Nancy Roman

Buy Me Flowers

Lest you think that my fashion-plateness (platedom, platability?) is a recent avocation, let me present to you little Nancy  – Easter Sunday, 1958:

easter 1958

Not only do I have a stylish pink dress with matching coat, I have a new Easter bonnet, white gloves, patent leather shoes with matching purse, and a corsage. (And Daddy’s face.)

My hair is naturally fine and poker-straight. I’m sure my mother must have set it in rows of pin-curls, with beer for setting lotion. And she obviously had enough bobby-pins left over for her Mamie Eisenhower do.

How I loved that coat. We called it a “topper” back then. it was a plush material – sort of like the foam rubber inside your sofa cushions. Both my sisters wore it before I did. I thought the single big pearl button was an elegant touch.

That little black purse held my prayer-book, which was especially prayerful because it had a red ribbon to mark the page. I also carried a handkerchief with lace edges – imagine blowing your nose with lace! – and a dime for the collection plate. I was already counting the days until I could have a lipstick in there.

I particularly call your attention to the corsage. You may think seven is a little young for a corsage. In my family, my mother got a big corsage for Easter, and all three of us little girls found a tiny corsage right near our Easter basket on Sunday morning. I don’t think I have any baby pictures of me in a corsage, but I probably had one, held on with a diaper pin.

I don’t know where my mother bought these little children’s corsages. I wonder now if they were expensive. We didn’t have a lot of excess cash lying around when I was a kid. But I guess Easter corsages were a necessity.

The tradition certainly carried on.

This is about nine years later.


I am on the left – which is really about the center of the photo. My mother is a genius is a thousand ways, but centering a photograph is not one of them.

We were still wearing hats to church in 1967 – but probably for the last time.  White hats were apparently the IN thing that year, especially those hats that made it look like you had really big hair. My sisters are also still wearing gloves, but at sixteen I was quite the rebel. (but they were in my purse). And yes, that is a mock turtleneck under my double-breasted suit. I was supposed to have Jesus in my heart, but my heart really belonged to Carnaby Street.

And do you see?  We still have corsages to wear to church. Our Easter baskets had been replaced by a box of chocolates (except for my little brother – he was still receiving a basket). And on top of each chocolate box was a corsage. Sometimes I liked my sister’s better than mine, and if I got up really early in the morning, I could check them out and make a switch.

And through the years, my fashion-platidutiness drew me further away from white gloves. Then the hat went – which was a good thing, since I have the head the size of a cantaloupe. Where most of my girlfriends had boobs like ripe melons, a cantaloupe-sized head is unfortunate.

Eventually I also abandoned suits, but not before my shoulder pads were much bigger than my head.  And of course, the pantyhose – although truthfully I still like the imperfection-smoothing look of nice sheer pantyhose. (Thank you, Princess Kate.)

I told my husband that I didn’t want chocolate for Easter this year. (But I’d secretly be happy if he bought me just a few dark chocolate truffles.)  I told him to buy me flowers.

I am hoping he knows that I want a bouquet for the table and not a corsage.

Because today, if I saw a corsage, I would certainly think:

  • Are there any bugs in there?
  • Do I have to put a pinhole in my expensive blouse?
  • Will this leave a stain?
  • Where is my allergy medication?

So much for sweet memories.

Do carnations go with skinny jeans and ankle boots?

Do carnations go with skinny jeans and ankle boots?


  1. Laurie MacKellar

    Oh I love this – the memories, the photos, the drawing. You got to wear the dresses and hats an gloves that I did not. I saw pictures of little girls in pretty dresses and hats but seventies fashions were just awful. I got to wear a few pretty dresses when I was very young and there are photos of me in a bonnet but that was it

    You got corsages? How elegant! What a delightful custom! I love flowers and I hope you get some pretty ones tomorrow – for the table. And for old times sake I think you should put on a hat (you.looked good in that photo and put on a pair of white gloves


    • I bet if I search through the bureau I inherited from my mother-in-law, I will find some white gloves.


      • Laurie

        For a while I was buying them at antique stores. When I was in grad school I owned a consignment store men’s Bill Blass jacket that I loved and I had this idea that if I found and could afford the perfect Victorian lace blouse I would wear it and the jacket with gloves and would have this lovely eighties consignment store gypsy Victorian thing going on. Only time I was remotely interested in clothes


  2. Love it, I have an Easter picture like that too. And I grew up in a flower shop where we made hundreds of corsages. My father always made a corsage of miniature pink sweetheart roses for me.


    • So other little girls had corsages too! I just couldn’t remember if it was only us, or whether all the little girls in church had flowers.


  3. You look completely adorable! Particularly in your illustration!


  4. Bonnie

    No hats for us in the 60’s, thankfully. I did have a hat in the 70’s, but it was a hippie hat. Tomorrow, we will have Naomi in a frilly dress, and a hand me down sweater, but no hat. She has been asking all day how many hours we are going to make her wear that dress.


  5. Bonnie

    I had a corsage for my prom! I had never seen one before and wasn’t quite sure what to do with it.


    • For the prom, I had a wristlet corsage. I told my boyfriend there was no way I was sticking a pin through that expensive dress. Long white gloves, with the flowers over the glove. (which meant you couldn’t take that glove off all evening.


  6. my mom had a corsage for easter and christmas! i had forgotten all about that until this post. so, thank you for uncovering that sweet memory. we had eight girls and very little “excess cash” laying around, so i don’t recall that any of us had them. but, i do remember my mom’s being laid out at her place and our easter baskets being at our places. i had corsages for each of my proms – i don’t guess people do that now? oh and i love young nancy. she’s so fashionable. just like the older young nancy. hope you have a great easter!


    • My cousin gave me that photo. I had never seen it before. But how I remembered those clothes!


  7. Gosh, I remember my bobchi, putting our hair in rags the night before to get pipe curls which my hair would be poker straight by days end! and who could forget the hat, gloves and matching purse! Thanks for bringing me back to some good memories at Easter time! And you every bit the fashionista in your blue suit ensemble! 🙂


    • That suit was so cool! I wore it every Sunday.


  8. An adorable post and so were you. I love the corsage tradition and you look so proud in your duds and your topper with the pearl button! And your drawing is superb!


    • Thanks. Who was it that said you should be careful about over-accessorizing? No wonder I can’t remember!


  9. I love the tradition of the corsage .. so sweet. Young Nancy was quite a savvy dresser!

    It was brother who woke early to do the Easter basket content switch — I developed an aversion to cherry swirled chocolate eggs after getting a bunch of those and no “Oh Henry’s” several years in a row. Took me a while to figure out the culprit was him and not a near-sighted Easter bunny!



    • I couldn’t make a switch with the candy. My mother believed in even-steven, and every basket was identical and we knew it.


  10. Nancy you were the fashion plate, adorable. I am fairly certain your husband will know you don’t want a corsage.


    • And guess what? He gave me chocolates! He never listens to me.


      • Well, this is the way of it. But you know what they say about chocolate right?


        • That it is like sex? When it’s good, it’s really good. And when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good.


          • No not that one.

            It sends the same chemical to your brain, which is why women eat more of, ours are not instant or a given (orgasms that is).


  11. thank you for saying that about pantyhose–who started this bare leg look–I would very much like to hang them–your walk down memory lane almost mirrors mine, except I had no coursage on Easter, but the hat, the gloves, the new Easter clothes–all part of the day.


  12. Oh my. Nobody does Easter like in the old days. The new Easter bonnet, the new spring outfit. The excitement. Too bad we’ve all become so laid back. Pomp and Circumstance, that’s what made life uplifting. Of course, we don’t have time for all that NOW, because of all the gadgets available for our entertainment.

    Nice memories, Nancy. Thanks for the timely retrospection. Happy Easter.


  13. I remember going shopping for an Easter dress as a little girl and having to pose in the driveway or front yard for the obligatory family photo before heading to church. Oh, and I quite like fashion-platability – I might have to borrow that one sometime!


  14. Your post brought back memories of one year having a little white wicker Easter purse with plastic pink roses on top. I must’ve been four or five and I thought it just DIVINE!


  15. I know there are some pictures of my sisters and I around here somewhere in our full Easter regalia…Easter dresses, Easter coats, Easter bonnets, brand new patent leather shoes, white gloves and a wee purse. We got two new outfits per year, one for Easter and one for the first day back to school. Other than that hand me downs were the norm.
    Thanks for bringing back some very sweet memories.


  16. We didn’t celebrate Easter, of course, but I remember going to the synagogue for Pessach (Passover) when we were children, being all dressed up, usually with a new dress (identical, for me and my little sister), and a hat and white gloves and black patent shoes (how I begged and pleaded for heels – even tiny, kitten heels – but I had to wait for them till I was about fifteen!)
    I really miss the elegance of fancy hats and white gloves. Once upon a time, they used to say white gloves were the mark of a true lady.


  17. Bonnie

    The only corsage I ever had in my life was for my senior prom. All the other girls got the fashionable wrist corsages, but my date, apparantly clueless about flower fashions, got me the grandma style that you pin onto your dress.


    • Hahaha. I TOLD my prom date that he had to buy the wrist corsage. I wasn’t about to put a pin through that gown!


  18. Kathy Zurcher

    That could have been my family! My dad, who was a firefighter, bought corsages for my mom, my sister, and me every Easter. She also received one on Mother’s Day. Corsages must have been much less expensive then because we were not wealthy. White gloves—check. Hat—check. Dress—check. Patent leather shoes—check. Topper—check. Dime for the collection—check. Right down to the lace-edges handkerchief and futile attempts to put curls in my hair. Do you think there was a guide for 1950s parents that we haven’t discovered?


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