I randomly stumbled upon this photo today, and had such a visceral reaction of OMIGOD I WANT THAT OUTFIT.
This is pretty rare for me — even though I have a fashion blog and enjoy thinking about clothing, I tend to be more measured in my enthusiasms. I don’t often look at a photo and think OMIGOD I WANT THAT I NEED THAT.
Of course, this picture seems almost designed to provoke my covetousness. It’s vintage, from a 1960 issue of Mademoiselle magazine. It’s seemingly a candid shot; the outfit is not overly styled or fussy, and it is in sophisticated neutral shades, with a wonderful sense of texture and pattern. Love the gray cable knee socks!
Plus, well, it comes from a place near and dear to my heart. I received my education (my overeducation?) at Vassar College, and that’s where this photo was taken. I know exactly where that girl is sitting: on the steps of Rockefeller “Rocky” Hall, with the gorgeous library behind her.
I stumbled upon this photo on a blog called Ivy Style, in a guest post by Vassar alum Rebecca Tuite. Rebecca is writing a book about the cultural history of the “Vassar Girl” at mid-century, to be called Vassar Style: Fashion, Feminism, and 1950s American Media… I think I’ll have to buy a copy when it comes out! According to her research, Vassar students in the 1950s were infamous for pairing knee socks with Bermuda shorts, like the girl in this photo.
I haven’t worn shorts in years, but this photo is tempting me to try to find a pair of woolen Bermudas. I just wish I’d seen this photo before the winter rainy season started…