This past April, I had the pleasure of visiting Ohio State University's Historic Costume & Textile Museum in Columbus, Ohio (my bustling home town) and chatting with the museum's curator, Gayle Strege. The exhibit was All Wrapped Up: 200 Years of Fashionable Outerwear, with nearly seventy examples of extant garments across the ages and on display. Here are a few of those garments...
The Bomber Jacket
The bomber jacket was introduced near the close of WWI and meant to keep pilots warm in the open cockpits of early airplanes. The leather bomber (or flight jacket) became standard issue for the Army Air Corps in 1930 and featured a knitted/ribbed waistband and sleeve cuffs to sustain body heat, and two patch pockets for the hands. The lamb-skin lined bombers were introduced in 1934 and became standard issue for pilots during WWII.
Evening Wraps and Coats
Evening wraps and coats reached their most fashionable and opulent time during America's Gilded and Jazz Ages, when displays of excess were at their height, flashy fashion was a measure of one's wealth, and Hollywood glamor was at its zenith. The Great Depression had a sobering effect on fashion, and practical fabrics - those for warmth and durability - were favored over those of luxury and expense. While examples of evening outerwear from WWII and later survive, as the country moved on, the trend toward evening outwear continued to move toward practical and more causal designs.
Short coats are about function, and shape and style are often dictated by the clothing worn underneath. Simply, voluminous skits, layered petticoats, and hoops and crinolines could make wearing a full-length coat weighty and cumbersome. Short coats not only allowed for greater freedom of movement, they were less expensive and became a more practical outerwear option as mass transportation and the automobile changed human mobility forever.
To view more photographs from my visit to the OSU Historic Costume and Textile Museum, please visit my Pinterest page by clicking here. I hope that these beautiful examples of historical outwear inspire your creative endeavors.
Blessings and happy sewing!