Growing up, history was always my least favorite subject. It wasn't until I got interested in vintage fashion and historical costuming. Now I have a passion for the past that I never thought I'd have.
One way that I love preserving the past is by rediscovering period methods of doing things. Period sources can only get you so far and it's not always possible to speak to someone who was alive during the time to ask. Sometimes a little experimentation is necessary.
Even as close as the 19-teens are to modern times and with the availability of photographs from this period, there are a lot of questions still left to be answered. One question I really had to investigate was the question of undergarments. Which ones did people wear and in what order?
Looking at period photographs, you'd think this was the norm:
However, personal experience tells me that wearing combinations or drawers under a long line corset means that you have to get completely undressed and take off the corset every time you have to go to the bathroom or risk a high probability of getting your, um, business all over your lacey unmentionables (even when your combinations/drawers are split!). Or hold it all day but that's not really a viable option for everyday life. So it's likely that combinations/drawers were worn over corsets and these Edwardian "pin-up" photos were not accurate to everyday life.
combinations over a corset
Another cool history experiment I did was try out an authentic 50s haircut and an authentic 40s haircut. Once I'd mastered pin curling, I wanted to see if the right haircut would take my hair styles the extra mile. It really made things a lot easier and helped me figure out what sorts of haircut features you'd need to do certain hairstyles. Just like you can't do all types of modern hairstyles with one haircut, the same was true of ladies of the past. Once I recracked the code, so to speak, I could add it to my blog posts and youtube videos to share with all of you.
unstyled middy haircut
In this way, all of us who love vintage fashion can participate in preserving history. We still have access to a lot of primary resources and people who lived through those decades we love. By educating ourselves in the historically accurate way of doing things (even if we don't choose to do them historically accurately all the time), we can preserve history for future generations especially.
So celebrate being a historian! Whether it's through loving and preserving vintage clothing, or through making up vintage patterns or through rediscovering how to do great vintage hair dos, we all play an important role in preserving history.