Jul 15

Sizing in Women’s Clothing

The Dressing Room

The Dressing Room

In one store, you’re a size 10, in another, a size 12, and in yet another, a size 14, and all without gaining an ounce.   Or worse, you’re trying to deal with X-sized clothes.   A 3X can be anything from a 14 to a 32, depending on the manufacturer.   What’s a girl to do?

For cross-dressers and transgender women the problems don’t even stop there, because the mysteriously-sized clothes are cut for a shape that isn’t ours.   Our shoulders are too wide, our bottoms too small, and we fail to indent appropriately at the waist, which, of course, is higher than our own.   The sad fact is that the dress that looks great on the model is probably going to look awkward on you.

 So once again we ask, “What’s a girl to do?”

Clothing sizing is one of the great inconsistencies that women have to deal with, at least in the United States.   Genetic women have years of experience in dealing with this problem, and most of them have favorite brands whose sizing they understand from repeated buying.  Even so, guessing at sizing remains an ongoing game for most female shoppers, and most catalogs or online sites recognize that a customer may order the same item in two or three different sizes so they can see which one fits best.  Their return forms now include among the reasons for the return “Ordered Multiple Sizes”.

Check out this article on the Real Reason That Your Clothes Don’t Fit. and listen to Justine Leconte, a French fashion designer explain all.

Unfortunately, we here at Sister House can’t wave our wand and make this annoying problem go away, but we can help you to maneuver the sizing minefield by arming you with some essential information.

First of all, if you’re a total newbie and have no remote idea what an equivalent women’s size might be for you, get yourself a seamstress-style tape measure** (fabric or vinyl, not metal) and take your measurements.   If you can get someone to help you, the measures will be more exact, but we realize that’s not always possible, so just be as accurate as possible.   Be sure you measure over whatever body enhancers you usually use.   For example, if you usually wear a padded bra or breast forms, be sure you are wearing them when you measure.   Here are a few sites to show you how to take these measurement as precisely as possible.   (The hip measure won’t be very important to most TGs.) In the following video, only the first half deals with measuring.

For information on how to take more measurements than just the standard three, check this Wikihow article

Once you have these measurements, check out a generic clothing chart like the one here.   It will give you some approximate idea as to what size women’s clothing you might wear.   Notice the words “approximate” and “might”.    As we explained above, each manufacturer’s clothing will be a bit (or a lot) different, but this should get you into the ballpark.

Here’s an example of vanity sizing that aptly demonstrates the problem of sizing

(These charts are taken from Bedford Fair)

Misses Sizes-cWomens Sizes-c

Most sites for catalog stores have a few in-house brands whose sizes tend to be fairly consistent with each other, and these kinds of sites will almost always have sizing information clearly available.   For example, if you go to Woman Within and choose any dress,  you’ll see that there’s a pull-down menu to choose your size, but there’s also a sizing tab below that will tell you what the measurements are for those sizes.   Each catalog site will show the information differently, but if you look, it’s almost always there.

Unfortunately, on sites like Amazon that carry lots of different brands, finding specific size information can be more tricky.   The good news is that many of these sites are getting better and now have a Size Info link clearly visible, but you will still encounter too many instances of wanting to pull your hair in frustration.    Instead of messing up your hairdo, take a few deep breaths and think of something beautiful.   After all, wondering what size to order is part of being a woman.

Some sites are really good about having specific size charts that relate to their items. Her Room, for example, always has a link to the manufacturer’s size chart on each page. Her Room is another which is very good at giving you information, and additionally they have a section at the bottom of each page called Fitter’s Comments where one of their own in-house people takes additional measures of the item.  Nordstrom’s is quite good about linking to a chart for the specific designer.

Another good source of information about fit are the buyer’s reviews.   Scanning through them will show if there are repeated comments about tight sleeves or having to return the item for a larger or smaller size.   One single comment won’t tell you much because individuals are so very different in how they judge things, but if you see a pattern of comments about the same thing, it’s worth paying attention to.    ModCloth puts their own notation as to whether or not an item runs “true to size” (their sizing, which has a chart available in the left margin)  but often their buyers disagree with the assessment.

While all of the above advice is useful, it still won’t replace knowing what measurements a specific manufacturer cuts to, so we’ve collected sizing information for designers whose clothing we offer as well as hints for each store as to how best to find good sizing information on their sites. Do take the time to compare your measures to these charts when buying an unfamiliar brand.  It takes a few minutes extra, but it’s much faster and cheaper than having to return an item that doesn’t fit.

Sizing Information by Stores

Sizing Information by Brand or Designer

Sizing Information by Type of Clothing

Sizing Tips from Cross-dressers

Some General Tips on Sizing

Here’s to successful shopping!

***

This Clover “Shiro” tape measure is ideal for taking your measurements. It is accurately printed in both inches and centimeters and is perfect for measuring curved or flat surfaces. Metal ends keep the tape from fraying

Jul 14

Size Charts by Store

Click on the Store Name to see the appropriate size chart

Sizing Guidelines link is below the description.   It’s fairly generic and may not be precise for all brands carried.

AMAZON

There is usually a Sizing Info link directly to the right of the size selector, but sometimes it’s a chart for the specific brand and sometimes it’s generic.   When it’s generic, it clearly says so at the top, so that should encourage you to look a bit further.   Check in our Designers’ Size Chart section to see if we have a chart for the brand.

 AMERIMARK

(need to scroll down a bit)   There isn’t an obvious link on the pages to the size charts above, so keep this link handy.

AVENUE

Each product page has a Sizing Tab on it

 BLAIR’S

Each page has a Size Guide button directly to the right of the size selector.   If you scroll down a bit, though, you’ll get the same information, because each page has two tabs at the bottom for Reviews and Size Guide.

CATHERINE’S   (part of the Lane Bryant group)

(Size Chart has tabs at top for different kinds of clothing.  If you lose the link, which is easy to do, you can find it again at the bottom under the Shop Us section.)

Each page has a View Size Guide link immediately above the size selector area.

CHADWICK’S

Each page has a Size Chart link to the right of the pull-down size selector.

COSTUME CRAZE(Has a chart for each of their suppliers.)

Each page has a View Sizing Chart button by the size selector which will take you directly to the chart for that vendor.   If for some reason you don’t get where you want to be, you can find the vendor’s name by scrolling all the way down to the bottom of the product page where you will find a section called Product Details (right above the pictures of credit cards).   The first line gives the name of the vendor.    Just use the link above to find the chart for that vendor.

EBAYSome sellers provide great size information and others don’t, so if you don’t see the information you need, send them an inquiry.   Most sellers are fairly good about answering questions.

HALLOWEEN COSTUMESBeware!   There is a measurement chart on each page, but these measures are for the garment itself.   They are not body measures.   You need a couple inches of movement room, so be sure that you are smaller than the garment measures give.

HIPS AND CURVES

The sizing charts are here
JESSICA LONDON
Sizing Tab on each page – stays consistent.

KIYONNA

Has Size Chart link above the available sizes on each product page

LANE BRYANT

Each page has a View Size Guide link to the right of the size select

MODCLOTH

Each page has a Size Chart link above the size selection area.

MORO BRIDALMost pages give measurements as part of the sizes to select from.   Some pages also have a large link to their Size Chart just above the size selector.

SOFT SURROUNDINGS OUTLETEach page has a Size Chart button to the right and slightly above the size selector.

SWAK

Sizing Chart tab on each page.   Be sure and check it for each item, because the sizing changes from item to item.

SYDNEY’S CLOSET

Each page has a link to the Size Guide link above.   There are charts for the different brands they carry.

UNIQUE VINTAGEThere is no single size chart as they measure each item individually.   There is sizing information on each page, but it’s for that item only.   (Most measures are fairly similar, though.)

YANDY

Yandy does a great job of providing relevant size charts.   On each page there’s a Size Chart button just below the size and quantity selectors, and the chart that comes up will relate specifically to the item on that page.

.

 

Jul 14

Sizing By Brand or Designer

Click on the Brand or Designer to see the appropriate size chart

ADRIANNA POPELL

ALEX EVENINGS

ALYCE

ANNE KLEIN MISSY

ANNE KLEIN PLUS

BB DAKOTA

BCBG MAX AZRIA

CHAUS

DEPT

DKNY

DKNY PLUS: (“Jeans” is the design line, not the article of clothing)

DONNA MORGAN

ECHO      Hit the Size Chart button in the lower left corner

ELEMENT

HANKY PANKY

HORNY TOAD

JONES NEW YORK

KAMALIKULTURE

KAREN KANE

KUHL

LEVI’S JUNIOR

LEVI’S MISSES

LEVI’S PLUS

LILLY PULITZER     (be sure you hit the Ladies Button)

MICHAEL KORS

NANETTE LEPORE

NOT YOUR DAUGHTER’S JEANS   (Missy)

NOT YOUR DAUGHTER’S JEANS   (Plus)

QUEEN GRACE

RACHEL PALLY

TAHARI

TINA B

VINCE CAMUTO

 

 

Jul 10

Finding Your Feminine Side…..Then Knowing What To Do with Her

Finding Your Feminine Sideby Josett

Finding your feminine side is a lot easier as beauty consultant Josett coaches the transgender and crossdresser in make-up, fashion and the feminine lifestyle. I myself write fashion columns for the transgender community and found her advice practical and useful, particularly for the crossdresser with limited  public exposure. Her examples are all too real and demonstrate all too well that it is not easy to achieve a feminine appearance. And it’s not all about the clothes, but about comportment and confidence too. Josett talks about blending in, but some who are having that heady experience of the first time in public with a skirt on, it’s a pink fog; one that tends towards the ridiculous at times. When asking one client where she found her outfit, the response was ‘on a fashion show” Josett said, “Oh honey, you aren’t going to be walking the catwalk”.

I did disagree with her advice to go to the mall and watch the women. American women today have largely gone overboard with the casual look. Read that sloppy, with holes in jeans, too tight blouses, sweats and yes, even pajamas at the mall. Not a good example for any women that wants to be thought of as a smart dresser.

From not wearing men’s clothing, the wrong shoe, the right jewelry and other accessories, and most importantly, a good quality wig, Josett leads us through a plethora of options for clothes, make-up and mannerisms that will help us achieve just the right look for our body and personality. I certainly recommend this book to any beginning crossdresser and to probably a lot of women too that need to pay more attention to their looks. Basically a primer for the beginning crossdresser.

Sold by Amazon Bookstore, FINDING YOUR FEMININE SIDE..Then Knowing What To Do With Her

Jul 09

How To Wear A Hat

A hat is  likely the most under-used accessory a  woman can wear, and especially for crossdressers as it conceals a large head while adding distracting but beautiful elements to your face. And hats are most certainly the forgotten accessory as you can see in this post on TG Forum.  Hats range from the pillbox made famous by Jackie Kennedy to the large floppy hat ever popular today. And don’t forget those large fur hats that add elegance to your winter wear or bejeweled and feathery fascinators that add incredible interest to the women wearing them.

But where to start: your face shape. In this video, Marilyn Hellman talks about the five general face shapes and the types of hats that flatter those faces. Marilyn is the owner of Marilyn’s (Distinctive European Fashion Boutique) located in Naples, Florida. This video is a great “how to” tutorial on how to choose a fashionable hat to enhance your own individual beauty.

Today’s most popular hat is an oversized hat which is a great way to cover up in the sun (and look really chic.), but there are definite Dos and Don’ts for wearing a big hat.

Don’t Wear a Hat That’s Too Big.

hat

Charles Eshelman/Getty Images

Big hats may be the hottest look in fashion but that doesn’t mean that just any size will do: there is such a thing as having a hat that’s just entirely too big, like Donna Karan’s.

What we do love about Donna Karan’s look is that she wears her hat with complimentary neutrals for a finished head-to-toe look.

Do Wear an Oversized Hat in Proportion to Your BodyAudi At The Foundation Polo Challenge hat

While Nicollette Sheridan’s hat is definitely oversized, it still looks in balance with her body. She wisely chose a fitted dress that showed off her fit figure and kept the outfit neutral to make the hat stand out. She has the height and shoulder width to carry off the big hat without looking like the hat is wearing her.

"Life Happens" Special Screening hatDon’t Let the Big Hat Wear You.

Alice + Olivia designer Stacey Bendet wears a large red hat that overwhelms her look and makes her entire outfit look costume-y. While we love color in hats, the combination of scale and bright color (in addition to being worn with a print and matching red belt) just make it all too much look

Do Wear a Big Hat to Ground a Print. Hat -Seen Around Lincoln Center - Day 7 - Spring 2012 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

Rachel Zoe wears a wide-brimmed hat that fits her petite frame just fine; she also uses the oversized hat to ground a floral print hat. It works because the base colors of everything are monochromatic (black) so the effect is sleek.

hat - alice + olivia By Stacy Bendet Hosts The Preview Of The Kelly By Kelly Killoren Bensimon Jewelry CollectionDon’t Overdo Your Outfit with Big Hat.

Polka dot shoes, sheer skirt and major necklaces? Each one of these elements are intense enough on their own, but combined with the floppy hat they are just too busy on designer Stacey Bendet.

Do Wear a Floppy Hat with a Simple OutfitProject Ocean Launch Party hat

Skip the maxi dresses, frills and piles of accessories with the floppy hat and go for a cleaner look like Tali Lennox does with her short wrap dress and floppy hat. Remember that the floppy hat itself makes a big statement, so don’t overdo the rest of the look.

The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences Tribute To Sophia Loren and hatDon’t Be Too Matchy-Matchy with Big Hat.

White go-go boots, white fur, white dress AND a big white hat? Too matchy-matchy (and not in a good way) for Linda Ramone. While head-to-toe black can work with a big hat, almost every other color looks like too much of a good thing when you add a matching hat. If you like a tonal look, try mixing different hues of the same color together, like different shades of brown (chocolate, taupe and cream).

Do Wear a Casual Floppy Hat. Charlotte Ronson & Sephora New York Dinner hat

Skinny jeans, casual tee or sweater and a floppy hat: one of our favorite looks for hat wearers. Dani Stahl keeps the groovy floppy hat casual with her jeans look. Skinny jeans also look great tucked into tall boots and paired with a floppy brimmed hat.

Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic-VIP Marquee hatDon’t Dress Like a Witch.

A floppy brimmed black hat with all black clothing (especially a long black skirt?) It borders on a witch-like look for fashion designer Catherine Malandrino. Big floppy hats are a fashion statement all their own and work best with clean-lined simple clothing. We would’ve loved the big black hat with simple skinny jeans and a black shirt.

Do Go Ladylike with a Big Hat.

The big floppy hat is a great casual look, but the more structured styles can also look amazingly ladylike, like Evan Rachel Woods’s big hat. Complete your ladylike big hat look by pairing it with something distinctly feminine like a bowed blouse.

Here are some more tips on wearing a big hat stylishly, although ignore any advice on keeping it black. Follow the examples here and check out our Pinterest board on Hats Make The Difference.

Reprinted from About.com/Cynthia Nellis

Jul 09

A Short History of Women’s Hats

Hats have been around for a very long time. It is impossible to say when the first animal skin was pulled over a head as protection against the elements and although this was not a hat in the true sense, it was realized that covering your head could sometimes be an advantage.

Phrygian cap and hats

Phrygian cap

One of the first hats to be depicted was found in a tomb painting at Thebes and shows a man wearing a coolie-style straw hat. Other early hats include the Pileus, which was a simple skull cap, the Phrygian cap, which became identified later as the ‘liberty cap’ given to slaves in Greece and Rome when they were made free men, and the Pestasos which comes from ancient Greece and is the first known hat with a brim.

Although women from an early stage were always expected to have their heads covered by veils, kerchiefs, hoods, caps and wimples, it was not until the end of the 16th century that women’s structured hats, based on those of male courtiers began to be seen.

It was in the late seventeenth century that women’s headgear began to emerge in its own right and not be influenced by men’s hat fashions. The word ‘milliner’,   A maker of women’s hats,  was first recorded in 1529 when the term referred to the products for which Milan and the northern Italian regions were well known, i.e. ribbons, gloves and straws. The haberdashers who imported these highly popular straws were called ‘Millaners’ from which the word was eventually derived.By the mid 1800’s Swiss and Italian straws, together with imitation straws made from paper, cardboard, grass and horsehair were available to women, along with the introduction of velvet and tulle.

Woman's Bonnet and hats

Woman’s Bonnet

During the first half of the nineteenth century the bonnet dominated women’s fashion, becoming very large with many ribbons, flowers, feathers and gauze trims giving an appearance of even greater size. By the end of the century, although bonnets were still prevalent, many other styles were to be found, including wide brims with flat crowns, the flower pot and the toque – feathers and veils abounded.

Although early in the 1900’s most hats were enormous and adorned with flowers, feathers, ribbons and tulle, by the mid 1920’s women’s hair had become much shorter with the shingle cut and the cloche, which hugged the head like a helmet with a very small brim, had come into fashion. Now, after World War 1, there was suddenly such a proliferation of styles and materials that many women had to rely on the advice of milliners.

From the 1930’s to the 1950’s it could be said that New York, with its many European immigrants had become the world’s leading millinery city, with department stores such as Sacs Fifth Avenue, Henri Bendel and Bergdorf Goodman leading the way with their own millinery workrooms.
During the 1930’s and 40’s the tendency was for hats to have higher crowns with smaller brims and once it was War-Time again, it was mainly the trims which were changed with women making do with turbans made from pre-war materials.

By the 1950’s the arrival of ready-to-wear clothes was robbing the milliners of their crucial part in the world of fashion. Equally during the War many women, who had not previously worked, found themselves employed and were then loathed to lose their new-found freedom and independence. This new situation meant, however, that they no longer had so much time or energy to spend on being fashionable.

 

Diana, Princess of Wales hats

Diana, Princess of Wales

In the 1960’s the hat was once again overtaken by wigs and hairdressers, who colored, back-combed and sprayed women’s hair into exotic ‘sculptures’. Both men and women also realized that they could dress less formally and the hat was inevitably a temporary casualty. However, in the 1980’s and 90’s there has been a revival of interest in women’s millinery. This was instigated, to a large extent, by public figures such as the late Princess of Wales’s enthusiasm for wearing hats. Many new hat designers have emerged because of this, and therefore has made the 90’s a very innovative and diverse period for hats.

Since their invention, hats have come and gone as status symbols, uniforms and fashion statements as well as being functional sports and protective headgear.

There are still, and presumably always will be, two basic styles – brimmed and brimless – and two basic forms – caps and hats. Milliners take these shapes and with the aid of many trims and details, create a never-ending range of hats for men and women.

Let’s then take a quick at the variety of hats, caps and bonnets from the victorian era to the present century. Check out this timeline from 1400 to present and then the video below.

Then Justne Leconte tells us about 22 common types of hats worn by men and women

In America, there were no greater curators of women’s headwear than the hat ladies of Charleston

This is followed by some unusual if not distinctive hats and two how to wear videos, the first on dressy hats and the second on casual hats. I hope you enjoy them.

How to Wear a Casual Women’s Hat

How to Wear a Dressy Women’s Hat

If we haven’t overwhelmed you yet with our version of hatorama, then you can read the long history to your heart’s content on Wikipedia.

Reprinted from Hatsuk.com

 

 

Jul 08

Reconsidering the Corset

This interview conducted by Jessica Jernigan with Valerie Steele (PH.D, Yale and  Director and Chief Curator of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology), an author of many books on fashion is perhaps the best overview of the corset that I have read. At the end of this article, I’ll list other references that you can read for more information on the use of the corset over past decades. but for now, enjoy the interview.

1890 corsetIn the world of women’s undergarments, only the chastity belt excites more passion than the corset. The corset has had its champions and its detractors for as long as it has existed, but, over the past couple hundred years, it has attained a unique power as an icon. For dress reformers of the 19th century, the corset was the epitome of female vanity and enslavement, and it remains a potent symbol of historic oppression. We’ve all seen drawings of Victorian ladies cut in half to reveal bones deformed and organs misplaced by a lifetime of corset wearing. The feminist response to the corset was pretty well established early in the last century, and it has persisted with little modification up to the present.Of course, moral repudiation of the corset made it a potent fetish object, and uniform feminists’ disdain makes the corset an obvious plaything for their postfeminist sisters. These dichotomies not only enhance the allure of the corset, but they also suggest that it may hold a multiplicity of meanings and experiences.

This more open view informs Valerie Steele’s fascinating and unorthodox The Corset: A Cultural History. In this wonderfully illustrated and even-handed book, Steele—chief curator and acting director of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology—presents findings from more than two decades of research and consideration. Her view of the corset and its role in women’s lives is fresh, intriguing, and highly provocative.


 

Interview: What drew you to the corset as an object of study? Valerie Steele: Well, it was actually the corset that first turned me on to the history of fashion. I was in graduate school at Yale, my first term there—it would have been ’78. A classmate of mine gave a presentation on two scholarly articles, both offering different theories on the meaning of the Victorian corset. That was so inspiring. I realized, “Oh my God, I could do the history of fashion.” So that was a major turning point in my intellectual life.
Your vision of the corset’s history is much more complex than the standard feminist view, and I found it quite compelling. Why do you think the prevailing interpretation is so simplistic?

VS: Well, first, fashion in general tends to be demonized. I wrote an article once called “Why People Hate Fashion.” It was a history of anti-fashion sentiment, its evolution from biblical polemics—that it was all about vanity and feminine evil—to modern Anglo-American feminist and leftist ideas that it’s part of the oppression of women, or capitalist oppression and false consciousness. Hostility toward the corset is one particularly vehement expression of hostility toward fashion in general.

Do continental feminists have different views on fashion?

VS: Oh, yes. In Britain and America, Protestant, middleclass culture—shaped, in part, by Puritanism—has always said that fashion, by its very nature, is elitist and duplicitous, that clothing should be simple and utilitarian, a mirror of the individual’s true self. Historically, fashion has been vilified—like theater and art—as something false. Whereas in Catholic Europe—in France, in Italy—and in Russian Orthodox culture, it’s much more accepted that fashion is a mask. Fashion is part of a persona that you put on and present to the world—something like what the Italians call an la bella figura, when you’re obviously trying to put your best foot forward. The fact that clothing may exaggerate how beautiful, how rich, we are, that it might lie—it’s just one aspect in the construction a public self.

That’s interesting, because one of my problems with the anti-fashion perspective is that, when you argue that fashion is a patriarchal or capitalist trap, you are also arguing that any interest in fashion is either stupid or totally passive. There is no room for self-expression, nor does this view encompass every woman’s experience of fashion—it doesn’t allow for nuance and diversity. As you demonstrate in your book, there was no single corset, nor was there one consistent experience of the corset.

VS: Right. Corsets varied tremendously. Some really are much more comfortable than others—not just in terms of size, but in terms of design. Women had different kinds of corsets for different activities, different times of day. Even a single corset could be worn a variety of ways—laced tightly, laced loosely, not laced at all.

And attitudes about the corset have been ambiguous, not just for or against. For example, even in Victorian society—where the corset was a critical part of the proper woman’s attire—extreme tight-lacing was generally taboo. A 13-inch waist was never the norm. One of the things I find most fascinating in your book is the suggestion that historians have frequently taken fantasy as fact when looking at the corset, which is why we have such phantasmagoric images of what it was like to wear a corset.

VS: Oh, yes. It’s quite remarkable—the naive acceptance of fascist fantasies and specious medical theories as reliable historical records.

I mean, reading excerpts from The English Woman’s Domestic Magazine—stories of sadistic boarding schools, of hot dominatrix-types binding up bad boys and girls in tight corsets, of young men and women tutored in erotic submission—was not altogether unlike reading Penthouse Letters.

VS: If you read one of two, you might think these letters are about real oppression. But, if you read a dozen—or hundreds the way I have—it’s quite clear these letters are pornographic fantasy, not factual testimony.

And how much can we expect other forms of representation to be factual? Were Victorian fashion magazines necessarily more representative of the average woman’s dress than current fashion magazines?

VS: Right, exactly. When I taught, I would ask my students, “You wouldn’t believe everything you see in Vogue or in National Inquirer. Why should you believe it from a magazine from a hundred years ago?”

And then there are the claims about the corset’s effect on female health… Again, some of the medical texts you present in your book might be compelling in total isolation, but, if you look at some of these claims in the context of more general ideas about physiology presented at the same time, these statements look like pure quackery.

VS: Exactly. No reputable historian would accept the idea that educating a woman sucks all the blood from her uterus, or that masturbation causes insanity. But many historians are totally credulous when it comes to fashion.

I would have thought that sirens would go off in the head of any feminist historian who comes across the word “hysteria.” I mean, a doctor writing about the pathology of the wandering womb is not an altogether reliable source of medical knowledge.

VS: It’s so weird. There’s another book about the corset that just came out: Bound to Please by Leigh Summers. I quote from her Ph.D. dissertation in my book… Anyway, she talks about hysteria as if it’s a real disease! [Laughing.] Prolapsed uterus—yes, that is an actual medical condition, but hysteria is a much more complicated intellectual construct.

Leigh Summers’s reaction to your claim that a lot of Victorian corset material is fetish literature—not a reflection of general experience—is rather interesting…

VS: She doesn’t care! How can one base an argument on material that one knows to be false?

I think her explanation is that, even if these scenes are fantasy, they can tell us a great deal about the society in which such fantasy exists. I agree with that, but I don’t see how it makes fact and fantasy interchangeable. I mean, let’s look at another 19th-century artifact: If we accept Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe as the norm, then French ladies were all eating lunch naked. It’s very curious.

VS: It’s very curious. And I think it suggests another reason why the corset is so demonized. In the 20th century—and now the 21st—there has been a propensity to patronize and look down on people in the Victorian era as stupid and un-liberated. The corset is paradigmatic of Victorian ignorance.

That’s so anthropologically unsound!

VS: Of course. But historians feel perfectly free to patronize the women of the past.

That’s interesting. Your discussion of the history of the corset reminded me of Kathy Peiss’s history of cosmetics. Her view, like yours, is much more complex than the standard vision of makeup as a tool of oppression. Peiss found, for example, that a lot of women embraced cosmetics as a means of democratizing beauty—an asset once available only to the aristocracy. Have there been women who felt empowered by the ability to shape their own bodies?

VS: I think there’s some evidence of that. But—as I try to make clear in my book—attitudes varied a lot. For everyone, who experience the corset as an attack on her body, there will be another woman who embraced the corset as a means to reshape herself.

The corset had class implications, as well.

VS: Of course. For a long time, many people believed that upper-class people were really—biologically, inherently, almost racially—different from the lower classes. The fact that a working woman could recreate the upper-class ideal of the perfect figure with a homemade corset challenged that idea.

You also quote women who, rather than feeling liberated by the “corsetless” fashions of the early 20th century, found them to be quite trying on the average figure.

VS: Right. The idea of the perfect figure doesn’t go away when the corset disappears. Rather, it’s been internalized. As clothes became more revealing and less structured, women lost the ability to push their fat around. Instead, women have been forced into a disciplinary regime of dieting and exercise.

Debates about corsets have been going on—

VS: Since the 16th century, really. Since the minute the corset appeared.

To what degree were most women affected by—or even aware of—the medical and philosophical arguments about corsets?

VS: Oh, by the middle of the 19th century, that kind of information was very wide spread. Medical attacks on the corset had been popularized to the extent that the average middle- or even working-class woman would certainly know that many doctors opposed corsets on health grounds. Whether they acted on it would be something else.

Given the history of antipathy to the corset, how has it persisted?

VS: Well, in terms of medical arguments, there were doctors who felt that corsets were unhealthy, but there were also doctors who believed that the body—particularly the young or female body—required support. Women were aware of both these views, and they were able to question and assess them. Some women asked, “Why do our daughters’ bodies need more support than our sons’ bodies?” Other women said, “If the corset is unhealthy, doctors should devise a more healthy corset.” Thinking about the corset has been complex, attitudes have been complex, and that complexity has helped it to survive.

Do you think that the corset will ever disappear altogether?

VS: I would say no. For one thing, when it reentered fashion as outerwear in the 1980s, it became a sexualizing garment. Like the high-heel shoe, it will be in and out of fashion, but it will always remain a sexy accessory. And, in a sense, the fact that it’s no longer a mandated part of the wardrobe gives it greater potential for longevity.

It’s hard to rebel against the optional.

VS: Right. And the corset persists in other forms. I do feel it has been internalized in the form of diet and exercise, and I don’t think that will ever go away. Also, people have generally misinterpreted the function of the corset: For the average woman, it was more a bust support and a bust enhancer than a waist cincher. The historical evidence for this is overwhelming. So, of course, the corset survives in the bra.

Then, indeed, the corset will not disappear in my lifetime. I have been nude in public, but I have not appeared dressed and braless since the 6th grade, and I can imagine no set of circumstances in which I would willingly forgo the brassiere. I would be a sad, pale imitation of myself without it. End of Interview.

The Modern Corset

So you can expect the corset to be around for a while. An accessory it may be, but for some it has sex appeal and for others, it helps to shape the body to achieve that hourglass effect. As Dr. Steele said, it was used to push the body fat around. Modern versions of the corset worn as an outer garment are even seen as a fashion statement. The corset has  shaped and defined women’s lives and Sabrina Wong tells us how in this brief video.

Well there is still much to learn. This article on EBay talks to the different types of corsets, their shapes, which corsets are best for each body type, the different purposes of corsets and how to choose the right one for you considering both color and material.

Well now at least you have some idea what corsets are all about, so next we learn what you need to know when buying a corset.

 

Lacing a corset

Lacing a corset

Now you have this wondrous garment, but the hard part is yet to come. Lacing that corset up is no small feat of determination, but we found some tips and tricks that might help you. Check out these videos below and see if they don’t give you a bit more confidence. Still, it good to have someone help you. I want to see the look on your wife’s face when you ask her for help.

Corset self lacing and measuring

Self-lacing example (inverted bunny ears)

Shape of your Corset Gap – What Does It Mean?

 

 

Jul 07

The History, Manufacture, and Wearing of Hosiery

We all love hosiery, all kinds of nylon stockings, pantyhose and thigh highs. Here’s a little information about the history and manufacture of stockings followed by some tips on putting on and wearing hosiery.

Stockings: From Ancient Greece to Modern America

Stockings which are also known as hosiery, or hose, and popularly as “Nylons”, are coverings for legs and feet.

Early references to hosiery go back to the ancient Greeks. Workmen and slaves wore hosiery in ancient times, and Roman women wore a short sock (called a soccus) in their homes. Silk or cotton socks were also worn in Japan and China for centuries.

Socks evolved into stockings in 12th century Europe. Breeches worn by men became close fitting, reaching from the waist to the foot like modern tights. Women wore stockings held up at the knee by garters.

Charles IX of France wearing padded hose

Charles IX of France wearing padded hose

After 1545 knitted stockings came into fashion, their seams were often ornamented by elaborate silk patterns, or “clocks”. This term is still in use today as “fancy feet” the decorative seam treatments that were popular during the late 40’s and early 50’s.

William Lee, an English clergyman, made the first knitting machine in 1589.Silk and cotton were the popular fibers of the era. Silk of course was the choice of royalty as the discovery of the New World opened up trade in this rare and luxurious fiber.

There were many different ways to wear stockings. Silk stockings were sometimes worn several pairs at a time in cold weather. In the 17th century when large boots were in fashion, linen “boot hose” were worn to protect the silk stockings underneath. They had wide lace tops, which were turned over the boots. Men continued to wear silk stockings with garters until the end of the 18th century, but long trousers begin to appear and socks have been worn underneath ever since.

In the 19th century machine-made cotton stockings became available for women. After World War I

(1914-1918) short skirts were fashionable and long silk stockings were worn again, once again, proving that fashion and skirt length determine hosiery fashion! With the discovery and ultimate use of Dupont Nylon in the late 30’s and early 40’s, the primacy of silk in women’s hosiery waned. Silk was ultimately replaced by nylon after the war. But it was not without challenges from other man made fibers such as Rayon,Bamberg, and Vilene.
history19
Nylon stockings which became popular after World War II (1939-1945) and completely replaced the silk stocking usually had seams until the late 1960’s. They were knitted flat and “fully fashioned” which means that they were shaped to fit the leg like modern sweaters. By decreasing the number of stitches as the stocking was knit towards the ankle, a garment was created that was “knit to fit”.

By the early sixties, “fully fashioned” or seamed stockings were rapidly replaced by modern reinforced heel and toe (RHT) seamless stockings. Seamless stockings are made on a circular knitting machines and are shaped by tightening the stitches. Hosiery is often described as being of a particular “denier”, which means the thickness of the yarn. The gauge describes the number of stitches in a row. So, the lower the denier number, the sheerer the stockings, as long as they are pure nylon. If stockings or pantyhose have Lycra added for stretch, that isn’t always true.

Rita Hayworth wearing nylons

Rita Hayworth wearing nylons

In the 1960’s when skirts were worn very short, many women began to wear tights (pantyhose) instead of stockings. To show, “a bit of stocking”, was no longer accepted and while stockings fought for market share by becoming extremely long, they became nearly extinct as pantyhose gained in popularity.

Thankfully stockings have become fashionable again, and can be seen in fashion magazines and runway shows.

The Process: Making Stockings

Words to Know:

Denier
This is an measurement for knitting yarn which equals 5 centigrams per meter of yarn. The weight of the denier is obtained by weighing 450 meters of thread of nylon, silk or rayon. If 450 meters weighs 5 grams, the thread is called a 100 denier thread. The base of 450 meters being the standard measure, the weight of the thread will determine its caliber. The lighter the thread (the less number of deniers) the finer the weave. A 15 denier yarn is twice as fine as 30 denier yarn. The most popular denier for day/evening is still 15 denier, 30 denier has been popularized as “business sheer”, 70d as “service sheer”. “ultra sheer” or “evening dress sheer” stockings can be 15d, 12d or 10d. The sheerest practical denier is 8d, which is so wispy sheer that it literally disappears on the leg!

Gauge
There is much confusion about the meaning of “gauge” in the determination of stocking quality and sheerness. Gauge is an English unit of measure. It is a characteristic of rectilinear knitting machines. It corresponds to the number of needles in a 38-millimeter section of the knitting bed, circular or flat. A 60 gauge knitting machine has 60 needles to a 38 mm section. It is obvious that, the more needles you have in this standard invariable 38 mm section, the finer the needles must be, and the tighter the weave. The monofilament or flat pure nylon thread of 15 deniers was the thread most widely used in the knitting of fine stockings.

The two most common gauges in fully-fashioned knitting were 51g and 60g. 60 gauge stockings have smoother, denser look and feel and are highly prized! 51 gauge stockings were easier to knit as the machines had fewer needles and ran more efficiently than the 60 gauge. These stockings were still highly desirable, but were slightly less expensive, and used for “fashion” and popular priced stockings.

The Process

Hosiery Knitting Machine

Hosiery Knitting Machine

Full-fashioned (traditional seamed stockings) stockings are knitted flat, then fashioned, or shaped by mechanical manipulation by programmed chains that articulated cams to drop needles from the knitting process creating the famous “fashioning marks” on the backs of the stocking. (The little V’s on the back near the seams are created when a stitch is cast off, just like in hand knitting a sweater) The stockings are then joined at the back on a looping machine by hand, creating the seam up the back. The actual knitting is done on a flat knitting machine first developed in Loughborough, Leicestershire, England by William Cotton in 1864.

The stocking is started at the top with the welt, with an extra-thick section for gartering. Reducing the number of needles at the ankle, then adding needles at the heel, and again reducing the number through the foot shape to the fabric.

The modern fully-fashioned machine was made from 1940-1960 by Reading Machinery Company in Reading, Pennsylvania, who stopped production of the machines in the early 1960’s. In the years ’59 and early 60’s you could purchase one of the later models, which they called the R100, but, you had to order four of them. The cost was a little over $750,000 each for this special order.

The length of the machine is about 45 feet long, and it could make 30 stockings concurrently. The company started out in its early days making a single section which made one stocking. Soon after machines added length, to make 15 (half section machines) stockings, and then went to full section machines (thirty stockings).

Tragically, there are fewer than ten working machines in the world today! We know of many inactive machines, however, the skilled technicians required to program the timing chains and maintain the machines have long gone.

What about the needles?

A 60 gauge machine with a full head of needles has about 600 needles per head. Since 600 x 30 heads comes to 18,000 needles, knitting this ultra luxury produced became an incredible challenge. These needles cost approximately five cents each. That means it can cost up to $9,000 in needles alone!

Lanolizing
This is a natural chemical process added to the dye bath to improve the look, feel, and wear of the stocking. Lanolin is a natural substance found in the animal fat of sheep that is used in soap and hair conditioner products. Manufacturers used different degrees of lanolin application to their hosiery. The most famous was “Albert’s”. Their stockings were called, “Velvetized”, and contained a heavy lanoline treatment. Albert’s stockings are highly prized for their high sheen and velvet touch. Hanes and others also used this process effectively.

Modern stockings use silicon to achieve the same effect. Because the lanolin has adverse effects on the Lycra that is knit into almost all modern hosiery lanolin is rarely used in modern hosiery.

Temperature Control

51 gauge machines are not as fussy as the 60 gauge machines. They will run cold or hot. The tolerances are not nearly as precise as the 60 gauge. 60 gauge machines have more needles at a closer tolerance than the 51 gauge machines. A closer tolerance on the set up, or gauging must be kept to maintain manufacturing tolerances. Factories must maintain the temperature (summer and winter) within 4 degrees, 74 to 78 degrees. Very difficult! When it gets below 74, the machines won’t knit properly, over 78 and the same problem occurs. You may have 5 or 6 good stockings out of 30. The others are unusable!

Every pattern is on a continual chain of 120 feet and about 8″ wide which has studs pressed into the links. These studs tell the machine what it should do, so every design needs a new stud pattern, which is a hugely complicated operation.

After manufacture each stocking is seamed, one at a time. People often ask why there is a hole at the top of the seam. This is called the ‘finishing loop’, or “key hole back”, which cannot be eliminated as the seaming machinist has to finish the seam turning the stocking top, otherwise known as the welt, inside out.

Every stocking is manufactured white, or “in the greige”, and must be piece dyed, as a finished garment to the desired color. They must then be “boarded”, a process where each stocking is pulled over a flat metal leg form, and heat set with steam. This tightens the knit, defines the leg shape correctly and removes creases. Thereafter each stocking is checked for size to ensure that pairs match. Quality control for faults, large and small, can result in a loss of a third of production.

Circular Knit Stockings

Modern stockings and pantyhose are knit on circular machines eliminating need for the back seam. Circular knit stockings originally were made with reinforced heel and toes, this was accomplished by using a “reticulating heel” machine, also made by Reading. This machine actually knit the heel pocket into the stockings using a devise that knit the foot first, then the heel pocket and finally the leg and welt. This created the “V” in the heel that we all know and love.

During the early years of circular knit stockings, the heels and toes were reinforced similarly to the original full fashioned stockings, this gave the consumer the assurance that sharp nails or rough shoes would not cause the stockings to run. Later stockings were knit with different types of reinforcements on the toes and heels, eventually all reinforcements we discontinued!

Stockings reinforcements evolved from standard circular toes to tear drop toes, a toe that was seamed under the foot and looked like a teardrop, Demi-toes, a very dressy look with a 1/2 toe reinforcement, and finally to sandal foot with a nude toe for sandals. Heels also evolved from fully reinforced heels to the scalloped heel, and eventually, to evolve finally to the nude heel, and again to the fully nude, sandal foot stocking.

What about the different types of knits?

Regular flat knit: This is the original knit made on all stockings until 1945. It is a smooth stitch that is silky and soft to the touch. It has a wonderful shine and is the premier knitting technique of the era.

Kant run: This knit was developed to help prevent runs in the stockings. It is a lock-stitch and has a slightly rougher texture.

Micromesh: This stitch was developed to create a matte finish on the stocking that was very popular during the 60’s. It is soft and smooth, but not as silky as regular flat knit.

Pebble mesh: A very rough knit to prevent runs used in teen and utilitarian stockings.

Textures: Patterned stockings. Diamonds, herringbones, and waves were the most popular. These styles were very popular during the 60’s. Hosiery companies began to buy modern knitting machines which had infinite knitting possibilities that allowed enormous variations.

Modern Stockings

HosieryAs modern knitting techniques improved and the machinery became more expensive and complicated, stockings evolved through several phases.

Modern machines knit tubes that are boarded, or “heat set” to the shape of the leg; the heel pocket was no longer knit-in as in the 50’s. To improve fit, the yarn companies came up with several “improvements” that would forever change the future of classic hosiery.

The first was the stretch stocking, actually a crimped yarn that was knit and packaged unboarded in a limited size range that conformed to the leg when worn. Popular brands were, Cling-Along, Agilon, and Cantrece. The ultimate fit solution that effects the stockings made today, is to add Lycra, another Dupont invention that creates an elasticized stretch stocking that clings to the leg to the knitting yarn. This is used in almost all modern stockings and pantyhose. The effect is to create a support stocking effect. This type of stocking is not as sheer as the flat knit version of these stockings. Different types of stockings, tights and pantyhose

Pantyhose: Stockings worn till the waist that covers the feet as well. Opaque stockings and Opaque Tights: These stockings are made of a heavier yarn that gives an opaque appearance on the leg

Sheer Stockings: Now back in current style by Kate Middleton, these are skin-hued and give a nude appearance. We think its great that they are back Ankle-length leggings: These come in pantyhose styles but end at the ankle.

Thigh highs: Stockings that end mid-thigh and stay up on their own Sandal toe: These have a nude toe so you can wear them with open front or backed shoes. Fishnets: Stockings that have a wide open knit like a fishnet.

Open-toes: These stockings stop at the toe base with a fabric piece extended to reach between the first and second toes so that you can wear them with open toe shoes

Trompe l’oeil: French terminology for ‘trick the eye’ and they have the illusion of lace or a suspender belt or a floral embellishment.

Seamed: Stockings with a fake seam at the back.

What is denier count? Stockings and pantyhose come in various fabrics such as pure nylon, nylon/lycra blends, polyester, viscose, wool mix, lace, etc. But to know its level of transparency, the denier count is important. Denier is a French term which is a calculation of the thickness of the thread. A stocking with a 10-20 denier has transparency aspects. While a stocking knitted with a higher denier i.e. 20 or more, will be less sheer and usually more durable. 40 denier stockings or tights are opaque./span>

The Wearing of Hosiery

One of the drawbacks to living in the tropics is that it’s not realistic to wear hose due to the intense heat and humidity. That’s quite unfortunate because I love the look and feel of sheer nylons. That pantyhose has fallen out of favor in recent years and is now only worn for dress-up or special occasions seems to be the rule of thumb.

However, not all women feel this way. Kate Evans-Correia., in her blog, Kate in the Middle, talking about why she still wears pantyhose says this: “The look of a leg in a stocking is smooth, sleek, and, yes, sexy (or, at least, sexier than the look of a unstockinged leg that is goosebumpy, unevenly toned, perhaps stubbled, or veined–sorry, if that’s harsh, have to be realistic here, and that goes for a woman at ANY age!)”

Stockings, Thigh Highs & Lingerie Size and Fit Help

Just a reminder, all products have individual size charts, you can find each product size chart directly in each product. All items fit differently so for the best results please use the size charts found in each product description. If you need help with sizing please contact us so we can assist you with your selection. We will make every effort to recommend the correct size based on information you provide.

Here are some helpful fitting tips for getting the correct stocking, thigh high and lingerie items:

-100% Nylon items tend to run long, if you are in between sizes choose one size down unless your legs are fuller as they don’t stretch

-Items made of a Nylon/Lycra blend tend to run smaller, so it might be best to choose a size larger

-When purchasing thigh highs first use the weight chart, if you are still in between sizes then use the height chart

-Thigh highs tend to run on the smaller side so if you are on the border, select a size higher

-Waist cinchers/ Shapewear items tend to run small, if you do not want these items to have a shaping effect please select a size up

Below is a standard hosiery size chart that you will find on the back of our packaging, this chart does not apply to all items. For best results please refer to the chart on every product page.

hosiery sizing chart

Tricks of the trade when wearing hosiery

There are some tricks to the art of wearing hosiery so as not to snag it when putting it on. Check out this short video for all your answers

And then there’s my favorite fashionistas from TLC’s What Not To Wear, Stacy and Clinton. Hear their quick tips for what to do and what not to do when wearing pantyhose.

Along with different types of pantyhose to match your outfit with some styling tips

Then, our feminization expert, Lucille Sorella, has pantyhose tips for the crossdressing and transgender woman.

Stockingirl.com has produced a series of videos on how to wear a wide variety of hosiery and you can see them here

Finally, let’s just enjoy Naughty mature ladies and their stockings  and Classy Mature Women

Partial reprint from StockinGirl.com

Jul 07

Fashion Museums Around the World

From a CNN special.

Four times a year the fashion industry holds major runway shows, in New York, London, Paris, and Milan, where we see previews of what’s newest and next in ready-to-wear clothes. Most of us will never see one of these shows, but there is a next best option. A handful of fashion museums — from the Big Apple to Amsterdam to Kobe, Japan — offer year-round peeks into the history of high style.

Thanks to their rotating exhibitions and permanent collections, they help visitors connect the cultural dots between the history of fashion and what’s happening now. You don’t have to be a designer-obsessed fashionista to check them out.

First Lady Gowns at the Smithsonian

First Lady Gowns at the Smithsonian

“Everybody from a 2-year-old child to a grandmother has a sense of the role of fashion in their lives,” says Dr. Valerie Steele, director and chief curator of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, whose New York exhibitions include “Gothic: Dark Glamour;” “Love & War: The Weaponized Woman” and “The Corset: Fashioning the Body.” “People get information about fashion from so many sources. The museum is just one more medium, but it’s outside the commercial realm. We’re not trying to sell them anything—just to inspire them.”

Fashion museums, whether in the United States, South America, Europe or Asia, tend to specialize in certain aspects of style. In The Netherlands, Amsterdam’s Tassen Museum Hendrikje is all about bags and purses; thanks to its namesake’s footwear roots, Museo Salvatore Ferragamo in Florence, Italy, offers a well-heeled walk through Hollywood. Others, like The Museum at FIT (which considers itself a “think tank,” Steele says) not only stage chronological and historical exhibits and yearly symposiums, but also introduce visitors to student-created fashion collections.

“All of the time, we try to reach out to make it accessible to the general public, as well as for students, industry professionals and fashion connoisseurs,” says Steele, a professor and author who The New York Times has called a “High-Heeled Historian.” “We go the extra mile about not just showing pretty dresses, but to think about what they mean in the cultural sense. I’m a great believer that fashion is not something superficial, but a part of our culture and history.”

Here’s a glimpse of the sartorial style you’ll find at 10 of the world’s top fashion museums. Click through examples of the museums’ offerings in the gallery above.

Museo Salvatore Ferragamo  Florence, Italy

Housed just downstairs from the company’s flagship boutique on Florence’s ultra-chic Via dei Tornabuoni, the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo pays tribute to this legendary Italian fashion company’s products — and the global celebrities who helped make them famous. Naples-born Salvatore Ferragamo became “shoemaker to the stars” in the 1920s after opening a shop in Hollywood. With rotating exhibitions like “Marilyn” and an impressively displayed permanent collection of Ferragamo’s iconic footwear, this museum is a must-see for the casual and footwear-obsessed fashion follower.

Museo de la Moda Santiago, Chile

Founded in 1999 by Jorge Yarur Bascuñán, a descendant of wealthy Chilean-Palestinian textile merchants, the privately funded Museo de la Moda boasts an impressive 10,000-piece collection. With pieces acquired through auctions and donations, the Museo, the only fashion museum in South America, is in the Yarur Bascuñán historic family home. Its collection, which dates back to 5 B.C., includes the military jacket John Lennon wore during a LIFE Magazine photo shoot in 1966 and the strapless black evening gown then-Lady Diana wore in 1981 during her first public appearance after her engagement to Britain’s Prince Charles.

The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art  New York

The Costume Institute at the world-famous Met houses more than 35,000 costumes and accessories, a collection spanning five continents and dating back 500 years. Actress Sarah Jessica Parker narrates the Institute’s audio guide, “Costume: The Art of Dress,” which highlights the cultural significance of fashion throughout the ages. The museum stages at least one special exhibition each year, with recent ones including 2004’s “Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the 18th Century;” 2006’s “AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion” and 2010’s “American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity.”

The Museum at FIT  New York

Housed at Manhattan’s famed Fashion Institute of Technology, The Museum at FIT is known for its innovative and award-winning special exhibitions. In July, it earned accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums, the highest national recognition possible for a museum. Founded in the late 1960s, it is visited by 100,000 people each year. With a permanent collection of 50,000 garments and accessories from the 18th century to the present, the Museum at FIT places an emphasis on “aesthetically and historically significant ‘directional’ clothing, with an eye toward contemporary avant-garde fashion.

Kent State University Museum  Kent, Ohio

Housed on a university campus in northeast Ohio, the Kent State Museum contains important collections of fashion and decorative arts, with eight galleries featuring rotating exhibitions of work by artists and designers. Affiliated with Kent State’s Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising, the museum gives students an up-close-and-personal look at historic and contemporary fashion and costumes from global cultures. Accredited by the American Association of Museums, Kent State’s collections span from the 17th to the 21st centuries.

Kobe Fashion Museum  Kobe, Japan

“The first museum in Japan to specialize in fashion,” the Kobe Fashion Museum houses materials open to students, industry professionals and those working in the business of fashion. The museum’s fifth floor offers a space for young people to gather for events and entertainment, designed to promote “a new culture of fashion in Kobe.” The collection here not only includes garments from Asia, but also from around the world.

Les Arts Décoratifs  Paris

Located in the west wing of the world-famous Louvre museum, Les Arts Décoratifs houses three museums in one: Arts Décoratifs, Publicité and Mode et Textile — and it’s this one that’s home to temporary but dramatic fashion exhibitions. The currently staged “Louis Vuitton Marc Jacobs” traces the careers of the French-born creator of 19th-century trunks and accessories and the American designer who spent 15 years as artistic director at the house Vuitton built. With more than 81,000 works, the two-floor Mode et Textile space owns collections of design legends including Paul Poiret, Christian Dior and Elsa Schiaparelli.

Victoria and Albert Museum  London, England

The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects. It was founded in 1852 and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.. The V&A covers 12.5 acres and 145 galleries. Its collection spans 5,000 years of art, from ancient times to the present day, from the cultures of Europe, North America, Asia and North Africa.  Click on the name link to see the most current fashion exhibitions

Manchester Galleries, Gallery of Costume  Manchester, United Kingdom

The Gallery of Costume at Platt Hall reopened to the public in 2010 following a major £1million renovation project. The Gallery of Costume houses one of the most important costume collections in Britain, second only to the V&A in London. It contains over 20,000 fashion items from the 17th century to the present day. The gallery continues to collect pieces to enhance the collection.

You can see some of the most recent acquisitions in the refreshed displays. Look out for one of the Gallery’s latest purchases, a rare 1958 Trapeze Line’ outfit.

Fashion Museum  Bath, United Kingdom

The English town of Bath seems an unlikely place for a museum dedicated to high style, but it has been home to the Fashion Museum (formerly the Museum of Costume) since 1963. About 100,000 visitors come each year to check out its annually rotating exhibitions, guided tours and interactive displays. A bonus: family-friendly “dressing up activities,” in which kids can try on replica archery costumes and Victorian garb over their own clothes.

Tassen Museum Hendrikje  Amsterdam, The Netherlands

With 4,000 bags, purses, trunks, pouches, cases and accessories, this Dutch museum claims to have the “world’s largest bag collection.” It certainly has got some of the world’s most interesting ones. Located in a traditional central Amsterdam canal house, the Tassen Museum boasts Western-style handbags dating back 500 years. Beyond hosting exhibitions of contemporary bag designers from the Netherlands and abroad, the Tassen offers bag-designing workshops, kids’ bag-decorating birthday parties, and afternoon tea in one of its elegantly decorated 17th and 18th century period rooms.

Mode Museum Province of Antwerp (MoMu)   Antwerp, Belgium

The second-largest Belgian city is known for its sense of style and hipster cool, so it makes sense that a museum celebrating fashion is housed here. A totally renovated 19th century space is the backdrop for Mode Museum’s thematic exhibitions, which showcase specific designers or fashion-related topics. Rather than parking items in glass cases, curators tailor the museum’s interior spaces to the feel of each exhibition, adding a larger cultural context to the fashion that’s on display.

 

Jul 06

Current Fashion Exhibits

This page is a list of current fashion exhibits worldwide listed by Country and State. Please check back often for changes. Click on the title of each exhibit for additional information.


Head On Photo Festival 2017. Darlinghurst, AU (Sydney)   Opening May 18th at 6pm with an artist’s talk on May 20th at 2pm

Transgender exhibition, fashion exhibits

A special exhibit celebrating the work of transgender women is Venus Virgin Tomarz. It’s a progressive body of work. It is told in hyper-colourful composite photographs that recall the sci-fi kitsch of yesteryear. “Venus’s idea of taking 1960s sci-fi as the metaphor of her story of transgender, I just thought that was brilliant,” says Earp.

Robert Earp Press Release

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Walk of Art: Visionary Shoes, a collection of over 60 extravagant shoe designs are featured in a special exhibit in Manhattan.

NOA RUBIN, ‘A Tribute to Alexander McQueen’, fashion exhibits

NOA RUBIN, ‘A Tribute to Alexander McQueen’. (photo credit:NOY BIRI)

For some women they are just accessories, for others true objects of worship. The extravagant shoe designs of 40 students and graduates of the Jerusalem Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design were featured this week in a special exhibit in at the Parasol Projects Gallery in the Bowery neighborhood of lower Manhattan. The Exhibit will run until February 13. More details are here


Counter-Couture: Handmade Fashion in an American Counterculture

counter couture museum arts design, fashion exhibits

Fred and Candace Kling, Dresses, c. 1974, cotton, Collection of Bruce and Carol Feldman, Photo Credit: Rex Rystedt, courtesy of the Bellevue Arts Museum

Travel back to the 1960s and 1970s, when consumerism became the common enemy and the ideals of self-sufficiency and self-expression were embraced by the counterculture youth. These were the decades of the civil rights movement, hippies, flower children, spiritual drug use, and the fight for gender equality—and the era’s fashion showed it. Counter-Couture focuses in on the handmade garments, jewelry, and accessories of American makers, many of which were clearly influenced by a pursuit for personal style. While fashion may often seem frivolous, Counter-Couture will remind you of how change can be fought for through clothing. The exhibition will feature garments that were hand-sewn, embroidered, quilted, patched, and tie-dyed in an effort to create a folk sensibility and stand against mainstream consumerism.

Run Dates: March 2, 2017–August, 20, 2017