Did you brave the crowds to do a bit of Black Friday shopping? If so, you probably visited a department store, boutique or perhaps a local craft fair. Or maybe you waited until today, Cyber Monday, to do your shopping online. Did any of the retail outlets you... Read Article ››

Crinoline silhouette

In the mid-nineteenth century, the fashionable female silhouette included voluminous, full skirts. To achieve the desired bell-like skirt shape, women relied on multiple layers of petticoats. These petticoats were usually made of linen, cotton or flannel,... Read Article ››


In practical terms, aprons are merely protective overgarments, worn to prevent food or dirt from staining the clothing underneath. Despite these functional origins, aprons have taken on the much larger role of signifying feminine domesticity. This is... Read Article ››

Fancy dress

Contemporary Halloween celebrations offer an opportunity for young and old to dress in costume, but in the 19th and early 20th century, Halloween was primarily geared towards children. Adults who wanted to dress in costume attended or hosted fancy dress... Read Article ››

1870s Wedding Dress

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you almost certainly believe that sartorial choices are made by individuals to create aspirational versions of themselves, i.e. you dress in the fashion of the person you want, or believe yourself, to be. Given that... Read Article ››

Little Lord Fauntleroy

What the Earl saw was a graceful childish figure in a black velvet suit, with a lace collar, and with lovelocks waving about the handsome, manly little face, whose eyes met his with a look of innocent good fellowship.   Frances Hodgson Burnett, Little Lord... Read Article ››

Emile Pingat

Unlike his contemporary Charles Worth, Emile Pingat (1820-1901) has been largely forgotten. Pingat was active between 1850 and 1896 and at the time, his reputation was equal to that of Worth. Beginning in the 1870s and ending in the mid-1890s, publications... Read Article ››

Charles Worth

Often called the “dictator of fashion,” Charles Worth (1825-1895) was the preeminent fashion tastemaker of the mid to late nineteenth century. Born in rural England, Worth emigrated to Paris in 1845 and worked in a series of dry-goods and... Read Article ››

Would you like to go for a swim?

As August turns to September, we're all thinking about how to best enjoy the last days of summer. For many, this means getting in one last swim. Imagine what it would be like to paddle around in the water wearing the wool "swimsuit"... Read Article ››

Meet Madame Olympe

Evening gown c.1866 Brocaded silk taffeta Gift of Cathy Gordon 2007.893.1AB This black silk faille two-piece dress was worn by an unknown woman in approximately 1866. Though it appears extremely formal and elegant to our contemporary eyes, it would have been... Read Article ››