Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Return Engagement: A 1954 Prom Dress

Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Loretta reporting,

Continuing my report on the Strawbery Banke Museum exhibition, Thread: Stories of Fashion at Strawbery Banke, 1740-2012:*

Another delight was this pink prom dress from 1954.  The dress is described as a “pink synthetic lace creation with its strapless flounced dress and bolero-style jacket.”

According to the museum guides, the living room was furnished from Sears Roebuck.  In other words, the room and dress represent a style not of lords and ladies or celebrities, but everyday people.  The display included a wedding portrait of Pat Brackett, the woman who wore this dress to her high school prom.  Unfortunately, my camera was feeling ill that day, and my close-up photo of that part of the room was not in focus—a fact I failed to notice until I saw it full size on my computer.  (But there’s still time to see the exhibit for yourself if you’re in the area.)

This style of décor might be familiar to some of our readers.  Can you tell what that thing is between the two photographs behind the dress?  Do you know what piece of furniture the photographs are sitting on?

*Previous posts are here and here.


Hels said...

There is something beautiful about what _we_ wore - fresh, modern, smart. But there is something terribly old fashioned about what _our mothers_ wore. Although my mother had babies by 1954 and wasn't going to any school ball, this dress reminds me of her era. Awful!!!

Unknown said...

My mom was a high school sophomore when this dress was made. :-)

From what little I can see of the furniture behind the dress, the pictures are on, it could possibly be one of the "furniture" style phonograph sets. The texture of the side panel is a lot like the fabric that covered the radio and record player speaker grills back then.

Maybe a search for images from old Sears catalog furniture pages could answer the question of what exactly it was. :-)

Lil said...

I can't help thinking that the dress really needs a stiff petticoat to hold out the skirt!

Between the pictures? I hope you don't mean the lamp, which looks very much like the one sitting on my piano! And I agree, it looks as if all that stuff is sitting on a speaker.

Linda Olson said...

The furniture is either a television (with the picture tube screen obstructed by the flounced skirt) or a console stereo. My grandparents had similar furniture in their living room. I can't tell if the skirt is wide enough to accommodate a crinoline; it seems unusual to see a narrow flounced skirt from the 1950s.

Karen Anne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen Anne said...

Another vote for a speaker, because of the fabric.

I would not have suspected that dress came from my era, when prom dresses usually were worn with crinolines. The whole dress looks wrong, somehow, for that time period.

GSGreatEscaper said...

Your posts about Strawbery Banke inspired me to (finally!) visit there in summer 2013. It was marvelous! Total love...gardens are fab, admission price is reasonable, Portsmouth is a great destination,

LorettaChase said...

If you'd like to see previous guesses and the answers, please check out the original post here at http://twonerdyhistorygirls.blogspot.com/2012/09/a-1954-prom-dress.html
I do suspect that there was a crinoline but for some reason it wasn't preserved, as the dress was. The bolero was definitely popular. I have pictures of relatives wearing this style, but with the skirt flaring out.

Unknown said...

I love pink, because she is a cute angel incarnate. I've been looking forward to be able to wear such a PROM dress, PROM without any regret.
princess prom dresses

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