Free Lecture Explores Dress through the Ages

Dr. Linda Przybyszewski is an associate professor of history at the University of Notre Dame and the author of “The Lost Art of Dress: The Women Who Once Made America Stylish.”

She calls those women the Dress Doctors, and on Aug. 27 Przybyszewski will give a free lecture at the Indianapolis Museum of Art about their role in fashion, home economics, education and in society until as recently as the 1970s.

The talk will take place immediately following the Fashion Art Society’s High Tea “The Evolution of a Fashionable Ritual.” The group’s fundraiser will support acquisitions and educational programs at the museum.

Fashionistas this is a must-see lecture. Wish I could go…read on for more info…

“Americans latched onto this idea of endless variety that has to be cheap. Most women in earlier decades had far fewer items that they wore more often and paid more for them. You might only own three dresses, but you’d make sure they were perfect for you. Today everything is cheap but everything is cheap.”

“I’ve been intrigued by the recognition stemming from ‘Project Runway’ and those spinoffs that have clued younger people into the idea that you can make things. Someone who works at a fashion design school out West said the increase in applications since the shows began is tremendous, even though the applicants can’t even sew. Whether that will end up making a permanent dent, I don’t know, but one of the reasons I wrote the book is I’m sure as hell going to try.”

“The 1960s are clearly a turning point because a couple of things happened. The idea that we should all aspire to be a teenager was not a value anyone really had. This frenzy of Youthquake, that anything new is better than anything old — not really. The models worked into their 30s and 40s — a woman was a grown up, sophisticated, and there was an elegance to the way she dressed. Ever since the 1960s it’s been difficult for the world of fashion to say women over 25 are beautiful.

“There was a grace and style with which people moved formal to informal, town to country, day to evening. There are left-over bits of rules. Most people know what to wear to a funeral and that you don’t wear bathing suits to work. I always tell my students that your dress should not be distracting. The world has a lot of work to do and your duty is to help the world get along with its work and do your own work.”

Source:  Star reporter Leslie Bailey.

Beth, Your Indianapolis Personal Stylist