Sunday, May 17, 2015

20th century memories:what ladies wore

I've looked in vain for a photo of my mother wearing one of her hats,  but due to her policy of never having her picture taken until she had lost at least 20 lbs,--which never happened--I don't have one.

Nevertheless, she never left the house without one.  These hats were purely ceremonial, having no justification, either decorative or functional.  They neither enhanced her appearance or kept her head warm.  They were stiff little parabolas of some kind of cloth with a snatch of veiling attached.  The image above is an approximation.  Hers were uglier.

She had a bunch of them, which lived on the top of the sideboard in the dining room, and she would pick one at random when she had to leave the house.  If she were going somewhere related to her profession. she was in full lawyer array, including girdle and stockings.  As she entered the house, off came the girdle and hosiery.

Her normal indoor garb was something called a housedress.   I couldn't find a picture on the Internet of anything as dismal as those housedresses my mother--and Bubbe--wore. Department stores had whole departments of "Moderate Housedresses" as well as "Better Housedresses."  Although I never saw one that was better than any other; they were all pretty frightful.  They usually were made of tacky material in ugly but loud patterns which either buttoned or zipped up the front.  They often had two generous patch pockets on the front.  Bubbe used to keep her false teeth in one of the pockets, but I digress.

In this one respect America is a better place today: terrorists, riots, train derailments, yes, but a total lack of housedresses.

1 comment:

Dick Stanley said...

I remember those hats. I think my stay-at-home mother wore one now and then. But I never saw her in a house dress, or maybe I just didn't know what they were.