Our clothing tells a story
Char Crawford, March 14, 2018
I love families, especially my own, and I love fashions. That’s why I’m thrilled to start writing a monthly blog that will deal with both subjects. I’ve discovered that honoring fashions of the past is not only fun and fascinating, but also fosters understanding of our own history.
Allow me to introduce myself. I have lived in the same home in Kenmore for 48 years. My husband, Jack, was a Navy chaplain. When he retired from the Navy in 1969, we moved to Kenmore. We both were from the Midwest – me from Minneapolis, Jack from Kansas. We fell in love with the beautiful Northwest and decided this was where we wanted to spend the rest of our lives. He became Kenmore’s first Mayor in 1998. Our love for Kenmore is evident in the photos and memorabilia found in every room of our home. Out in the front yard the Kenmore flag and a couple of metal blue Herons proudly represent Kenmore, too. Jack passed away in 2008.
We both were history buffs from the time we were kids. At the time of his death, Jack was president of the Kenmore Heritage Society and I was a member of the Board of Trustees. I also co-chaired with Kenmore historian Priscilla Droge the editorial board that oversaw publication of Kenmore by the Lake: A Community History, published by the society in 2003. It was an amazing four-year effort. More than 250 Kenmore residents contributed stories, information, photos, and maps for this wonderful book. Kenmore by the Lake is available at Kenmore City Hall and at Ostroms Drugs.
Jack restored three Model A Fords (built in 1928-1931). In the early 1990s, he served as national president of the Model A Ford Club of America. On our club’s Model A road trips, we collected historic artifacts, visited museums and historic sites, and did a lot of research.
For a time, I chaired the club’s Era Fashion Committee. This is one of the reasons my blog is entitled Fashion & Families. In my younger years, I worked in the fashion world, teaching classes on modeling and self-improvement in Minneapolis. I also wrote four books on these subjects for teenage girls and young homemakers and for many years wrote a monthly column for Campus Life magazine.
I fell in love with era fashions when Jack got into Model A restoration. At the regional and national meets, we took part in era-fashion competitions with categories for men, women, and children. Awards were given to those who modeled authentic clothing that actually had been worn for motoring during the four years in which the Model A Fords were made. This was a serious event. A large group of well-trained and knowledgeable judges took an entire day to examine every element of a competitor’s attire—shoes, hats, gloves, and so on, even underwear! Winners were announced at a fashion show the last night. We had such fun treasure-hunting for the fashions and posing in our era outfits with the Model A’s we enjoyed so much.
I’ve discovered that honoring the fashions of the past often stimulates our understanding of history. I hope this blog will encourage many of you to take out your old family albums and pictures and begin researching your family history. This could be a fascinating project for an individual or an entire family. How I wish I had asked my parents and grandparents more questions about what life was like back in their own “good old days!” Look at those photos from your old albums. What do the fashions and method of dressing tell you about your own family?
Next month we’ll find out what our ancestors wore and what they experienced while enjoying winter sports. Please join me. I think we can have a great time doing this together while developing a greater interest and understanding of history as individuals and families.
About this blog: I love families, especially my own, and I love fashions. That’s why I’m thrilled to write a monthly blog dealing with both subjects. I’ve discovered that honoring fashions of the past is not only fun and fascinating, but also fosters understanding of our own history.