"Dressed to Impress" is the newest exhibition presented by the Costume Council of the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum. Fashions from the 1880s through the present day will be on display. It opens Dec. 6 with a reception from 3-5 p.m.
"With whatever we wore there has always been that inner question, 'How do I look in this?' or 'What are people going to think about me?'," explained Council president Kathleen Graves. "At no time is this more evident than during the social season of Christmas."
The group of dresses in this exhibit come from two centuries of festive wear. They are chosen for their period representation and to impress. Most pre-WWII clothes are "bespoke" - that is historical clothing speak for custom made, explained Graves.
After WWII the changing economic climate made ready-to-wear more popular. Either way, the point of these clothes was to turn heads.
The exhibition is exclusively women's clothes because it is the most expressive clothing of the 200-year period displayed.
"Before the early 1800s, men dressed just as lavishly as women. Then that spoil sport of fashion Beau Brummell announced that real men did not wear puce. The long curled wigs, lavishly embroidered silk velvet, and those silver buckled red colored high heeled shoes vanished. They were replaced by the black and white penguin look that lasted for 200 years. Silk weavers, lace makers, embroiderers, plumage workers, milliners, and shoemakers were in shock," Graves added. "Fortunately, women stepped on to save all of these skilled artists to create ladies wear."
Fore more information, call 688-7889 or visit www.santaynezmuseum.org.