Category Archives: Fashion Moments

Fashion Moments – Bloomers

Fashion Moments by Deborah SweeneyWelcome to my weekly fashion blog post. Each week I will discuss a female garment, fashion trend or influencer from the age of photography (1840s through the 20th century). My goal is to educate family researchers and genealogists about the clothing worn by our ancestors. Dating photographs is an issue we all struggle with as family archivists. Additionally, anyone who writes about their family’s history should be aware of the environment in which their ancestors lived. Period clothing is an important part of that environment from how it affects a person’s movement to their overall lifestyle. This week I introduce you to the infamous pants known as Bloomers.

Bloomers

Bloomer CostumeThere are two phases of the bloomer style pant adopted by women in the nineteenth century. The first hit the fashion world in 1851, a few years after the women’s rights convention at Seneca Falls. Dress reform, or the rational dress movement, was another objective in the early days of the women’s rights movement. Amelia Bloomer wrote in her publication The Lily:

The costume of women should be suited to her wants and necessities. It should conduce at once to her health, comfort and usefulness; and, while it should not fail also to conduce her personal adornment, it should make that end of secondary importance.

Amelia Bloomer’s friend, Libby Miller, adopted a style of long pants covered with a short skirt in 1851. Because Amelia promoted the pants in her magazine, the style became known as “Bloomers.” And, of course, they were promptly ridiculed by the leading newspapers. This style lasted through the end of the decade, until the rise of the crinoline made it obsolete (at least for Amelia Bloomer). However, it is important to note that during the Civil War, some nurses wore bloomers for their practicality on the battlefields and in field hospitals. The more ardent dress reformers continued to wear the fashion through the 1860s.

A_poser_for_a_bloomer_John_Johnson_political_&_satirical

A politial cartoon mocking the bloomers, 1852

by Joseph B. Forster, albumen carte-de-visite, 1860s-1870s

Mary Edwards Walker, c1866

Bloomers and Bicycles

The second phase, or rebirth of the bloomers, developed with the invention of the bicycle. Cycling became increasingly popular for both sexes, reaching its peak in the 1890s. However, women’s long skirts were too dangerous to wear while riding. The dress reformers won a huge victory in their quest for rational clothing (although they still received a lot of grumbling from the press). Bloomers became the practical mode of dress for women cyclists, and they were later adapted for other athletic activities.

The Bicyle - The Great Dress Reformer of the Nineteenth Century

Gallery

Further Reading

The British Library offers many digital items online, including the Romantics and Victorians collection. A portion of a copy of the Rational Dress Society Gazette is available.

“Women on the Move: Cycling and the Rational Dress Movement” by Aaron Cripps. Posted on his blog, Cycling History, 30 January 2015.

From their website, “Bikes & Bloomers is a research project about the bike, bloomer and female cyclist in late nineteenth century Britain.” This site is fabulous! It contains a wealth of information on the history of nineteenth century women, their clothing and their bicycles. Necessity is definitely the mother of invention.

“Women on Wheels: The Bicycle and the Women’s Movement of the 1890s,” from the Annie Londonderry website by Peter Zheutlin.

Women in Pants: Manly Maidens, Cowgirls, and Other Renegades, by Catherine Smith and Cynthia Grieg. Published by Harry N. Abrams, 2003. Book is currently out of print.

“What Shall the New Woman Wear, Skirts or Bloomers?” Los Angeles Herald (Los Angeles, California) 15 September 1895, p. 14. If you have access of Newspapers.com, you will be able to read this article. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/522276888015710090/

Images

“The Bloomer Costume.” Currier & Ives print, 1851. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Collection. Reproduction no.: LC-USZC2-1978

“A Poser for a Bloomer,” Political cartoon circa 1852. John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera. Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford. Image from Wikipedia under a Creative Commons License.

Mary Edwards Walker, 1866. Photograph by Joseph B. Forster. National Portrait Gallery, London.

“The Bicycle – the great dress reformer of the nineteenth century.” Samuel D. Ehrhart. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Collection. Reproduction no.: LC-DIG-ppmsca-29031

“The Start,” 1897. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Collection. Reproduction no.: LC-USZ62-93792

Gym Suit, 1893-1898. Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Accession no.: 2009.300.884a–f

©2015 Deborah Sweeney

Fashion Moments – Ebenezer Butterick

Fashion Moments by Deborah SweeneyWelcome to my weekly fashion blog post. Each week I will discuss a female garment, fashion trend or influencer from the age of photography (1840s through the 20th century). My goal is to educate family researchers and genealogists about the clothing worn by our ancestors. Dating photographs is an issue we all struggle with as family archivists. Additionally, anyone who writes about their family’s history should be aware of the environment in which their ancestors lived. Period clothing is an important part of that environment from how it affects a person’s movement to their overall lifestyle. This week I introduce you to tailor and pattern maker, Ebenezer Butterick (1826-1903).

Ebenezer Butterick

Ebenezer Butterick was a tailor who lived in the western Massachusetts town of Sterling with his wife Ellen, a seamstress. The story begins in the winter of 1863 when Ellen was making a new dress for their young son. At that time, sewing patterns were sold in a single size and were mostly used as a guide. People had to increase or decrease the pattern’s size to suit their own individual needs. Mrs. Butterick commented to her husband that it would be so much easier if patterns came in graded sizes, and so the idea for the Butterick pattern company was born.

In the beginning, the Butterick company created patterns for men and boys. The early success of these graded patterns prompted the company to begin manufacturing patterns for women in 1866. The patterns became massively popular, especially for the middle and lower classes who could not afford to have custom-made clothing. Home sewers were now able to access the latest fashions from Paris with the convenience of receiving paper patterns in the mail (or at the local dry goods store).

Gallery

Fashion plates (below) from the November 1901 issue of The Delineator.

It is still possible to find vintage Butterick and Deltor patterns. I was fortunate to find these several years ago from the 1910s and 1920s.

Butterick

Vintage patterns from the author’s collecton

Further Reading

A more though and complete history of Ebenezer Butterick and his company can be found on the Butterick website.

Harvard University Library Open Collection Program, Women Working, 1800-1930, has several women’s magazines digitized including an issue of the Delineator (1901). The magazine began in the 1870s and featured Butterick’s patterns as well as the latest fashion advice. The Hathi Trust Digital Library gives a more thorough listing of existing digital copies of issues housed at Universities around the country. Issues date from the early 1900s through the 1930s.

An 1871 (Summer) Butterick pattern book on Internet Archive.

Not related to Butterick, I found an awesome website this week on how to date photographs from the University of Vermont. Not only does the website give dating advice for clothing and hair, but other items that might be found in photographs like buildings or cars are categorized as well.

Blog post from Diana Pemberton-Sikes titled How Ebenezer Butterick Changed the Face of Fashion on the website Fashion for Real Women.

Mabel Potter Daggett, “When the Delineator Was Young: The Story of the First Butterick Pattern and How it Multiplied,” Delineator, 76 (November 1910): 365-366. The article can be found online on Google books.

Several patents can be found for Butterick patterns in Ancestry.com‘s U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Patents, 1790-1909.

Delineator Butterick Advertisement

Advertisement from the Evening News (Ada, Oklahoma), 10 May 1909, p. 1. Image courtesy of Newspapers.com

Images

Quarterly Report of metropolitan fashions, Autumn 1891. Image from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online Catalog, reproduction no. LC-DIG-pga-00425

E. Butterick & Co., quarterly report of New York Fashions, for Fall 1870. Image from the Library of congress Prints and Photographs Online Catalog, reproduction no. LC-DIG-pga-01506

Fashion plates from the November 1901 issue of the Delineator from the Harvard Univerity Library Open Collection.

Ellery Bicknell Crane, editor, Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Worcester County Massachusetts Memoirs with a History of Worcester Society of Antiquity (New York: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1907), Volume I-II, 300-301. Digital images courtesy of Ancestry.com.

Image of Ebenezer Butterick from the blog post by Diana Pemberton-Sikes. I could not find the original source of this photograph.

Butterick, Ebenezer - Obituary, 1903

Brooklyn Daily Times (Brooklyn, New York), 1 April 1903, p. 3, col. 4. Image courtesy of Newspapers.com

© 2015 Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2015/10/04/fashion-moments-ebenezer-butterick/

Fashion Moments – Paul Poiret

Fashion Moments by Deborah SweeneyWelcome to my weekly fashion blog post. Each week I will discuss a female garment, fashion trend or influencer from the age of photography (1840s through the 20th century). My goal is to educate family researchers and genealogists about the clothing worn by our ancestors. Dating photographs is an issue we all struggle with as family archivists. Additionally, anyone who writes about their family’s history should be aware of the environment in which their ancestors lived. Period clothing is an important part of that environment from how it affects a person’s movement to their overall lifestyle. This week I introduce you to fashion designer, Paul Poiret (1879-1944).

Paul Poiret

Paul PoiretEven though the name Paul Poiret may be unfamiliar to most, modern women have much to be thankful for because of this man. His clothing was fantastical and theatrical; fashion was elevated to a new level through his designs and creations. History credits him with various styles, including the hobble skirt, harem-style pantaloons, and lampshade shaped tunics. However, he is one of a handful of designers who helped to move women’s fashion away from heavily corseted clothing. He represented the new modern movement in fashion during the 1910s. In contrast to his contemporary Madeleine Vionnet (who cut her clothing on the bias), Paul Poiret loved straight lines and used rectangles throughout his designs. In the United States, Poiret became known as the “King of Fashion.”

He began his career by working briefly for both the House of Doucet and the House of Worth, the leading French fashion houses. He opened his own fashion house in 1904. He was a huge supporter of the Art Deco movement. Around 1910, he was influenced by the costumes of the Ballet Russe which were based upon Russian and Asian styles. This inspiration can be seen throughout his designs in the years to follow.

Gallery

A sample of Poiret’s fashions from 1910 through 1925. Many more examples of Poiret’s clothing can be found on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website.

Models wearing some of Poiret’s clothing, c1911-1914. These prints are from the Library of Congress.

Further Reading

The Metropolitan Museum of Art staged an exhibition of Poiret and his work in 2007. An overview of Paul Poiret and information from the exhibit can still be found online. A book titled Poiret by Harold Koda and Andrew Bolton was published to coincide with the exhibit.  A full sized coffee table book, it contains many photographic plates of Poiret’s designs.

More about Poiret can be found on the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, also from the Metropolitan Museum of Art website.

A biography of Paul Poiret can be found on the Head to Toe Fashion Art page. The page includes many photographs of Poiret throughout his life, as well as fashion designs, examples of his clothing, and his artwork.

A book of Poiret’s fashion plates from 1908 can be found at Internet Archive. Commentary about this book and its sequel in 1911 was published on the Smithsonian Libraries website.

The Boston Public Library’s Rare book department has more information on the Modernist movement in fashion (1900-1920) as well as many fashion plates from the period. While Poiret did not typically paint his own fashion plates, he employed many artists to do the paining for him. Georges Barbier was among the artists who illustrated Poiret’s designs.

An article from a fashion historian’s point of view – The Myth of Poiret as Debunked by 1906.

Fashion Plate collection from the Pratt Institute Library from the French periodical, La Gazette du Bon Ton.

Poiret Advertisement

An Advertisement for a Paul Poiret fashion show – Waco Morning News (Waco, Texas), 18 March 1917, p. 24

Images

Advertisement for a Paul Poiret fashion show, Waco Morning News (18 March 1917), clipping via Newspapers.com

Photographs of book Poiret by Harold Koda and Andrew Bolton taken by the author Deborah Sweeney from her personal copy of the book.

Photograph of Paul Poiret, c1913. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog. Reproduction no.: LC-USZ62-100840

Checked suit photograph, 1914. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog. Reproduction no.: LC-USZ62-56759

Grey suit photograph, 1911. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog. Reproduction no.: LC-USZ62-56679

Poiret Model – Gimbels, 1914. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog. Reproduction no.: LC-USZ62-85524

“Paris” robe, 1919. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Accession no. 2005.207

Butard, 1912. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Accession no. 2005.190a, b

Evening dress, 1910. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Accession no. 2009.300.1289

Dress, 1925. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Accession no. C.I.50.117

©2015 Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2015/09/27/fashion-moments-paul-poiret/

Fashion Moments – Cuirasse Bodice

Fashion Moments by Deborah SweeneyWelcome to my weekly fashion blog post. Each week I will discuss a female garment, fashion trend or influencer from the age of photography (1840s through the 20th century). My goal is to educate family researchers and genealogists about the clothing worn by our ancestors. Dating photographs is an issue we all struggle with as family archivists. Additionally, anyone who writes about their family’s history should be aware of the environment in which their ancestors lived. Period clothing is an important part of that environment from how it affects a person’s movement to their overall lifestyle. This week I introduce you to the Cuirasse bodice. (I mentioned this style briefly in my bustle post.)

Cuirasse Bodice

The cuirasse bodice came into fashion in the mid 1870s and continued into the early 1880s. The bodice takes its name from the cuirass, a piece of close fitting defensive armor worn over the torso or chest. The resulting nineteenth century garment was tightly fitted and required corsets and additional boning to create the effect. A defining characteristic of the bodice is its extension below the natural waistline, often over the hips and sometimes even lower. Because the hips were so fitted, skirts were forced to became narrower (in contrast to the wider bustles and hoops earlier in the decade). In fact, the bustle almost entirely disappeared during the years 1875-1883, with extensive drapery coming to the forefront of fashion.  It was during this period that the longer “princess” seam came into prominence.

Gallery

Further Reading

Google Books has limited viewing of Alison Gernsheim’s Victorian and Edwardian Fashion: A Photographic Survey. There are several great examples of cuirasse bodices. See particularly plates 109,  121, 123, 126, 127, and 129.

Newspaper article “The Cuirasse Bodice” from the Otago Witness (Otago, New Zealand), 26 December 1874, p. 21, from the Papers Past website, the National Library of New Zealand.

Good overview of the fashion changes from 1870-1883, from the History of Fashion and Dress, by Susan Jarrett, M.ED.

Images

Wedding dress, 1879 (Brown silk with gold accents), Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Accession number: 2009.300.3017

Afternoon ensemble, 1878-1882 (Grey silk with fringe trim), Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Accession number: 2009.300.87a–c

Dress, 1878-1879 (Cream silk with asymmetrical drape), The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Accession number: C.I.45.38.1a, b

Digital Collection, Thomas J. Watson Library, Metropolitan Museum of Art. Women 1879, plates 073, 020, 036

©2015 Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2015/09/20/fashion-moments-cuirasse-bodice/

Fashion Moments – Garibaldi Shirt

Fashion Moments by Deborah SweeneyWelcome to my weekly fashion blog post. Each week I will discuss a female garment, fashion trend or influencer from the age of photography (1840s through the 20th century). My goal is to educate family researchers and genealogists about the clothing worn by our ancestors. Dating photographs is an issue we all struggle with as family archivists. Additionally, anyone who writes about their family’s history should be aware of the environment in which their ancestors lived. Period clothing is an important part of that environment from how it affects a person’s movement to their overall lifestyle. This week I introduce you to the Garibaldi Shirt.

Garibaldi Shirt

I have previously written about the shirtwaist. The ancestor of the versatile shirtwaist was the Garibaldi shirt which first appeared in women’s fashion around 1860 and was popular during the Civil War. The shirt takes it name from the Italian folk hero Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882). He fought for Italian independence from the Austrian Empire. His followers were known as “Redshirts” for the colorful red shirts which they wore as their uniform.

The Garibaldi shirt was often worn with the Zouave jacket but there are many examples of the shirt being worn alone. While the original Garibaldi shirts were red, they eventually were made in other colors, from light white and beige to solid blue and patterned calicoes. One of the advantages of the shirt was its simplicity and the ease of movement that it afforded. The shirts were made from a variety of fabrics from cotton muslin to merino wool. They could be very plain or decorated with pin tucks, ruffles and lace collars.

Godey’s Lady’s Magazine offered a selection of variations of the Garibaldi shirt, including one with a Zouave jacket for a young girl, in 1864.

While the Garibaldi shirt was fashionable, it was also practical. Sleeves could easily be rolled up when work needed to be done. When the work was done, the shirts were easier to launder and clean. The two girls in the photograph below (sisters Lucretia and Louisa Crossett) were texile workers. While their shirts are very plain, if you click to enlarge the photograph, you can see their delicate lace collars at their necklines.

Garibaldi Shirt #1

Further Reading

Basic history of Giuseppe Girabaldi and his Redshirts on wikipedia.

Julia Ditto Young, “The Rise of the Shirt Waist,” Good Housekeeping 34 (May 1902) : 354-357; Cornell University online library here

Article on the Garibaldi shirt from the Victoriana Magazine online.

The Barrington House has a wonderful collection of Civil War photographs on their website. There are several great examples of women wearing Garibaldi shirts. A good indication of whether a woman was wearing a shirt/skirt combination vs. a dress is the color. If the top is light, but the skirt is dark, it is likely a shirt. If both the top and skirt are the same color or patterned fabric, it’s a dress.

Images

I strive to use only photographs and images on my website that are copyright free (public domain), and to provide the proper attrition to the original source. I often find great examples of fashion items but can not post them here. The most common reason (I don’t post a picture) is that I can not find the original source of an item that has already been posted on the web to sites like Pinterest.

Thomas J. Watson Library, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Costume Institute Fashion Plates, Women 1862, Plate 117.

Thomas J. Watson Library, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Costume Institute Fashion Plates, Women 1863, Plate 48.

Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Collection. Sisters Lucretia Electa and Louisa Ellen Crossett in identical skirts… Call no.: AMB/TIN no. 2112

Sources

Godey’s Lady’s Book and Magazine 68 (January 1864) : 81; and, Godey’s Lady’s Book and Magazine 68 (June 1864) : 565; Internet Archive (http://www.archive.org).

© 2015 Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2015/09/13/fashion-moments-garibaldi-shirt/

 

Fashion Moments – Bolero & Zouave Jackets

Fashion Moments by Deborah SweeneyWelcome to my weekly fashion blog post. Each week I will discuss a female garment, fashion trend or influencer from the age of photography (1840s through the 20th century). My goal is to educate family researchers and genealogists about the clothing worn by our ancestors. Dating photographs is an issue we all struggle with as family archivists. Additionally, anyone who writes about their family’s history should be aware of the environment in which their ancestors lived. Period clothing is an important part of that environment from how it affects a person’s movement to their overall lifestyle. This week I introduce you to the Bolero and Zouave jackets.

The Jackets

A Dictionary of Costume and Fashion: Historic and Modern describes the Bolero jacket as a “short jacket no longer than normal waistline, with or without sleeves. Worn open in front over bodice or blouse. Spanish in origin.” In comparison, the Zouave jacket is described as a “woman’s short jacket with rounded front, made in imitation of [the] jacket of [the] Zouave uniform. Sometimes sleeveless.” The descriptions of the two types of jackets are quite similar. For this post it is not important to know the subtle differences between the two styles but rather that the style of jacket was popular during the Civil War years. One of the reasons behind the popularity was the use of a Zouave style jacket in many volunteer units.  The French Zouaves were an elite military force during the nineteenth century.  Because the Civil War was an overwhelming influence on the lives of all Americans (including women), ladies’ fashion adopted some military characteristics, including the use of a Zouave style jacket. While the construction of the garment could be quite simple, existing examples of these garments show extensive embroidery and trimmings.

Many of the popular ladies’ magazines published fashion plates and patterns for Zouave jackets. Godey’s Lady’s magazine published many versions of the jacket, including this early one from 1859. Below are some plates and patterns from other periodicals of the day.

The Library of Congress’ collection of Prints and Photographs has many examples of Zouave jackets, including these two photographs from between 1860-1865.

Further Reading

Costume historian and technician, Quinn M. Burgess, wrote an excellent piece on her website about the Bolero and Zouave jackets.

Brief article from the Smithsonian on the influence of the Zouave on Union and Confederate uniforms.

The Newberry Library and the Terra Foundation have an online exhibit “Home Front: Daily Life in the Civil War North.” They briefly discuss the Zouave soldiers in the Civil War and their influence on fashion.

While searching for additional images, I came across an online exhibit from the University of Maryland titled “Woman on the Border: Maryland Perspectives of the Civil War.

Images

Reddish brown silk dress, American, 1860-1865. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Accession no: C.I.50.105.16a, b

White with black embroidery promenade dress, American, 1862-1864. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Accession no: C.I.60.6.11a, b

Yellow pattern silk dress with green trim, French, 1862. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Accession no: 1973.244.1a–c

Thomas J. Watson Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Women 1860-1861, plates 56, 114

Thomas J. Watson Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Women 1862, plates 92

Thomas J. Watson Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Women 1863, plate 8

Unidentified woman, c1860-1863. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Collection. Call number: LOT 6286, p. 29

Unidentified soldier with two women, c1861-1865. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Collection. Call number: AMB/TIN no. 2703

Sources

Picken, Mary Brooks. A Dictionary of Costume and Fashion: Historic and Modern. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, Inc. 1985.

©2015 Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2015/09/06/fashion-moments-bolero-zouave-jackets/

Fashion Moments – Armistice Blouse

Fashion Moments by Deborah SweeneyWelcome to my weekly fashion blog post. Each week I will discuss a female garment, fashion trend or influencer from the age of photography (1840s through the 20th century). My goal is to educate family researchers and genealogists about the clothing worn by our ancestors. Dating photographs is an issue we all struggle with as family archivists. Additionally, anyone who writes about their family’s history should be aware of the environment in which their ancestors lived. Period clothing is an important part of that environment from how it affects a person’s movement to their overall lifestyle. This week I introduce you to the armistice blouse.

Armistice Blouse

The armistice blouse gets its name from the popular style of shirtwaists worn by women around the time of the World War I armistice in 1918. However, the name was not used until many years later when it was adopted by costumers and historians. A typical armistice blouse was made from a lightweight, semi-transparent fabric, like silk, cotton lawn/voile or handkerchief linen. A defining characteristic of the blouse was its decorative center panel which often featured lace inserts, embroidery or pin tucking. Many had long collars (around the top portion of the neckline) which often extended to the top of the center panel or even further. Generally, they were white or light beige (natural undyed fabric). Some armistice blouses have center front closures with sailor styled collars.

Armstice Blouse

Armistice blouse

Lord & Taylor Winter 1918

Further Reading

The University of Chapel-Hill, North Carolina currently is participating in a World War I cententary project. Included in the project is an Armistice Blouse exhibit. There are photographs of several examples of armistice blouses in the article.

An example of a center front closing armistice blouse and sailor collar can be found at the Jewish History Museum’s website. This blouse has a wonderful example of pin tucking. The back view shows the sailor collar.

The New York Public Library has an extensive digital collection with many clothing related items, such as clothing advertisements.

Images

A vintage armistice blouse from my personal collection which I bought at an antique mall many moons ago. The center panel on this blouse features a mixture of pin tucks and lace inserts. The sides of the center panel are decorated with embroidered buttons. The blouse is made of silk.

Advertisement for a blouse from the January 1919 issue of the Woman’s Home Companion, p. 26, via Google Books.

Advertisement for Lord & Taylor from Vogue Magazine, 1918. NYPL catalog ID (B-number) : b17122179

©2015 Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2015/08/30/fashion-moments-armistice-blouse/