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I've Always Been Fashion Challenged

Updated on June 3, 2015
Virginia Allain profile image

Eclectic is a good word for the many interests of retired librarian, Virginia Allain. Crafts, gardening, genealogy, travel, and more...

A picture of me as a toddler.
A picture of me as a toddler. | Source

I'll Never Be a Fashion Plate - My Fashion Mistakes Over the Years

Here I am, probably about two years of age. I'm sitting in the grass with my mom's fuzzy slippers on my lap. Even at that young age, I was fashion challenged.

Follow along with me as I share my photos over the years from the family album. If there was a fashion mistake (cat's eye glasses) I'm sure I'm photographed for posterity wearing those.

You'll see photos of Virginia Allain from a toddler to pre-teen. I keep finding more of my childhood pictures. I'll scan them in to share.

We Didn't Have Tinker Toys or Lincoln Logs to Play with - I'm looking a bit grumpy in this photo

1950 toddler photo
1950 toddler photo

Maybe I didn't want to be interrupted from my play to have a photo taken. Oops, my underwear is showing. I notice that our yard seems to be mostly dirt. Kids love to play in dirt. Moms hate to wash our clothes after we've been playing in the dirt.

Virginia (Martin) Allain an Early Recorded Fashion Mistake

It's not bad enough that I'm wearing furry house slippers that are 7 sizes too big for me, but I have them on the wrong feet. You can see from the solemn look on my face that I have no clue that this photo will haunt me even 60 years later.

Obviously no one suggested that I tuck in my blouse before the photo was taken.

Ginger in Her Brown Sturdy Shoes - At least I have them on the correct feet this time

Ginger Martin - Madison KS
Ginger Martin - Madison KS

With those chubby cheeks, I could have auditioned to be a Campbell's Soup kid. (Ginger is my nickname. Mom wanted to name me after Ginger Rogers)

Virginia Kay Martin Ginger Allain
Virginia Kay Martin Ginger Allain

Sitting on the Steps

in a pretty dress (probably made by my mother)

Not sure why I'm looking so solemn. I seem to be clutching a geranium.

I guess in my childhood era it was more important to get sturdy shoes that would last. Looking fashionable was a luxury.

Actually my sandals here look a lot like the ones available on Amazon below.

Toddler's White Sandals

Salt Water Style 1700 Sun-San Surfer Sandal,Silver,10 M US Toddler
Salt Water Style 1700 Sun-San Surfer Sandal,Silver,10 M US Toddler

I guess this is a classic style. They look very much like the ones I'm wearing in the 1950s photo.

Virginia as a toddler sitting on overturned wagon holding puppy
Virginia as a toddler sitting on overturned wagon holding puppy | Source

Ginger Martin with Puppy

Here I am with an armful of puppy, bare feet and sitting on an overturned wagon. See, we did have some toys and pets.

Running about barefoot is still my favorite way to go. Over the years, I've stepped on bees, sandburrs and nails with those bare feet.

A Photo of Me with My Little Sister

virginia allain and cynthia ross cindy martin ginger martin
virginia allain and cynthia ross cindy martin ginger martin

This is my sister, Cindy, who is now Cynthia Ross. I made a page about her and her writing on Squidoo.

Good photo of me, with my dress all tidy and I'm looking at the camera. The photographer must have worked hard on getting us to sit still for this portrait. I notice that I have my usual up-and-down bangs from Mom's trimming efforts.

1950s children in cowboy costume
1950s children in cowboy costume

Next Fashion Goof

Cowboy Outfits

Now in the 1950s wearing cowboy gear was pretty normal for children. After all, we were watching Roy Rogers and Rex Allen movies all the time. Don't ask me why we are standing on the furniture here. My brother has a broken arm from playing on an old saddle on a fence railing. It slipped off, breaking his arm in the fall.

My jumper is falling off my shoulder and no one has shown me the right way to wear my six-gun holster. Fortunately no gunslinger put me to the test.

Children Are Still Wearing Cowboy Outfits

I guess this look won't ever go out of style.

Not a Bad Photo for That Era - Virginia Martin

Ginger Allain in Madison KS
Ginger Allain in Madison KS

Fortunately with all that Kansas wind, you don't really notice my crooked bangs. Mom could never get us to sit still enough to get a straight line trimmed for the bangs, so they got shorter and shorter as she tried to even them out.

This photo was taken at my grandparents' home near Madison, Kansas. I can tell by the stone fireplace in the background.

I have some pages about my grandparents at Clarence McGhee and WWI and Ruth Vining McGhee.

Continuing Saga of Being Fashion Challenged

I don't have on glasses here, so I might be 3rd grade. Shannon isn't in the picture, so that might be about the right time.

I'm the one with the long hair, dirty knees and poor posture. At least I'm smiling and my shorts and blouse look reasonably tidy.

Here I Am, Inconveniently Sneezing in the Middle of a Photo Op - My Great-Grandmother, Viola Matilda McGhee

Looks like I'm wearing a jumper or pinafore.

shirley temple style curls Ginger Martin
shirley temple style curls Ginger Martin

Me and My Shirley Temple Curls

Photo from the Martin family album

Mom must have spent a lot of time making these big southern belle curls and wanted a photo to remember the occasion. It seems a bit fancy to go with my grow-into-them jeans and striped t-shirt.

1950s children
1950s children

Next Fashion Mistake

Virginia (Martin) Allain with brother and sisters in the 1950s

I'm the one on the far left. Not too bad, though I'm not looking at the camera. What's with the dark socks?

My brother looks like he's stifling a sneeze or just making a face. My sisters look quite presentable. Susan is even modeling her skirt or else dropping a curtsey.


Oh No, the Dark Sandals with a Light Colored Dress Mistake

In the 1950s, we didn't have lots of shoes to match every outfit. I'm sure that's why the girl at the right end is wearing dark sandals. (that's me)

We sometimes got new shoes when school started or at Easter but not always. I'm sure it was tough getting shoes for six children.

My mom was a den mother, so this photo includes the whole scout troop ready for a short train trip. I'm sure my brother would have preferred going without four sisters tagging along. I'm glad we got to go along.

Here's the Whole Martin Family in 1954 or 55 - Clyde and Gail Martin with Owen, Susan, Cindy, Ginger (me), and Karen

Clyde and Gail Martin family 1950s Kansas
Clyde and Gail Martin family 1950s Kansas

It looks like Cindy is holding a white rabbit. I'm standing in front of Mom. Again, I have my shirt tail hanging out. Can't figure out what the design is on my sweater. It looks like a reindeer, but why am I wearing a Christmas sweater when others are in short sleeves? There are leaves on the trees too, so obviously not December.

More of My Childhood Photos - Ginger Martin

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Martin kids have a photo op at our grandmother's garden.My sister, Susan, with the dark hair and me.1st grade
The Martin kids have a photo op at our grandmother's garden.
The Martin kids have a photo op at our grandmother's garden.
My sister, Susan, with the dark hair and me.
My sister, Susan, with the dark hair and me.
1st grade
1st grade

An Early Color Photo of My Family - Clyde and Gail Martin with their children, Madison KS

Clyde and Gail Martin family 1960 maybe
Clyde and Gail Martin family 1960 maybe

We're posed in the entrance to my grandmother, Ruth McGhee's flower garden. It was filled with old-fashioned flowers like hollyhocks, snapdragons and bachelor buttons. I'm the blonde with glasses in the middle row.

(photo from the Martin family album)

You Can Still Buy a Poodle Skirt Like My Sisters Are Wearing in the Photo

Now it's an outfit to wear to a retro party or for Halloween.

OK, Confess.... You Have Funny Childhood Photos Too

How bad were your photos?

See results

Graphic available from Zazzle: Kodak Brownie Cards by rafaelrezende

I have some new photos to add to this soon. Remember these old Brownie cameras?

© 2011 Virginia Allain

I'd Love to Hear That You Stopped by...

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    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      @heytoto: I have some more to add. Thanks for remembering the one photo. That background info helps.

    • heytoto profile image

      Karen Kolavalli 

      5 years ago from Lexington, Kentucky

      Wow, you've posted several photos of you that I've never seen in the family photos before! And I think you're too hard on yourself--what I see is a cute kid. I don't notice the uneven bangs or shirt not tucked in. Cute! You were wondering about that sweater--that photo was taken at the Baysinger aunt and uncle's at Thanksgiving that year, so maybe it WAS a reindeer. Christmas was not far off.

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 

      5 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      You were lucky to have any curls at all, nothing my Mum could do ever changed my straight hair. P.S. I had a cowgirl outfit too and I just loved it.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image


      5 years ago

      This is one of my favorite lenses of all time. I love your pictures - and, I can beat you every time in the 'fashion challenged' arena.

    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      @moonlitta: Digital is great for sharing and for getting the photos online where more people will see them, but you are right that many are lost along the way. That's sad.

    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      @Frischy: The background in old photos can help you date the picture and tells you a lot about the person.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I am so sorry nowadays people just make photos digital, no more paper copies (at least not enough of them!) -it's lovely you've kept all of yours. I try to make more of my girl, but I admit most of them are still only in my computer-too bad because it crashes often:)

    • Frischy profile image


      5 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      I love looking at these old photos. They are so fun! The fashions are fun, but I also love to look at the backgrounds. Our world looks different today. Clapboards and asbestos shingles have been covered with vinyl siding. Who has wooden trellises and fancy flower gardens these days? My grandmother had similar curtains to yours in her home my entire childhood. They look like home to me!

    • hntrssthmpsn profile image


      6 years ago

      These are adorable! I particularly love the inconvenient sneeze :) I was a fashion-challenged kid, too... I clearly remember the day I discovered, at 11, that the favorite "fancy shirt" I'd been wearing all year was actually a pajama top. Sadly, I'm afraid I remain fashion-challenged today (though I usually manage to leave the pajamas at home!)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      so cute! this is great and amazing you shared you were a very cute kid!

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      I'm glad I came back to see this lens. You've added lots more fun photos! I think we are sisters from another mother. I also was/am a fashion disaster.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Toooooooooo cute! I loved all your pictures! Our favorite story is that with 3 girls, Mom liked to dress us alike. And of course we all wore hand-me-downs. But we all had a big laugh when we realized my school pictures for 4 years in a row, I was wearing the same dress - or it appeared that way!

    • CrossCreations profile image

      Carolan Ross 

      6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      What delightful photos! The hair those days, bangs cut up to the middle of the forehead, I suffered from that fashion challenged faux pas and also sported a cowgirl suit. Unfortunately I have very few photos from my childhood, was number 8 child of 10, so I suppose photo opps were rare. One favorite photo is wearing a cowgirl suit on my birthday, another is my first communion, with bangs cut up to here and standing in front to fthe mantel, so it looks like the vase of flowers up there is balancing on my head.

    • Frischy profile image


      6 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      Stopping by again to enjoy your charming childhood photos!

    • Frischy profile image


      7 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      What fun to see the pictures of little Ginger! You were so cute! Love those cats-eye glasses! How I wanted those with blue frames! Okay, that is enough exclamation marks. I was a beautifully dressed child. My grandmother made all of my clothes. There was love in every stitch. I felt very blessed.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      7 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      This is great. You're very brave. I won't be scanning in my own horror shots. I was/am a total fashion disaster and couldn't care less.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I had the same chubby cheeks and brown sturdy shoes. Wait, I still have chubby cheeks, what's up with that? Very cute pics. When I worried about colors matching, my mom always said, "if it grows it nature, it matches." That has been the best advice she gave me.

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 

      7 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      I think all kids were fashion challenged during this time - I know I was. Great nostalgic pictures.

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 

      7 years ago from So Cal

      I love the photos. My mother made all my clothes and I used to cry that I wanted "store-bought". Now I wish I had been more appreciative. Love that Gail came by and added some extra information.

    • gypsyman27 lm profile image

      gypsyman27 lm 

      7 years ago

      You weren't fashion challenged, you have convinced yourself that that was true. You were a cute child. No one can take that away. Great lens, and good subject matter. See you around the galaxy...

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      First off I'm impressed we had that many old photos. #2 photo. You are upset because your stick horse was broken! #4 photo show a dress that my mother, Ruth McGhee made for you. The color photo also shows your Grandpa's homemade outdoor fireplace. Mom

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Chic wasn't a word when I grew up. I wouldn't have been chic anyway!

    • jolou profile image


      7 years ago

      I have very few pictures of my childhood left. My parents moved a lot when I was young, and over the years things got lost. Love the photo of you wearing the big slippers.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      You are beautiful in all your photos!!

    • ChrissLJ profile image


      7 years ago

      My mother thought it was important to make all of my clothes. Ever seen a 4th grader with a bright blue and red homemade blazer with teddy bears all over it? I have a class pic of me wearing it with the collar half up half down and blue track pants with racing stripes. I also had several jumpers with other "cutsy" prints all through elem. school. I swear my mother hated me.


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