A few faces always surface and tweak your interest when you scan old photos. You look at them and realize that could easily see similar visages in the mall today, but, Oh, Those Clothes.
The scratchy rough wool suits worn by the men make my skin itch just looking at them but the tight-neck, long sleeved multi-petticoat skirts and dresses worn by the women gives me claustrophobia. How could they stand to wear so many layers?
L-R in this photo: Susie Kirkham, Ethel Ashton, Evie Kirkham, Sylvia Winn and Jennie Jacobs – Friends in Lehi, Utah around 1902.
My wife has informed me that they wore fewer petticoats in the summer and made other adjustments, but even so, the dark colors and long length skirts had to turn into saunas in warm weather or when indoors around the heater or warm spaces.
I enjoy watching the hair styles change over the years and wonder how long its maintenance took out of the lives of these ladies.
What did they use for deodorant? Did it work or was it just a splash of strong smell that was supposed to bury the body odor?
The ladies above didn’t come from wealthy families. Their families were farmers. They probably only one the one nice blouse seen in the photos. How did they keep them clean and the collars starched? My mother told me that her fingers used to bleed from washing clothing by hand when she was a little girl. It doesn’t take long for a scrub board to break the skin of well-soaked fingers and knuckles. Did the ladies above have to soak blood stains from their own washing wounds out of their dress blouses from time to time?
I’m glad that I live now. At least I can buy my shirts a size too large in the collar and control when I have to wear a tie to minimize neck burns and choking. Our clothes washing machine never, well, almost never, bloodies my hands.
Life is good in the 21st century – especially when the finger that automatically goes to my throat when looking at old photos, finds nothing there to loosen.