Blog: Easter Sunday 1956 – The Store Bought Blue Dress

Christine Alfery

Posted on March 30 2021

Blog: Easter Sunday 1956 – The Store Bought Blue Dress
Featured image: First Store-Bought Dress

During my morning coffee with God this morning I was reflecting on some of the outfits my mom had made for me as a little girl.  The one that sticks in my mind the most was the one that was made for my second grade class picture.  Back then we had pictures taken of the whole class, not individually.  Mom made me a vest and skirt to match.  It was black watch plaid.  The skirt was full and wonderful. I could twirl around like a ballerina in it. I loved its fullness, but, I also hated it. I wore this outfit with a little white hand me-down-blouse that had ruffled cupped sleeves and a Mary Jane collar.   I hated the outfit, mainly because of the black watch plaid material. It wasn’t a little girls material. In my mind, it was a grown up material. There were many pictures taken of me wearing that outfit. It was one of the few I had.  

Back then, mom made all my clothes. I never had a store-bought dress until the 4th grade. I was nine years old. It was 1956. The very first store-bought dress I had was bought for me for Easter that year by our babysitter. Dad was traveling a lot during those days and mom wanted to travel with him. In 1956 mom and dad were traveling on a business trip on Easter. Mom had always made my Easter outfits, a coat and dress to match. But, this year she didn’t have time. So, she gave the babysitter some money to purchase an Easter dress for me.

For the very first time I was able to get something I liked and wanted.  My first store-bought dress was blue. It was made from a very thin cotton and had lots of lace on it and embroidery. The skirt was full, and I had to get one of those petticoats to go underneath to make the skirt fuller. These petty coats were very trendy at the time.  And I got my first pair of knee high nylons and white patent shoes, hat, gloves and a purse to match.  I loved that outfit and just loved that dress!  

When my mom returned from her trip and saw the new store-bought dress she was horrified that I stood in front of the whole church on Easter Sunday in that dress with my other Sunday School classmates singing an Easter song in the children's choir.  She was not only horrified with the dress but with the nylons. She threw them out.  

I insisted on wearing that dress often. I loved it. But, no nylons, instead, my Mom taught me how to shave my legs. I would often be walking around with a huge red gash on my legs from when I cut myself with the razor. Not sure which is worse – band aids all over your legs or nylon knee highs?

Anyway, during National Women’s History Month, I thought I would share this memory of this very independent adult women and one of the memories that became part of my foundation and life.

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