Updated: Apr 30, 2020
At the end of March, much to my husband's dismay, I purchased a number of dresses from an online auction. I finally unpacked the dresses this past weekend, and while I had planned to do this whole time lapse of me unpacking the dresses, my camera only recorded a very small portion of that unpack. Womp womp.
Regardless though, I am excited about the dresses, as I'm hoping to create several traveling exhibits that can be rented on certain periods of dress or fashion history. This is a long term goal, and one that I'm not moving quickly toward, as I still have a full time job, along with a handful of other small contract gigs. But I do see this as a viable business option, as there are some similar models in England that seem to have some success. I'm still in the early stages.
Back to my auction purchases. My husband was giggling at me because I was so flabbergasted at how much some of the auction items went for, while at other times, there were no bidders or I was the only bidder (I admit, sometimes I'm a pity bidder - there are few objects I extremely dislike, so I figure I'm going to like it in some way shape or form).
There are so many lovely items that I won in this auction, but I think my favorite set is a grouping of three lingerie gowns from 1900 -1915.
The cotton lawn of the dresses is so delicate and the lace and embroidery so feminine - they're much prettier in person.
I also bought a number of 1930s-1950s house dresses, mainly because they're a piece of material culture that has ultimately disappeared. Dresses such as these didn't typically last, since they were worn through and cut down to create clothes for children, quilts, or rags. Plus they remind me of what my grandma used to wear around the house when I was growing up. The two dresses in the lower right hand corner are from the 1930s, while the rest range between the 1940s and 1950s.
Another set I bought, ranges between the 1920s and 1930s. Again, the pictures don't do the dresses justice. Especially with the silk striped skirt and jacket at the left - the collar has wire in it to help it stand! While it didn't come with a blouse, one can be easily made. I also love that the dress on the far right is misleading: it's actually all one piece! I totally thought it was a skirt, blouse, and jacket combination, but it is in a fact a full dress with a faux dickie.
Lastly, I have a fascination with the economically efficient 1940s dresses. In most cases, they're not flashy, but are the epitome of elegance. That's definitely the case in these two wool day dresses (although, I would argue that they could both be worn to a dance, as they're both a little flashy).
The dress on the left has these fantastic metal prism beads, while the dress on the right has a lovely soutache design.
The next auction coming up is May 13. There are a few things I have my eye on, but I'm always surprised at what people bid on. I'm especially interested in this bicycling outfit c.1897. As with the practicality of the 1940s dresses, I'm fascinated with women's sports clothing at the turn of the century. Women were taking matters into their own hands, despite being corseted, petticoated, and stockinged: they challenged the social order (whether they thought they were or not) by participating in athletic activities - illustrating a new form of socially acceptable independence.
This bicycling outfit will definitely be out of my price range, since the auction house considers it 'rare,' but I can always hope, can't I?
The other items I'm keen on are two lots of corsets. These will also probably go for exorbitant amounts, but again, I'm hoping I might be able to stay in it for a little while.
There's a few other things that I like, but I have some reservations - either because I have similar examples, or they're incomplete.
Overall, I'm looking forward to watching this auction! You can view the entire catalog here. Are there lots any that you'd definitely bid on?