Saturday, April 18, 2020

Sepia Saturday: Flower Power

Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.

Look at all those flower-print dresses in this week’s Sepia Saturday prompt.

This photo of my great-grandmother and her sisters taken at one of the Jollett reunions is certainly a good match.
Jollett Sisters 1939
Jollett Sisters 1939
Laura Sullivan, Victoria Breeden, Sallie Clift, Mary Fances Davis,
Emma Coleman seated
And this one too.
Jollett Sisters 1934 at the latest
Jollett Sisters 1934 at the latest
Vic, Sallie, Mary Frances, Leanna, Laura, Emma
(hard to see the print but it's there!)
One hold-out though was Emma Jollett Coleman, the oldest sister. According to family legend, she followed the Dunkard faith and always dressed in dark clothing.

ALWAYS? Where did that story come from? Ever since I was a child, I pictured Emma as some old serious and gloomy person who was not much fun.

However, several photos of Emma in light-colored print dresses have altered my view.
Mary Frances, Jack, Emma 1929
Mary Frances Jollett Davis
Jack and Emma Jollett Coleman
Emma Jollett Coleman, James Franklin Jollett, Minnie Coleman Maiden, Virginia Maiden 1923
4 Generations 1923 Jollett Reunion
Emma Jollett Coleman, James Franklin Jollett
Minnie Coleman Maiden, Virginia Maiden
And Emma was smiling. Even in her dark dresses.

No one would ever accuse my grandmother of being “gloomy” due to how she dressed. In the 1960s she rocked the flowery moo-moo.
Orvin and Lucille Davis early 1960s
My grandparents Orvin and Lucille Davis
one of Grandma's MANY moo-moos
My mother and I also did our part to rock another trend of the decade: floral-print Villager a-line skirts with pin tuck blouses. Villager was pricey. Because Momma was such a skilled seamstress, we both could dress to impress in our floral pastel Villager knock-offs.
Mary Slade and Wendy Slade at Manassas
Mary Slade and moi at the Manassas Battlefield 1967
At our wedding in 1973, the hubster and I were right in style, but I thought my aunt was really a showstopper in a floral print gown. She was definitely bold and ahead of her time.
Beverly Anderson

At Sepia Saturday, everyone is dressed and ready to impress with delightful old photos and stories.

© 2020, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.


  1. Loved looking at the floral dress styles over the years. I hadn't thought about Villager brand in a while. I spent some of my very first teacher paycheck money buying a wool pleated Villager skirt. (I think I might still have it!)

  2. What a great collection. But that tux of your hubby at the wedding just blows me away! Oh my gracious!

  3. Pendleton pleated skirts & sweaters were my weakness in my early 20s. I had them in many different patterned plaids with sweaters to match. Good thing I sewed all my own spring & summer clothes or I would have been broke for sure! Your aunt's lovely long flowered gown at your wedding reminds me of the flowered formal gowns I wore back then. They were very popular. All those flowered dresses brought to mind the "Rainbow Girls" and "Eastern Star" women. I used to sing for many of their formal events and both the girls and the women wore beautiful formals in every color of the rainbow. So pretty.

  4. Quite a good selection of photos for this challenge!

    1. I agree. So many eras with floral prints. Designers never tire of them.

  5. Such an array of floral prints! Very colorful. I am trying to remember dresses from growing up. Most of my blouses were flowery but not the dresses. Those tended to be basically one color and basically blue lol.


  6. Perfection in floral print! My great grandmother wore similar flower dresses in many of her photos. It's only recently when looking at several family pictures over a decade apart that I realized it was always the same dress! She reserved it for special family occasions and being frugal (and poor) never wanted a new one.

  7. I am not sure which photo I like best -- the Villager knockoff dresses at a Civil War battlefield, your aunt in the flowered dress at your wedding or your grandmother in the moo-moo. They all capture the fashion culture of the time. Ditto the Jollett sisters in their earlier photos. And I agree -- Emma shows a lively spirit even in the dark dresses.

  8. I never thought about floral dresses - I'm going to keep my eye out for that fashion!

  9. Great photos. I especially like the 1939 picture. They all look so sweet, I want to hug them all!