Monday, March 14, 2011

May 1948 American Summer Fashions

During the last few weeks, when I have found myself sitting in my cubicle after the rest of the world has commenced cocktail hour, alone and toiling, I normally gaze over to the large windows of my office building and peer out onto a black sky, the moon waxing and waning, and a disappointing collection of stars, their lights generally obscured here by the proximity to the behemoth metropolis of New York. Today, though still toiling and disappointed in that fact, because of springing forward this past weekend, I can gaze out and glimpse still the fading sunlight, clouds bathing in pinks and purples, veritable twilight, and not imposing and infinite darkness. Summer, hopefully, cannot be far; Ceres, dry your tears and calm your laments, Proserpina will ascend once again from Pluto's realm. Bikini season approaches, preceded by daffodils and tulips and berries, though it still feels eons away, with the cold winds.

This Harper's Bazaar cover from May of 1948 immediately struck me with its amalgamation of classic and seductively revolutionary style; advertising a feature on American summer fashions, this model bares her slight sultry spine in a beautiful backless wrapped top dress, while coyly shading her eyes and face under the beach umbrella. I love the look of black with brown, whether it be a warm toffee brown or a richer chocolate espresso brown, and this dress is fresh and seems provocative for the time, in terms of pairing the neutrals and its daring structure.

Today, glamor and elegance are so frequently discarded, traded in for comfort and efficiency, whether it be in the workplace, out at brunch, or when lounging on the beach; here, she exudes a pristine and executed look, one that involved some thought, but results in a large dividend of beauty. Tousled, salted hair and a simple tee or cotton cover-up have replaced the look here, her sleek and sculpted chignon and an evening-inspired dress. She does not wake, stumble from bed, and thrust herself out onto the day; she prepares, perhaps ceremonially, and dons an inspired piece, one that brings herself to a center, to a strong calm, whether she feels it inwardly or not. Romanticizing this image, this era, certainly, but I can, and I can afford to. Briefly, I love this photograph, and all the possibilities it entails.

Time is, always has been, and always will be money, a precious and non-renewable commodity, and less and less it appears men and women are willing to rest, breathe, smell the salt from a calm sea, produce nothing, waste an afternoon in laughter and sun, at least in the echelons of the incorporated, socioeconomically stable world. Modernity necessitates a certain forward progress, or at least, a flexible movement, and a willingness to adapt to evolving political, economic, societal, and cultural conditions and norms; information and technology have changed drastically, through human innovation and interruption, thereby changing surrounding lifestyles. Comfort, efficiency, agility, frugality, resourcefulness, all have their functions, important ones, they are intangible tools, however, a little simple beauty and grace, some pride and some effort in constructing an outward manifestation of internal personality and spirit, certainly does not go unnoticed

(image taken from Found in Mom's Basement)


  1. I love this vintage cover, and the ice cream below looks yummy. Thanks for sharing the photos and drop by me too, soon.


  2. stoping by and say hello!

    Check my new blog at:::

  3. Hullo!

    You blog is a delight, top drawer.

    That vintage cover is great too.

  4. agree that glamour and elegance are ignored when getting dressed today...lovely vintage cover, i want that dress!!