Home on the Range

On Sunday Patrick and I went to Disneyland to spend an evening with some friends of ours visiting from out of town. Still beat from our trek around LA, I wanted to be a bit comfy, and went one of my many squaw dresses, which can do me no wrong. Like quite a few items I own, I wish I had one in every color.

We shot these over at a rather overlooked area of the park, the Big Thunder Ranch Petting Farm. The area has goats, sheep, donkeys, horses and cows for guests to interact with. In fact Disneyland Resort just welcomed two baby goats to the fold, and those who follow the Disney Parks Blog could vote on their names! All animals at the Resort are named after Disney characters, and over 4,000 people (including yours truly) cast their votes, with the winning names being Bernard and Bianca, after the heroic mice of the two Rescuers films. Which were the names I voted for! The area is also home to one of my favorite Hidden Mickeys, one that can be found in the giant pile of horseshoes! Look for it next time you visit Disneyland!

Squaw Dress: Don’t remember…I’ve bought so many!
Belt: Living Threads, Portland, Oregon
Shoes: Miss L Fire
Native American Themed Charm Bracelet: Gift

EDIT: In light of comments on this post, I decided to tackle the term “Squaw” in relation to this style of dress with its very own blog post. Join in the conversation, share your thoughts and opinions!

11 thoughts on “Home on the Range

  1. Always love your squaw dresses. My goodness, you and your adventures are just wonderful, especially all the disneyland treks. You and Patrick are so fortunate to have done so many exciting trips/adventures before starting a family (if that’s what you intend on doing). Once children start coming its a lot harder, can’t just pick up and go! I know from experience, wished I’d lived up my 20’s. You two have done it right! Just my 2 cents, hehe.

  2. I love this squaw dress! I’ve been really inspired to add some more squaw dresses to my summer wardrobe. I’ve been collecting packs of vintage ric rac for just such a project!

  3. The turquoise looks beautiful on you, and I love the pop of the red accessories against it. I keep looking at patio dresses like this for summer, wondering if it would suit me, and I may have to take the plunge this year.

  4. I must admit I flinched to see this lovely dress described as a “Squaw Dress”. I realize that it is commonly called that as well as described as a “Fiesta Dress”. While linguists debate the origin and meaning of the term Squaw, there are many who see the term as derogatory.

    Here are some entries about the term Squaw from Wikipedia:

    “Apart from the linguistic debate, the word “squaw” has become offensive to many modern Native Americans because of usage that demeans Native women, ranging from condescending images (e.g., picture postcards depicting “Indian squaw and papoose”) to racialized epithets (Green 1975). It is similar in tone to the words “Negress” and “Jewess,” (Adams 2000) which treat ethnic women as if they were second-class citizens or exotic objects.

    Reflecting efforts to be more culturally sensitive, several dictionaries now warn that squaw is frequently considered to be, can be, or is offensive (NSOED, Merriam-Webster, and American Heritage, respectively).”

    Sticks and stones will break bones, and words can cause pain and damage. Just because this style of fashion has been called a Squaw dress, doesn’t mean that we should continue to call it that. I know vintage fashion can cause a number of conundrums as we think about what we wear and what it can represent.

    • Another time I blogged about these dresses, I received a comment regarding their name. While I know they do go by other names such as “Patio Dress” or “Fiesta Dress”, as you mentioned, those terms are also used to describe other types of garments. “Patio” can refer to loungewear of the 70s, and “Fiesta” to brightly colored dresses that have Mexican flair and influence, often with large peasant style top accents around the neck, or embroidery. While I understand that “Squaw” can be considered offensive, and I would never refer to a female Native American by such a term, I see the term as the only way to properly describe the dress as what it is, and for others who like the style to find the garment on various on-line shopping platforms. I am very sorry if I offended, but please know that I have the utmost respect for Native Americans and their culture.

  5. Janey, I think the conversation I would like to offer up to the vintage loving community is for us to be aware that the common or current name of an object could or does create offense. Some items we love to wear or collect have come from a time when certain names or labels were okay to use. Instead of continuing to call this type of outfit a Squaw dress, perhaps we could find a new name that captures the distinct style of this fashion. Our language is full of moments where nomenclature is changed to stop the perpetuation of offensive, demeaning,or racist perceptions. I realize that change would not be easy or occur overnight but change can only occur when we are willing to examine our behavior.

    Morning Waters

  6. That belt is simply incredible! I know what you mean about having certain garments that you wish you could clone in a whole rainbow of colours. I feel that way about many of my vintage (and some repro and vintage appropriate pieces, too).

    This is such a fun, classic warm weather look it reminds me that I should finally make this the year I debut my vintage patio dress on my blog (I only have one so far, but it is my favourite colour, to that certainly makes up a fair bit for not having more yet). I got it a couple of years ago and haven’t done so yet (something else to look forward to when the warm weather returns!).

    ♥ Jessica

  7. Delightful! I love how you’ve pulled in the red color with your shoes and belt. Every time I see one of these charming Southwestern dresses in the wild I think “Oh! A Janey dress!”

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