Backward Glance: Sunshine Coast fashion styles
  • Wednesday 28 September 2016
Queensland dress styles and ladies fashion have been influenced by climate, lifestyle and leisure activities. 

Surfing, beach and bush culture helped shape our identity on the Sunshine Coast from the hinterland to the sea.

Make do and mend fashion was the theme for the years of the Great Depression which also applied in WWII due to shortages. 

It was in the 1930s that the “two piece” swimsuit first made an appearance. 

Silk stockings were the most desired item during WWII as women were appalled at the idea of going bare legged. 

Many painted their legs with a special cream and then drew a darker line up the back of their leg to create a seam. 

The 1950s was a time of change and for the first time teenagers’ fashion styles, music choices and cultural influences began to appear. 

The look for young ladies was characterised by jackets, tiny waists and full skirts. Tiny waists were held in place by corsets or step ins. 

Feathers, felt and other trimmings played a large part in the millinery industry. 

Hats changed from wide brimmed to daintier styles for women. 

The 1960s left behind the constraints of the 1940s and 1950s and the make do and mend generation was also left behind. 

Hemlines rose and miniskirts were born in the mid-1960s.

Denim and leather for both male and female fashion created an iconic look which is still very popular today. 

The Nambour “My Lady” store opened in Glasgow's Building at the southern end of Currie Street in August 1960. 

It carried a large stock of ladies fashion lines, including swimwear and lingerie. 

Owners Doug and Athalie Wight started business in Nambour in 1955 in a small drapery store in Station Square. They subsequently opened a branch store in Tewantin. 

In July 1963, the Wights relocated their original drapery to new premises two doors from the “My Lady” store. 

This new store housed a “Mr Universe” and a “Miss Fashioncraft” shop for teen fashion. 

During the 1960s and 1970s, Alexandra Headland’s Boolarong Park Inn (later known as the Boolarong Motel) hosted a variety of functions and fashion entertainment. 

It attracted numerous overseas and interstate visitors and was a popular spot for both locals and holidaymakers. 

Nambour girls usually bought their Nambour show dress from June's Fashion House or Bo-Peep Salon in Nambour. 

Caloundra’s Bulcock Street was the place to purchase the latest fashion during the 1950s and 1960s. 

Popular stores included “Theresa Park” frock salon, “Dolls” and “Comino’s” stocked the latest ‘Cole of California’ beachwear. Fashion parades were arranged by Stella Comino for charity. 

Times have changed since Sunshine Coast residents visited their favourite shopping precinct in Nambour or Caloundra as life was less rushed and everything seemed simpler when shopping for that special dress, teenage fashion or men’s attire. 

Thanks to Sunshine Coast Council’s Heritage Library Officers for the words and Picture Sunshine Coast for the images. 

Image captions:
Hero image: Ladies dressed in a range of fashionable styles featuring snug waistbands and gored skirts, with hats and gloves at a fashion parade in Nambour, ca 1960.

Carousel image captions:
Image 1: Mannequin Parade at the Boolarong Park Inn Alexandra Headland on 8 April, 1960.
Image 2: Interior of ‘My Lady’ Fashion Centre, Nambour 1960.
Image 3: Day trippers dressed up for a visit to the seaside are gathered on the foreshore at Mooloolaba showing Point Cartwright in the distance, ca 1930.
Image 4: Girls employed at Nambour’s William Whalleys Store in dresses displaying calf length hemlines which were fashionable in mid 1930s, 1935.