August 21, 2015

Summer fashion from 1957

Today, I walked into town (I had to buy hiking socks ;) ) and noticed the streets were very busy again. Clearly, a lot of people have returned from their summer holidays. There were also groups of new students touring the city center and most stores were either pushing their end-of-summer sales or introducing autumn stuff.
As I may have mentioned before, I refuse to plan for autumn until I have been on summer holiday (which we tend to do before or, more often, after the big holiday rush in mid-summer). And the weather certainly wasn't autumn-y today either...

So, I thought it would be nice to have a look at some summer-y fashion from years gone by. These images come from the June issue of Beyer's Mode from 1957 (I'm not sure the magazine was published monthly at the time. Back in the 1940's there seem to have been only four issues a year).

 Beyer's Mode was a German magazine but, at least in the 1950's and early 1960's, Dutch and Belgian buyers (and maybe French ones as well) could buy it with an instruction booklet in Dutch and French and a word translation list to make sense of the text which accompanies to pictures. 

Another great thing about this magazine is that all the designs featured in it are included on the pattern sheet (OK, each in only one size, but still) and, as mentioned above, in the 50's they even included proper instructions in the languages of the countries they were selling in. I really should try out one of these patterns... So I could tell you whether these translations are better or worse than the Burda ones we know and love/loathe.

The looks are very typical for their time: lots of big dresses which have to be supported by very big petticoats. It's great to have so many photographs, most magazines at the time relied mostly on fashion drawings, which can be very misleading. 

And don't these models look wholesome? Yes, there are quite a few streamlined shapes which suggest they are wearing girdles and waists are small but they are no-where near as petite and wasp-waisted as their French contemporaries (and let's not even get started on the subject of today's models...).   


  1. My father has two sisters who are quite a bit older than he. In 1957, they would have been teenagers and he was 10. I remember we were talking about siblings once and he said that one thing he remembered was that when these big skirts were the fashion whichever sister woke up and got dressed first would be the most fashionable because she would get the fluffiest petticoat. On Sundays, it was hard to find a place to sit in church because all the girls were taking up half a pew each with their big skirts. :)

  2. I really like the beachwear. I have been toying with the idea of making a swimsuit so maybe I should browse the 1950s patterns....