Tag Archives: dating photographs

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/

Fashion Moments – Middy 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 middy blouse.

Middy Blouse (the sailor shirt)

Picture the scene from the movie The Sound of Music when Maria first enters the Von Trapp household. The Captain pulls out his bosun’s whistle and proceeds to call his children from every corner of the house. When they arrive, all are dressed in sailor uniforms.

For many decades, children have worn school and gym uniforms based upon the humble sailor’s shirt. Summer camps and early bathing costumes have also utilized a similar design. The style crossed over into mainstream fashion throughout the 20th century. While many tops can claim to be a sailor shirt, a middy blouse is a unique garment. While the fit and general style of the middy blouse has been influenced from time to time by minor fashion trends, the basic parameters of the shirt have not changed. A true middy blouse was made of lightweight cotton duck fabric (also called jean cloth) or wool and was not meant to be “tucked in.” During the 1920s, for example, middy blouses sometimes were constructed with a hip band (a popular shirt style of the time), instead of falling straight from the shoulders to the hip.

The authentic middy blouse came into existence around 1910. In its early decades, the shirt retained the full sailor collar. Later versions dropped the collar and even the sleeves. Although hard to tell in black and white photographs, middy shirts were made in multiple colors (not just white or navy).

YEG1916

A teen-aged Ruth Yegerlehner (far right) wears a sailor style shirt in the 1910s. This is NOT a middy blouse.

Students from Clay City High c1918-1922. Several girls are wearing middy blouses.

Further Reading

A wonderful photographic essay on the “History of the Middy” can be found of the Fuzzielizzie Vintage Clothing website. Additionally, Fuzzielizzie wrote a post on a vintage 1920s lavender middy blouse set on her blog the Vintage Traveler.

Peter Thomson (or Thompson) was a tailoring house in New York and Philadelphia around 1900. He designed sailor suits for women and children. Eventually, his clothing style was adopted universally for school uniforms. The Catholic Church was an early promoter of the “Peter Thomson” dress in their institutions. The book Common Threads: A Cultural History of Clothing in American Catholicism by Sally Dwyer-McNulty can be found on Google books.

Images

  1. Four women from Clay County, Indiana, c1915. Photograph from the author’s personal collection.
  2. Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalog, Spring 1915, 261. Image courtesy of Ancestry.com.
  3. Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalog, Spring 1926, 60. Image courtesy of Ancestry.com.
  4. Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalog, Spring, 1935, 61. image courtesy of Ancestry.com.
  5. Clay City High School, Clay City, Indiana, c1918-1922. Photograph from the author’s personal collection.

©2015 Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2015/08/23/fashion-moments-middy-blouse/

Fashion Moments – Pigeon Breast

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 “pigeon breast” bodice.

Bodice and Shirtwaist Styles

At the end of the 1890s (about 1897-9), the shape of the female bodice began to change. Tops became fuller in front, predominantly at the waistline. Gathering or pleating typically controlled the excess of fabric, and kept this fullness to the front.  The shape is often compared to a pigeon’s breast which is typically thrust forward (hence the name). Another term which is used synonymously with “pigeon breast” is the monobosom. The overall silhouette of the period resembles the letter “S” as the breast is pushed forward and the posterior is forced back. Newer corset styles enforced this shape. Fashion magazines of the time generally exaggerated this “S” curve. Belts or sashes were a common accessory.  By 1905, the style was beginning to fade, and was gone by 1910.

[The “pigeon breast” should not be confused with the gathered bodices of the end the 1900s and the 1910s. As the decade advanced, waistlines rose higher than the natural waist while the “pigeon breast” remained at the natural waist and ofttimes dipped lower in front.]

Further Reading

The Victoria and Albert Museum’s website contains several pages covering the History of Fashion. A brief summary is given for both male and female clothing, arranged by decade.

The Vintage Fashion Guild publishes a fashion timeline on their website, beginning in 1800 and ending at 1990. Fashions are broken down by decade.

Fashion and textile historian, Leimomi Oakes, from Wellington, New Zealand, writes about and critics vintage clothing found in museums around the world. Her website has an online Historical Fashion and Textile Encyclopedia. Currently, the page is a work in progress, and mainly focuses on different types of fabric/textiles.

The Vintage Victorian website has an article by Catherine Bishop, focusing on ladies’ evening dress from 1899-1905.

Images

Pink afternoon dress by Jacques Doucet, French, c1903. Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Accession no. 2009.300.1153a, b

Blue afternoon dress by M. Davey & Company, American, c1898-1900. Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Accession no. 2009.300.907a, b

Fashion plates from the Thomas J. Watson Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Costume Institute Fashion Plates: Women 1900-1914, Plates no. 68, 75, 77

©2015 Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2015/08/16/fashion-moments-pigeon-breast/

Fashion Moment – Pagoda Sleeve

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 pagoda sleeve.

Pagoda Sleeve

While the term pagoda sleeve has been used to describe any funnel shaped sleeve, this week we will look specifically at the sleeve worn in the 1850s and into the mid 1860s. The pagoda sleeve of this period was narrower at the shoulder, and very wide at the wrist. Often an undersleeve was worn under the outer pagoda sleeve. The undersleeve would have been of a lighter weight cotton or linen fabric, matching the bodice’s chemisette or collar. As the Civil War advanced the pagoda sleeve was replaced by the bishop and bell sleeves. A bell sleeve appears to have been very similar to the pagoda sleeve [in fact I have seen the terms used interchangeably]. By 1864, the term pagoda sleeve had disappeared from the fashion plates. [1] There appears to have been a brief revival of pagoda style sleeves in the 1870s, although not quite to the size (width) in the 1850s. A variation of the pagoda sleeve during the 1850s was constructed of layering tiers.

Further Reading

A brief overview of the clothing of the 1850s and 1860s from Illinois State University.

The book Clothing Through American History: The Civil War through the Gilded Age, 1861-1899 by Anita Stamper and Jill Condra discusses the Pagoda sleeve and many other 19th century fashions. While the book is available for sale on Amazon, it is rather pricey. It can be searched on a limited basis through Google books.

I found a new online resource from the Chester County (Pennsylvania) Historical Society. They have a small collection of clothing on their website.

Sources

[1] Anita Stamper and Jill Condra, Clothing Through American History: The Civil War through the Gilded Age, 1861-1899 (Santa Barbara: Greenwood, 2011), 96.

Priscilla Harris Dalrymple, American Victorian Costume in Early Photographs (New York: Dover Publications, 1991), 16.

Images

Wedding Dress, 1851 (gold, silk). Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Accession no. 2009.300.858a, b

Walking Dress, 1865 (green/black plaid, silk). Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Accession no. 2009.300.3336a, b

Dress, 1860 (white/beige pattern, cotton). The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Accession no. C.I.38.23.59a, b

Dress, 1859 (gold, with embroidered edges). The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Accession no. C.I.52.55a, b

©2015 Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2015/08/09/fashion-moment-pagoda-sleeve/

Fashion Moments – Beret

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 beret with thanks to reader Jackie Dinnis with her question about some 1930s berets providing this week’s inspiration.

Beret

In basic terms, the beret is a round, brimless hat which generally fits around the crown of the head. It is a soft hat without stiffening. Traditional French and Basque berets are made from felted wool, but different fabrics have been used to create a beret like velvet or cotton. The size and shape of this hat has been adapted and refashioned for millennia. According to several websites, the history of the beret is long and its origins are no longer known. Nowadays, most people think of the French when it comes to berets or elite military groups such as the Green Berets.

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Some modern berets (Photograph by the author)

1930s

During the 1930s, the French beret became iconic with Hollywood movie starts like Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich. The beret quickly made its way into popular fashion. While it did not remain in the forefront of fashion, the hat has never completely disappeared in modern times. The style emerged again in the 1950s and 1960s with the beatnik generation.

Further Reading

A great history of the beret from Hat Tales.

More about military beret styles from blueberet.org

An overall history of hats with a descriptive list of some different hat styles from hatbox.com

Thinking of buying a traditional-styled French beret? Check out the website of Laulhère-France! They have included a “Some History” tab with a great review of the beret’s influence and history.

Blog Post from Glamour Daze regarding the French Beret in the 1930s.

Images

Marlene Dietrich, 1933. Image from the German Federal Archives via Wikipedia.

Sears catalog, Fall 1931. Image from Ancestry.com‘s collection of Sears, Roebuck and Co., 1896-1993.

©2015 Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2015/08/02/fashion-moments-beret/

Fashion Moments – Bishop Sleeve

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 bishop sleeve.

 Bishop Sleeve

Simply defined, the bishop sleeve is a wide sleeve that narrows at the wrist, typically into a cuff. This particular fashion comes and goes with regularity, so it can not be used solely to date a garment. Other fashion clues must be utilized. Examples of the bishop sleeve can be found throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, including the blossoming sleeves of the 1960s hippie peasant dress and the glamorous gowns of the 1930s Hollywood starlet.

During the Civil War years, the bishop sleeve enjoyed popularity along with the pagoda sleeve (the subject for another blog post). However, the bishop sleeve was the more practical of the two. It was much easier to “roll up” a bishop sleeve when there was work to be done. It was possibly more popular with the middle and working classes, but since few of these garments exist today, there is sketchy evidence to support this assertion.

Pleating or smocking was often used to control the fullness at the top of the sleeve and the cuffs, but simple gathering can be found as well. The shoulder seam of a 1860s bodice did not land on the shoulder, but rather on the upper arm (often horizontal to the armpit). The fullness of a bishop sleeve makes its appearance at the upper arm (and not the shoulder!).

Civil War Era woman - LOC #4

Woman with smocking at shoulder cap, 1860-1869

Existing Garments

Further Reading

Miss Ashley’s Attic, a company which markets to re-enactors, wrote this piece on Civil War fashion.

A wonderful book by Priscilla Harris Dalyrmple American Victorian Costume in Early Photographs was published in 1991. Still in print, It is available for purchase through Amazon. For extended free sampling, the book can also be found on Google Books. The  book is arranged by decade from the 1840s through the 1890s.

Images

The photographs of the three unidentified women can be found in the Library of Congress’ Prints and Photographs Online Catalog: LOT 6286, p. 12 (LC-DIG-ppmsca-32291); LOT 286, p. 10 (LC-DIG-ppmsca-32287); LOT 6286, p. 3 (LC-DIG-ppmsca-32244). The women in the first two photographs are believed to have been nurses during the Civil War.

The photograph of the woman with smocked sleeves can be found in the Library of Congress’ Prints and Photographs Online Catalog: LOT 6286, p. 49 (LC-DIG-ppmsca-32397).

The two existing garments can be found on the Metropolitan Museum Art’s Costume Collection online:  1981.49.4a, b and C.I.60.11.1.

©2015 Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2015/07/26/fashion-moments-bishop-sleeve/

Fashion Moments – Hobble Skirt

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 hobble skirt.

Hobble Skirt (1910s)

Between 1910 and the commencement of World War I, women’s skirts were decidedly narrow. Skirts of the previous decade had been full, utilizing generous amounts of fabric. A fitted waist and hip which flared dramatically at the hem marked the first decade of the 20th century. While the silhouette of a 1900 skirt was spectacularly triangular, ten years later, they were positively rectangular. Neoclassicism, romanticism and the mystique of the Orient were some of the artistic aesthetics at play in the fashion world of 1910. In many ways, skirts of the early 1910s resembled Greek or Roman columns.

During this time, the increasingly active lifestyle of women influenced fashion. Skirt hems inched slightly upward. Corsets became less structured. Suffragettes were waging war in London and the United States. Women wanted freedom of movement (as well as the freedom to vote), so why would they confine themselves in a Hobble skirt?

Admittedly, the Hobble skirt was a very short lived trend, and not everyone partook in such foolishness. In essence, the wearer wore a skirt which was so narrow at the hem that the ability to walk was impeded, forcing the wearer to “hobble.” Various methods were employed to prevent the wearer from tearing their skirt (should they take too long of a stride). During the early teens, corsets covered and extended below the hips. Specially corsets which extended to the knees encouraged “hobbling.” [The catalog page below shows typical corsets from 1913, not the specialty ones.]

Fasion - Sears catalog, 1913 corsets

1913 Sears Catalog corsets (Image courtesy of Ancestry.com)

However, the most fascinating device (which was made specifically for Hobble skirts) was the Hobble Garter. Worn below the knees, the garter regulated the walker’s stride to ensure a hobble.

Los Angeles Herald 1910-11-24 Hobble Skirt

Los Angeles Herald, 24 November 1910, p. 12, col. 5-6

Further Reading

An overview from Wikipedia on the Hobble skirt including some later 20th century trends, which were also referred to as Hobble skirts.

Two articles can be found on the Edwardian Promenade blog: Hobble Skirts and Hobble Garters.

Two of the more influential fashion designers during this period were Paul Poiret and Jeanne Paquin.

Images

The three fashion plates are from the Costume Institute Fashion Plates digital collection from the Thomas J. Watson Library, Metropolitan Museum of Art. They are in the public domain.

The catalog page comes from the 1913 Spring Sears catalog, available from Ancestry.com.

The newspaper article is one of many which can be found about the Hobble Garter in 1910. The Library of Congress’ Chronicling America database contains this issue of the Los Angeles Herald.

©2015 Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2015/07/19/fashion-moments-hobble-skirt/

Fashion Moments – Leg o’ Mutton Sleeves

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 Leg o’ Mutton sleeve.

Sleeves from the 1820s-1830s

The Leg o’ Mutton sleeve made its first appearance in the late 1820s; the style continued into the 1830s. The French originally named this style the gigot sleeve due to the sleeve’s unique shape. In French, gigot literally means the hind quarters of an animal. In the English speaking world, the name translated into Leg of Mutton, or Leg o’ Mutton. This sleeve was characterized by voluminous amounts of fabric at the sleeve cap which eventually tapered down narrowly at the wrist. Horsehair and other means of support were required to maintain the “puff.” To balance the ensemble, skirts became wider at the bottom and the waist became deceptively narrower.

American, Cotton dress, c.1832-5 (Courtesy of the Brooklyn Costume Museum at the Metropolitan Museum of Art)

“Oh I am grateful,” protested Anne. “But I’d be ever so much gratefuller if–if you’d made just one of them with puffed sleeves. Puffed sleeves are so fashionable now. It would give me such a thrill, Marilla, just to wear a dress with puffed sleeves.”

Anne of Green Gables, Lucy M. Montgomery

Fashion Reboot – 1890s

As the bustle made its final decline at the end of the 1880s, a void was created. What would the next fashion trend be? As is typical with fashion, old became new again. The 1890s saw a resurgence (or recycling!) of the Leg o’ Mutton sleeve. As the bustle began to decrease, fashion shifted from an exaggerated posterior to an extreme expansion of shoulder girth.

A cursory glance through fashion journals shows the absence of the Leg O’ Mutton sleeve in 1891. By 1893, sleeves had begun to inflate.  The peak of the sleeve appears to have been the years 1895 and 1896, and by 1897, the style was on the wane. (Please note that throughout the same decade, fashion journals consistently showcased sleeves of moderate girth as well. Do not assume that because a woman’s sleeves are narrower in a photograph that it was not during the years 1893-1897 if other clues indicate this time frame). The following plates are courtesy of the Thomas J. Watson Library, Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York).

Further Reading

The Fashion Historian blogged about the original French Gigot sleeve from the 1830s.

A definition and history of Gigot sleeve from the Fashion Encyclopedia.

Collection of Fashion plates from the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Most of the plates are in the public domain.

©2015 Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2015/07/12/fashion-moments-leg-o-mutton-sleeves/

Fashion Moments – Marcel Wave

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 19th century French hair dresser Francois Marcel.

Who was François Marcel?

There are conflicting reports about who Francois Marcel was, mostly due to the fact that he used different names throughout his career. However, it appears that he was François Marcel Grateau (1852-1936).  During the 1870s, he invented a technique for curling hair using hot curling tongs. By 1905, then known as François Marcel Woelfflé. he patented his first design for a curling iron in the United States. Marcel continued to register patents for various curling irons, permanent machines and hair clippers until his death in 1936.

Marcel Wave

Although the technique was originally perfected for longer hair which was styled up and back, as women began to “bob” their hair in the 1920s, the Marcel wave became even more popular. Many film stars, like Claudette Colbert, sported Marcel waves during the 1920s. My grandmother Gladys employed the style on her hair during the late 1920s and early 1930s. This picture was taken in 1929. The main characteristic of the Marcel wave is the alternating “S” shape in the rows of waves.

Foster, Gladys - Terre Haute, Indiana,1929

Gladys Foster, Terre Haute, Indiana, 1929

The style was not restricted to the young and famous, or to specific geographic regions. Women of all ages and social standing “marcelled” their hair.  Coincidentally also in 1929, this photograph was taken in the San Francisco Bay area. While my other grandmother, Louise, was only 14 at the time, her mother stylishly wears the Marcel wave in her hair.

Leonard, C. Estelle (Whitten)  with Louise - 1929-07

Louise and Estelle Leonard, San Francisco Bay area, 1929

Further Reading

Article on the website 1920-30.com discusses Marcel and the Marcel Wave in more depth.

Book titled Technique and Art of Marcel Waving – Creating 1920s Hair Waving Styles in Six Easy Steps by William Zentler was originally published in 1923, and currently available as a reprint.

Check out Ancestry.com‘s selection of high school and college yearbooks in their database, “U.S. School Yearbooks, 1880-2012.” These provide a great resource for dating hairstyles on a yearly basis.

©2015 written by Deborah Sweeney
Post originally found: https://genealogylady.net/2015/06/28/fashion-moments-marcel-wave/