Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Nifty Fifties

In memory of my Irene Davenport Kruse,
In 1954, she was a sophomore at Wellesley College outside Boston. I think the Atlanta native might have been visiting an aunt in Miami Beach from the background. I grew up hearing about how in elementary school and college, girls weren't allowed to wear pants except for the occasional Girl Scout camping trip. I imagine sweater sets and wool skirts were everyday wear for her generation. (I always thought this was a sweater set-- upon closer examination, I think it's an even more fashion-forward flowing red scarf!) I'm amazed at the confidence shown in her pose-- maybe this was a period in her life in which she was coming into her own. In the decades beyond this college-girl look, my mom wore short sheath dresses a la Jackie Kennedy, pillbox hats, hot pants (!), palazzo pants for evening wear, and the era when I came into the picture, the unfortunate polyester pantsuit, sometimes with a snazzy vest that tied at the waist. But, at least a few years later, she and my older sister could agree to shop at The Limited for khakis, denim shirts and floral print knit shirts. She died of breast cancer seven years ago, but my sister and I were able to have a laugh and see an aspect of our mother we hadn't known of by going through the decades of fashions from her younger years.
Love, Carolyn Freedell

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