A Brief History of the Fashion Plate

July 26th 2019

Emily McCort, 2019 Summer Fashion Archives Intern In the last couple of years, I personally began collecting fashion plates. As someone who has an interest in fashion history and a background in the arts, the combination of fashion and art fascinated me. Earlier fashion plates give the most up to date…


Dating 101: The Pagoda Sleeve of the Mid-19th Century

July 19th 2019

This summer, I and the other Fashion Archives interns have been charged with the rediscovery, processing, and rehousing of costumes from the Maryland Historical Society’s Fashion Archives. Many of the costumes lack accompanying information about the original wearer, or even the time period, so it is necessary for us to…


Bold Prints, Ikat and Chiné Silk

July 12th 2019

When peeking into the boxes of the Fashion Archives at MdHS, one aspect of costume that always strikes me is the complexity of prints and patterns. Sometimes between layers of tissue, my first impression of a dress is only a glimpse of a spectacular floral motif or stripe. This was…


Repurposing Fashion: A 19th Century Woman's Guide to Thrift

July 5th 2019

Before the advent of the ready to wear market, clothing was very costly, not so much for the labor and time that went into creating a garment, but for the quality of the textiles used. Silk of the finest quality could cost the “equivalent to what a laborer might earn…


An 1890s Ermine Tail Cape

June 28th 2019

Around the year 1891, a family member of Trisler S. Pentz wore this cape to his christening. His cousins, Matilda and Charles Simmons, later gifted the cape to Pentz, who then gave it to family members Mr. and Mrs. Darison D. White. They donated the garment to the Maryland Historical…


Meet Our 2019 Fashion Archives Interns!

June 21st 2019

Our 2019 Fashion Archives interns have officially begun working at the Maryland Historical Society! Along with continuing the rehousing project for our costume collection, our three interns will also assist in the installation of the Spectrum of Fashion exhibit, opening October 5. Look forward to their weekly blog posts! 


2019 Fashion Archives Internship Announcement

January 11th 2019

 The Maryland Historical Society is pleased to offer summer positions to successful pre-program applicants for its annual Fashion Archives Internship Program! This year’s program will focus on conservation, mounting, and exhibition preparation of costume and accessories for the upcoming exhibition The Spectrum of Fashion: Highlights from the Fashion Archives at…


2018 Dress of the Year

December 28th 2018

The Maryland Historical Society Fashion Archives has announced its Dress of the Year 2018! With its stunning metallic gold and silver embroidery, lace trims, and its sequin-adorned net overlay, this early 1900s Doucet gown continues to take our breath away!


A Shield Against the Cold: an 1820s Winter Bonnet

December 21st 2018

Today, December 21st, officially marks the beginning of winter and, consequently, the ushering in of cold, frigid weather. When you woke up this morning, you likely consulted the day’s forecast and planned an outfit best suited for the chilly weather. One accessory often worn during this season is a hat…


Collecting Cauet

December 7th 2018

During the Belle Époque, a period conventionally dated from 1900 to 1914, various Parisian couturiers established influential design houses that continue to elicit exclamations of awe when one views their dresses' intricate embroidery, beading, and construction details.


Coat for a Coachman

November 17th 2018

I knew the symbol in an instant: a stag's head. I had seen it before on gilt curtain tiebacks and  china, on stained glass windows above the impressive double doors to the Great Hall, and on the enormous pier mirrors that reflect endlessly on each other in the red furnished…


Lottie Barton: Dressmaker, Importer, Smuggler

November 5th 2018

To this date, little research has been completed on late-19th  and early-20th century Baltimore dressmakers. Of course, there has been significant study on the many prominent department stores in the city, such as Hutzler's, The Hecht Company, and Stewart & Co. However, from the 1870s to the 1920s, Baltimore hosted…


Stitching the Past into the Present: A 1970s Designer Maxi Dress

October 27th 2018

A reoccurring phenomenon we consistently witness here in the Maryland Historical Society’s costume collection is the cyclical nature of fashion. Designers, whether deliberately or not, often incorporate past techniques, silhouettes, and trends into their own fashion creations and breathe new life into them. While a quite common practice, it is…


Juniors, Misses, Petites... Oh My!

October 22nd 2018

Shopping can often be a nightmare, no matter your size, shape, height, or weight. There is a severe lack of standardization in women's clothing from store to store, and even within the same brand due to differing fashion lines.


Jacques Doucet: The Collector in the Collections

October 13th 2018

The Fashion Archives at the Maryland Historical Society boasts an outstanding collection of French haute couture worn by Marylanders. Among these beautiful, historical garments is an evening gown from the French haute couture house Doucet from around 1905.