Leopard Skins and Prints: The Good and the Bad


Thoughts on Leopard skins and prints have been wide spread since the early 20th century. It has either been a highly valued, luxurious and sophisticated item among the upper class or a rather trashy sign. It has been worn by president’s wives, royalty, and even rock stars.

Leopard skin coats and other clothing and accessory items became especially popular in the 1920s after movie stars like Joan Crawford strutted through Hollywood movies in the skin. One fashion designer of the time, Christian Dior, kept the trend going for the most glamorous of women. He was quoted, ” If you are fair and sweet, don’t wear it.” In the 1950s and 60s, this gave way to the idea that a woman who wore leopard was a trophy wife. In other words, the print represented a rather “undomesticated” woman.

The print that was once seen as sophisticated now became a trashy symbol. It made itself into a racy Hollywood catalog, Fredericks of Hollywood. When the 1970s and 80s rolled around, it evolved even further into a must have piece for rock and roll performers and fans everywhere, however as a print and not a skin. The Endangered Species Act of 1973 kept leopards from being slaughtered for their skin.

As time went on, leopard print became popular among women for representing not only their feminine sexuality, but also a more powerful symbol for them not so much being a predator, but them not being a prey in society. The leopard stood for independence, power, and courage, making an ideal symbol.

The Historic Clothing and Textiles collection is home to many clothing items such as hats, coats, bags, and shoes that have the leopard print or skin, as well a snow leopard long sleeve coat for women dating back to 1965-1975.

These shoes to the left are dated from 1965-1970. They are leopard fur skin pumps with a square toe and chunky heel.










Ringing The New Year In Style

Christmas has come and gone, the presents have been opened, the laughter has been shared, and now it is time to ring in the new year. We have turned from red and green to sparkling silver and gold.

The celebration of the new year began over four millennia ago in Babylon. Babylonians chimed in the new year in march with the first new moon following the vernal equinox. Every year, a new king would be renewed or his throne would stay in place. It was a process on history to reach the calendar we have today. The Roman Calendar originally had 10 months and 304 days. Numa Pompilius, a king in the eighth century, added Januarius and Februarius. However, Julius Caesar changed it to the Julian Calendar when he saw that the stars and moons were not aligning. Astronomers and mathematicians were called to fix this problem and eventually his calendar, which resembles the modern Gregorian calendar that we use today. January 1st became the official start of the new year to honor Janus, the Roman god of new beginnings. For medieval European Christians, the official date became January 1st for a different reason. It followed and preceded certain religious holidays such as December 25, the birth of Jesus, and arch 25, the Feast of the Annunciation.

While the Romans celebrated the new year with sacrifices to their god, Janus, and decorating their homes in laurel branches, today’s celebrations look different. The celebration vary in different parts of the world in present date. For example, the people of Spain eat 12 grapes in the moments before the new year. In the United States, the biggest celebration is in Times Square, New York. The music, fireworks, and dropping of the ball all are all part of the celebration. Millions of people watch this moment on TV. It has been a tradition ever since 1907. What you wear on new years is dependent on how you plan to celebrate. Some occasions call for black tie when a dinner with family only calls for a casual fit.

Here are two dresses perfect for ringing in the new year. To the left is a ladies short feathered evening dress. The aqua tulle is accompanied by a slightly fitted straight silhouette. It has a high rounded neckline and is sleeveless with bias banding. the entire dress is hand beaded and embroidered with aqua and gold metallic thread with tiny seed pearls, various shaped crystal bugle beads, small gold balls, clusters of iridescent rhinestones and flower heads. The aqua feathers ae applied on the beading creating a glimmer shimmering affect. The dress ranges from 1964-1965 and was designed by Pierre Balmain in in Paris, France.

Pierre Balmain was born on March 18, 1914 in Paris, France. his father was a drapery salesman and died when Pierre was only seven years old, and his mother owned a fashion boutique with her sisters. He founded his company, Balmain, in 1947. His post-war looks were very feminine for the day, making his designs stand out. He loved richly embroidered fabrics, nipped in waists, and long, fuller skirts. He said dressmaking was “the architecture in movement.”


The next dress is a long pink silk dress with gold an silver sparkles. It ranges from 1980-1989. the creator is unknown, but the dress is perfect for new years because of its silver and gold sparkles.






history.com Editors. (February 16, 2010). New Year’s. Lasted updated September 12, 2018. Accessed on December 10, 2018. https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/new-years


A Blue Christmas

Feeling blue? As Christmas rolls around, we are normally filled with Christmas cheer, joyous music, and street lights lit up with red and green décor as far as the eye can see. However, the recognition of blue during December is often forgotten. Blue is a symbol for both the Christian and Jewish tradition around December. Have you ever heard the song “Blue Christmas” by Elvis Presley? It is a pretty popular Christmas song from the late 1950s. Elvis brought us Christmas from a different viewpoint. A sad, depressing one; quite the opposite of what we picture Christmas to look like. Blue is also a symbolic color for the Jewish holiday, Hanukkah. Blue is a part of the Israeli flag. The blue stripes on their flag are also the color found on a tallitot, which are Jewish prayer shawls worn for special occasions such as Jewish weddings, in synagogues, and bar mitzvahs.

So why is blue relevant at Christmas time? Blue often evokes a feeling of sadness and just simply joylessness. We hear it in songs like Elvis’s blue Christmas, but this can be a real feeling for many people around Christmas time, especially in the cold winter. In the mid 1990s, many Christian congregations began to hold another service in addition to the four main Advent services. It takes place in the late Advent season, around the 21st. It is a form of worship for those dealing with sadness, depression, loss, etc. Everything is not always well. In the mid 1990s, the Protestant church adapted this and literally calls it “Blue Christmas”.  The special service is actually helping spread the love of Christmas. They are said to help save lives every year because they are a place for the poor in spirit to go.

In honor of today’s “Blue Christmas” and the overall talk of blue in December, we are going to be focusing on a few fashionable ensembles that are blue, of course.

A close up of a Malcom Starr coat sleeve. The company was well known for the simplistic style, yet elaborated beaded and sequined additions.

To the right is a Malcolm Starr light blue wool short evening dress and coat with a silver braid along with beading on the dress neckline and coat sleeves. It ranges in date from 1965-1970 and actually originates from Hong Kong. The designer, Malcolm Starr, was made popular in the 1960s and 1970s because of his evening dresses. What made them special? He usually stuck with a very simple design, however there would always be very detailed beading and sequin work, making it attractive to the eye. As well as evening dresses, the company was well known for suit jackets and coats. Our featured Malcolm Starr is a great example of his finest work.



Next up is a royal blue wool knit cardigan that would fall slightly below the waist. The neckline, closure, and sleeves have six rows of gold sequins giving quite the sparkle. The lower half is a royal blue silk chiffon with a woven-in angular pattern. The blouse is a sleeveless silk crepe. On the front of the blouse, it has rows of 5 rows of gold sequins. It dates back to 1980 and was made by the designer, Adolfo. The story if Adolfo Sardina is a very interesting one. He actually got his start in Paris, like many other famous designers such as Scaasi. Adolfo was an apprentice to the very famous Balenciaga. He was admired from all around, but was mainly persuaded to leave Paris for New York.  He worked for Emme in 1953, and two years later won his first Coty Award. The Coty Award is “Coty American fashion Critics’ Award”, which started in 1942 under the company Coty. In 1962, he opened his own business. His confidence and determination paid it forward because in 1969 he received another Coty Award. This one was special, however. His “head to toe” designs were admired greatly. he had developed his own theory that if he could design a hat well, then he could do anything. The same was true for men’s clothing. By 1976 he was producing men’s clothing for Leon of Paris, and then in 1977 got nominated once again for a Coty Award.

Adolfo truly believed in fashion from “head to toe”. He came out with even more than just a gown or a hat. He introduced swimwear, luggage, shirts,  neckwear, boy pants, men’s slacks, and even more beyond that.

He mentioned, “A person can look put together without appearing too rigid or too extravagant…If people are astute enough to combine different clothes with flair and style, they can create their own fashion. We all must maintain the freedom to show off individuality. Fashion should be revolutionary, but always in the direction of good taste.” His love for fashion and good taste went hand in hand, that is one ting that made his work so special.

If you’re feeling sad this Christmas, just know that there’s always a place for you to go. “Blue Christmas” is a term many people can sing about in a song, but it is an actual part of life and there is always hope. So, spread the love this Christmas season no matter who you are, and don’t forget to help other people out. On a happy note, we were able to showcase some of the best work by designer Adolfo and the company Malcolm Starr. Both were special in there own way. Malcolm Starr made simplistic styles stand out with elaborate beading and sequinning and Adolfo used his love of fashion from “head to toe” to create a sense of good taste in clothing.



Why Is It That Blue Christmas Services Make Me A Little Blue?

Why Are Blue and White Hanukkah Colors?




A Charles Dickens Christmas


Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol entered the hearts of many in 1843. It was a story of a selfish man who was able to see the evil of his ways and in turn became good. Redemption is a key theme throughout the entire novella. The story shows that no matter who you are, we are all the same. Because of Dickens’ upbringing he was fully able to understand the situation which the poor faced in England during the nineteenth century. The wealthy people were enlightened after reading his work. Dickens’ work opened people up to the idea that class is only defined by your wealth and not who you are as a person.

Charles John Huffam Dickens was born on February 7, 1812 in Landport, England. he was the second child of eight born to Elizabeth and John Dickens. His parents were said to be very social people; his mother attended a ball the day he was born. However, his father John found it very hard to pay for entertainment and the necessities of life. His family faced financial hardship during his younger years. At just four months old, his family moved to a smaller house in order to make the financial struggle less of a burden. But eventually his father was placed in debtor’s prison. to make money, Charles Dickens decided to work for a factory, and in return, he never received a formal education. However, despite his lack of education, he was able to wrote 15 novels, edit a journal for 20 years, write 5 novellas, hundreds of short stories, and even campaign for education, children’s rights, and social reforms.

As he grew older, he became increasingly confident. Despite not knowing what he directly wanted to do with his life, he knew he desired to be famous. He was also very interested in theatre. Dickens made it so close to an audition, but missed it due to illness. he went on to write stories and plays. in 1842. he moved to America with his wife. As his works became increasingly plagiarized in America, he set out to give a petition to Congress to make his works safe.

His literary success first came in 1836 with his release of The Paperwick Papers. Then later on in 1843 as his works were becoming gaining attention and fame increasing, he released A Christmas Carol. Not only did it become a classic, heart warming story for Christmas, but, as mentioned above, it touched the hearts of every social class at the time. It opened the eyes of the rich and showed them that the poor were just like them , if even more humble and deserving of a good life. Dickens’ works were revolutionary, making him arguably the greatest writer of the Victorian Era.

His theatrical productions became so well known, that attendees had to be invited, making it the utmost special event, especially when Queen Victoria attended. The two had a great deal of respect for one another. They had even exchanged each other’s autographed works to one another.

Dickens’ novella, A Christmas Carol, has adapted over the years countless times, but most of us remember it for the original adaptation written by Dickens himself. One thing that sticks out are the characters’ costumes. Because of the 18403 time period it was released in, we picture the characters to be wearing the stereotypical top hat with a cane, a somewhat puffy dresses. Well, this mostly fits correctly with the time period, but there are certain things about men and women’s clothing that make it truly 1840s.

A dark brown silk satin damask gown with rose motif. 1840-1849

A woman’s dress tended to have low, sloping shoulders. The bodice of the dress came low on the waist and somewhat looked like a “v”. The sleeves of a dress were bell-shaped and there would be layers upon layers of petticoats underneath the skirt portion of the dress. Women also tended to carry small handbags with them. They were typically white with embroidery or a painted design when women stayed at home, but once they went outside they used green or white tasseled bags. The accessory was made of crocheted linens, the same material used to male their shoes surprisingly. Bonnets as headwear were also popular, and their  hair was typically parted in the middle.

Men’s fashion at the time was greatly influenced by Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria. He cared a great deal for his appearance, was young at the time of marriage to Queen Victoria, and being the husband of England’s number one celebrity didn’t hurt. The suit jacket clenched at the waist and flared out from there, giving them an slight hour glass figure, and some even wore a corset. Shirts were made with a high collar and ties were worn. Men also wore tight waist pants and trousers. Facial hair was very popular during this time also. Most had mustaches and sideburns. Top hair was worn long and was swept to the side. This entire look was very typical of upper class.

Clothing for the poor and clothing for the rich were probably he number one way to tell the difference between socioeconomic class in the Victorian Era. During this time period, men held most of the power. It was “a man’s world.” The wealthy husband would have a beautiful home, good standing in society, and a adoring wife, along with a few children. There were also servants for every job. The woman of the family were given an abundance of opportunities for travel and fine living. Their clothes were made with the best materials. They wore frivolous dresses and had an array to choose from. Everything from bonnets to the petticoats were made to impress. One of the main reasons for such expensive clothing was to directly divide the rich from the working class. The poor woman’s outfit was made of rag cloth, definitely not the most expensive or lavish material  available.

Top hat ~ 1840-1850 It is made with dark brown felt amd has a narrow black petersham edging brim. the side are straight and the brim curves up on either side.

One of the biggest determinants of a man’s class was his hat. A man who had a quality top hat was said to be well off and respectable. It was normally made of silk on a felt base. When the production of top hats began, the felt was normally taken from a beaver. A beaver’s felt would help the hat keep its shape when it rained and was overall more durable. A cheaper alternative was rabbit, but he high social class wanted the best. A top hat like the one pictured is typical of what you may see the notorious Ebenezer Scrooge wear in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. 

If you watch Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol this Christmas, make sure to pay extra attention to what the characters are wearing. A lot can be said about a person by the clothes they wear, this was very prevalent during the Victorian Era. However, with theme is Dickens’ story, we are able to be reminded that class is not what makes us human. We are all capable of good cheer, love, and joy this Christmas season no matter who we are.



“You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato. There’s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!”
― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol



Men’s Portrait Gallery 1840. Accessed on December 3, 2018. Retrieved from https://www.historicalemporium.com/1840-victorian-photo-gallery.php

(May 7, 2014). The Story..of the Top Hat. Accessed on December 3, 2018. retrieved from http://theconversation.com/the-story-of-the-top-hat-26215

(December 9, 2003). Accessed on December 3, 2018. Retrieved from http://www.funtrivia.com/askft/Question42767.html

Accessed on December 3, 2018. Retrieved from http://www.historyisnowmagazine.com/blog/2014/4/21/how-the-other-half-lived-rich-and-poor-women-in-victorian-britain#.XAWXf7pFwdU=

Accessed on December 3, 2018. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Dickens

(August 20, 2018). 1840-1849, 19th Century, Decade Overview. Retrieved from https://fashionhistory.fitnyc.edu/1840-1849/

Justice For Christmas

It’s almost Christmas and what more could a 7-12 year old want more than a whole wardrobe filled with piles of Justice clothing? Justice has become so popular and the number one tween clothing and accessory retailer in the world. Although their company still exists today with over 1,000 stores through the US, Canada, and a few extra international  countries, its presence in the fashion industry has made an impact on the current fashion for tweens everywhere. It transformed the future of tween fashion into a world of glitter, gems, unique patterns, and creative colors for all girls.  Today we are featuring two ensembles that are currently within the Historic Clothing and Textiles Collection here at Ohio State.

The dress to the right is decorated with emoji faces with Santa Claus hats. This unique pattern screams 2010s fashion for tweens. This particular dress is actually from 2016. So, just two years ago, this item was on sale to hundreds and thousands of young girls on the lookout for their perfect Christmas outfit. Would you have worn this when you were 7-12 years old? Its hard to imagine how much fashion has changed just from the early 2000s to the 2010s. This dress and the ensemble to the right, are made for everyday wear, but are also athliesure wear. What once was met for the gym has become everyday street wear, especially in the past decade. The dress is made with the same stretchy material you may see used to make leggings. The 2014-2016 outfit to the right is a pair of leggings decorated with images of snowflakes and reindeer-dogs in presents, and a grey t-shirt with a matching reindeer-dog on it. It also comes with a little scarf to add for decoration. A popular theme in Justice is unique patterns, such as the Santa emoji and the reindeer-dog.

Tween Brands, Inc. opened in 1986. It operated stores like Justice geared toward tween girl clothing and accessories. However, Ascena Retail group created Justice in 2009 to what it is today. It is common to see these type of stores in shopping centers and malls. Overall, they sell apparel, sleepwear, underwear, accessories, swimwear, lifestyle products, and personal care products. They currently do have more than 1,000 stores spread across the US, Canada, and few other international countries. They continue to bring unique style. Justice claims to bring individuality and self-confidence to all its young customers. Their employees are also said to work in a creative and collaborative environment in order to create the best designs for their tween girls. The company beat out the big names like target and Walmart for affordable tween clothing in 2012.

Justice has definitely made its way into the hearts of tween girls everywhere who love fun fashion. Their unique patterns, sparkles, sequins, and color combos gives each design a sense of childhood. The tween fashion is perhaps one of the most interesting categories because it is the time in life that a girl is transitioning into a young woman. The fashion within this period is carefree, fun, and individualistic. I wonder what fashion critics will think of Justice’s style in a hundred years?



Accessed on November 30, 2018. Retrieved from http://justiceretail.com/our-brands-leaders/

Accessed on November 30, 2018. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tween_Brands

Christmas With Arnold Scaasi

In 2015, HCTC did an blog post about Arnold Scaasi’s red and green dresses. Today we give you an updated article with more information about Scassi, the mastermind behind the detailed, bold, and creative designs of the “Scassi girls”. From his early days to his last, Arnold Scassi became well known for his looks like no other. How did he get his start? Why are his clothes so special to so many people? Why are we celebrating his designs this Christmas season? There’s so much to one man’s life. Scassi’s passion for creativity has a special place in the world of fashion and continues to excite us with his looks from the past.

Arnold Scassi was actually born Arnold Issacs in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on May 8, 1930. He received a natural talent for fashion from his father, a furrier, and his Aunt Ida, a stylish individual whom he visited in Australia just at the age of 14. After the visit with his aunt, he felt a calling to the fashion and design industry. He attended Cotnoir-Capponi School of Design. Later on, he completed his education in Paris and went on to apprentice with House of Paquin. He began his next journey by moving to New York City. Well known designer, Christian Dior urged him to go back to the United States and work with Charles James, a designer best known for his ball gowns who influenced many designers with his aesthetic style. Scassi listened to Dior and went to work with James.

He started to receive recognition for his talent through General Motors after they placed his work in an ad. Through advertisement and photoshoots of his work, he met a man named Robert Denning. He persuaded Scassi to reverse his then last name “Issacs” to “Scassi”. It gave it an Italian flair. By 1955, his name appeared on the front cover of Vogue Magazine. As time went on, he received awards and climbed the ladder of fashion world. Eventually, he opened his own store selling to celebrities and socialites. His work was unique, bold, and fabulous. Dresses were trimmed with feathers and fur, sequins and more.

Then, the moment came when he basically became famous overnight. In 1968, Barbera Streisand tied for best actress along with Kathrine Hepburn. However, Streisand’s outfit was perhaps the star of the night. She wore a sheer over blouse and pants ensemble. It caught the attention of fashion world that night.

His career led him down an even greater path. He went on to design for the biggest names in celebrities and socialites. These included Joan rivers, Joan Crawford, Mary Tyler Moore, Barbera Bush and four other president’s wives. He made his mark especially in the eighties. His big bold looks, flamboyant colors, and big accessories made is work even more special. One publicist, Jody Donohue, said, “He was able to make clothes that made a woman feel very femimine and he had a number of splendid clients who just adored him and who insisted on working with him. “Scassi learned a great deal of his ideas through the influence of Charles James. A “nonapologetic color sense” is one idea Scassi took from him. One of his biggest flaws, however, was his demanding, sometimes snappy, personality. However, this is part of what made Scaasi Scassi. Donohue later added, “No matter how aggressive he could be, he always rallied people.”

To the left is one of  Scaasi’s. It is a long green silk taffeta sheath gown from 1988. It is a wonderful representation of his designs at the time with the bold color, large shoulders, feminine cut, and over-the-top look. This was eventually featured in a book by Bernadine Morris and Liz Smith entitled A Cut Above. It is also perfect for the Christmas season. Red and Green are the two most popular colors at Christmas time. The green color comes form the idea of evergreens, mistletoe, and ivy in the winter. They often stand for eternal life, a new life,  longevity, or regeneration. Red has a much more religious background. The color is a symbol of he fall of man an their salvation. St. Nicholas, the historical figure that influenced our modern Santa Claus, was also said to have worn a red robe.

The next dress to the right is also one of Scaasi’s. It is a short red lace taffeta and long sleeve cocktail dress. This one is perfect for that special holiday party this season. Again, it is also a perfect representation being from 1987. The detailed lace, added sparkle, shoulder padding, and bold colors are all Scaasi. For even more information about these two dresses plus 2 more, check out the blog post from 2015! http://u.osu.edu/clotheslines/2015/12/


Feitelberg, Rosemary; Koski, Lorna.(Augus 4, 2015).Arnold Scaasi, American Designer and Confident First Ladies, Dies at 85. Retrievend from  https://wwd.com/fashion-news/designer-luxury/arnold-scaasi-dies-at-10196546/

(August 31, 2018). Arnold Scaasi. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arnold_Scaasi




Christmas Jewelry and Fashion History

Shiny green Christmas trees, perfectly unique snowflakes, jolly Santa faces, and button-nosed snowmen are among the most popular Christmas jewelry designs. Decorations for your clothing at Christmas time has been popular ever since the Victorian age but became very popular in the 1950s after Stanley Hagler created a business as a jewelry designer selling Christmas jewelry. The clothing décor became more complex and beautiful as time went on and other designers such as Larry Vrba, Trifari, and Eisenberg came out with Chirstmas jewelry as well. Everyone was wearing small Christmas trees adorned in little gems of green and red on their clothing. This post will explain the growing industry of Christmas Jewelry in the 1950s and what designers made the look famous. Where did we get red and green as the primary Christmas colors? Where did we get an idea of Christmas trees? Keep reading to find out!

Christmas Jewelry was stated in the Victorian era. The people of those days were known to decorate both their homes and their clothing rather extravagantly. Although the first known use of a Christmas tree was during the 1500s, the Victorian people were the first to make the Christmas tree famous. They thought bringing a large tree in your house, decorating it with fragile ornaments, and laying presents beneath I would be a good idea. Who knew it would become such a staple for the holiday?

But where did the idea of red and green come from? Well, the constant use of evergreen, holly, ivy, and mistletoe was frequent during the winter times. It was a way to brighten up the freezing winter wonderland that occurred every year. It was found that the Romans used to exchange evergreen during the winter time as a way to wish luck to someone. The Chinese culture sees it as a symbol for longevity and the Christian world sees it as a symbol for eternal life. And in the Egyptian culture, the color green is seen as a way to new life and regeneration. Overall, the color green was most likely adopted because of its popularity among evergreen, ivy, and mistletoe during the holidays. It is a way to celebrate the winter but also welcome the spring. Red on the other hand was a symbol of original sin coming from the red apples of the Paradise tree. Also, red holly berries were a symbol for Jesus Christ’s blood. So, this represents the fall of man and his salvation. Red was also the color of St. Nicholas, which influenced the modern Santa Claus’ red suit.

When Christmas jewelry became famous in the 1940s, the most famous design of all was the Christmas tree. It was mainly crafted with red and green rhinestones and gilt metal. They became both a way to express your Christmas joy as well as a way to showcase your style. The man who made the Christmas tree pin famous was Stanley Hagler. A once business advisor, he left his job with Miriam Haskell to start his own jewelry business on a whim. He was described as “Picasso” of jewelry. His work could be called colorful and maybe a little outrageous at times. His unique talent gained him the attention of many rich and famous at the time. Although he used faux pearls, he often strung them individually in order to showcase their beauty while many other designers clumped them together to hide any flaws. Hagler loved to combine both the modern style with an antique twist.  However, the thing that set Hagler’s jewelry above everyone else’s was that he created multipurpose designs. A clasp of a necklace could be used as a pin. his innovating thinking an use of good materials are what made him go far. He went on to create jeweled swimming flappers, wigs, and luggage.

Another designer famous for his Christmas tree pins was Larry Vrba. He was also employed at Miriam Haskell Jewelry in the 1970s, a while after Stanley Hagler. However, he quickly became an asset to the company. His work was bold and much like Hagler’s, slightly outrageous. One company, Trifari, was known for its more traditional pins. It was started by Gustavo Trifari in 1910 after entering from Italy onto Ellis Island in 1904. He originally started the company with his uncle, calling it “Trifari and Trifari”, but later broke away to only be known as “Trifari”. His tree pins were quite minimal at times, compared to the bold outlook of Vrba and Hagler.

Overall, Christmas buttons/jewelry has been used since the Victorian era for both fashion and showing the Christmas spirit. The people in this day and age were known for their excessive decorating of both their homes for Christmas and their clothing. They were the era to familiarize the popular practice of cutting down Christmas trees. We often see the colors red and green everywhere around Christmas time because of their origins. Green is from the popular evergreen, ivy, and mistletoes that are hung with care around the holiday season. They are a symbol of eternal life for Christians, longevivity in the Chinese Culture, and new life and regeneration in the Egyptian culture. Red is a symbol for the fall and salvation of man. St. Nicholas, which Santa Claus is based off, wore a red robe, also influencing the color red around the holidays. Designers like Stanley Hagler and Larry Vrba made Christmas jewelry popular again from the 1940s-1970s. They were most famous for the Christmas tree design, one of the staple traditions of the holiday season.


Dean, Tonya. (Why Red and Green? The History of Holiday Jewelry Colors). ThingsGrandmaKept. Accessed on November 26, 2018. Retrieved from https://thingsgrandmakept.com/holiday-jewelry-colors/


Thanksgving, Fashion, and Feathers

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Thanksgiving and fashion? Probably the stereotypical pilgrim’s outfit: black and white clothes with a big collar, gold buckles on shoes, belts with buckles, and hats. Well, this outfit is very much so an example of what they wear, however, their main everyday outfit consisted of a variety of colors. From violet waistcoats, blue aprons, and red petticoats to green gowns, green pants, and red caps, the Mayflower fashion was consisted of a plethora of colors.

A woman’s outfit started with the undergarment. It was an off-white linen short sleeve shirt they called a “shift”. It was ribbon-tied at the collar with cuffs at the front. Petticoats were also worn underneath the skirt, which was ankle length. The top consisted of the bodice and waistcoat with buttons all the way to the top as the final layer. If a woman worked, she wore an apron.

The typical man’s outfit consisted of a short sleeve linen shirt with a collar as the undergarment. The second layer was a “doublet”. A doublet had buttons down the front and usually contained padded shoulders. On the bottom half, men wore breeches. They were always rather baggy with buttons at the front and only extended to the knee. From the knee down, men wore wool stockings held up by garters. And sadly, they didn’t always wear buckles on their shoes. Their feet were protected by leather shoes or boots most of the time. Depending on the age of a man, they would either wear cloaks or full gowns to the ground. Younger men wore the cloaks while older men wore full gowns.

All children wore gowns until age 8, no matter male or female. As children grew up, they began to copy what their older figures would wear. Younger men wore what the adult man would wear, and younger women would wear what the adult women wore.
A second myth about the pilgrims was what they ate at the first thanksgiving. Without any understanding of the first thanksgiving, many would assume that hey ate turkey. However, that most likely did not happen. They at a bountiful meal of deer, seafood, nuts, bread, berries, vegetables, and porridges. However, it is very interesting to see the affect that birds that we may eat also be used for areas of fashion and home décor.

For a long period of time, people slept on feather pillows and mattresses. They served as a necessity for many people. However, what was once a food and then a necessity for sleep was also fashion statement.  Millinery became very popular in the 1800s. In the 14th and 15th centuries, hats used to only be for men. However, as time went on, the idea of hats became popular among women. It came to the point where it was inappropriate for a woman to go out of the house without wearing her hat and gloves. Hats became more complex with added accessories such as bows, frills, and feathers.  Unsurprisingly, the increasing demand for hats with feathers led to a decrease in the supply of birds available. By 1886, more than 50 species were endangered after many were slaughtered for feathers. One bird, the snowy egret, was in terrible danger of becoming extinct. Women used the bird’s feathers, wings, and sometimes the entire bird after it went through a taxidermy. This shows the extent to which people went for the sake of fashion. The wisp of the egret’s feathers in wintertime made them especially desirable among all milliners. In London, an average of 130,000 egrets were used for hat production in one month.

The Migrate Act was passed by congress on March 4, 1913 by Congress to end the market trade and interstate transport of birds. This act would not have passed if it weren’t for two women, Harriet Hemenway and Minna Hall. They were two Boston socialists in a fight to end the feathered hat era. In 1896, Hemenway read an article about the bird’s plume and its use for women and men’s hats. She was moved by the message it gave and contacted Boston’s social register, the Blue Book. With the help of her cousin, Hall, they were off to end the bird trade. Eventually, Hemenway and Hall gained the joined effort of 900 women to end it for once. She ended up forming the Massachusetts Audubon Society. Their society then spread to more than 12 other states to one day be popularly known as the National Audubon Society.


As Thanksgiving approaches, there are a lot of things to be thankful for. We can be thankful that the staple at thanksgiving, turkey, has not gone extinct from the plume trade. If it wasn’t for Harriet Hemenway and Minna Hale, we may have only have been apple to eat mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn, and pumpkin pie on the fourth Thursday of every November. It just wouldn’t be the same. The fashion of the Mayflower pilgrims in the 17th century not only gave us something to study, but their way of life and how they dressed created a new tradition for all Americans alike. Their fashion choices are now a symbol for the holiday, and the symbol will most likely continue for years to come.

Souder, William. “How Two Women Ended the Deadly Feather Trade”. Smithsonian.com. Accessed on November 19, 2018. Retreived from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/how-two-women-ended-the-deadly-feather-trade-23187277/
“Clothing”MayflowerHistory. Accessed on Novemeber 18, 2018. Retrieved from http://mayflowerhistory.com/clothing

The History Behind Animal Prints

Today’s post is all about animal print. It has been a staple in fashion since the early 1930s. However, before it became a fashion statement, it was a sign of power. Kings and Queens owned animal print rugs as a way to show social status, and hunters believed that the animal prints gave them the power of that animal. For example, wearing the skin of a cheetah would give them the speed of that cheetah. Even though people have decided it doesn’t give you power, fashion lovers continue to have a demand for animal print everything.

We began to see a rise in the demand for animal prints during the 1930s. One of the biggest movies at the time, Tarzan the Apeman, came out in 1932. MGM’s Johnny Weissmuller as “Tarzan”, and Maureen O’Sullivan as “Jane” wore animal print clothing. It caught the eye of the audience. For them, they saw it as adventurous, exciting, and attractive. Suddenly, manufacturers and designers came out with more and more animal print blouses, scarves, and coats than in previous decades.

Entering the 1940s, fur started to increase even more in demand after big names like Bettie Page, a model and one of the most famous pin-ups at the time, was featured in Jungle Bettie. Page dressed up in a leopard print mini dress creating an uproar for animal prints in the fashion world. The 1940s were also the early stages of the women’s movement. History was perhaps repeating itself by giving power and strength, in a sense, to the women who wore it. It created a fierce and rather risque look for many and gave a era of independence.

Then came the 1950s. A period of chic rather than risque. Christian Dior, a name still famous in 2018, opened up a whole new line all inspired by animal prints, more specifically leopard. His obsession of leopard came from Mitzah Bricard, his right hand woman. She was born in Paris, France on November 12, 1900 as Germaine Louise Neustadt. No one knew why she had changed her mind. However, she had married and divorced twice. After meeting Christian Dior, she became his personal consultant in a way. He mentioned, “Bricard is one of those people, increasingly rare, who make elegance their sole reason for being.” Dior relied on her for tips to improve outfits by adding accessories or taking pieces away. “From time to time, Madame bricard emerges from her hatboxes, sails in magnificently, gives one definitely adverse comment, condemns an unfortunate fabric with a look or suddenly plumps for a daring color.” Madame Bricards influence on Dior created a whole new era for animal print. It now became a statement piece for every woman. Beautiful yet chic. Bricard wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

The hippie movement of the 1960s created a whole new world for animal print. Prints were now exotic and “out there”. Unlike the chic and sophisticated look of the 1950s, the new style was geared towards “The concept to be wild and free, like an ‘easy rider’.”New colors were being introduced and limits were being tested.

With the 1970s came punk rock, and with punk rock came very interesting styles for animal print. Inspired by the pop hits of the 70s, animal print was taken back to the 1930s when it was used to seem more attractive and funky. Suddenly, animal print was everywhere. Jumpsuits, undergarments, shoes, and bell bottoms were all infused with the animal print style. Entering the 80s, there was an overwhelming amount of animal print, and it even came with more prints than ever before. In past decades, it was all about leopard and cheetah, especially in the days of Dior. However, zebra and snakeskin were now added. Full dresses, blouses, skirts, shoes, and more were making a statement. Today’s style of animal print is well-rounded. It takes inspiration from all the previous decades in order to make the print classy yet attractive.


Foreman, Katya. “The Muse: Mitzah Bricard.” Accessed on November 16, 2018. Retrieved from https://wwd.com/business-news/retail/the-muse-mitzah-bricard-505061/

Walker, Alexis. “A Brief History of Animal Prints.” Accessed on November 11, 2018. Retrieved from https://www.nowthatslingerie.com/bradoctor/blog/blog-updates/a-brief-history-of-animal-prints/2011/04/28














Gym Wear: The late 20th Century

We have already covered gym wear in the early 20th century, so today’s post is about gym wear starting in the 1960s. As a recap, sports/gym wear used to be for very few people in the 1860s-1900s. It was mainly for boxers or gymnasts. However, today we see gym wear becoming the everyday outfit for men and women alike. From full length dresses to yoga pants and sweatshirts, the everyday streetwear has changed quite drastically in the last century.

The 1960s and 1970s were a time of progression for the gym wear and sports fashion industry. This was the time in history that introduced us to the practice of yoga and jogging. In 1970 we began to see the rise of the track suit before it entered the bright/multicolored trend of the 1980s. However, by the end of the 1970s, the merging of street wear and gym wear began. Exercise had become a part of many people’s lives. The idea of a regular exercise routine became the mainstream thing to do. As the number of people attending regular workout/dance classes grew, the demand for sports clothes/gym wear increased as well.

As the 1980s began, synthetic materials were being used more often as a way to make comfortable, yet fashionable workout gear. The synthetic materials would be died various colors, especially bright colors, that the 1980s were famous for. As a demand for comfort increased, the 1980s released the newest trend. It was the “shell suit”. Basically, the shell suit was made of nylon. It was a combination of a lightweight zippered top, which came in with elastic at the waistline, and loose matching pants cuffed at the bottom.

The shell suit became popular among all age groups. At first, however, if was just for the people who actually participated in sports. However, it soon became very affordable and cheap for almost anyone to have one. This is another example of the everyday streetwear merging with the sports world. However, as it became overly mainstream for all age groups, the fashion industry began to create tighter clothing for gym-goers. Many people wanted to be able to show off their body as weightlifting and intense exercise became popular in the 1990s.

c. 1985. Black and white sweat pant suit with shoulder pads. By Norma Kalami

The 1980s were dominated by everything “big”. From big hair to bold colors to big shoulders, the 80’s were perhaps one of the most recognizable decades in the fashion industry. One of the top designers at the time, Norma Kamali, was inspired by the retro looks of the past. She brought back the shoulder pad trend. This was known as a “power suit” and was a symbol for more women entering the workforce. Kamali was inspired by many different events in her life. After graduating from the Fashion Institute of technology in the 1960s, many of her ideas were turned away from the Seventh Avenue company. After leaving her job, she traveled to Europe in search of their fashion trends. She returned to the United States only to open up her own boutique in 1968. She grew popularity and even taught herself how to make clothing.

After she was divorced in 1977 from her husband, Eddie, she once again came out with the “sleeping bag coat” inspired by the sleeping bag she slept in after her divorce. Also in the late 70’s, she had the idea of highwaisted bathing suits that were so popular in the 80’s as well as many revealing bikini’s. Eventually, Kamali introduced an entire collection made with sweat pant material. She influenced an entire decade when oversized sweatshirts and  yoga pants were a trend. Today, Kamali is accredited with being one of the most original designers to date as we still continue to see her fashion influence everywhere.

c. 2006 gym wear

As gym fashioned from the 1980s to the 1990s, the materials used

c. 1990-1999

transitioned, too. The once popular brightly-died synthetics of the 80’s were traded for aerodynamic Lycra, which was used in cycling shorts.

Today’s gym wear is much of “athleisure”.You are able to wear it to the gym, or you may see it everywhere on the street. Most common are leggings, sweatpants, and sweatshirts.

an example off modern “Athleisure” 2015














Whitley, Lauren. “Norma Kamali”.  lovetoknow. Accessed on November 14, 2018. Retrieved from https://fashion-history.lovetoknow.com/clothing-types-styles/sweatshirt

Weston, Pauline. “Fitness Fashion History After the 1960s” fashionera. Accessed on November 14, 2018. Retrieved from http://www.fashion-era.com/fitness_fashion_after_1960.htm#Sportswear%20Meets%20Mainstream%20Fashion