April 3, 2015

Style Inspirations: Nana Doris

I originally created this post back in August of 2013, but I wanted to re-post it today as I have been thinking about these great family photos again lately. I imagine most of you haven't actually seen this post as I had only just started blogging back in summer 2013! So, without further ado....

I really wish there were more deserted piles of old photos at my parents house. My grandparents and aunts and uncles still have most of them. I like old photographs to begin with, whether Victorian tin types or 50's family snaps. When my paternal grandmother (Nana Doris to me) passed away in 2011 my cousin uploaded several old photos of her into a tribute album on facebook and I was fascinated to see a glamorous side of my grandmother that I had never seen before.

Above is her graduation photo, circa 1947 and look at those perfect thin eyebrows! I obviously had never known my grandmother as a young woman, and she never spoke about her youth, but these photos show she was quite the fashionista in her time!

A great peasant blouse and skirt combo with heels!
Classic 40's hair and string of pearls
Marrying my grandfather :)
I once asked her what happened to her wedding dress. There were some little articles in the newspapers when she and my grandpa celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and one of them included a photo like the once above. It was the first time I had ever seen one of their wedding photos and her charming mid-century wedding dress so I had to ask, where was the dress now? Both she and my grandpa were in the air force (and met each other in the service) and she told me her wedding dress and both of their dress uniforms had been in a set of blue trunks that had not made it with them on one of their many moves criss-crossing the US. I was pretty heartbroken to hear that arguably their most precious pieces of clothing where lost that way but she didn't seem too upset, it must have happened long before I asked about it!

She had joined the service as a young woman, most likely to get out of South Dakota and who could blame her for that! Here she is in the bottom left hand corner of this poster representing women in the armed forces!

Her name is in the bottom right, Doris Motl (later Esposito)
While in the service, her and my grandpa spent time in post-war Berlin. The family snap shots from this time show my grandma looking very 50's glam even while raising her young kids.

In uniform with cute hair and her jaunty cap
With my grandpa and aunt in the world's best dress, seriously how amazing is this dress?!
Looking glam in a warm coat and skirt with trim
The day of my aunts confirmation in a wool 50's dress, layered pearl necklace and great black pumps! So stylish!
I really wish I had seen these photos before she passed away and could have asked her more about her past and great style! She past away from lung cancer my sophomore year of college and my grandfather past away 7 weeks later, both died of lung cancer. It was a pretty hard time for my dad and his siblings and was very sad for all of us. I really wish I could have been closer to them and had got to build a relationship with them as an adult. Looking at these pictures it is crazy to think my grandma was born in 1929 and lived to 2011, what different worlds she witnessed in that time! To grow up in depression era austerity, live through the war and join the air force, to hear the beginnings of rock n' roll, see the first computer, then cell phones and ipads! It makes me wonder what momentous changes and technology await me 50 years from now!

 I hope you found a little style inspiration from these great photos as I did, thanks for looking at some of my family history with me!


  1. Thank you for sharing about your beautiful, accomplished grandmother with us again, dear Bianca. She is such an inspiring, fantastic woman - with, may I add, a rockin' fashion sense (which you, her granddaughter, have 100% inherited).

    ♥ Jessica

    1. I'm glad you liked it, and thank you :)

  2. I love to look through old photos and these are fascinating. Your grandma was super stylish and I love the fact that she is there looking glamorous on a services personnel poster!

    1. Thank you Kate! I love old photos too :)


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