Saturday, July 31, 2010

First Lady Fashions

In June, I was asked to participate in a panel at the American Library Association Conference.
This is sort of a big deal in the Library world, and I was excited about being on the panel... and having the chance to visit Washington, D.C. again. With my friend and co-worker, Chapple... again. So back to the East coast, and of course --

It was stinkin' hot. Walking down the street and the sweat drips down your back hot. My hair curls all by itself hot. Well, that was one advantage, I never had to break out the curling iron.

Since I'd been in DC last year for the RWA Conference, (where I was named Librarian of the Year, just in case I need to remind you,) I decided to target a few things to see on this trip. Especially since when you're attending a conference, you don't always get to see as much as you'd like. There's that pesky conference thing always interfering with your free time.

So, I decided to visit the American History Museum, (part of the Smithsonian). After dropping my suitcases off at the hotel, I got directions and discovered I wouldn't even need to use my Metro card. The museum was just down the street.

I love museums as much as I love libraries, and if you know me -- that's saying a lot because I have BIG LOVE for libraries. When you give a former American History teacher a museum filled with very cool stuff from the history of these good old United States, I'm one happy camper.

And the very first exhibit I head toward is "Inauguration Gowns of the First Ladies" -- because if there's fashion, I want to be around it! This exhibit was pretty crowded, but if you moved along in the line, you had the chance to see a fashion history of the US.

This dress was worn my Mary Todd Lincoln, and everyone exclaimed over her tiny waist. Hello people -- women were tiny then and the wore CORSETS, rearranging their insides so their outside would be fashionable.

This Victorian beauty wanted her butt to look really big, so she wore a bustle. Of all the fashions throughout the ages, this is the one that really makes me shake my head. Maybe because the Victorians were all button-ed up from head to toe, this was their version of sexy.


This is Mamie Eisenhower's dress, and who knew she was such a hot number, wearing red and all? I love this fifties style, and I have a red dress I wear once in a while for costume events that's very similar to this.








Then there's our newest First Lady, who has changed the way we wear sweater sets and slim skirts. Michele Obama was one hot Mama is this gown dripping crystals.





There was one other dress in the museum that caught my eye. Many of you will recognize as being worn by a woman I consider the first lady of comedy. I actually remember the night Carol Burnett wore this dress as Scarlett O'Hara in what is a classic funny skit from her show.



I'll post about the fabulous machine room, (including STEAM machines - to the delight of my Steampunk lovin' heart) next week. So come on back and see some photos, including a machine actually designed by Tesla.

1 comment:

Stern Rake Studio said...

I can sympathize with you about the heat! In the 6 years I spent in N. Carolina, I never got use to the summers there. I'm sure the men's fashions back-in-the-day, where about as stifling. Great post on historical fashions!

Ted