Family Fashion

1951 – Little Girls and Dresses

Then and now. Girls love dresses.

When I asked my granddaughter if she would like me to make her an outfit for her upcoming birthday, she said, “Yes. Will it be sparkly?”. The orders were to make a dress that was both frilly and full. She loves to wear dresses that she can twirl in.

This fashion article titled “Look-alike Cottons” from the April 1951 edition of McCalls magazine shows us that full and frilly was the name of the game 71 years ago as well. The dresses featured detachable collars, organdy, eyelet, ruffles, piping, and puff pockets and sleeves.

The solemn little girl in yellow wears a sleeveless dress with a low, round neckline that’s concealed under the organdy cape collar ruffled with eyelet. There’s more eyelet on her puff pocket.

The trend extended to mothers back then and dresses were made to match. The frills continued.

Lilac dimity, below left, is frosted with tiny white flowers and trimmed with ball fringe. Both dresses have full, gathered shirts, a narrow sash goes under the yoke in front and ties in back.

The dresses sold for around $20 for mom and about $10 for daughter. They could be purchased at department stores such as Bonwit Teller in Seattle or The Hecht Co in Washington D.C.

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