Thursday, May 21, 2009

Out of the Attic: Patio Dresses


Just learned a new fashion term, which after twenty years in vintage territory, is a delight. It's "patio set", aka "patio dress" or, sometimes still, "squaw dress", (though the crudely gynaecological meaning of the word 'squaw' means that most polite speakers no longer use it).

Anyway, the patio set. This would be the skirt and top you'd put on for a party, if it were outside, summertime, and the late 50's-60's. Something Annette Funicello might have worn after a day at the beach, when Scooter had the gang over for a barbecue.

Hallmarks: a top (or bodice, if it were a dress) that hugged the torso and possibly exposed the midriff, and a full, possibly pleated circle skirt for when the dancing started up later on.

The embellishments often took on Native American-esque designs: rickrack, horizontal stripe.

Later on in the '60s, the patio dress morphed into a maxi-length hostess gown (which I know PLENTY about, more on these in a later entry).

In the meantime, here are some more patio dresses from eBay--also worth checking www.etsy.com if you like what you see.

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