Fashion General

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sashka pozzetti

Former Member
What a nice picture, it is so clear. I think your date is surely much nearer the mark than the NY Times!!! The woman at the front seems to have a Merry Widow style hat on, as well as half the animals in a farm!!! It is nice to see some smiling people, it always make old photographs seem more 'real' :)
What a charming picture - thank you so much for sharing that with us, Brian. I too would put that a little before 1912 (but only by a year or so).

The lady in the foreground is wearing the most epic hat - I wonder how many pins it took to secure it?!
>>I wonder how many pins it took to secure it?!<<

Since those ladies are no longer available to ask, you might want to pose that question to any lady who goes to the annual Royal Ascot these days. The outlandish hats that you see there just boggle the mind, and the owners just might have an idea.

sashka pozzetti

Former Member
I was reading in an old magazine the other day that these big hats eventually were banned from Theatres. I wondered if this is partly why other types of small hat, and turbans became popular as a replacement. I also wondered how some of these people got under door frames with some of the high aigrettes they wore on their heads. :)
Ironic though it might seem - after all, the 'Merry Widow' hat had originated on the stage - I wouldn't be at all surprised if some theatres had prohibited the wearing of such headgear by ladies in the audience. It certainly wouldn't be the first time that such a restriction had been imposed. I've read of exactly the same thing happening in the 1770s, when hairstyles reached the most colossal proportions, and also in the late 1820s, when fashionable hats were every bit as large as they would be eighty or ninety year later.

As we know, the ultra-fashionable hats of 1912-1913 were much smaller and more close-fitting than those of two or three years previously. Undoubtedly, this was a kind of reaction to what had gone before. I believe it was James Laver who commented that fashions always tend to extremes before being discarded - we only need to think of the crinolines in vogue in 1865! Regarding turbans, I imagine that their popularity was part of the general trend towards all things Oriental popularised by the Ballet Russe.

It is interesting to note that the cloche hat we most associate with the flapper-era actually made its first appearance around 1916.
Hello people! It is my assumption that in Gilded Age it was a norm both for men and women to change clothes several times during the day. On a practical level, wasn't that difficult in so small surroundings? I believe a personal maid or manservant was mandatory but what about those who did not have one? Was there a spacious wardrobe in every stateroom? Not a walk-in closet could be found everywhere I suspect. Was space enough? I guess not since some cabins were rather too small. Would your helper choose your outfits for the day? What about laundry? If a piece for clothing was dirty could you have it cleaned on board? Perhaps, it was not even necessary since all that luggage provided enough clothing throughout the voyage! Any comments? Thank you!
Several of the questions you have posed above have been dealt with on other threads, some very recently. I'd have a root around on the 'Gilded Age' and 'Fashion' threads if you want to know more.

Even the wealthiest passengers aboard the 'Titanic' would not have changed their clothes as frequently as some people believe - certainly not five or six times daily! As was customary in 1912, those travelling in first-class would have changed into evening dress for dinner (low-cut, trailing gowns for the ladies, white tie or tuxedos for the gentlemen) but, prior to the bugle call, they would simply have worn whatever they had selected from their wardrobes that morning. As I commented on another thread, there would have been little need for multiple changes of costume when the field of social activity was more or less confined to the lounge, palm court and smoking room. Hats, gloves, overcoats and furs would have been donned for breezy walks on deck.

At any one time, the Edwardians wore a far greater number of clothes than we do today and their garments were more complex and more uncomfortable than ours. Fashionable ladies like Mrs Cardeza, who were often aboard from several months each year, did indeed travel with truly spectacular quantities of luggage. A personal maid was trained to know precisely which accessories - hat, shoes, gloves - 'went' with each gown and would have laid these out, once her mistress had specified what she wished to wear that day. The assistance of a maid or valet was often essential - there were corsets to lace, collars to fix and a myriad of hooks and buttons to fasten.

I was surprised to learn that there were NO laundry facilities for passengers in any class aboard liners of this period.

NO laundry, ahh smelly. Wait a minute they were usually on ship for just a week tops. First class passengers had a ton of clothes to wear hopefully but what about second class or steerage. No laundry indeed, what kind of ship are they running here!
I confess, I was amazed to discover that the 'Titanic' offered no laundry facilities whatsoever to her passengers and crew - but I am assured by a fellow board member and moderator that this was indeed the case.

We pursued the subject in the 'Passenger Fashion Gallery' thread, just a few weeks ago.
>>Was there a spacious wardrobe in every stateroom?<<

No. While comfortable by the standards of the day, the staterooms would appear to be rediculously small by our standards, even the majority of 1st Class! The really spacious cabins were few and far between and commanded premium rates.

>>No laundry indeed, what kind of ship are they running here!<<

A ship which suffered from the limitations of the technology of the day. The limiting factor is the capacity to produce fresh water in sufficient quantities to do the work that would be demanded. What existed was barely ample to provide for fresh feed water for the propulsion plant and that was the priority.
Thank you all for your input!!! Just one more question: what kind of fur is there on the lady's muff in New York of the time in the photo in the first thread of this page?
On the subject of large hats in theatres, here's a projector slide used to deliver a (hopefully) persuasive message to picture palace audiences back in 1912.

There was no large-scale laundering activity on the liners of the period, but 3rd Class and steerage passenger were generally allowed to use the basins in the washrooms for 'small laundry' - items like children's underclothing. Not easy, however, with only cold salt water on tap. And you wouldn't be too popular at the busiest times, when nobody was expected to monopolise a basin for more than a few minutes. I'm sure that on the Titanic the washstands in the 3rd Class cabins at the stern were sometimes used for the same purpose. Washed items would presumably be taken on deck for drying, or draped over the warm air outlets in the cabins.

sashka pozzetti

Former Member
How would you like to even wear such a ridiculous hat!!!

I am not sure I would wash any of my clothes on a 6 day holiday/trip anyway. I would just use them, and put them back in my case. I don't think that is un-hygenic, is it?
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