Hello Dear Readers,
Today I’d like to invite you to take a step backward through time with me.
The year is 1908 and our country is a very different place than the one we now know. At this time Sir Wilfred Laurier is the prime minister, and women do not have the right to vote in Manitoba and won’t for another 8 years (in fact women did not even qualify as “persons” in Canada until 1929). Even though women make up about 25% of the working population (mostly as teachers, domestic servants and the like), the more proper place for a lady is at home, church or out visiting. To give you some idea of how different things look, I present you with our current flag in 1908:
And if you happen to be fortunate enough to own a telephone in 1908 it probably looks like this:
So let’s assume it’s a beautiful June day and you receive a telephone call. It’s an invitation from one of the ladies from your church! How lovely. She’d love to have you over for tea in her garden today. If you wanted to look your very best and impress your friend you’d probably put on something like this dainty 1908 mauve voile dress from our collection:
Of course you’d likely wear a corset underneath and probably a slip as well. To finish off your ensemble you’d also need an extravagant hat and a clean pair of gloves. The other ladies at the tea party would have worn similar dresses of course, and the large hats were a must, usually covered in all kinds of flowers, feathers, ribbons and bows.
The early 1900’s were a time in our history when we were headed toward great change. Women like Nellie McClung were working hard in their fight for women’s rights and WW1 was just around the corner. Both these events would have a major impact on fashion. When the war started many women had to take jobs that men would normally do, and this meant that wearing Edwardian clothing was far too restrictive and as a result the rigid tailored lines disappeared and skirts became shorter to allow more movement. If you take a look at our pretty garden dress above with its delicate Venice lace and shawl collar, you can see how impractical it would be to wear to work in a factory or on a farm. Fashion is a wonderful way to gain insight into history and I hope you’ll join me again in my next post as we examine further into Canada’s past and how it’s influenced what we wear through the ages.