viewed themselves as approaching old age.  How times have changed!

Maybe you have some old wedding photos from this period showing family groups.  This would show you how older relatives dressed in their finest.  I remember my grandmother had a fur cape for best.  I think it was fox, and the whole body was used, so you could see its face!  Ugh! 
Census information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

FAIREY/FAIRY/FAREY/FEARY, LAWSON, CHURCH, BENSON, HALSTEAD from Easton, Ellington, Eynesbury, Gt Catworth, Huntingdon, Spaldwick, Hunts;  Burnley, Lancs;  New Zealand, Australia & US.

HURST, BOLTON,  BUTTERWORTH, ADAMSON, WILD, MCIVOR from Milnrow, Newhey, Oldham & Rochdale, Lancs.

Offline ThrelfallYorky

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Re: Fashionable elder in 1940/ 1950 s
« Reply #4 on: Thursday 04 October 18 17:45 BST (UK) »
Wartime fashions were well documented - fabric was limited, skirts were short, many women are shown wearing skirt-suits with slightly mannish ( military influence?) jackets, and heavy stockings - "nylons" came, largely, with the Americans! Hats were not rationed, so could be quite fanciful.

After the war, my mother was in her 30s, The "New Look" wasn't as widespread as all that. She continued to wear the same sort of suits, although skirts became longer. A tailored cotton blose - never called a "shirt" was often worn beneath it, or a finely knitted or crochet  jumper. Cotton dresses for summer, quite nicely cut - a name like "Tootall, although that's not it, and Horrocks for the cotton spring to mind. Skirts on the dresses were often cut " on the cross", giving a wider hemline. Cotton blouses and wide skirts were often worn at home in warmer weather. Cardigans were often home-knitted, and shoes were more sturdy still, with cuban or french or cone heels,  than came later in the 1960s, with their stiletto heels. A camel coat was a staple, my mother did not like furs, although my grandmother had one of those fox doo-dahs, with a pathetic head hanging down on each side. An astrahkan ( no idea how it is spelled, but a very tightly curled fleece) trimmed jacket and a "poodle" short coat spring to mind. Skirts were often tweed or tartan, a little slimmer than "A" line, but not quite pencil cut.
Handbags usually had a frame, and one or two handles. Shoulder bags were rarer than they had been. Gloves were worn, usually matching the shoes. A necklace, graduated pearls, or other beads, was a usual item of jewellery.
If working in a house, women often wore a wrap-over floral overall, often bound with a coloured tape over the edges, to protect other clothes.
Underwear was usually stout cotton bras, sturdy knickers, and a suspender belt (or corset for those of more generous dimensions) to hook the stockings to. An underslip was usually full-length, rather than a waist slip.
There are many books on mid-century fashion, but remember: most women were not "fashion models" and wore a more toned-down version.
Any help?
Threlfall (Southport), Isherwood (lancs & Canada), Newbould + Topliss(Derby), Keating & Cummins (Ireland + lancs), Fisher, Strong& Casson (all Cumberland) & Downie & Bowie, Linlithgow area Scotland . Also interested in Leigh& Burrows,(Lancashire) Griffiths (Shropshire & lancs), Leaver (Lancs/Yorks) & Anderson(Cumberland and very elusive)

Offline Greensleeves

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Re: Fashionable elder in 1940/ 1950 s
« Reply #5 on: Thursday 04 October 18 20:30 BST (UK) »
TY's comments regarding stockings reminded me that before nylons were readily available, women wore lisle stockings, which were made from cotton.  Although they were not as see-through as the nylon stockings, they did have a sheen about them, and would probably have been quite popular in the 1960s had they been made in bright colours!  I remember these stockings because at the tender age of 15 I was a Saturday girl at our local Woolworths store, where I worked on the stocking and sock (and for some unaccountable reason, oilcloth) counter.  Lots of older ladies would come in to buy their lisle stockings there, grateful that they were still obtainable.
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Durham/Yorkshire: Sedgwick/Sidgwick, Shadforth
Ireland: Davis
Norway: Torreson/Torsen/Torrison
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Offline Treetotal

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Re: Fashionable elder in 1940/ 1950 s
« Reply #6 on: Thursday 04 October 18 22:50 BST (UK) »
I remember my Grandma wearing floral, button through dresses with a belt along with a hand knitted cardigan in the 50s. She also wore twinsets quite often and graduated crystal beads with matching earrings which I think were clip ons. She used to wear a fur coat in winter and never went out without wearing a hat and gloves. She would wear a pinny indoors but would always take it off when she had visitors. I also remember her wearing tartan slippers with a Pom Pom on them. She always wore a full length underslip too. She wore a few different brooches to compliment what she was wearing and a cocktail watch.
Carol
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Offline Gillg

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Re: Fashionable elder in 1940/ 1950 s
« Reply #7 on: Friday 05 October 18 10:24 BST (UK) »
She always wore a full length underslip too.
Carol

I still do! :o
Census information is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

FAIREY/FAIRY/FAREY/FEARY, LAWSON, CHURCH, BENSON, HALSTEAD from Easton, Ellington, Eynesbury, Gt Catworth, Huntingdon, Spaldwick, Hunts;  Burnley, Lancs;  New Zealand, Australia & US.

HURST, BOLTON,  BUTTERWORTH, ADAMSON, WILD, MCIVOR from Milnrow, Newhey, Oldham & Rochdale, Lancs.

Offline Jebber

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Re: Fashionable elder in 1940/ 1950 s
« Reply #8 on: Friday 05 October 18 11:18 BST (UK) »
She always wore a full length underslip too.
Carol

I still do! :o

Ditto.

I also remember my mother and grandmother wearing bloomers, aka passion killers or havest knickers (all is safely gathered in)  ;) ;D ;D
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