This Basic 1958 Cissy is dressed in this checked blue and white 1958 apron front shirtwaist dress. Madame Alexander had used this check for Cissy once before in 1955, but with puffed organdy sleeves.
A 1950s woman had to look elegant and not exhausted by housework. New inventions in house cleaning and cooking appliances made her day more manageable. Looking untidy was not acceptable, or so she was told over and over again by TV, radio ads and newspapers.
The full skirt (5 yards at least) of gathered fabric with a thin petticoat underneath "made it easy" to move in, change bed sheets, make dinner and tend to children. The button down bodice shirtwaist was the prime style of a house dress. It had been around for years, but the 1950s woman made it her signature day dress.
Cissy is wearing this as a day dress. The cotton day dress was one of the staples of extra boxed clothing developed by Madame Alexander for Cissy. Each season, Cissy would have available an array of day dresses in an assortment of fabrics with design details right off the TV screen worn by now iconic ladies from shows like Ozzie and Harriet, Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best, I love Lucy and even The Dick Van Dyke show