My father Druce Barlow second on the left, with what looks like Princess Margaret, and my mother on the far right, next to Johnny Clough, the short man to her left. The picture was sent to me by Simon Buckley whose parents are also in this photograph. His mother Paddy is in the centre of the sofa, and the shot, and her husband Graham is two to my mother’s right. I spoke to my mother about this picture and she said that her dress was emerald green. How wonderful.
When they weren’t wearing dinner jackets and ball gowns how did the youth of yesterday dress? Here are some more everyday pictures of my parents from the 1950s.
I have a second picture of her in the same suit, caught by a Galway street photographer, when she and my father went to look at a horse. I love this photograph as it is one of the few in the collection that is not posed. Here are a young couple just walking down the street, both with tailored (not off the peg) suits, in grey. Both of them look composed and serious, business-like but companionable. My mother is wearing a jumper, a small peal necklace and a brooch. We can see that her jacket and skirt are both rather long. It also has got quite exaggerated shoulder padding and the silhouette is rather masculine. The skirt seems to have four box pleats to make for ease in walking. She has a plain leather handbag. Father’s trousers have turn-ups, which were fashionable at the time. He is wearing a slim, dark tie, and carries a package – maybe a newspaper. They appear to be wearing sturdy lace-ups, suitable for walking, rather than fashionable shoes. Maybe his have crepe soles?
I don’t know where this final picture is taken, but Mother is in the same outfit she had on in Ireland, but Father is now wearing a sports jacket and dark trousers, with a wide tie. They look really happy. I am sorry the photograph is so blurred. It is a very small photograph and doesn’t zoom out well, but you get the effect. She described wearing cardigans back to front so that they looked like jumpers!
My mother loved clothes and I think she had quite a few, certainly for the time, and compared to less well-off families. But the fact the suit is in each of these photographs implies it was the only one she had and that it would have been an expensive item. She told me that “We all wore suits then. We thought they were practical.” I agree that suits are practical and I wear them all the time, often separating the skirt and jacket. I have set myself the task of making three or four over the next 12 months to replace my rather worn out wardrobe staples. This is a big job and will keep me busy. I just read on Pattern Pandemonium that Jay has sewed 46 patterns over the last month. I am in awe of her efforts – she is such a brilliant seamstress – but I just wonder what you do with so many clothes!