You know when you look back at old high school pictures and think “What was I thinking?” when looking at your outfit choices? Imagine what the folks from the 18th century would say. The formalities in fashion from colonial and revolutionary America are examined during the Fashioning A New World symposium taking place Saturday, July 19 and Sunday, July 20 at both Montgomery County Community College and Pottsgrove Manor in Pottstown, PA.
The entire first day of the symposium takes place at the community college’s West Campus in South Hall, Room 216 on Saturday, July 19. Registration begins at 9 a.m. with a welcome introduction to follow an hour later.
The first session of the day starts at 10:15 a.m. with a talk dispelling myths of early American fashion. Presenter Linda Eaton, Director of collections and Senior Curator of Textiles at Winterthur Museum, will dispel romantic rumors of 18th century fashion during this one-hour discussion.
Another talk during the symposium hits on children’s ensembles of the time. Audience members will look at photos of early American children’s clothing and learn about why parents dressed their kids in what appears to be extremely formal attire. Lynn Edgar, independent researcher, specializing in 18th century children’s clothing leads the discussion at 1:30 p.m.
The final lecture of day one focuses on the three-piece suit. When did it become popular? What did American men wear prior? All of these questions and more will be answered by Neal Hurst, fellow in the Winterthur Program of American Material Culture at the University of Delaware. His session starts at 2:45 p.m.
Day two of the symposium gets a change of scenery. Sunday, July 20 starts with a tour of “To the Manor Worn,” an exhibit at the Pottsgrove Manor featuring reproductions of 18th century clothing from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in Pottstown, PA.
After a brief lunch break, the convention returns to Montgomery County Community College for a noon session on footwear of early America. Look at different types of shoes and the materials used to make them. Specializing in historical footwear reproduction, Brett Walker leads this chat.
The rest of the day is devoted to a number of optional workshops like one on creating an 18th century infant/toddler jacket (since you’ll be well informed about what children of the time wore) and crafting a reproduction of a “needlebook,” a “book” where seamstresses could store their needles and pins. These workshops run concurrently starting at 1 p.m.