I got this dress for $9 at my favorite local vintage store’s annual liquidation sale. The skirt was much slimmer than I usually prefer, so I’d planned to list it in my Etsy shop…and then I tried it on. I actually – perish the thought – really like it! Something about a straighter-cut silhouette seems mature to me. I love the ’50s, but the decade is tied, in my mind, to teenage culture and the first rumblings of the youthquake. Not really my thing. It’s easier to feel like a society dame, a woman about town, a real matriarch of style in a more sedate ’40s cut. There’s a whimsy to pleats and gathers that I’m not always drawn to.
The dress’s tag says “Molly Goldberg Original”. A label I’d never heard of, so I went sleuthing. Like many big style names of the day (Toni Todd, etc.), Molly Goldberg was a fictional character – in this case, the radio persona of actress Gertrude Berg. Quoth Berg biographer Glenn D. Smith:
“…Berg went into partnership with the Wentworth Company to produce a line of bargain-basement housedresses. Advertised as ‘America’s best-loved housedresses…for the first time with a label that’s loved and trusted throughout America,’ the ‘Molly Goldberg Original’, sold at Stern’s, Gimbel’s, and Abraham and Strauss in New York, increased sale for the Wentworth Company some 240 percent. ‘[Mrs. Berg] came here the other day to make an appearance in the department,’ a Stern’s executive revealed, ‘and we had a crowd of 600 here to see her. …Her name will sell anything.’
Stepping out of her upstate New York duplex apartment, and her role as a wealthy entrepreneur, Berg was able to demonstrate that Molly was not the only one who could identify with the average woman on the street.”
It’s only fitting, then, that I add the small-town touch. Winooski is officially confirmed for Quaintness Capital of the World, or at least of the Champlain Valley Metropolitan Area. I saw these blooms and couldn’t not pose with them immediately, even though they smell vaguely fishy. (Which is apparently a common complaint about this variety of pear tree. Huh.)
With a hat and gloves purchased on my trip to White River Junction, my “housewife on a jaunt” look was officially complete.
Dress: vintage Molly Goldberg Original, via Old Gold
Hat: vintage, via Oodles in White River Junction
Gloves: vintage, via Mainly Vintage
Pearls & shoes: vintage, thrifted