Costume Timeline

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Hula skirtHula skirt
Orlon, glass beads: embroidered
American, mid 1950s
Gift of Bradley Slayton, 89.65.7
Cotton: hand painted, sequined
Mexican, 1955-59
Woven label: “Tipicano/Hecho en Mexico”
Gift of Emily Switters, 83.30.8

“Long sleeve black turtleneck jersey, gray quilted circle skirt, and wide leather belt from Greenwich Village. This is how we dressed when we went out on a “plain” date. Crinoline petticoat worn under skirts or dresses to make them stand out. Often we wore several crinolines.” … Love, Loss, and What I Wore by Ilene Beckerman, 1995

“In junior high, 1955-56, multiple petticoats were in full swing, so to speak. I remember trying to convince my mother that three or four of these were barely a decent minimum. It was critical that the skirt stand out like a longer version of the ballerina’s tutu.” … What We Wore by Ellen Melinkoff, 1984

The full circle skirt and sweater, coupled with triple rolled socks, saddle shoes or penny loafers is the stereotypical outfit of the young woman of the mid-1950s. This skirt, like others in the collection, is hand printed and painted with a decorative scene and are products of Mexican manufacture for export. The donor remarked that she wore this skirt to San Diego Historical Society functions.

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