I’ve fallen in love with a dress - but where can I wear it at my age?

A new 1950's exhibition 'Never Had It so Good' is now now on display at Yarmouth's Time and Tide Mus

A new 1950's exhibition 'Never Had It so Good' is now now on display at Yarmouth's Time and Tide Museum. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

In 1967, I moved to Norfolk to join my husband who worked for Lotus Cars.

I moved around a bit, first living in a rented flat in Earlham Road, then moving to a Lotus-owned house at Hethel, after that a house in Wymondham before permanently settling in Brundall.

So a fair few years have passed and I have grown to love Norfolk with all its attractions, but in all that time I had never visited the Time and Tide museum in Yarmouth in spite of Brundall having a regular train service to the town.

That all changed last week when the tutor running my W.E.A. (Worker's Educational Association), course arranged a group visit to the Time and Tide to see the current display of 50s memorabilia. All the exhibits were things I remembered from my childhood. It was quite strange to see old food-mixers and vacuum cleaners that were the height of modernity at the time, now looking so old fashioned.

Our entire group was made up of golden oldies like myself and what I found interesting was that some people still had these appliances and they were still working, and in almost daily use. Built in obsolescence hadn't quite taken hold like it has today. These things being mechanical could be mended, and were - often by the man of the house.


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My favourite exhibit was the clothes.

I was a teenager in the late 50s early 60s, and most of my clothes were homemade. How I hated them - for although my mother was a good dressmaker, the things she made were more about what she thought I should wear rather than what I wanted to wear. Eventually I was able to persuade her to make more fashionable stuff in a material of my choice.

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Among the garments on display was a beautiful dress - and I do mean a beautiful dress - made from a multicoloured synthetic fabric, which I think might have been rayon, (I should have asked, but I was too busy drooling), which I would have loved to have owned and worn at the time. It looked as if it would fit me now.

It's a funny thing, but although fashion is always changing, it also stays much the same.

Some years ago I bought a very similar, very expensive dress from Jarrolds, but in what could be called 'safe mode' colour wise, in that it was navy and white.

Although I love it, I seldom wear it; because of this feeling that at 70 years old I should be dressed in clothes more appropriate for my age. Something like black trousers with an elasticated waist, and a beige cardi perhaps.

Catalogues showing stuff like this arrive through my letterbox daily. 'Welcome to old age', they say. Dress for decency, warmth, and comfort - not fashion - then settle down in front of the telly and let life pass you by until it's time for a wooden box.

No, no, no, I say, that's not for me. I still want fashionable clothes, and having seen the dress of my dreams at the Time and Tide, it has made me realise how time flies and how short life is.

Once I would have been thrilled to have owned and worn such a frock, and now as, let's face it, an older woman, I'd still love to own it, but could I wear it? And just as important - where would I wear it?

Well, I still have my lovely subdued version, and I would like to be able to wear it a couple more times before my box arrives; so please could somebody let me know where in Norwich a single woman of a sensible age could wear such a dress?

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