Saturday, June 22, 2013

Retrofit: From Patio to Party

I missed this month's rockabilly night (just too sleepy), which reminded me I didn't post about my outfit from the last month. I hopped on ebay to finally finally get a squaw skirt and I actually managed to snag one for a little bit over $20. I couldn't believe my luck.

Squaw skirts and dresses, also known as patio skirts, were a popular style in the late 1940s through the 1950s. They were designed to be worn by women vacationing in the southwest so they could feel all home on the range and stuff. Like a squaw, roughing it. It's a racist and silly thing to call a skirt, even if it is based on traditional Navajo dress. But it's very interesting that the style was created by Cherokee couturier Lloyd Kiva New from Santa Fe; I wonder if he introduced his designs with the squaw label. His take on traditional dress was so popular, it got a write up in the July 6, 1953 issue of LIFE Magazine:
Whatever the current silhouette elsewhere, women in the U.S. Southwest stick to skirts like those the Indians of the region wear. These were a national fad 10 years ago as "broomstick" skirts, costing as little as $1.98. Now vacationers returning from Arizona and New Mexico resorts are bringing them back in expensive, custom-made versions. Many are authentic copies of Apache or Navajo costumes, but others, like the cocktail dresses shown above, have strayed a long way off the reservation. The tribal touch appears in the print on the skirt borders and in the heavy jewelry, but the ruffled organdy petticoats are strictly from the city.
Skirt - ebay
Shoes - Old Navy
Hair flowers - dollar store lol

I absolutely love how full patio skirts are. When I danced jive at rockabilly night I had a lot of fabric that moved when I turned (it also knocked a beer off a table. Oops). I have a feeling I'll be wearing this skirt a lot this summer--as I look for a squaw dress.


  1. Jean Dotts with Bop and Awe on EtsyJune 23, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    You look darling! So much fun!

  2. Just bought my first patio skirt and you helped further my love for it! You look darling.


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