Friday, March 31, 2017

130 Years of Fashion - Conclusion

Continuing on from yesterday's post about the fashion exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum. Make sure to pour yourself a cup of tea, because this post is a bit lengthy.

The two-piece brown dress and fur hat below is the only outfit I failed to get information on. I hate that I missed it!  The 1968 silk jersey floral print dress was worn by Augusta. It was designed by Averado Bessi and purchased at Bonwit Teller.

I loved that gloves were a part of the exhibit.  In 1949 12 pair of gloves were purchased by Augusta at Le Gant Topaze in Paris for $29.

Since Ellen Roddis eloped during World War II, there was no opportunity for an extended honeymoon, so eight years later [1953] they took a belated honeymoon to Paris. Ellen visited a Parisian dress salon and had the Cocktail Dress below created especially for her. During a 1928 trip to Paris, Mrs. Catherine Roddis purchased a silk chiffon and silk crepe Evening Dress at Adele & Cie.  The receipt was $295.

Mrs. Catherine Roddis' Aunt Jane attended the Paris Exposition in 1878.  While in Paris Jane purchased the elegant silk, velvet and satin black dress with glass beading. 1959 cranberry, textured wool and silk crepe de chine dress with jacket worn by Augusta. It was purchased at one of her favorite shops, Ruth McCulloch. The hat was about 1954. The fabric and color of Augusta's two-piece dress reminded me of a suit I had in 1965 that I had my engagement picture taken in. Unfortunately I wasn't like Augusta - I didn't save mine!  

Not to detract from the Roddis family fashion exhibit, but below is the engagement portrait of me wearing the cranberry textured wool suit that reminded me of Augusta's.  I'm quite sure I didn't pay what Augusta paid, and I can't even recall where I purchased mine.

Now back to the Roddis family...  1945 rayon and cotton Day Dress worn by Augusta.  It was designed by Samuel Kass, and purchased at Martha Weathered's Exclusive Misses Shop in Chicago.   A photo was shown of Augusta wearing the dress in the first class dining room of the R.M.S. Queen Mary.  1948 silk chiffon and lace Dinner Dress designed by David E. Gottlieb, Inc. New York, and worn by Mrs. Catherine Roddis. She was photographed wearing the dress on board the RMS Queen Elizabeth on a 1950 trip to Europe.

1941 Evening Dress of silk gauze, crepe and cotton cording worn by Mrs. Catherine Roddis during a month-long cruise to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  1959 Afternoon Dress made of silk tweed.  Designed by Christian Dior and purchased at Stuarts, Inc. in Boston, MA.  It was worn by Augusta.  She was photographed wearing it on a family Caribbean cruise.

1948 wool crepe Suit worn by Mrs. Catherine Roddis.  It was purchased at Marshall Field & Co. in Chicago.  1954 linen Day Dress worn by Augusta.

1941 Evening Dress made of rayon crepe and silk crepe de chine.  It was purchased for Augusta by her Aunt Frances to wear to balls.  1953 silk dress designed by Nettie Rosenstein, and purchased at Blum's in Chicago.  It was worn by Augusta.

1895 dress worn by Mrs. Sara Roddis [Augusta's grandmother].  In 1910 she had the leg-of-mutton sleeves changed into long fitting sleeves.  By altering the dress she kept up with the fashion and saved money. The dress was made of silk chiffon and white cotton lace. 1905 Walking Suit worn by Mrs. Sara Roddis.  It was made of cotton velveteen and silk braid, and purchased at Franklin Simon & Co. in New York.

1908 dress of silk gauze, chine silk taffeta and gold metallic lace worn by Mrs. Sara Roddis at the wedding reception she hosted for her son, Hamilton, and his wife, Catherine, at her home in Marshfield.  1932 Evening Dress of cotton lace, silk velvet and silk crepe satin worn by Mrs. Catherine Roddis at her 25th Wedding Anniversary.  The Great Depression was underway, so the dress wasn't new.  The family celebrated with a quiet dinner at home.

1974 Evening Dress made of polyester, purchased at Evelyn Barton Brown Boutique located in the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.  It was worn by Augusta.  1920 Mourning Dress of silk crepe and glass beads.  It was worn by Mrs. Sara Roddis when her husband passed.  

1938 Evening Coat of silk velvet with ermine trim worn by Mrs. Catherine Roddis. 1985 wool crepe dress designed by Louis Feraud in West Germany, worn by Augusta.

1923 silver lamé, silk lace, and glass beaded dress by Adair of Paris, worn by Mrs. Catherine Roddis. 1922 Day Dress made of Pongee silk, and linen lace worn by Frances Roddis [Augusta's aunt].

1940-45 silk and rayon dress with cotton bouclé cape.  Golf was Hamilton's favorite sport, and Catherine often joined him on the golf course.   Pictured below was one of Catherine's sporty dresses that she wore after she had finished the game.  1959 slubbed rayon Cocktail Dress with silk satin cummerbund worn by Augusta.  It could be dressed up or down depending on the occasion and was first popularized by Coco Chanel.

1948 cotton lace and silk chiffon Cocktail dress purchased at Frances Brewster in Vero Beach, Florida.  The Afternoon or Cocktail Hat was dated about 1953.  Both were worn by Augusta.  She loved the theater in NYC, and probably wore it there.

Two 1920 and 1922 cotton linen childhood dresses probably worn by Augusta and her sister Ellen, made by their mother, Mrs. Catherine Roddis.  1920 linen Boy's Suit worn by Wm. Henry Roddis II [Augusta's brother] also probably made by Mrs. Roddis.

There was a video to watch at the end of the exhibit and this question was asked:

[I'll answer that question at the end of this post.]

After the exhibit my girlfriend and I went to the Dearborn Inn for lunch.  We both ordered Reuben sandwiches and Sweet Potato fries.  Yum!

[Sandy and Me]

To answer the question asked at the exhibit, I've saved very little of my clothing from years past. My mother lovingly kept the dress I was christened in, and my daughter, Lori, and granddaughter, Tiffany, wore it too.  Despite it's age, it's still in good condition, but I'm not sure if Tiffany will keep the tradition going when little Evelyn arrives.

[Me, Lori, and Tiffany]

I still have my wedding gown.  It's yellowed with age and improper storage, but I can't bring myself to part with it.  For many years I saved the two-piece light green dress that I wore when I left on my honeymoon, but I finally parted with it. 

I've kept all three dresses that I wore to each of my children's weddings for sentimental reasons. The shoes, purses, gloves, and hair pieces are long gone, and the first two dresses from 1988 and 1992 no longer fit.  I can, however, still wear the dress from my youngest son's wedding in 2004, and have worn it to numerous tea events.  It didn't appear as though Mrs. Roddis or Augusta gained a pound throughout their entire adult lives! 

I also have my mother's wedding gown from 1939.  The photo below was taken on their 70th Wedding Anniversary.  

These are the only "old" garments I've kept.  I don't have a large attic like the Roddis family had, and since basements usually aren't a good place for clothes storage, whenever my garments went out of style, I got tired of them, or I "outgrew" them, they went to charity, consignment shops or garage sales.  I'm certain no one will want them after I'm gone.  In the case of the Roddis family, they had beautiful designer and high-end garments to provide a elegant glimpse of fashions from years-gone-by.  

So now I'm posing the same question to everyone reading this post that the Henry Ford Museum asked exhibit attendees. I seldom ask for feedback, so I hope you'll respond. Have you saved most of your clothes for posterity, or just certain significant garments? 

Styles have changed a lot in recent years and fashions are very casual now.  Most women don't want to get dressed up to wear dresses anymore.

Please share your comments and thoughts. I'll be looking forward to hearing from you.


  1. I recently read the Roddis book...fascinating. It is amazing that they could still wear the clothes after many years. It must have been the good vegetables from their garden and exercise. Love the clothing you saved. I have the little red plaid dress I wore the first day of school and the cowboy boots I wore as a child. Seems that Hopalong Cassidy had something to do with the choice of footwear...ha! My mother was the "saver" in the family...I have what ladies in the 1950's called a "suit blouse" and a bed jacket. Mom had a navy blue faille handbag that I wish I had now. I do have her monogrammed compact, which is one of my treasures.

  2. Thank you for this summary. I think the 1940's are my favorite. I have a few pieces of vintage clothing which I love.

  3. I come from a family of “savers”. My mother’s 20’s flapper wedding dress, shoes and hat are displayed in a guest room. I have some of my baby dresses, shoes, hats in a display there too.
    An antique trunk holds my wedding dress and some other favorites from over the years. When I did part with a special outfit, I always kept a button from it and hope someday to make a Victorian charm string with them.
    I also have fabric from dresses from every generation going back to my great-grandmother and made pieces for a quilt.

  4. What a lovely exhibit. Thank you for documenting it so well for us! I do have my wedding dress, which was my mother's, and until a few years ago I had a long velvet coat that my grandmother made for my mother. I let my daughter wear it, I hope she still has it stored somewhere. I also have a little pink coat that my grandmother made for me as a baby, and the baby gown I made for my babies to wear home from the hospital. (I'm about to give it to my daughter.) I kept a couple of the fancy "French sewn" dresses I made for my daughters but most of their clothes were handed down to cousins.

  5. I have a variety of pieces. I have my mother in law's wedding dress and shoes, plus the pattern which she made it from, a christening gown worn by her and her brothers and sisters, and a couple of garments my son wore when he was little. I have a dress from the 50's or 60's that belonged to one of my husband's aunts too. The only thing of mine that I've saved is my wedding dress from 1981(which I can still fit in to). I've also got a straw "boater" and cane that belonged to one of my husband's uncles. My mother wasn't a saver, so the only other thing I have is a dress I wore as a baby.


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