Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday Family photo--Good bye vintage clothes

For many years I've had a clothing stash of dresses I've enjoyed wearing. It's time to send them along to wherever old clothes go to die, some over 60 years old, some made by my mother. I was going to try to find some cute young thing with a 23" waist to model them, so I could take a photo, but decided to search my photo archives to see ME wearing them.

I think the oldest dress I have isn't in the closet, but on a shelf.  And I don't actually have my dress from 5th grade, but I do have my cloth doll's matching dress.  Both were made by my mother and were identical.  I think the reason the doll dress survived almost 70 years is because by the time Mom made it, I was no longer playing with dolls. Mother made the Sue doll with the yellow yarn hair, but our neighbor Ruth Crowell who had no children made the "white doll," which has always been called that.  I never gave it another name. I also never played with it, so it survived.  It was Blue Doll I loved to death. The chair in the photo is from my great-grandmother's home near Ashton, IL, was painted by my grandmother, and then it was refinished and recaned by my mother in the 1970s. The secretary was made for my husband's grandparents over 100 years ago and is now in our son's home.
 I don't think I ever had a purchased, commercially made formal.  This lovely white faille with a bright red bow was made for the 1955 Christmas dance at my high school.  I'd also just had a new hair cut, going from long to short, so I was feeling like a model. Phoebe modeled it in 1981, probably 8th grade, but even at 13 she was bigger than I was at 16.
My mother made these jackets for me before I left for college. I actually wore the red and grey one to a 1950s birthday party for my sister-in-law Jeanne last year and since scarlet and grey were the OSU colors, I also wore it a few times in the 1990s. My sister Carol had a similar corduroy jacket in brown and yellow; she was attending Goshen College in Indiana and I was attending Manchester College 50 miles away. Mom also made twin bed coverlets and bed skirts for our dorm rooms--mine were pink and grew, all the rage in 1957, but I'm not sure about Carol's.
Our first big date was for the St. Patrick's Ball at the University of Illinois in 1959 for which I wore a borrowed red lace dress belonging to dorm mate Sally Siddens who didn't have a date. But for that dance the next year I wore this beige, brown and gold jersey dress with a big crinoline. Since I was well over 140 lbs then, I thought it might fit me for a 50s party in 2016, but couldn't even get close to zipping it.
When I got married in 1960, I'd planned to make my "going away" dress, but not only was I not a good seamstress, but I chose a difficult fabric--silk.  So a week before my wedding I bundled everything up and took it back to Mt. Morris where my mother finished it for me. I bought a hat that matched perfectly.
My niece secretly mailed my wedding dress to my daughter for our 50th wedding anniversary party in 2010--I was so thrilled to see it after 50 years.  But then there was a problem about what to do with it.  She didn't want it back!  So it resided with my other dresses for 6 years in a bag in the closet, until I finally took it to the cancer resale shop.
This pale blue sheath I bought in 1957 in Ft. Wayne, IN, when I was a student at Manchester College. Don't recall the event, probably a lecture since MC didn't sponsor dances, but I wore it many years.  Here we are in 1962 with our son Stanley.
 I have two items in the closet for which I have no photos. In 1963 I bought a light blue and white, 3 piece knit suit, and still have it.  And my favorite winter coat was red and its with the vintage clothes.  The dry cleaners ruined the buttons, so I didn't wear it after 1968.  Both the suit and the coat showed the influence that Jackie Kennedy had on women's fashion in the 1960s. I think the coat was probably purchased in 1962 or 1963.

For a New Year's Eve party in 1965 I made a snappy red wool dress with a ruffle, sewn in my kitchen at 108 E. White St. in Champaign. We didn't have many occasions to go to parties, so I later took the ruffle off and wore it as a jumper for a number of years. The photo with the children and the deruffled party dress is their birthdays in 1969.

I made Phoebe and me matching dresses for her baptism in 1968, and her dress is packed away with her baby clothes and stored in her basement, and my dress is in my closet. White flocked sheer cotton. It was a hot day in June.  Because I was baptized in Church of the Brethren, as were my parents, grandparents, and great grandparents on both sides, and their practice is to baptize adolescents and adults, we had no sweet little dresses passed down from grandmother to mother to baby.
For our 10th wedding anniversary party, I wore this black pants suit--the only slacks among the vintage dresses.  They were all the rage then, and I loved it.  I wore again in the 90s for some retro event at OSU--don't remember what it was. But it's still in the closet.
Here we are in formal wear for a 1974 Christmas party with Couples Circle 50 of First Community Church. That was also one of my favorite hair styles. I think Jane Fonda made it popular. Bob was so thin in those days, we bought that suit in the Boy's Department of Lazarus.
The class of 1957 had its 30th class reunion in 1987, and I wore my all time favorite, a teal and coral floral polished cotton. I'm in the front row seated far left.  Big shoulder pads, full cut skirt.  Loved that dress. I was a very bad time in my life, but when I wore that dress I felt like a princess. We don't dress up any more for our class reunions.
I had a lovely deep teal silk, with soft pleats at the waist, self belt, probably purchased around 1985 or 1986. It is a size 8 which is how I'm guessing at the year.  I was taking an aerobics class and was quite trim in those days.  My daughter wore it, and my teal suit (obviously liked that color) to have her senior photos taken.  I can't find a photo of my wearing it,  but I remember wearing it to an AIA party we went to with Ken and Connie Becker.


Big hair, big shoulders. I'm not sure what year I bought this lovely cream colored silk 2 piece with a full, flowing skirt, but it made a wonderful dance dress, something we were still doing in those days. This photo is from 1988, so it was toward the end of its era.  But I peeked inside the storage bag, and there is was.  Can't show it off with this head shot.
For several years our church, UALC, sponsored a wonderful Christmas dinner with musical entertainment.  In 1991 we took Ron and Nancy Long, old friends from FCC and Lakeside, as our guests.  I had a black velvet outfit with beads and bangles that I just loved.  Some years later, I separated the top and bottom, and bought a near skirt for it that wasn't so tight and uncomfortable.  Still have the top in my vintage closet. I also have a lovely silk dress the same color as Nancy's in my vintage collection (see above), but don't seem to have a photo of me wearing it.  Those deep jewel colored silk dresses were very popular for several years.
 In 1993 the Corbett descendants of Joe and Bessie had a family reunion in Mt. Morris, over 100 attending, and we stayed at a B & B in Franklin Grove where this photo was taken with our son-in-law Mark. This is not what I wore to the reunion, but it definitely was on the trip and in the vintage closet. Linen and polished cotton in coral and taupe with applique on bodice.
Later that year I wore my pink pleated, two piece Mother of the Bride dress at our daughter's wedding. The next year I wore it again at a niece's wedding in Florida, however, MOB dresses don't have many uses.  Usually, they are too fancy.  Also had pink shoes, pink hose and pink purse dyed to match.
The oldest dresses I have in my "currently still wearing" closet will be 8 years old this summer having purchased them in 2010. Last fall I sent to the resale shop my sheer black dress I worse at my sister-in-law's wedding in 2006 (seen above in the photo with the mannequin, so that's where we are today. No more vintage closets.

Today I attended the funeral of Kathy Heinzerling who was at some of the parties where I was wearing these dresses 40-50 years ago.  Appropriate for walking down memory lane.

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