Thriftiness and making-over aren't traits associated with modern fashionistas, but in this silent clip, a resourceful mother and daughter from the 1920s demonstrate exactly how to remake a morning dress into one fit for an evening out. Of course, they're helped by the straight lines and simple constructions of 1920s fashions; I can't imagine many at-home seamstresses would have been able to achieve the same speedy transformation with a dress from a generation or two before, like these from the 1870s.
The clip is from a 1920s British how-to series called "Hints and Hobbies" that offered quick suggestions for everything from driving etiquette to ballroom dancing to amusing your guests at dinner with sugar cubes. These were shown in movie theaters as entertaining information (aka filler) along with more general newsreels before the main attraction. I wonder if anyone in the audience actually thought the hints offered useful, usable ideas, or if they were viewed strictly as amusement. I find it hard to imagine a woman watching this and going home to take her scissors with such vigor to a perfectly good day dress for a dinner party. Or am I being too sensible?
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.