Dr. Leslie Bellais presents an entertaining and educational power point on women’s clothing from 1835 to 1900 with an emphasis on the hoop and bustle eras of the mid and late 19th century. She ties the changing styles to changes in women’s roles.
Dr. Leslie Bellais will share the secret behind Victorians' tiny waists and will explore how women's undergarments reflected societal values. The presentation includes a slightly risqué PowerPoint presentation.
Before the late 18th century parents dressed their children as miniature adults, but with the dawning of a new century mothers embraced a new concept, “children’s clothing.” While now dressed differently from adults, parents decided not to differentiate their young children by gender. Dr. Leslie Bellais will look at how and why this phenomenon occurred.
Are you a genealogist with unidentified photographs of your ancestors? Dr. Leslie Bellais will provide you ways to date those photographs, and possibly figure out which ancestor is being portrayed, by illustrating ways to date the clothing in the images. She will cover men’s and women’s clothing as portrayed in photographs from the 1840s to the first decade of the 20th century. Feel free to bring photographs for her to date.
Flappers, those young women of the 1920s who scoffed at conventional standards of behavior, threw aside the corsets and burdensome clothes of their mothers for shockingly short, sleeveless, androgynous dresses. Dr. Leslie Bellais will put the flapper in context of fashion history and illustrate how the flapper style dramatically changed women’s clothing from everyday clothes to wedding dresses to underwear.
When safety bicycles first became available in the 1890s, women happily participated in the resulting cycling craze. Finding something appropriate to wear that was functional, modest, and fashionable, however, proved difficult. Dr. Leslie Bellais will show the obstacles women had to overcome and a variety of possible solutions offered in the early days of lady cyclists.
Since the mass production of dolls began around 1850, these toys have reflected society’s attitudes towards gender roles, child rearing, materialism, and social status. In the time period under discussion dolls changed from delicate porcelain and bisque beauties that emphasized fashion and social rituals to more rugged and realistic composition dolls that children played with and nurtured. Dr. Leslie Bellais will explain and illustrate this evolution of doll forms.
Dr. Leslie Bellais tells the powerful stories of small objects saved by Wisconsinites as mementos of the Civil War.
A bride in a chaste white wedding dress, her face hidden behind a veil, bridesmaids in matching dresses, piles of wedding gifts, all of these have become such entrenched traditions of the wedding ceremony they seem eternal, yet these rituals have existed for less than 200 years. Dr. Leslie Bellais will explore how these traditions emerged and why they have fossilized into the wedding rituals we experience today. Ms. Bellais will also compare wedding practices to the rituals of courtship, which in contrast have changed and evolved over time.
Why did quilting become so popular in America when it languished in Europe? Why were there overwhelming national quilting trends rather than a myriad of regional ones in the history of American quilting? These are questions Dr. Leslie Bellais, retired Curator of Costume & Textiles at the Wisconsin Historical Society, will attempt to answer in her presentation on the history of American quilting from the colonial era to the Bicentennial.