Wednesday, May 4, 2016

My Kingdom for a Cloche!

Alas, the Downton Abbey costume exhibit never came to my town. But through early October, those visiting Lansing, Michigan can get a flavor of the era at the Michigan State University Museum.

When I was on my recent walk and landed at the Museum, I couldn't resist going into this little cultural gem in our community. They bring in and create wonderful exhibits but I didn't expect to find two that fit me so well! (See the Chinese quilting post HERE.)

The exhibit focused on the jazz age with an emphasis on that wonderful hat, the cloche.

I can never wear the cloche. My head is too big and I have too much hair. It is not a good look. But the Downton women pulled it off so well! (I'm much better with a bit of a brim like the hats from this catalogue of the times.)

I loved the gowns that were featured, too -- lovely beaded creations with great details.


Can't you see Mary or Edith making an entrance in this one?

Accessories were on display and so, too, was a small dressing table that gave a flavor of the period.


Several theatre seats were placed in front of a small screen offering clips from silent movies, including the "scandalous" "Flaming Youth."

And of course you couldn't have a silent film without featuring the Charleston!

We learned a bit about Clara Bow, the "It" girl and one of the hit shows of the period, "Good News."


The description on the museum's website explains that the American "flapper" rejected tradition and embraced more body concious styles, wearing "her newly won freedom to vote, earn and learn on her body: short dresses and clear stockings, bobbed hair, and a head-hugging cloche.

"The cloche -- a bell-shaped hat considered 'clever and smart' -- framed the face with fashionable Art Deco panache."

I confess, I would have walked out with the large Vogue panels showing Deco-period models. They were featured throughout the exhibit giving a greater sense of the fashion of the time.


A special piece that touched my ephemera-crazy heart was a scrapbook from the period created by a woman who attended Michigan State University.


It featured photos from the J-Hop, movie star photos and ticket stubs and even a souvenir bunco card!


Every detail, down to the books on the dressing table, fit the period.

So, if you're in the mid-Michigan area and in mood to find your inner flapper or a fashion throwback,
check out this fun exhibit.

It continues through October at Michigan State University.

And as for me... these words say it all!

This post is linked to Talk of the Town, to "Thoughts of Home on Thursday" and "Share Your Cup," where you can find other fun links to stimulate your imagination, creativity and sense of home, beauty and spring!


Shelia said...

Morning, Sunshine! Oh, what a lovely exhibit! I just love all of the detail on those darling little hats! My aunt used to do the Charleston for me and I was just fascinated! :)
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

The Artful Diva said...

looks like a great exhibit!

Mary@mydogsmygardenandmary said...

What a great exhibit. I would have loved to see it. I love all that style of clothing. I really miss Downton Abby, it was such a wonderful show and I loved all the clothes.
So glad that you enjoyed the exhibit and thank you for sharing it with us.

Happy Mothers Day.


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

What a fun exhibit. I love seeing styles from the past. I really love the beaded dresses from the flapper area. I can't pull off hats, either, but admire the look on other women that can pull them off!!

Mae Travels said...

Sounds terrific! I love those hats.

best... mae at

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I never saw Downton Abby, but I have several friends who miss it tremendously. We had a traveling exhibit at our local art museum that explored the architecture and paintings one might find in Downton Abby. I do love the exhibit, though, and have one of those flapper dresses. My grandmother's mother apparently wore it, and when my grandmother died, I found it in her hope chest. Although I don't look good in hats, the women in the art make it look perfect.

Once again, milliners, another "profession" was taken over by mass production. It's too bad this wonderful art has all but been lost today. i truly enjoyed seeing this exhibit and was so glad you shared this second display with us. We get nothing like that here in Kansas!

Marilyn Miller said...

I would absolutely love, love, love this exhibit. This is my era for clothing and hats. I don't wear a cloche because my hair is too short, but I love them so much. I even designed one that I sell the pattern for on my website. They look so cute on little girls too. That first hat is to die for. Beautiful exhibit.

My name is Erika. said...

Wow- that is an amazing exhibit. I think I like it better than the gorgeous quilts you last showed us. My grandmother was a girl of the 20's, and I am trying to imagine how she dressed and what social media of the time she interacted with. This posters and books have a real interesting feel to them. Thanks for sharing. Hugs-Erika

Janet said...

Oh, how I wish I lived close enough to visit this exhibit! I loved Downton Abbey...the clothes, the hats, the rooms. It was all so lovely and so proper. This exhibit looks fantastic. (I can't wear a cloche either!)

Angelsdoor * Penny said...

Hello dear friend,
What a great post, and exhibit! I adore hats. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

Betsy@My Salvaged Treasures said...

What a beautiful exhibit of vintage hats and clothing. I'd be there in an instant if I only lived closer. Thank you for sharing with Talk of the Town.

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous hats, gorgeous clothes! I love that era.

Jean | said...

Jeanie, I'd love to see that exhibit! I love hats and wore them quite a bit in my 20s and occasionally now, usually when going out for afternoon tea. I've never tried on a cloche, assuming it wouldn't look good on me. I've always liked a bit of brim -- though my fascinator is an exception.

Sandra Cox said...

Oh my gosh! What fun. And the dresses are simply beautiful. I'm not sure how those hats would work for me, but I'd love to give it a go:)

Marcia said...

Oh what a delightful post. I absolutely adore the 20's. Those gowns are stunning. The details on them are gorgeous...and yes, I can see Mary or Edith in one of those.
Thank you for visiting, Jeanie. Yes, this is "that" Marcia. teehee Every now and then I just get the impulse to start a new blog, something to do with the way my creative mind a blank canvas.
Browsing through missed posts.
Good to be in touch.

Laura Beth said...

Love the exhibit! Especially the dresses. So much fun!

Joanne Huffman said...

What a fun place to go!

shoreacres said...

I had to smile at the reference up above to the social media of the '20s. As far as I can tell, the social media among my mother and aunts and their friends was -- postcards! They didn't even have telephones, let alone cell phones. The first phone I remember was a black desk model, without even a dial. You picked it up, and the nice operator asked, "Number, please." Our number was 1906, and I had to memorize it before I could ride my bicycle farther than our block.

The vanity is what caught my eye. My mother had one as part of her bedroom set, although it had a rectangular mirror, and three drawers on each side rather than two. She gave it up when she moved to Kansas City. They weren't very practical, actually. There wasn't much storage space for the floor space they took up -- but I still remember what was in every drawer!

Tracy said...

Ooooo... I LOVE this!! I really love the fashions of the 1920's. I used to have a book on how to use ribbons to make some of those beautiful 20's embellishments like use on hats and clothing--VERY fun!! I look horrible in a cloche hat (which is a downer, as I like hats, but that style doesn't suit me--need a bit of a brim)... but the clothes, those I can manage. ;) Such beauty all this... such beauty! Happy Days, Jeanie ((HUGS))

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

I LOVE THE TWENTIES! As I scroll down, I am reminded of how the youth culture has changed in it's expression, and how it has NOT changed. The need to sprout and use new wings will always be evident, but the way obviously that the flight is launched is always so different. Imagine these "kids", now long gone.


Arti said...

What a gem indeed! While I'm not a fashion fan, I'm always fascinated by the retro ephemera of photos, theatre tickets, notes, receipts, or what not. The scrapbook is wonderful and those period editions of books as well. Thanks for this detailed post, Jeanie, like I've gone into the museum with you!

Stacey said...

Here's the truth - I'd never heard of cloche as it refers to a hat until I googled cloche as it refers to the bell jar cover. :)

This a beautiful and well researched post. Love it!

Art and Sand said...

I loved this post - such beautiful dresses and hats.

I wish I could stylishly wear a cloche, but alas they look ridiculous on me.

Thanks for sharing at SYC.

Jann Olson said...

What a wonderful display! I would love to attend something like this. The cloche hat certainly does remind me of Mary and Edith. Glad you got to see this!

Vagabonde said...

I enjoyed your visits to “The Mound” and also to the maple artisan business. I placed “Mill Brook Sugar House in Pittsfield, MA” on Google and it came up with a red banner saying “permanently closed.” Is it a mistake? I saw you had some pretty pictures of gold finches too – and you cat was like ours – watching them intently.

The quilts you showed were so colorful. I still have to post my second part to my quilt post – I’ll do it next time. I also love you current post with all the very elegant hats – I would enjoy wearing hats more often – but where? (don’t go to church.) My daughter is getting married in July in California but she said “beach wedding – very casual” so I don’t think an elaborate hat would work, plus they are hard to find here – although I have a couple I bought in Paris. My mother had beautiful dresses from the 20s like those you showed, embroidered. She gave them all away – I should have kept them. I did buy a lovely cloche hat, hand-made from a milliner, in deep purple wool, in Tallinn, Estonia, two years ago, but it was not cold enough this winter here in Georgia to wear it. I wanted snow so bad to wear it, but it never got cold.

Joyful said...

Beautiful exhibit. I couldn't wear a cloche or those lovely dresses. They do not suit my size or my body but they are lovely and all the ladies of the Downtown Abbey cast looked so beautiful didn't they? Thank you for a wonderful comment at my post today. Have a very wonderful weekend. xx

Red Rose Alley said...

Oh, what a fun post. I loved seeing the styles and the hats of the show Downton Abbey. How exciting it must have been for you to browse through the costume exhibit. That hat, (the cloche) on display is something else. Very stylish. Is this the 20's era? That's Nel's favorite time period when it comes to fashion.


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