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When we look to the past and think about what people were wearing, we tend to get caught up in the high fashions of the day, the fashions of the elite. The question remains, then, what did the average person wear everyday? While everyday fashions emulated the popular fashions of the day, they were much simpler and generally more practical for manual labor or working around the house. Most working-class and farm families could not afford to continually replace their wardrobe, so they wore their garments until they were completely worn out. Instead of throwing out last year’s shirt, they would mend it. Also, children would be children, so they typically were not always dressed in their best. Children would have play clothes which were made to take a beating. They were often stained and had to be frequently washed. Much of the clothing worn around the home was made at home. Women had access to many scraps of fabric. Being frugal, they would commonly turn their scraps of fabric into quilts.

Everyday Through the Years Exhibition Catalog (PDF)

Click images to learn more. Historical and donor information will appear.

Silk Walking Dress
Silk Velvet Walking Jacket and Muff
Silk Wedding Dress
Cotton 2-Piece Dress
Girl’s Silk Dress
Cotton Dress with Discharge Print