Gather ’round, folks, and let me take you on a journey back to Easter 1956 when the golden days of 1950s fashion were alive and well. It was a time when Elvis Presley had just released “Heartbreak Hotel,” and Dwight D. Eisenhower presided over a nation embracing post-war prosperity. The world was changing, and so was the world of fashion.
On Easter Sunday, families dressed to the nines, donning their most exquisite attire to celebrate the holiday in style. In the bustling streets of New York City, the Easter Day parade served as a dazzling showcase for the vibrant and colorful fashions of the time. Bold prints, stunning hats, and elegant accessories were the order of the day, defining the decade with flair and panache.
These striking Kodachrome snapshots were taken by photographer Chalmers Butterfield in 1956 and lay hidden for years until they were rediscovered by Michael Gorth, a collector and curator of vintage photographs. To see more of these fascinating images, stroll over to Gorth’s Facebook page, Lost Colour Library.
So, my friends, let us take a leisurely stroll through the memories of that glorious Easter Sunday and revel in the elegance and charm of a bygone era.
Here’s a picture-perfect family enjoying Easter Day, with proud grandparents delighting in the gathering – pets included! Grandma looks as happy as a lark in her coral ensemble, topped off with a netted chapeau adorned with coral blooms and her cherished long pearl necklace. Her hubby’s coral-striped scarf, no coincidence, harmonizes for a picture-perfect look on this bright, sun-kissed day.
This young lady in yellow is as fresh as a daisy, with gardenias chosen for accent. Her high-class ensemble is completed with a matching purse delicately held by gloved hands and her finest fur casually draped over her arm – more for appearance than warmth. Her husband’s sister, joining the Easter festivities, carries her fur bolero-style jacket and wears a pale blue satin sweetheart neckline dress with a capped shrug over her shoulders. With perfectly dyed gloves and a hat to match, she may worry that someone will notice her purse doesn’t quite coordinate.
Shades of Shirley Temple! These two adorable little darlings are the epitome of fashion. The pink velvet coat on one young lady places her squarely among the little Shirleys of this Easter Parade. White Mary Jane shoes with ruffled socks are a dream come true for any little girl.
The other young miss, clad in blue, sports ribbon-tied oxford shoes and matching socks, perfect for her crinoline-layered dress. She’s every bit as charming, even without earrings.
Well, would you look at those three little redheaded rascals! Dressed to the nines in their V-neck sweaters, blue blazers, white shirts, and matching bow ties – these carrot-tops must be quite the handful. But today, they’re on their best behavior. Did their dad teach them that dapper pocket pose? The whole family is picture-perfect, with Mom and Dad as proud as a couple of peacocks.
Well, folks, here’s a wedding to remember, a real humdinger! In her floral hat, the bride positively dazzles with oodles of netting and a matching handbag. And let’s not forget that corsage on her shoulder, tying the whole ensemble together. White gloves complete the picture – a true lady never left home without them. They’re safely tucked inside her tan coat and ready for their next outing. That bride’s floral hat is truly something, topped with yards of netting, white gloves, and a matching handbag – an air of elegance fills the room.
Confident secretary exudes class, style, and unmatched office expertise. She strides forth in her perfectly coordinated Easter outfit, complete with white gloves. But, oh dear, she’s up against some stiff competition from the lady on her left, sporting a similar ensemble. Nonetheless, her fur, corsage (strategically placed on her right shoulder), and companion in a tan overcoat may give her the edge in this fashion face-off.
This couple knows how to make an entrance like it’s nobody’s business. This poised and confident lady dons a silk organza hat, proper gloves, her prized fur, and a lovely boat-necked frock. Beside her, her elegant gent proudly sports an impeccable tuxedo, ascot, and a carnation in his lapel. With a tall silk top hat on his head, he announces, “Here we are – we have arrived.”
As they glide down the street with grace and style, you can practically hear the whispers of admiration following in their wake. This couple embodies the essence of the 1950s, a time when elegance and charm reign supreme. One can easily picture them enjoying an intimate dinner for two at the famed Stouffer’s Top of the Sixes, toasting to a life of love and laughter.
Ah, what a showstopper she is, folks! Not every lady could pull off this adorable mushroom hat, but this one does so with confidence. Her hat, with its whimsical design and graceful brim, adds a touch of playfulness to her ensemble. Its unique shape frames her face beautifully, while the delicate trimmings and adornments demonstrate her impeccable taste. She wears it with such flair and confidence, making her a true standout in the Easter Parade. With more décolletage exposed than usual, she’s sure to turn heads, which is likely her intention. Oh, what a delightful sight she is!
Behold the magnificent beard on Grandpa! He’s quite bold in his bright red shirt and white tie, likely tied “four-in-hand.” Armed with a state-of-the-art camera, he’s ready to capture every moment of this special day. The matriarch dressed more casually in grey and orchid, seems more focused on the children than the family hierarchy. The whole clan appears coordinated in greys, blacks, and splashes of red – except for Mom, of course.
Here we have a gentleman snapping a photo of his sweetheart. Her charming hat, adorned with beaded flowers, evokes an air of grace and elegance. Floral embellishments were all the rage on important occasions, from corsages on the left shoulder to accents on hats and purses. Her grey dress likely features a sheath silhouette, ending in stylish pumps to ensure she can comfortably stroll through the Easter Parade.
Would you look at those splendid hats! Ah, the mother and daughter duo, donning their charming handmade Easter bonnets, are a sight to behold! Each hat, crafted with love and care, showcases an array of vibrant colors and intricate details. They bring a touch of whimsy and elegance to their festive attire. The Kentucky Derby might be known for its extravagant headwear, but these lovely ladies have effortlessly captured the essence of the Easter Parade. It’s clear they’ve achieved their goal, turning heads and stealing hearts with their homespun charm and style. Bravo!
This young lady dons classic pearls, every girl’s dream accessory. Coordinated gloves, even in vibrant colors, were a must for any stylish gal. The bountiful blue netting on this lovely lady’s hat sets her apart while her clutch bag remains securely within her grasp. That bright red lipstick harkens back to the Ava Gardner era.
These two are truly the cream of the crop! The fine lady sports a navy blue satin dress, boat-necked to showcase those precious pearls. Her clutch purse is simply perfect, and the fur draped over her arm, along with her white gloves, adds a touch of sophistication. The flowers on her wide-brimmed straw chapeau are the icing on the cake for this flawless outfit.
And let’s not forget her dapper companion to the right, who’s donning a slick suit that’s tailor-made for this festive occasion. With a freshly pressed white shirt and a tasteful floral tie, complete with a classy pin to hold it in place, he’s the picture of elegance. Topping it all off, he sports a snap-brim fedora, adding a touch of vintage charm to his ensemble. Together, they make quite the eye-catching pair at the Easter Parade.
This lady must feel like the Belle of the Parade! How bold – a large print dress with a matching chapeau! And just look at those earrings! Dressed to the nines! Her boys appear equally dapper, with their white shirt collars impeccably peeking over their stylish jackets – which just so happen to coordinate with Mother’s outfit.
You gotta love our boys in blue… and this one in particular certainly adds a touch of gentlemanly class to law and order. Surrounded by a sea of floral hats, snap-brims, and organza creations, he remains vigilant and stoic, all the while ensuring the safety of the Easter Parade participants. And let’s not forget his impeccable dress, a testament to the pride he takes in his work. With that crisp uniform and polished badge, he’s a true representation of the fine law enforcement officers that serve our communities.
Now, here’s a pair of poodles living the life of Riley! These furry friends were the epitome of high society and quite the status symbol. In the ’50s, owning one was a statement, but owning two? Well, that’s just the bee’s knees! Dressed to the nines in the latest styles, complete with fancy leashes and outfits, these pampered pups are living the high life and loving every minute of it.
My oh my, what a stunning and elegant picture of a bygone era! First up, that dapper gentleman on the left. He’s a real showstopper with that navy blue sharkskin suit. And that snap-brim hat? Just perfect. Not to mention that pocket square, carefully coordinated with his tie. He’s a real uptown fella, I can tell you that much. And check out that topcoat he’s got folded inside-out on his arm. You can bet he’s not gonna let a single smudge touch that baby.
Now, let’s turn our attention to the family on the right. Mother’s dressed to the nines, I tell ya. Three strands of pearls, that beautiful blue brocade dress, and that fur on her shoulders? Just divine. And that hat, my goodness. It frames her face so elegantly and shields her from the sun’s rays. And don’t forget those elbow-length kid leather gloves, a true touch of class.
And let’s not forget about Dad, with his tailcoat and pin-striped trousers. He’s got that grey silk vest and bow tie, and that crisp white dress shirt is just perfect. He’s even got a walking cane, can you believe it? And that red carnation, well, that just ties it all together.
Last but certainly not least, let’s take a look at their daughter. That fitted princess-style coat with the velvet collar is just adorable, and that floral bonnet tied under her chin? Precious. And of course, she’s got her little patent leather purse and those white gloves.
Who remembers when street lights had just two colors? Back then, streetlights only had red for stopin’ and green for “go right ahead”. People knew to exercise caution, and on this fine Easter day, folks lined up to watch the parade of well-dressed ladies and gents pass by. We see a bearded elder gent sporting a red shirt, white tie, pocket handkerchief, and that magnificent beard, all while wielding a camera to capture this beautiful day.
Talk about a real Dapper Dan! The gent’s grey suit is tailored to perfection, and that pocket square just adds that extra touch of sophistication. But let’s not forget about that hat. It’s the cherry on top of the whole ensemble. And those shoes! You can practically see your reflection in them. The effort put into keeping them so shiny is truly a testament to this gentleman’s attention to detail and dedication to looking his best.
But it’s not just the clothes and accessories that make this man the epitome of gentlemanly fashion. It’s the way he carries himself. He exudes confidence and charm with every step he takes. He’s a man who knows the power of style and how it can elevate one’s presence in any room.
Well, now take a gander at this executive here. That Shantung silk suit is really somethin’, complete with slubs and a perfectly matched silk tie. But what’s this? No pocket square? It could be, he gave it to a lady in need. That’s just the kind of gentlemanly thing to do back then. It was a different time, my friend.
And that’s what made those days so special. It wasn’t just about looking sharp, it was about being a good person and treating others with the same level of care and respect that you would want for yourself.
And you know, in those days, everybody smoked. It was just part of society. Who could forget those “blue” smoke-filled rooms? The smell of cigars and cigarettes was everywhere. But despite that, these gentlemen always managed to look so darn sharp. It’s a real testament to their style and confidence.
In this daring family group, everyone is properly attired. The lady on the right, sporting a bold red hat and bright red nail polish, carries her gloves so no one misses the match. She leads the fashion parade in this family.
The two matrons, draped in fine mink and fur, don their proper hats and preside at the head of the family. The young man with a camera around his neck shows that this family is a cut above the rest – not many folks carried cameras unless it was for work—the young lady in the Angora pink sweater frets about the wind blowing her delicate headpiece.
Love the 50s? Share ’em with your pals.
Ladies and gentlemen, that puts a bow on our delightful journey through Easter 1956.
The spirit of the 1950s lives on through these photographs, a reminder of a time when families gathered together, dressed in their Sunday best, to honor tradition and create lasting memories. Thanks to the diligent efforts of Michael Gorth and the timeless artistry of photographer Chalmers Butterfield, we’ve been able to step back in time and experience a slice of history that continues to inspire and enchant.
Keep the spirit of the ’50s alive and well by sharing these exquisite images with your pals. Go on, hit that like and share button! Because every time you do, you’re not only spreading the joy of nostalgia, but you’re also helping to preserve the essence of a time that will forever hold a special place in our hearts. So let’s come together and ensure that the charm and allure of the 1950s never fade away.