“I don’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little – if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that’s the day she has a date with destiny. And it’s best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.” Coco Chanel
I’ve always loved this quote and often think of it whenever I’m about to run out of the house, making a quick trip to the grocery store, pick up stamps at the post office or even pop over to visit a neighbor. Not that I’m getting gussied up in the event I bump into “destiny” at the store. Standards of dress in the 21st century are well, pretty casual in comparison to styles of say, the 19th century. The jeans and shirt I throw on in the morning might be the same I change out of at the end of the day.
Not so in the 19th century where social expectations were quite strict and the requirement for appropriate dress was a consideration for each event of the day. Women certainly dressed for the occasion and regardless their social status they would always want to present in their best outfit.
Naturally, like today’s modern woman economics played an important role regarding what was hanging in a woman’s wardrobe. If you were a lady of means you could afford to fill your closet with lots of beautiful stylish dresses each appropriate for the many social occasions a woman of the day would be expected to participate in. Often a typical day would require up to four or five different outfits.
More common however, the average woman lived on a frugal budget, especially during the war years. Money was tight and fine fabrics were scarce but these women learned the fine art of recycling and making due, while still looking lovely doing it.
This program is designed to convey to audiences what garments were particular to different women in different communities at various ages.
You will learn…..
- What the average working class woman would have in her closet and the different “recycling techniques” she used to keep up with the latest styles.
- What were the fabrics used? What was their origin? Dressmaking techniques typical of the era.
- Style influences. Who was the most important “celebrity” of the time and how she set the tone for the latest fashion.
- We’ll talk about Underpinnings! The foundation of ones look starts with what’s under that dress.
- And why Hollywood often got it wrong. hint* Sorry, Scarlet O’Hara.