There is a big difference between real retro and repro retro. It’s the difference between buying op shop or buying department store copies. Repro retro outfits for example are synthetically made but original retro is often hand stitched. What’s more it’s attention to detail that counts. Right? Just look at the tapered waists and the panelling on the jackets. Not only clothes but nails,hair and make-up had to be well attended to at all times. The office was a sexist place back then and still is in many ways. Did you know that women are still being paid less than men? A whopping 17% less and in some industries women’s wages are only half of what a man gets. Yet when it comes to the work place women are expected to pay a fortune for the right smart outfit and accessories.
Not much has changed in this department.
In this world of modern technologies, however, people tend to be a little more casual. Just look at the cost of keeping up with the latest gadgets which far surpasses the amount one spends on new clothes. In the 50s the typewriter was expensive but affordable to all. Even poverty stricken writers had typewriters. The great thing was that typewriters didn’t need to be plugged in and so didn’t add to the electricity bills. The major expense was a new typewriter ribbon. Even when electric typewriters became mainstream they didn’t break the bank. No apps, no megga watts, no download,upload. Just a a nice whirr as the print roll rotated.
There was shorthand too. A language of written signs very similar to ancient heiroglyphics. Secretaries were worth their weight in gold if they could type fast and take shorthand as well. But secretaries didn’t earn that much either despite working long hours and supervising everything from tea trays to book keeping. Her life revolved around the office during the day but when she came home she was a wife and mother and hubby ruled supreme. In their home they had modern appliances just like we do now but the wife still had to look immaculate.
The T.V. was often an all in one with record player and radio included. All stashed neatly away behind cupboards. The whole unit was part of the furniture and not some unattractive black plastic box taking up wall space where once people used to hang artworks. The cars were sleek and beautiful though even though they were often big and quite difficult to park. Wait a second …. that’s not true really as there weren’t so many people back then. Repro retro just doesn’t cut it. To recreate an era we have to also recreate the ways of thinking and if that means lower wages for women across the board then maybe it’s time to move on. Yet you have to admit that that everything looked better and values were better adhered to. So what’s a girl to do? Well I say forget the repro. Let’s keep it real. Real retro that is.
© Renee Dallow ( Hybiscus Bloom )
Love the look!