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Clothing Tells a Story

As she spotlights a different garment in each issue, Clare reveals why certain items of clothing have survived for centuries–and how they were perceived by those who wore them. The acts of making, wearing, and keeping clothing all have their own language. We may view the wear and tear our clothing accrues through our lives as the liability of textiles, but the “weaknesses” of those materials are the very aspect that provide the details that tell our stories. All of the hundreds of garments in the MHS collection reveal hints about people of the past. They all can be decoded to unveil small portions of life in bygone times.

The Collection

In 2023, on her own initiative, MHS intern Clare Barnett began to create a themed online newsletter that delves into the impressive historic fashion collection preserved at the Allis-Bushnell House. In each issue of “Costume In Detail,” Clare offers her original research on the fashions she has examined among the collection’s wide range of periods and variety in clothing. Readers can enjoy a new issue every few weeks, so be sure to explore this page every few weeks.


1880s wedding dress, Dress construction, Historical fashion
Mourning Dress, Mourning Etiquette, 1900s Mourning Etiquette, Rock & Torpey
Ribbon Corset, 1900s corset, historical corsets
1890s dress, 1897 dress, Court dress
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