Saturday, May 10, 2014

Fashions That Should Have Stayed in Style

Fashions come and go with time - that's just the way it is. Some things can stay in fashion for decades while others come in and out of fashion in a season. The following are some fashions that I find interesting. One or two of them I still wear. Remember, all the pictures can be clicked on if you want to view them larger.

The first object of our discussion I think would be very handy. Have you ever found yourself on the way to church or the prom with your beautifully styled hair but the weather requires a hat? Of course that is out of the question, because there is not much worse than arriving with your hair smashed into disarray. But on the other hand, it's too cold and windy to go without. Enter in the calash.

Calashes were rumored to have started being worn by Georgianna, Duchess of Devonshire in 1765. Every now and then I'll see and elderly lady wearing a modern plastic version of a calash (I think they call them a rain bonnet), but they just don't have the same appeal as their historical counterparts. 

As you can see in the picture on the left, calashes were collapsable. Once out of the weather, they were quickly folded up and stored until needed again. I'm not really sure when or why they went out of style. It perhaps had something to do with their habit of catching gusts of wind. This definitely requires future investigation.

A muff of incredible size
Detail from 'Winter 1882'
The second item on our list is a muff. Muffs are made from a tube of fur, open on the ends for your hands, and often with some sort of lining on the inside. Occasionally the fur will be covered by fabric, but I think that leaving the fur uncovered is the more common way to make them. 

On the right is a cartoon of a muff. On the left is a much more practically sized muff.

My own muff (which I made from Butterick 5265) is very nice. It has a cotton lining on the inside, a layer of batting and an outside layer of dark brown faux fur. It is extremely warm, even, I dare say, warmer than mittens or gloves. I would love to try making one out of real fur sometime.

Chatelaines are the next item I will talk about. Before skirts had pockets (at least external ones), ladies didn't have anywhere to put all the handy little things they wanted to carry around with them. A chatelaine clips or pins onto your belt or waistband and have several clips from which to hang your accessories. The tops can range from relatively plain or ornate.

Chatelaines may hold such things as a pencil and tiny notebook, a thimble, thread and a needle, a watch, a perfume bottle, and keys, to name a few. What you carried on your chatelaine depended on who you were (a housekeeper would have different items than an upper-class lady) and if your chatelaine was used for decoration or function.

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That's all I have for you today. It's been a while since my last post, but hopefully now that summer is here I'll have more free time. I am greatly looking forward to Greenfield Village in two more weeks! I hope to see some of you there!