While going through old photographs at my parents’ house, I found these photo gems of my grandmother Edna when she was a teenager and young adult from the 1920s. The name Edna means “rebirth.”
She stayed young and beautiful, frozen in this state, because she passed away from a leaky heart valve at age 39. My mom said she was smart, well-read and a fashion maven. I don’t doubt that The Great Gatsby was on her book shelf.
My grandmother is on the left, circa 1925. She sports a classic bob hair cut and a sailor dress. She is about 18 years old and hanging with her friends most likely dressed in clothes from Marshall Field’s.
Here’s another buddy picture. Grandmother is on the left. There’s not a lot of detail here but look at the cloche hats. Isn’t it amazing that women dressed so alike back then? And they sit on grass barely worrying about grass stains on their skirts.
Here she is on the right. Look at those gams wrapped in black silk stockings with pumps on her feet. Again, no worries about sitting on dirt and grass in elegant clothes. My cousin, who lived to age 92, told me that Edna wore holes in the knees of her stockings as they rode in cars, probably to prevent looking unladylike.
Don’t ask me what the donkey’s doing here. Your guess is as good as mine. Edna is on the left next to my grandfather Toy. Here’s more proof of ladies dressing alike with all skirts just above the knee and all shoes with straps across the front.
When it got cold, Grandmother (on the right) broke out the long coat but never covered her bottom legs. Who would cover them? That’s a fur-lined collar with the oh-so-delicate touch of a flower in her lapel. Laced up shoes kept her feet warm in the winter. And I told you she was smart – she’s the only one wearing a hat in this picture.
My grandmother’s not in this picture, but my grandfather is on the left. Even he was a sharp dressed man with a news boy cap, tie and a 3 (maybe 4) buttoned jacket. Check out the car and the ladies on the hood. I’m surprised the poleece didn’t come after them for looking so much like Bonnie and Clyde.
And that is the rebirth of Edna. Do you ever wish the Jazz Age could come back in style if even for a moment?
- Carey Mulligan is Baz Luhrmann’s Daisy in remake of The Great Gatsby (guardian.co.uk)
- Etsy Find: Bright Orange Cloche Hat – $13 (thebudgetfashionista.com)
- Logos of The Great Gatsby (neatorama.com)