Style History

1940s pics Chris

My (soon to be) in-laws have been having a belated spring clean of their house and garage recently, which resulted in several boxes of the boyfriend’s belongings turning up at our flat, competing for floor space against books, furniture, bags and whatever else gets thrown on the floor when I walk through the door.

To cut a long story short, the boyfriend inherited the task of dealing with his grandparents house after they passed away a few years ago and so it was that we found ourselves on the living room floor, sorting through boxes of stuff he had decided to keep at the time. While he tackled military memorabilia, I was trusted with the task of trawling through 50 odd years of photographs.

As something of a photography fanatic, I was delighted to see everything from Polaroid snaps in the 70s to tiny, passport photo-size snaps from his grandparents in the 1940s. M’s grandmother Christina used to be a model and the snaps that you can see here are ones her husband took of her throughout the years.

Above: M's grandmother Chris, third from the left

This was long before the age of digital photography and yet there were literally hundreds of images like this of Chris posing on holiday, outside their home and with her friends. There were shots of her taking part in modelling competitions and on holiday in a kaftan Ossie Clark would be proud of.

One of the things I love about fashion, blogging in particular, is how important street style and different sub-cultures have become. Outfit posts are so common these days and while there are some blogs out there that excel at this (The Satorialist and What Katie Wore, for example) there are also many bloggers out there that deliver half-hearted attempts. I include myself in this majority, which is why you won’t often see me posing in my new threads.

However, when I look at all the images of what were effectively outfit posts for a different generation, I am inspired by the relationship between subject and shooter. Some shots are candid, some staged but in each Chris has that glamorous appeal that I associate with this era.

Fresh faced but with immaculate hair, fitted outfits and simple accessories, these images could appear on any vintage fashion blog today. Although fashions and models of camera changed over the course of 50 years, her knack of style and her husband’s love of photographing her remained the same.

I wish I could have been around to experience such important decades of fashion and photographic developments but for now I’ll settle for seeing them through the lens of M’s grandfather.



  1. October 17, 2010 / 6:05 pm

    >I love this post, it's lovely to see the old photographs, and how the styles change over the years. I love old photographs of my Granny – she was always dressed well, not a hair out of place. She did shudder when we dug out some old cinny film of her wearing a dead fox round her neck. She was really into animal rights in her later years, so she felt very ashamed. xx

  2. October 18, 2010 / 7:34 pm

    >Thanks – it's amazing to think what was fashionable then and how trends come back around, though I can't ever imagine wanting to wear a fur. I love how diverse British style is now but I do think it's sad that there isn't that inherent glamour to they way dress anymore. Xx

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