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Jul 25, 2015

Back to the 1950's!



Readers, as you know, I adore vintage magazines, especially women's fashion and home magazines of the 1950's.

I love the content -- the recipes, the romantic short stories, the fashion and decorating tips, the laughably pre-feminist advice columns -- and I'm crazy about the visual aesthetic: the happy-go-lucky fonts, the cheerful cartoon illustrations, the colorful layouts, everything new and exciting and worthy of exclamation points (from instant coffee to cigarettes).











Please join me this summer Saturday and step back into two issues of Family Circle magazine from 1956 and 1958 that I picked up today at the Chelsea flea market.  Some of this stuff will be familiar to you and many of the products (Jell-O, Spam, Listerine) are still with us.  But we've lost enthusiasm for this kind of idealized suburban-dream living, complete with Spam casseroles, wood-paneled ranch houses, and candy-colored kitchens. 

It's not entirely gone for sure, but the excitement ain't what it used to be.

Classic juxtaposition.

For more than fifty full-color, supersize-able photos, just click here, or on the slideshow below:



Enjoy and have a great day, everybody!

(Anybody grow up in this world?)

20 comments:

  1. I was pretty young in the 50s but it all looks very familiar. Thanks for sharing! :-)

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  2. The 'Pregnancy Without Fear' article has me intrigued and I'm amused that Winston and Listerine have ads opposite one another. The '50s were before my time but I wax nostalgic nonetheless, particularly when everyone was expected to look much more presentable (for lack of a better word) than today and there seemed to be a genuine optimism in the air, though I suspect advertising isn't the clearest window on the past. (As I type this, I'm leaning back wearing a t-shirt, fleece pullover, and Levi's; I'm just as slovenly as the next person, especially on Saturday.)

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  3. Everything had style. Did they realize just how cool they were?

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  4. Ha, I wouldn't mind a candy coloured kitchen, now. I'm a child of the 60's but my dad was from the 50's and he sure had a way with spam and casseroles. I remember many times going into the kitchen and coming out saying, Ah, there's nothing to eat. He'd go in there and throw something together much like that fish stick recipie and I always was amazed and thought it was magic.

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  5. The fifties were wonderful. Things were so much different than now. Neighbors were friends and people visited a lot back then. Technology, for most of us, was a tubed television set.

    Females always wore dresses or skirts to school, church, and shopping. We were not allowed to attend school in male clothes; pants.

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  6. I love the shoes in one of the ads.

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  7. Ah yes, Jello, Royal pudding, cheese whiz, canned whipped cream, fish sticks--all familiar '50's food. Not to forget Kool-aid and canned vegetables. All served up in that knotty pine kitchen with wrought iron cabinet handles!

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  8. Jello was a staple. When made from lemon or lime Jello, with some shredded carrots mixed in, plopped on a leaf of iceberg lettuce with a dollop of Miracle Whip on top, it even was salad. We dressed up for school, for church and to "go to town." I never wore sneakers except in the summer. My mom also sewed most of my clothes, including matching shirts for the whole family when we went on vacation.

    Nancy

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  9. Thanks for the nostalgia trip! I love those old advertisements and the whole look of the 50's. My parent's first house had a pink kitchen. I don't remember it (I was only 3) but the pink refrigerator moved with us. Two other things about your post are timely for me: I just watched a great documentary called "Helvetica" about the history of the font and in it they recall that before advertisers turned to using Helvetica, ads featured your "happy-go-lucky fonts" (love that description!) and overuse of exclamation points. Also, I just read Tim Gunn's Fashion Bible and he talks about the Maidenform ads: "I was...in my Maidenform bra".

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  10. Paging through this has made me smile indeed. I was born in the middle, remembering some of those "quick-prepped" meals and the children's Tonette, permanent curls that made me look like a poodle, Also pretty interesting to think Bell advertising to encourage telephone use.

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  11. Forgot to say thank you so much for sharing this.

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  12. I was Sally Draper. That era is better enjoyed from a distance. Yes, my mother made me a fabulous poodle skirt but that did not compensate for the aspics. Not to mention the sexism, racism and homophobia.

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    Replies
    1. Amen! I was born in 1950 and remember the last half of the decade well. I wouldn't go back and live then for a billion bucks. And "we all" were no more fashionable and chic in our ordinary lives than people are today. The 50s - you can have them. I'll take today with more respect for all kinds of people and especially much better medicine.

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  13. Thanks for sharing! I think my favorite is the "pream" powered coffee creamer. I'm assuming it's a blend of the words "pretend" and "cream."

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  14. ooohh.. the deodorant ad was charming. :D emotional perspiration.

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  15. Very nice. To my husband's mystification, I watch I Love Lucy reruns over and over again, but what I like--besides watching Lucille Ball--is looking at the clothes and the things in the houses. The dishes, the toaster, the furniture, the decorations on the walls. My parents grew up in the '50s, and they always talk about how much fun it was.

    Though I have to admit, a lot of the recipes sound kind of terrible.

    Were the 50s perfect? No, but neither is now. We can surely enjoy the good from each decade.

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  16. I spent time in a private girls' school where we sang "Lo-ha body-every, lo-ha. Lo-ha is the poo-shamp that flossigries your hair, so lo-ha, poo-shamp, lo-ha!!"
    How can I still remember that 50+ years later?

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  17. My mother-in-law was born in the late 40s and she is so totally a child of the 50s it hurts. Sometimes I think that for her, the more processed, packaged, and artificial the better...and she never met a TV dinner she didn't like! My father-in-law, born at the very very end of the 30s, still wears a pompadour haircut, white t-shirt, and black jeans (pressed, of course!) almost every day of his life, God bless him.

    As for the candy colored kitchens, my grandfather-in-law, when he passed away a few years ago, still had an all-pink kitchen with linoleum floor and knotted pine cabinets and it was adorable. I couldn't bear the thought of someone dismantling it after his house sold.

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  18. The top photo of the kitchens reminded me of a former neighbour's house. The neighbourhood was built between 1957 and 1958. The cabinets separated the kitchen and dinning room. The house was sold in 2000 and renovated about 5 years later and that item was lost in the reno. I remembered that my neighbour had one of her telephones located on the end of the cabinet.

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  19. I am a homemaker and live in a 1960s ranch wood sided ranch home. I wouldn't trade for the world the social advances of today. I do wish there was still the fifties' optimism and enthusiasm for suburban dream living, as you put it. People took a lot of enjoyment and pride in their homes and were proud to own land they could mow and garden and a place to park the car. Now so many resent or ignore the yard and store everything in the garage but the car!

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