Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Old Clothes

The Museum of American History was closed for two years undergoing renovations not too long back, and so when it reopened it was like going into it for the first time. When you walk in from the entrance on Constitution Avenue and not the main entrance from the Mall side, you will find that on each side of the large hall on either wall, are items behind very large glass partitions. I have been to the museum two or three times since its reopening and several times before that. I can't remember this dress from before but I have been drawn to it ever since I noticed it behind the glass. From as far back as I can remember I have always been interested in old clothing and costumes, which includes the national dress of other countries. I think I mentioned that before in a previous post some time in the last year.

This is an Egyptian-styled dress from 1913-14. It was owned by Ethelind Knapp Roberts (1886-1969), and the sign said she may have acquired it during a 1913 trip to Europe. The Franco-Egyptian exhibition at the Louvre in 1911 sparked a growing interest in ancient Egyptian motifs among fashion and jewelry designers. This was a gift from Mrs. Alfred Roberts.

We were actually heading for two exhibits today. Gregg wanted to look at the Presidents' Hall and I wanted to see all the dresses of the First Ladies going as far back as Martha Washington. If my memory is not letting me down I do believe there is a dress that Martha Washington wore. The lines were too long this time to see each exhibit, so we are going to go back later on when it is a little quieter around here. We are fortunate enough to live pretty close to Washington DC.

Know, first, who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly.


One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.

~Oscar Wilde~

Of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important.

~Janet Lane~


  1. These are really beautiful. I like the colors and facy work. I don't get to see this type of thing often and find those quotes interesting with age, ha.. nice post tour Denise-

  2. I hope my expression counts for a lot, because I really hate to dress up. I do like to admire vintage clothing, though. The dress is beautiful.

  3. Very pretty Denise! Lovely images.

  4. Beautiful photos! Thanks for the visit today. I will return - looks like a lovely place you have here, with lots of pretty thoughts & pictures.. my favorites :) -Tammy

  5. Its interesting to see the National dress of different countries.
    These are beautiful.

  6. How lovely !
    Vintage clothing, beautiful details, and endless hours of sewing, in dim light.
    Thanks for sharing this delightful post Denise.

  7. They have preserved the dress so well. The detail is so exquisite. I specially love the emeralds!

  8. We really don't dress as elegently anymore do we. :)
    I saw the first lady dresses a few years ago - most too small for me to ever have worn. :)

  9. that sure was an interesting post!

  10. Such a beautiful dress!I loved those delicate details and the green vintage colour!

  11. A lovely dress Denise, I too would love to see the dresses that the former First Ladies wore. A pity that the queues were too long - I can completely sympathise with that! Love the quotes, particularly the Janet Lane one. A x

  12. This is great we get to tour museums in Washington without leaving the house on the other side of the world. The dress is beautiful. The lacework especially. I often wonder how they cleaned them in those days.