The Good, the Bad, and the . . . Denim Shoes? 20 Photos of 100 Years of Mom Style

A shining example of too much of a good thing

We’ve come a long way, baby. Thank God.

Morgan Moss, who writes at The Inklings of Life, recently compiled a whole bunch of wicked cool vintage ads depicting how moms have dressed “while performing their jobs as cook, housekeeper, teacher, doctor, referee, and all of the things that being a mother entails” over the past century. Pour over the photos and you’ll notice the discernible shift from fashion to function to family and back again. And again.

Take a walk down mom-fashion memory lane. And (wait for it) look out for the mom jeans, natch:

  • 1910s 1 of 20
    Ah, the joys of bouncing your baby girl on your leg. In a dress. With panty hose and high heels. In a sheer apron? Better to see you with, my dear?
  • 1920s 2 of 20
    The dress, hose, and heels continue, but add a strap over the top of the foot, which had to make kicking off shoes at the end of the day that much more challenging.
    Of course by comparison, suffrage was hard, so what's a little shoe buckle?
  • 1920s 3 of 20
    See ya later, corsets. Hello, comfort. Some of these fashions would pass for pajamas today, which means women back then had it made in terms of ease (except for those shoes; did women ever get to wear comfortable shoes? Sigh).
  • 1930s 4 of 20
    Mom looks large and in charge, except for the picture in the lower right corner in which she throws on an apron to remind you she knows her place. Double sigh.
  • 1940s 5 of 20
    "Vitality" is more like "versatility": Shoes that work on the town and in the dirt — not to mention an apron that works in the kitchen and the garden. Yay?
  • 1940s 6 of 20
    But who needs a dress in which to garden when I can wear pants that make it seem as if I belong in a prison chain gang? Gee, thanks, Blue Bell!
  • 1950s 7 of 20
    Stop. The. Press. A detergent that works on my dishes and my pantyhose? It's like a little slice of heaven in a bottle. This calls for a celebration in — what else? — an apron and heels!
  • 1950s 8 of 20
    Because nothing says "I'm a queen" like getting to clean my oven in style ... in a crown.
  • 1960s 9 of 20
    Who doesn't want to look stylish while ... waxing?
  • 1970s 10 of 20
    By all means, yes, denim was a brilliant invention. But perhaps the photographer might have wondered if there is ever too much of a good thing. (The answer is yes, by the way. Yes. Yes. Yes.)
  • 1970s 11 of 20
    If you ever wondered what to wear when flame gunning your snow, now you know. You're welcome.
  • 1970 12 of 20
    When wearing fur was preferable to going naked.
  • 1980s 13 of 20
    Back when mom jeans were sexy. Or something.
  • 1980s 14 of 20
    And androgyny was hip. Or something.
  • 1990s 15 of 20
    Comfortable oversized sweater, leggings, and flats? Virtually no product in the hair? Minimal makeup? Comfortable fashion, à la the 1920s, and a return to moms being photographed with their kids again, after an almost 40-year absence.
  • 1990s 16 of 20
    You thought Time magazine broke ground with a shocking breastfeeding image? Ha. Ha. Ha. Babies on breasts have been en vogue for ages. And in the 1990s, too.
  • 1990s 17 of 20
    Androgyny meets Little House on the Prairie. A dark time in fashion for
    moms everywhere.
  • 2000s 18 of 20
    Comfortable Mom, meet Trendy Mom. And they said it couldn't be done.
  • 2000s 19 of 20
    Comfort meets minimalism, edging out trendy. Because three's a crowd in fashion, too.
  • 2010s 20 of 20
    Mom style has evolved into family, love, and ... wait. What more do we need?

All images and select captions courtesy of The Inklings of Life

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Article Posted 4 years Ago

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