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Vintage Clothing Trend of the 1930’s: Women Dress Their Daughters in Similar Attire to Look Younger

Photo From 1938 LIFE Article, Mrs. Edward & Her Two Daughters
Women always want to look younger than their age. For women of the past, dressing their young daughters in matching clothing was a technique to appear younger. According to an article in a July, 1938 Life Magazine Issue, this technique was becoming a great trend of the day. The article, entitled “Mothers and Daughters Wear the Same Clothes: ‘Look Alike’ Means ‘Look Young’”, describes a fashion trend that grew slowly over a decade. The article depicts mother, Mrs. Edward and her two young daughters in similar apparel frolicking together in various outfits for different summer occasions.

"Swim Suits Are Similar But Not Alike" , and "In Beach Dresses, The Three Might Be Sisters", The 1938 Life Pictorial Captioned.

Left Side: Two Other Mothers and Their Daughters Dressed Similar
Right Side: "Dirndl Outfits Like These Are Most Popular", reads the captioning.

As a result of the trend, clothing retailers of the day were prepared for future problems with manufacturing. “Manufacturers of women’s clothes as a rule do not make children’s clothes”, stated the Life article. Today, we take for granted that we can walk out of our homes and into a store, and come out with the item that we need. At the time of the article, ready-to-wear clothing had really only been around for women for a few decades. Women’s clothing had been more complicated to mass produce because of the different articles of clothing, and the range of sizes which were more complicated for manufacturers to standardize than men’s and children’s clothing had been. Matching mother and daughter attire, the article stated, was only made couture and at home.

From a later, 1942 edition of LIFE Magazine. From this Cambell's Advertisement, we can see that the mother/daughter similar apparel was still in vogue.


LIFE Magazine, July 11,1938. Article: “Mothers and Daughter Wear the Same Clothes: “Look Alike” means “Look Young”. Publisher: TIME, Inc., Chicago, IL.        

LIFE Magazine, March 30, 1942. Advertisements. Publisher: TIME, Inc., Chicago, IL.                                      

The Business of Fashion, 4th Edition. Burns, Leslie; Mullet, Kathy; Bryant, Nancy. Part 1, Chapter 1, “From Spinning Machine to Globalization”. Copyright 2011, Fairchild Books, a Division of Conde Nast Publications. USA

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