Saturday, September 23, 2017

Vintage 1950s Ladies Fashion

1950s ladies house dress

          A 1950s woman had to always, look elegant and clean. New inventions in house cleaning and cooking appliances made her day easier. Looking exhausted, like a hot mess was not acceptable, or so she was told over and over again by TV, radio ads, and newspapers.
          Comfort was key. The full skirt of gathered fabric (5 yards at least)  with a thin petticoat underneath made them easy to move in, change bed sheets, make dinner and tend to children. The button down bodice, known as a shirtwaist, was the prime style of house dress. Easy to put on and take off by oneself it had been around for years but the 1950s woman made it her signature day dress.

          House dress colors and patterns followed the trends of the year.  Trim was minimal. Self fabric details such as small pleats were preferred over large add on trims. The exception to this was wide lace appliqué, small rickrack trim on collars and pockets, and big buttons in white or black.  A coordinated belt was optional.
          The dresses usually had two patch pockets on the front of the dress or slit pockets built into the sides. These held all kinds of useful things such as clothes pins or a handkerchief.  The collar on the shirtwaist dress was usually pointed or a round peterpan collar. Some had no collars, just a round boat-neck or sweetheart opening.

          For running errands or visiting friends outside the home a woman did not need to change dresses. Simply adding jewelry, gloves, a belt, a cardigan sweater or bolero jacket was enough to transition her dress out of the house. The women of the 1950s were not to look like a domestic servant even if she acted like one. Fashion was fashionable even when no one would see you in it.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Vintage 1950s Cars

The Edsel
              It was an automobile brand that was planned, developed, and manufactured by the Ford Motor Company from 1958–1960. Ford had expected to make significant inroads into the market share of both General Motors and Chrysler and close the gap between itself and GM in the domestic American automotive market. Ford invested heavily in a year-long teaser campaign leading consumers to believe that the Edsel was the car of the future – an expectation it failed to meet. After it was unveiled to the public, it was considered to be unattractive, overpriced, and overhyped. The Edsel never gained popularity with contemporary American car buyers and sold poorly.

          Ford announced the end of the Edsel program on November 19, 1959. Production continued into 1960.

          There were several reasons for the failure:
The aim was right, but the target moved It was considered a marketing disaster.
The wrong car at the wrong time. One of the external forces working against the Edsel was the onset of an economic recession in late 1957.

Reliability Even though the Edsel shared its basic technology with other Ford products, a number of issues caused reliability problems, mostly with the 1958 models. 

Design controversies The Edsel's most memorable design feature was its trademark "horsecollar" or "toilet seat" grille, which was quite distinct from other cars of the period.

          Despite the Edsel's lack of sales success, several of the cars were nevertheless raced in NASCAR's Grand National series in the late 1950s.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Vintage 1950s BBQ

          After WWII, many returning GI's married and settled in the suburbs. A house with a backyard was one of the status symbols of American middle-class. How best to show off one's backyard? Men proudly did the grilling. Wives did the planning and prep-work based on suggestions offered by contemporary magazines and cookbooks. James Beard's Complete Book of Barbecue & Rotisserie Cooking (1954) was one of the "bibles" for American home barbecues.

               The Good Housekeeping Cook Book recommended meats include: big steaks, little steaks, king steak, salt-grilled sirloin steak, barbecued spareribs, heavenly hamburgers, hot franks, grilled ham, barbecued bologna roll, and beef alfresco, kabobs, charcoal-grilled chicken, charcoal-grilled duckling, fish fries and barbecues, and shellfish alfresco. Fresh grilled vegetable recipes feature corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and mushrooms. Grilled French & Italian breads, grill-baked breads, rolls and muffins, garlic-buttered slices and a variety of hot grilled sandwiches were also recommended. Dessert could be prepared on the grill. Popular items were caramel roast apples, walnut roast, fried marshmallows, baked bananas, and "Marshmallow Treats," (similar to S'Mores).

Saturday, September 2, 2017

1950s Homes

Split Level Style Homes

         The Split Level style, with half-story wings and sunken garages, began in the 1950s was a popular home design. This style rose to popularity as a multi-story modification of the dominant Ranch house. Although it retained the horizontal lines, low-pitch roof, and overhanging eaves of the Ranch, an added two-story unit was planned at mid-height with a one-story wing to make three floor levels of interior space.

         Three types of interior spaces were planned: quiet living areas, noisy living and service areas, and sleeping areas. The new split form made it possible to locate each area on separate levels. The lower level usually housed the garage and, noisy family room with its television, the mid-level wing housed the quieter, living and dining areas, and den, and the upper level was the quiet area for the bedrooms.

         Split levels remained quiet popular until the late 1970s.