7. 1950's 'Susan Small model' dress.
This was one of my mother's party dresses dating from the 1950's. It has a ballerina length, three-tiered lace skirt and a boned bodice with a broad velvet band and bow at the bust. There are spaghetti straps and a detachable scrap of lace to give the option of covering the back and shoulders.
Every year my mother and I were taken into town to choose our party dresses. My father loved the occasion as much as we did. He would be given a chair to sit on at the shop and passed his opinion on each outfit as my mother or I emerged from the changing room. I remember many of the chosen dresses clearly, the colours and the feel of the fabrics. I particularly remember one of my mother's cocktail dresses, a neat little black crepe, asymmetrical style, with diamante clips at the neck, which I thought was the height of sophistication - and I dare say it was!
I was usually allowed to stay up and see my parents when they were all dressed up ready to go to a dinner dance or some other function. My mother would be sparkling with pleasurable anticipation of the evening ahead (even if she had been grumpy with me during the day!) and I always thought that she looked transformed.
Third generation to wear the Susan Small dress!
My mother at a dinner dance in the 1940's wearing a long, deep purple velvet dress.