Monday, February 09, 2009

A Challenge From Mom

I asked my mom to keep an eye out for old magazines for me, as she loves to shop at thrift stores and yard sales. She sent me a copy of National Geographic from December 1931, but she said I probably wouldn't find anything of use in it. Nothing like a good challenge to put me to work!

In late 1931, America was heading into the worst two years of the Great Depression. The GNP had fallen 17.9% since the stock market crash in October 1929, and unemployment had reached 15.9%. In the midst of this economic climate, National Geographic sent photographer Edwin Wisherd to illustrate an article about the State of Alabama. In these four photos, Wisherd posed lovely ladies in the midst of garden shots.

One has to assume that when asked to pose for a national magazine, a gal is going to wear her Sunday best. So, here is a look at what the fashionable Alabamian girl is wearing in 1931.

Skirts have fallen to 2-3" below the knee and jackets hit below the hip. Stockings are a must, of course, even in the heat of the Deep South.

Ruffles, ruffles everywhere. Here you can see the 3/4 sleeves of these dresses flare out into flowing drapes of rayon or silk.

This blue dress is a bit out of date, with the dropped waist and tiered skirt that were more popular in 1928-29. It actually looks like a flapper era dress that has been taken in at the waist to appear more modern.

Here we can see another juxtaposition of the change in style over 3 years. The yellow dress dates to about 1928, while the blue one is probably brand new in 1931.

Did you notice the bright, light colors? Not a black dress in the bunch!

More tomorrow.....and thanks, mom!