Smile for the Camera! Can You Date These Clothes?

Unknown Couple, St Louis, Missouri

Unknown Couple, St Louis, Missouri

I’ve got no clue who these people are.     The photograph was found among the effects of the late Edna Penny Wells of St Louis, who died last April.  Can you date the photograph by their clothes +/- 5 years? (Click on image to enlarge)


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7 Responses to “Smile for the Camera! Can You Date These Clothes?”

  • Delia Furrer says:

    What a fashionable and handsome couple! I agree that it has to date to the late 40’s and very early 50’s. Notice the lady ‘s gloves and the flower corsage, so formal and the man in the back his hat. I wonder if they were on their way to a wedding?

  • Darcie Posz says:

    I would say about 1946-47. My grandfather’s photo album during his service after WWII has photos with the same cut edges and border.

  • Dave Ross says:

    Bill I disagree with your reasoning but I agree with your conclusion. I remember when JFK was president it was noted that HE did not wear a hat as was more common among other men at that time. Also, African-American styles were different and hats were common up to the late sixties early seventies. My guess is that the more tell-tail sign is the wide collar on the man in the back. Similar to the zoot suit look of the WWII era. Also, the lady’s dress could fit the style the early 50’s. With so much material it is definitely post WWII. They discouraged excess material in fashion during the war. My guess: 1948 – 1950

  • Dorene says:

    I am an amateur at best…
    but I would guess between 1948 and
    1952…same as Miriam…
    the photo reminds me of the setting
    from the recent TV movie about Dr. Ben Carson, “Gifted Hands.” Looks like they are about to go off to church on Sunday.

  • The width of the gentleman’s tie would seem to suggest just post-war, maybe as late as 1948, but by the early 1950s ties were slimming down again.

    The lady’s blousy sleeves at the wrist look just like a style my grandmother wore in the late 1940s for a studio portrait.

  • Bill Harshaw says:

    I’m hardly a clothes expert, but I read Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink and my reaction was about the same as Miriam’s. Hats might be a clue–the man in front is hatless, but not the man in back. My impression is hats started to phase out about 1950, definitely gone by 1960, but universally prevalent before WWII.

  • Looking around at various fashion and style websites, my guess is the late 1940s, post-war, but not quite the 1950s.

    The clothes are too nice for the penny-pinching war days, but the woman’s coat has slightly padded shoulders and a straight silhouette, rather than a flaired full skirt. The boy’s hat is typical of the 1940s as well.

    I hope you can find someone to pinpoint it even further, and maybe even identify the folks shown.

February 2009
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