F is for Fashion




I grew up in the fifties, a child of parents who were kids during the Great Depression. When I was a kid, fashion  meant whatever my aunty, a genius on the sewing machine, could whip up.

My cousins, who were some ten years older than I was, were into American pop music despite it being called “an affront to a normal person’s ears” by my uncle. Aunty was a dab hand at creating fashionable poodle skirts and the rope petticoats necessary to make them fluff out properly.

Image                       Image

She made smaller, slightly less fluffy versions of these petticoats for me.  I loved them.  When I twirled around, my skirts spun out and up in a dance all of their own.

My special day dresses looked more like this, with the little puff sleeves or even sleeveless for the hot summer days.  With one of those lovely petticoats underneath I felt like a princess.


The only thing missing were the princess shoes.  I had my school shoes and some sensible sandals but what I lusted after was a pair of shiny patent leather Mary Janes like these…only black ones.  Oh, yes, that was the dream…sadly destined to remain just a dream…ah, well.

ImageAnother item destined to remain in my dreams was one of these.  Lots of the girls at school were members of the Junior Red Cross.  Basically, this meant that their parents had shelled out money for the classy nurse-like uniform and first aid lessons.  I just liked the uniform.  I was already  expert at applying mercurochrome and bandaids.  Mum said I didn’t need a nurse’s uniform and I was not to go annoying Aunty to make me one.  Poof! Another dream shattered!  Image

Like most other little girls of my era, much of my fashion fun came via paper dolls.  You could buy books with the doll printed on the inside of the cardboard cover and pages and pages of clothes filling the book.  The first ones I had had to be cut out ever so carefully with scissors, but later versions were perforated press-out jobs which made it all so much easier.  I spent hours playing with my paper dolls. I had a Dale Evans set and a SuperGirl set and, you name it, I had the set.  Much pocket money was spent on paper dolls.  


       As the fifties turned into the sixties a new wave of fashion began to roll in from Britain.  The Beatles, Carnaby Street and all things British rock arrived and I was a teenager at last….but that’s another story.


22 thoughts on “F is for Fashion

  1. I grew up in the 60s and missed the petticoats though my dresses, some of them, had puffed sleeves. My grandmother sewed but not my mother. I remember Grandma sewed me a paisley dirt and corduroy pinafore which I liked. She also sewed my school pinafores which I liked less. To keep our winter uniforms clean we wore pinafores. Mine was beautifully and intricately sewn and different 😦 I wasn’t happy about being different!

    Thanks for the post


    1. My Nanna was most adept with her needle. Her embroidery was exquisite. My Aunty loved to sew and was apprenticed to a milliner at age 13. Nanna saved and saved and bought a Singer treadle sewing machine for Aunty. It ended its days at our house many years later and it was by carefully pushing the treadle that I learned to sew also.
      Isn’t it interesting that we needed to fit in as children rather than stand out.

  2. Oh my goodness – I related so much to this — I’m a boomer as well. I absolutely loved the pictures and what memories they brought back. Every dress, shoes, etc. I had. The paper dolls — almost made me cry. Life was so simple. Thank you for a walk down that old memory lane

    1. I noticed the other day, as I was visiting the websites of some fellow authors, that one of them had come up with a set of paper dolls of her characters. That brought back lots of memories for me too.

  3. I loved paper dolls when I was little. As for the fashion, I had to giggle, as my teen has two petticoats, one black, the other white. She loves the look and has shoes very similar to the ones you show (3 pairs, red, black and brown), only hers have a bit of a heel. Thanks for stopping by.
    Visiting from AtoZ

  4. Feminists would probably shoot me, but I love a good reason to dress up. In high school a group of us girls got together and made our own poodle skirts for a dance. They always make me wish I’d been born a bit earlier.

    1. Me too, Charity. One of the best things about going on a cruise is the formal nights that they have. Everyone comes out in their sparkles and best suits. It’s lovely.

  5. I would have loved to be a part of that era. Ladies were so perfectly groomed and everyone looked elegant and put-together, even children! I would have loved wearing a petticoat (where does one even buy one these days?) and as I got older would have enjoyed curling my hair and wearing coral lipsticks and nail polishes… 🙂 I often shake my head at what’s around these days.

    1. Oh you and me both, Lena. we were at the theatre a couple of months ago and the people sitting in front of us were wearing board shorts and t-shirts!! Whatever happened to dress codes and a sense of occasion? I love it on cruise ships when they have the formal nights and everyone dresses up. It’s so lovely.

    1. Totally different. People were more aware of the occasion. I remember we would never go into the city without being in our good clothes..my Nanna always wore gloves and a hat. With the coming of the sixties the formality eased somewhat and has continued to ease. I think it has eased too far. I Like the idea of being able to dress up for a night out and finding that everyone else has dressed up too. I love it on cruise ships when they have the formal nights and everyone dresses to the nines.

  6. I love frocks specially the frilled ones. Now my fetish meets shopping for my baby doll. She looks so adorable in red polka dots frock with stiches on the hemline. Though, we don’t have peticoats but a fluffy net layers inside.

    We missed you Erica at The Sinhas at No. 302 ;p

    1. Yes, I know I haven’t visited you in the last couple of days. there are sooooo many blogs to get to. Don’t worry i haven’t forgotten you and I will be back. 🙂
      Thank you for missing me. How lovely.

  7. I love the fashions from back then–much cuter than what we had to deal with in the ’80s. That little nurse’s uniform is too cute!

  8. I remember those paper dolls. Though it was almost at the end of their popularity. But I did get to play with them. And the beauty is that there were so many outfits to choose from, at a minimal cost of course.
    Thanks for visiting my blog.
    Sorry again, about the misunderstanding with regards to the daily IWSG Facebook links… blame it on time zones… 🙂
    Writer In Transit

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