Tag Archive | Clothing

Object: Shoes

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I-0601a
Shoes
Salvatore Ferragamo Shoes
Italian
1960s
Materials: Leather, Thread

This object is a pair of black and white leather spectator pumps, designed by the Italian designer Salvatore Ferragamo and owned by Lady Bird Johnson.  They were loaned to the Institute of Texan Cultures for a temporary exhibit called “Footprints and Imprints” showcasing famous and influential people through their shoes, and later donated to the museum.

Photo portrait of First Lady Lady Bird Johnson in the back yard of the White House. Photo by Robert Knudsen, White House Press Office (WHPO), via Wikimedia Commons.

Photo portrait of First Lady Lady Bird Johnson in the back yard of the White House. Photo by Robert Knudsen, White House Press Office (WHPO), via Wikimedia Commons.

Lady Bird Johnson became the 36th First Lady of the United States when her husband, Lyndon B. Johnson, was sworn in as president following the assassination of John F. Kennedy.  Born Claudia Alta Taylor, Lady Bird received her nickname at an early age, when a nursemaid stated that she was “as purty as a lady bird.”  The nickname stuck, and for the rest of her life she was known as Lady Bird.  Though her father and brothers called her “Lady,” her husband called her “Bird,” and that’s what she signed on her marriage certificate.

In the 1930s, Mrs. Johnson attended the University of Texas in Austin, earning degrees in History and Journalism.  During that time, she met Lyndon B. Johnson, and in 1934 they were married in San Antonio at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.

When Johnson became President in 1963, Lady Bird focused her energies on her first love- the environment.  The country was facing uncertain times, and Washington, D.C. was in need of a facelift.  Having grown up in the outdoors of far East Texas, Lady Bird had an appreciation and respect for the natural beauty of landscapes and wildflowers.

As First Lady, she embarked on a beautification project, which was named the Society for a More Beautiful National Capital.  The project consisted of planting millions of flowers throughout Washington, D.C., including tulips, daffodils, roses, and the dogwood and cherry blossom trees that the Capital is so well known for. She stated at the time that “where flowers bloom, so does hope.”

Cherry blossoms and the Washington Monument. Image by Wendy Harman, via Wikimedia Commons.

Cherry blossoms and the Washington Monument. Image by Wendy Harman, via Wikimedia Commons.

This proved to be just the start of what became a national campaign, and in 1965, the Highway Beautification Act was passed.  Through this Act, Lady Bird was instrumental in restricting junk yards and limiting billboards along highways throughout the country, in addition to promoting wildflower plantings along interstates all over the country.

Mrs. Johnson wasn’t just interested in beautification, but also in conservation.  One method she used to bring attention to her campaign was to visit historic sites, national parks, and scenic areas.  By taking along the head of the National Parks Service, dignitaries, and media, Lady Bird was able to shine a spotlight on the natural beauty that was in danger of being destroyed all over the country.

After leaving Washington, Lady Bird Johnson focused her attention on Texas.  She was the force behind developing ten miles of beautiful hike and bike trails around Town Lake in Austin.  In 1982, she teamed up with her friend, actress Helen Hayes, to found the National Wildflower Research Center.  In 1995, it was moved to 279 acres in southwest Austin and renamed the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.   The center is dedicated to conservation, education, and beautification through the use of locally available plants and flowers.  It is now one of the country’s most credible research institutions, and is run by The University of Texas.

Lady Bird Johnson saw a need to preserve and protect our nation’s natural beauty before it was destroyed by industry.  Her imprint can be seen every spring, driving the roads of Texas, or visiting the nation’s Capital.  She was instrumental in making environment issues a priority for our country.  She lived a legacy foretold by her nanny when she was given the nickname “Lady Bird.”  Lady Bird Johnson truly left a lasting impact through her work, and because of her, we can still call our country “America the Beautiful.” [Carrie Klein, edited by Kathryn S. McCloud]

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Gould, Lewis L.  Lady Bird Johnson: Our Environmental First Lady.  Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1999.

Johnson, Lady Bird and Carlton B Lees.  Wildflowers Across America.  Austin, TX: National Wildflower Research Center; New York: Abbeville Press, 1988.

Johnson, Lady Bird and Michael L. Gillette.  Lady Bird Johnson: An Oral History.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Loughmiller, Campbell, Lynn Loughmiller, and Lynn Sherrod.  Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide.  Austin: University of Texas Press, 1984.

Sneak Peek

The exhibits team at the Institute of Texan Cultures has almost finished the installation of a exhibition called Foreign by Land, Native by Heart. The exhibit officially opens tomorrow and features the stories of four refugee families who have settled in San Antonio. Below are a few sneak peek images from the exhibit installation, come join us at the Winter Celebrations Around the World family day on December 11th to see this great new exhibit in person!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Object: Hat

2016_1_12

2016.1.12
Hat
B. B. Ruth
American
San Antonio, Texas
20th Century
Materials: Cloth, , Rhinestones

This object is a lady’s hat sold by Joske’s Department Store in the early to mid-1900s. It was owned by Elise Denison Brown Lane, a long time San Antonio resident. The stamp inside the hat shows that it was made by B.B. Ruth for Joske’s Department Store.

After immigrating to Texas from Prussia in 1867, Julius Joske opened a dry goods store in San Antonio. After returning to Prussia in 1873, Joske returned to San Antonio a year later with his wife and children and reopened the store. When his sons joined the business the store name was changed to J. Joske and Sons. In 1883, after the retirement of Julius Joske, the store became known as Joske Brothers. In 1903, Alexander Joske bought out his brother and father and renamed the store Joske’s.

Postcard featuring Joske's store in San Antonio.

Postcard featuring Joske’s store in San Antonio. Image via Wikipedia.

At the time that this hat was made for Joske’s, the store carried mostly merchandise for men and boys. After an expansion in 1909, fabric and other materials were added to the store’s inventory. This gave women the option to have dresses and other apparel made for them.

Joske’s Department Store was headquartered in San Antonio with its flagship store in what is now Rivercenter Mall. Joske’s ultimately had twenty-six stores in Texas and one in Arizona. In 1939, after an expansion, Joske’s downtown San Antonio store became the first air-conditioned store in Texas. The store was hailed as the largest department store west of the Mississippi River until it was bought by Dillard’s in 1987.

joskes-fantasyland

Photo of Joskes’ Fantasyland during Christmas. Zintgraff Studio Photograph Collection, UTSA Special Collections — Institute of Texan Cultures. Identifier Z-1283-A-53976

Joske’s introduced the “bargain basement” in 1877 to help those with lower incomes be able to shop at Joske’s. This area of the store featured items at discount prices. Not only did the store sell goods, they also had several eating establishments which included a restaurant called the Camellia Room. In 1960, Joske’s opened a Christmas promotional area on the fourth floor of their downtown San Antonio store called Fantasyland. There was a thirty foot tall, mechanical Santa on the roof of the store that waved his hand. There was also a train ride that took children through the display. If you have ever seen the classic holiday movie “A Christmas Story,” you can get an idea of what Joske’s Fanstasyland was like in the scene where the character Ralphie and his family look at the Christmas display windows and when they visit Santa at the department store in their town.

In 1987, The Dillard Corporation of Arkansas bought Joske’s Department Stores. All the Joske’s stores throughout Texas were renamed as Dillard’s. The building that housed the flagship Joske’s store in downtown San Antonio is still being used today and is now part of the Shops at Rivercenter mall. [Kim Grosset, edited by Joscelynn Garcia]

Additional Resources:

Gamber, Wendy. The Female Economy: The Millinery and Dressmaking Trades, 1860-1930. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1997.

Odom, Marianne, and Gaylon Finklea Young. The Businesses that Built San Antonio. San Antonio, Tex: Living Legacies, 1985.

Winegarten, Ruthe, Cathy Schechter, and Jimmy Kessler. Deep in the Heart: The Lives and Legends of Texas Jews : a Photographic History. Austin, Tex: Eakin Press, 1990.

Object: Clothing

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I-0226 c, e, & g
Clothing
Trique
San Andres Chicahuaxtla, Oaxaca, Mexico
20th Century
Materials: Cloth

These three objects are clothing items from the Trique tribe of Oaxaca, Mexico. The first object is a belt called a soyate, the second is a tunic or shirt called a huipil, and the third is a wraparound skirt called an enredo. Each of these objects are handmade textiles from the village of San Andres Chicahuaxtla and have connections to past clothing traditions of the native peoples of Mexico. All together they create a complete outfit a young woman would wear.

01b-triquicopmapa1-trc

Map via SIL International (formerly known as the Summer Institute of Linguistics).

There are five villages of Trique people in the mountainous region of southern Oaxaca, Mexico. The San Andres Chicahuaxtla, San Jose Xochixtlan, San Martin Itunyoso, Santo Domingo del Estado, and the San Juan Copala. Altogether, the population of the Trique is about 30,000-40,000 people. The Trique are descendants of native indigenous groups dating back thousands of years. Trique is not only their name but the name for the language which links the five villages together. Each village does have differences though and can be divided into the lowland and highland groups. The Trique continue to be a part of Oaxacan culture today.

The clothing items are from the San Andres Chicahuaxtla village. The huipil is the main item of clothing and has the biggest connection to the Trique cultural identity. Originally, the huipil and other clothing items would have been made of hand spun and dyed cotton. Because of the added work and materials needed for dyes, older huipils are mostly white in color. The main band of color was always present at chest level and went across the front and back of the huipil. The enredo is a knee-length skirt that would have been worn underneath the long, tunic-like huipil and held in place by the soyate. The soyate is wrapped at the top of the skirt and then tucked under itself to stay in place. Traditional dress also included brown wool shawls. The Trique women didn’t have foot or headwear though. Red, blue, white, black, and brown were the main colors used in their clothing.

Market Day in San Juan Copala

Market Day in San Juan Copala. Photo via SIL International (formerly known as the Summer Institute of Linguistics).

The Trique are still around today and continue to make their clothing. Despite technological advances, the Trique have managed to keep their traditional art of weaving while incorporating manufactured textiles. This has allowed there to be more intricate and colorful creations. Without having to lose their culture and traditions, the Trique have found a way to benefit from modern society while remaining true to their traditions. However, lately they have been facing problems. Clashes between individual villages and the government have led to unrest and some Trique have been removed from their homes. Today indigenous communities, are faced with the threat of modern day governments and big businesses. [Briana Miano edited by Joscelynn Garcia]

Additional Resources:

Bacon, David. “Can the Triquis Go Home?” New America Media. January 19, 2012.

Cordry, Donald B., and Dorothy M. Cordry. Mexican India Costumes. Austin, Texas: University of TexasPress, 1968.

Fischer, Pedro Ernesto Lewin. Communicative Practices on Territoriality and Identity among Triqui Indians of Oaxaca, México. PhD diss., University of California, Berkeley, 2004.

Gunzburger, Cecilia. Traditions and Transformations in Chicahuaxtla Trique Textiles. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska, 2004.

Object: Tartan

I-0611g (2)

 

I-0611g
Tartan Fragment
Scottish-American
United States
Materials: Cloth

This item is a piece of a Scottish tartan from the MacLean Clan, which is one of the oldest clans in the Scottish Highlands.  It consists of green, white, and black patterned lines. Tartans have a long history, not just in Scotland but around the world, where the familiar plaid pattern has been used for centuries. Today we view the tartan pattern as representative of Scotland and their kilts.

The Maclean of Duart Hunting Tartan

The Maclean of Duart Hunting Tartan. Image via http://www.clanmacleanatlantic.org

Tartans are the patterns of interlocking different colored stripes that run horizontally and vertically, which are known as the warp and weft of the cloth. Tartans are defined as the pattern itself, so it can technically be used to describe the pattern in any form, such as in a digital picture, painting, or print. The earliest tartans can be dated back to the third or fourth century A.D. in Scotland though the pattern can be found as early as 3000 B.C. in other parts of the world. Originally tartan patterns did not have any significance, it was not until the 17th and 18th centuries that tartan began to symbolize clan affiliation.

The naming of tartan patterns began after 1765 when the firm William Wilson & Sons of Bannockburn began producing and collecting tartan patterns. By 1815 100 tartans had been named and clan chiefs began to gain interest in preserving their history and identifying a pattern that represented their clan. In 1822, King George IV visited Scotland expecting to see the clans present their tartans, this forced many clan leaders to choose or invent new tartans for their clan. Although tartans today are generally thought to represent clans, they can also represent towns, districts, corporations, individuals, and events.

Duart Castle

Duart Castle. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

This tartan is connected to the MacLean Clan of Duart Castle. Today the MacLean Clan has more than 10 different tartan patterns registered with the Scottish Register of Tartans. The MacLean’s have the prestige of having one of the oldest recorded tartans, which was described as early as 1587. Although it is difficult to know the exact origins of the clan, clan historians trace their ancestors as far back as 1050. Their name itself originated in 13th century when Gilleain na Tuaighe was chief. Maclean literally translates to son of Gilleain.

Today, tartans continue to be made and in the last fifty years have become an increasingly profitable business dominated by a few large mills. The tartan continues to be a representation of Scotland as much as kilts and bagpipes are. People continue to connect their genealogical history to their ancestral clans and the corresponding tartans. Clans continue to meet in reunions in Scotland, and Highland Games around the world to this day. [Briana Miano edited by Joscelynn Garcia]

Additional Readings:

Brown, Ian. From Tartan to Tartanry: Scottish Culture, History and Myth. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2010.

Innes, Sir Thomas. The Tartans of the Clans & Families of Scotland. Edinburgh, Scotland: Johnston and Bacon, 1971.

Lewis, Brenda Ralph. Tartans. Edison, New Jersey: Chartwell Books, 2004.

MacLean, L. A Historical and Genealogical Account of the Clan Maclean, from its First Settlement at Castle Duart in the Isle of Mull, to the Present Period. Edinburgh, Scotland: Laing & Forbes, 1838.

Object: Magazine

I-0569i (2)
I-0569i
Magazine
“The Saturday Evening Post”
American
March 1911
Materials: Paper/Ink

This object is an issue of “The Saturday Evening Post” from March 1911. The cover features the illustration of a woman wearing a broad brim hat, a white blouse, and holding a pink chain purse. She is checking her makeup in the mirror.  The featured article included with the illustration is “The Sin of Homeliness, the Duty of Every Woman to Be Well Dressed” by Dr. Woods Hutchinson. In the article, Dr. Hutchinson says that “beauty is the outward visible sign” of health. The article stresses the importance of attire to the appearance of a woman’s beauty. This includes buying the highest quality clothing that can be afforded.

Bianca Lyons in a dress, circa 1902

Bianca Lyons in a dress, circa 1902

The general public used to look negatively at women of the lower class who wore clothing similar to upper class women. They were viewed with distrust and judgment. The best fashions were only associated with the rich. The lower class was expected to buy clothing for its function and not its fashion. Women were made to feel embarrassed of their desire to imitate the look of wealth. In the case of women who lived in rural areas, women were made to fear fashion as a threat to their financial security. A writer from the Ladies Home Journal suggested that men could trace the source of their poverty to the expensive clothing and jewelry they gave to their female family members. However, more and more magazines were encouraging female readers to purchase upper class fashions. Popular magazines had increased in circulation from around 18 million in 1890 to 64 million in 1905. Articles similar to the one Dr. Woods wrote, which encouraged women to purchase up and coming expensive fashions, increased. The Ladies’ Home Journal emphasized the value of clothing when the editorial staff congratulated women for dressing well in 1923.

In reaction to a growing demand for cheaper fashions, programs started to develop around the country delivering advice to women on how to dress stylish inexpensively. The Cornell Extension Program offered presentations, the most popular of which was “The Well Dressed Woman” in 1924. Up to 4,597 rural women were known to attend these programs. Because some women sewed their own clothes at home, in 1863 the Butterick Publishing Company started to sell sewing patterns modeled after the popular styles of the time.

Patent US1313496” detailing the back of the “Deltor” Butterick pattern for an evening dress, from August 19, 1919 via Wikimedia Commons

Patent US1313496” detailing the back of the “Deltor” Butterick pattern for an evening dress, from August 19, 1919 via Wikimedia Commons

As serious shoppers, women helped to increase consumerism in the twentieth century.  The upper class were always changing their style in order to separate themselves from the lower classes that were copying them. Because of the constant changes, the demand for accessible fashion increased, stimulating production. Advances in technology allowed for the creation of the assembly line . As technology grew, so too did storefronts.  Between 1886 and 1912, the recorded number of chain stores increased from two chains with five stores total to 177 chains with 2,235 stores. The department store also increased in popularity. The department store embodied elements of smaller stores, offering multiple products to their customers. The first department store was opened in New York City in September 1848 called The Marble Palace, also known as A.T. Stewart Dry Goods Store. In 1877, R.H. Macy & Co in New York occupied 11 buildings. By 1924, it relocated to Herald Square and occupied more than 1 million square feet of space.

A.T. Stewart’s Retail Store, Broadway and 10th Street” circa 1860-1905, via Wikimedia Commons

A.T. Stewart’s Retail Store, Broadway and 10th Street” circa 1860-1905, via Wikimedia Commons

Some scholars suggest that the response to women’s consumer needs led to a growth in mass manufacturing and led to the consumer society we live in today. [Ashton Meade, edited by Joscelynn Garcia]

Additional Resources:

Carter, Ernestine and Diana Vreeland. The Changing World of Fashion: 1900 to the Present. New York: Putnam, 1977.

Damon-Moore, Helen. Magazines for the Millions: Gender and Commerce in the Ladies’ Home Journal and the Saturday Evening Post, 1880-1910. Albandy: State University of New York Press, 1994.

Mower, Ralph M. History of Macy’s of New York, 1858-1919: Chapters in the Evolution of the Department Store. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1943.

Snodgrass, Mary Ellen. World Clothing and Fashion: An Encyclopedia of History, Culture, and Social Influence. Armonk: M.E. Sharpe, Inc, 2014.

Object: Wedding Dress

2014.7.1
Wedding Dress
American
San Antonio, Texas
ca. 1912
Materials: Cloth, Metal

Wedding dresses have been worn by brides for hundreds of years, however a white wedding dress is a fairly new custom. Over time wedding dress styles have changed and not all cultures share the same wedding traditions. This  wedding dress was worn by Emma Steubing on her wedding day, December 14, 1912 to Robert Gass. The dress was likely made by a family member or the bride herself, which was common. The dress is an off white color and has lace trimmings throughout. Lace was and still is a popular material used in wedding dresses.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert

Today in Western culture the traditional color for a wedding dress is white. Queen Victoria is credited for starting the white dress trend in 1840 after her marriage to Albert of Saxe-Coburg . Phillipa of England wore white in in 1406 and Mary Queen of Scots wore white when she married Francis the Dauphine of France in 1559. In France, white was typically the color of mourning for French Queens, but Mary wore white anyway because it was her favorite color.

Before Queen Victoria decided she would wear white to her wedding, the popular color of the time was red. In the 1800s brides would usually wear the best dress they had to their weddings, which were usually a color like red or blue, rather than wear a dress specially made for the occasion. White was rarely used because at that time washing white articles of clothing was difficult. It was then easier to wear a dark colored dress and use it multiple times after. Wearing white was usually just done by the wealthy. However, Queen Victoria also wanted to send a message that she supported domestic commerce using only British made materials, a custom still supported 171 years later at the marriage of Catherine Middleton and Prince William.   A few years after Queen Victoria’s wedding a popular lady’s monthly called white “the most fitting hue” for a bride, “an emblem of the purity and innocence of girlhood, and the unsullied heart she now yields to the chosen one.” It was after this publication that young women everywhere started shifting their ideas of what a wedding dress should look like.

Wedding SariAlthough white maybe the popular color to wear in places like the United States, in China the brides usually wear red. The color red symbolizes love and prosperity in Chinese culture. In South Asian cultures a sari is worn during weddings. Sari, which translates to ‘strip of cloth’, is a clothing garment made of a piece of cloth five to nine yards in long and two to four feet in wide. The sari is wrapped around the waist and one end around the shoulder, baring the midriff.  The wedding sari was traditionally red with gold and made out of silk but different colors and fabrics are also used today. All around the world wedding dresses and traditions are different, and as time goes by the styles of these wedding dresses change. [Rebecca Gonzalez, edited by Joscelynn Garcia]

Additional Resources:

Banerjee, Mukulika, and Daniel Miller. The Sari. Oxford: Berg, 2003.

Ehrman, Edwina. The Wedding Dress: 300 Years of Bridal Fashions. London: V&A Pub, 2011.

Foster, Helen Bradley, and Donald Clay Johnson. Wedding Dress Across Cultures. Oxford: Berg, 2003.

Victoria, and Barry St.-John Nevill. Life at the Court of Queen Victoria, 1861-1901: Illustrated from the Collection of Lord Edward Pelham-Clinton, Master of the Household : with Selections from the Journals of Queen Victoria. Exeter, England: Webb & Bower, 1984.

Object: Obi

I-0323s
I-0323s
Obi
Japanese
Japan
Date unknown, likely 20th century
Materials: Cloth

What is an ‘obi’?

This item is an obi (oh-bee), a large sash used in traditional Japanese clothing for women. The obi functions as the tie used to keep traditional Japanese robes, known as kimono (kee-moh-no) secured in place. The obi is wrapped around the woman’s waist over the kimono and is tied in a large knot behind her back. The general Japanese word for this knot is musubi (moo-sue-bee), but there are many different names for the different shapes and ways the obi can be tied.

Obi come in various sizes, shapes, colors, and material depending on the type of kimono worn or the complexity of the knot the obi will be tied in. More formal obi, for formal kimono, are often made of luxury materials such silk or brocade, and tend to be more decorative to match the kimono. More informal obi that are used with everyday kimono, known as yukata (you-kah-tah), are often made with cotton, polyester, or less expensive materials. These kinds of obi are usually plainer in design. In traditional Japanese culture, men who wear yukata for relaxation also wear obi— but these obi are usually much smaller, darker in color, and less ornate than the women’s version.

What are the different types of obi? How are they tied?

In Japanese culture, there are many different types of obi for different occasions. The length of an obi can indicate what kind of kimono it can be worn with, the type of knot it can be tied in, the age of the wearer, and even the event that the wearer is going to.

There are five different lengths of obi that are the most used and commonly recognized today.

kyotomaikothreeback

How a Maru Obi looks when worn. Image via leolaksi.wordpress.com

From formal to informal, the first one is called the maru obi, and it is the most formal. Maru obi can be up to 15 feet long! Because they are so big, they are often only used for tying the largest, most ornate knots such as those used for brides in a Japanese wedding ceremony (which are covered) or for traditional performing artists known as geisha (gay-sha). 

The most popularly used formal obi today is the fukuro (hoo-koo-ro) obi. At 15 feet long it matches the maru obi in length, but is often less decorative and usually only used by younger, unmarried women for special occasions such as the Coming of Age Day at age 20. The fukuro obi is most often worn with the furisode (hoo-ree-soh-day) kimono, which is characterized by its long sleeves. The fukuro obi is often tied in the tateya (tah-tay-yah) musubi style to resemble the wings of a sparrow.

How To Tie the Tateya Knot for Furisode Kimon:

437px-Kimono-kyoto-derivative

Two women climbing temple stairs in kimono and taiko musubi. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

The semi-formal nagoya (nah-go-yah) obi is the most used obi in modern Japan. It was invented in the 1920’s by a young woman in Nagoya, Japan and is named after the city. It’s about 10.5 feet in length with a very distinguishable pattern: one half of the obi is less wide than the other! This gives the nagoya obi more flexibility, which allows the wearer to create many informal and semi-formal knots. The most famous knot tied with the nagoya obi is the taiko (tai-koh) musubi, which translates into the drum knot.

The informal obi known as the hanhaba (hahn-hah-bah) obi is most often worn with the informal kimono known as yukata. They are usually thin and made out of more common fabric, but come in large, stylized patterns and can be tied in various ways. The most popular knot for a hanhaba obi is the chouchou (choh-oo-choh-oo) musubi which looks like a butterfly.

obis

Tsuke obi or the work of a master? It can be hard to tell! Image from hanamiweb.com

Lastly, the shortest obi is the tsuke (soo-kay) obi also known as the ready-tied obi. These obi are the shortest because they only give the appearance of a full obi without the work of tying a full-length obi and knot. Depending on the fabric of the obi, and the pre-tied knot, the tsuke obi can be formal or informal. Today, many of the more intricate obi knots are pre-tied in stores and sold as separate pieces of the obi itself – this is because many Japanese people today don’t wear kimono as a regular part of life. This means that pre-tied obi or a more knowledgeable person (such as a professional kimono stylist or older member of the family) are the few options for people who want to wear more sophisticated obi styles.

Are obi expensive?

Obi can be even more expensive than the kimono they’re paired with. The price of the kimono and its obi depend on the material, age, quality and style of the clothing. While traditional, vintage kimono can be as expensive as cars (around $20,000 USD), obi can be equally expensive. Today, a modern formal kimono can cost as little as $100 USD. Formal obi, on the other hand, can cost three times that amount.

However, despite these costs, obi are an important part of traditional Japanese clothing that continue to illustrate the colorful heritage of Japan. [Caira Spenrath, edited by Jennifer McPhail]

Additional Resources:
Kimono: history and style. 2012. Tokyo: PIE.

Milhaupt, Terry Satsuki. 2014. Kimono: a modern history.  

Perez, Louis G. 2009. The history of Japan. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press.

Slade, Toby. 2010. Japanese fashion: a cultural history. Oxford: Berg.

Thompson, Christopher, and John W. Traphagan. 2006. Wearing cultural styles in Japan: concepts of tradition and modernity in practice. Albany: State University of New York Press.

 

The TARL Blog

Experimenting with collections access since 2013

Museum Anthropology

Experimenting with collections access since 2013

Center for the Future of Museums

Experimenting with collections access since 2013

TAMEC

Experimenting with collections access since 2013

Smithsonian Collections Blog

Experimenting with collections access since 2013

Digital Scholarship in the Humanities

Exploring the digital humanities

ethnology @ snomnh

experimenting with social microexhibitions since 2007

%d bloggers like this: