SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — It’s safe to say that summer fashion looked much different during the 20th century than it does today. And as temperatures continued to rise across the state of Utah, locals were still seen dressed in their finest — and often hottest — garments to mark every outdoor occasion.
Old footage from the early 1900s shows Utahns wearing layer upon layer of heavy wool clothing while out and about enjoying recreation from neighborhood picnics to amusement parks like Lagoon and Wandamere.
No matter the heat, both children and adults would frolic in their most formal of fashions.
On July 24, 1947, when temperatures reached well over 90 degrees, crowds could be seen wearing their woolen attire alongside then-President J. Reuben Clark from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as he dedicated the This is the Place Monument in Salt Lake City.
In a later interview with his daughters, they remarked “It was terribly hot… And people were dressed up… You didn’t just wear what you’d wear these days when going to something like that.”
Regardless, the fashions soon changed with the decades, and so too did the technology. People danced with joy after the invention of the window air conditioner and its famous “Heart of Cold Compressor,” as seen in resurfaced television commercials.
Still, with so much history surrounding summer fashion in the 20th century, it begs the question — how did they survive the summer heat with so many layers of wool clothing? We may never know the answer.