Even though it’s not an era in which I have any academic expertise, I admire the Gilded/Edwardian era from afar: nearly every contemporary commercial image seems to convey a society that is simultaneously dynamic and elegant. Of course we never see who did all that ironing! The other day I was looking through some examples of a new ephemeral category for me, menus, when I spotted a rather dashing young lady outfitted for the Fourth of July. This particular Gibson Girl graces the cover of a menu for a holiday dinner held in 1900 at the Hotel Magnolia up in Gloucester, a New England coastal “clapboard castle” now sadly gone. I wanted to see some more examples of July Fourth fashions from the era, so I rounded up the usual sources and found a fashionable couple and a girl from a century ago who would look perfectly fine today–especially in her gladiator sandals, very on trend this summer.
1900 Menu, New York Public Library Digital Gallery; Edward Penfield cover for Collier’s Magazine, July 1913, and “Follow the Flag” cover for Puck Magazine, July 1914, both Library of Congress.
I think I’ll extend my era, backwards and forwards, to encompass more nationalistic looks. The two dresses below, separated by more than a century and featured together in the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s 2009 “Fashion & Politics” exhibition, are certainly patriotic, and perhaps a bit over the top. If you don’t want to wrap yourself in the flag, an accessory in red, white, and blue will do– a trend that was all the rage during World War Two.
1889 costume and 2009 dress by Catherine Malandrino, Collection of the Museum at FIT, New York; LaValle Shoes, 1940, Collection of the Museum at FIT; 48-star Clutch, c. 1940-58, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
July 3rd, 2013 at 8:03 am
Excellent! Happy 4th!
July 3rd, 2013 at 3:48 pm
July 4th, 2013 at 3:00 am
those Edwardians had somethings right!! I would have enjoyed that period I think, if I had been in the Bloomsbury group. The flag look – not so great!! thanks for another interesting and good looking article!!
July 4th, 2013 at 3:29 pm
For me it is the Puck one that is astonishing since I believed that short dress came with WW1. Great article.
July 5th, 2013 at 4:21 pm
Well in all honesty I think it must be a bathing costume….
July 18th, 2013 at 7:39 am
Yes you must be right. 🙂 The hat (or any name you ‘d call it) show it obviously.
But now, when short dresses did appear ? 🙂 If I get an answer I’ll be back with it .
July 18th, 2013 at 8:02 am
In france at least, it came mainly after WW1, very slowly. Though I found on wikipedia that walking and bicycling could lead women of the last 19th to wear knickerbokers or shorter skirt
July 9th, 2013 at 7:18 pm
I remember well 1976 and EVERYTHING was red white and blue…