Middletown Tea Party, 1939

A collection of family and friends having tea at their home on Paradise Avenue in 1939.  It’s interesting to see the differences in generational dressing.  The older woman in the hat seems to be clinging to habits of victorian grandeur that she probably grew up with: embellishment (floral accents, elegant fabric, and puffy sleeves), decorum (dress length) and an overall look of wealth and status (large earrings).  Meanwhile, my two great aunts (on the grass and seated second from right) are comfortable, hat-free and simple, which would have been in keeping with an upbringing during the Great Depression, where practicality, versatility and a sense of humility were major influencing forces on fashion.  I am obsessed with the dress, shoes and bag of  the woman on the grass, one of my grandmother’s  three sisters.  (and that hair!)  Amazing that, by today’s standards, she is conservatively and fancily dressed, yet she looks so comfy, laid back and, well, GOOD.  (Seemingly) effortless style at its best.

This image is the intellectual property of the Goddard family and may not be used or reproduced without permission.  Please contact CGoddard24@gmail.com if you are interested in using it.

2 thoughts on “Middletown Tea Party, 1939

  1. I think it’s such a shame that our lifestyles have become so casual… The most casual woman in that photo is still much more formally dressed than the vast majority of us bother with for dinner out, let alone on a friend’s lawn.

    BTW, I’m another Caroline Goddard – I found you because I kept getting Google alerts for my name to your blog : )

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