Woman with a sturdily constructed silhouette

What it is:

Photo (2.25 x 3.75 inches) mounted on a cardboard frame/backing (3.5 x 5.25 inches).

What I know about it:

Nothing!  Undated and unidentified.


A while ago I read something that talked about the way fashion (both men’s and women’s) has had a long tradition of creating garments that alter the body’s natural silhouette.  Hoop skirts and bustles, empire waistlines and dropped waistlines, strapped-down breasts (think of flappers) or torpedo bras.  Padded shoulders.  Bell-bottoms.  Even today’s saggy/baggy pants.  And that’s just Western culture.  While they all have different origins and mean different things to different people, they all can, to an extent, be lumped together into clothing that distorts the way our body looks naturally.  I thought of that as I looked at this woman’s clothes.  There is virtually nothing natural about what it does to her appearance, and yet somehow it works (for me).  Her shoulders are made to look enormous, and her head looks like it’s propped up on a winged pedestal where her neck should be, and yet this is balanced by her hat, which extends the line of her head, making its overall shape in proportion to what’s below.  By the way, is it me, or does this have a European look?  I think I bought this with a bunch of other photos that were all from New England, but that doesn’t mean this one might not be from somewhere else.  One last comment, this is obviously a very damaged photo.  I generally try not to post things here that are too messed up, but I thought the image was worth sharing anyway.  Also, I felt it was worth getting it scanned and out there before it disintegrates any further.

8 comments on “Woman with a sturdily constructed silhouette”

  1. Love the way her hat sits on top of her hair, rather than down over her brow. I imagine she has masses of hair tucked up into it. Looks Swiss to me, but other than the shape of the hat, I can’t put my finger on why.

    • I agree it’s an interesting look. It reminds me, in an odd way, of how trucker hats are worn today by non-truckers, plopped on the head rather than secured down on the brow, though I doubt they have her hair to anchor them in place. And Swiss sounds good. Like you, I can’t quite put my finger on why the outfit has that feel to it.

  2. The word that jumped immediately to my mind was “Tyrolean,” but I don’t think that’s accurate–their stuff is probably simpler. However, I throw it out there just in case!

    • Yes, something along those lines. Tyrol is the region of Austria that borders on Switzerland, so our initial impressions are all in the same general ballpark.

  3. I am curious what the rest of the outfit looks like. If the remainder of the dress is as “big” as the shoulders, the poor woman must be lost in her own clothing.

  4. I love the bashed up type of photo. I hope you will post more of them regardless of condition if the image has a good story. In some pictures the condition is a big part of the story.

    • Oh, well heck, I have PLENTY of mangled photos. Some of the damage is truly spectacular. LOL But I know what you mean about how it all contributes to the overall story.

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