Thursday, 7 May 2009

Retro seaside glamour

This month I'll be focusing on everything to do with the sea - and there'll be quite a large helping of retro seaside glamour. With so many Bank Holidays at this time of the year, it's fascinating to step back in time and take a peek at how differently these were spent after the war in the late '40s and 1950s, when formal dress codes and forms of entertainment were gradually changing.

Bank holidays were generally a time for dressing up in Sunday best wtih girls in fancy dresses, wearing gloves and bows in hair. Dress styles took their inspiration from Dior's New Look from Paris, but as well as classic cottons, new synthetic fashion fabrics, like nylon, were beginning to appear. Clothing became freer and more relaxed than the formality of previous decades with the introduction of the H and Y lines, in addition to the traditonal A line style.

Summer Bank Holidays were an excuse to travel by train or bus to popular seaside resorts for a stroll along the promenade. The beach was a place for Punch & Judy shows, donkey rides and ice cream - followed by a spot of entertainment on the pier, with fish and chips for lunch, tea, supper - or all three! A photograph of the family dressed in their Sunday best was obligatory. Fashions of the day were inspired by popular icons from the movies - Elizabeth Taylor, Doris Day, Marilyn Monroe and Debbie Reynolds.

At ShopCurious, we've teamed up with vintage specialist, The Cat's Meow, to offer an eclectic selection of very glamorous original 1950s posh frocks and sundresses. There are some fabulous marine inspired prints - including a wonderful seahorse halter dress (very Liz Taylor).

Most of the fabrics are totally natural, with the exception of the odd nylon extravaganza, like this virginal white '50s prom dress. Quite a few are dance inspired - another favourite evening pastime of holidaymakers the world over.

Anyway, I do hope you'll join me this month as I discover a treasure chest of summery seaside souvenirs and unique ocean-inspired curiosities.

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