History & Culture

Cashmere Couture: Cashmere in Western Culture

A vibrant red colored cashmere or pashmina wrap.
A map showing the regional boundaries of the Cashmere (Kashmir) region.

A map showing the regional boundaries of the Cashmere (Kashmir) region.

Cashmere- synonyms with luxury, soft and warm, beautiful and sophisticated; more than just a material- it’s a lifestyle.  A cashmere garment grants the wearer the power to feel unique- surrounded by warmth, beauty, and rarity; it always stands out in a crowd.  Cashmere is also a place; a land in India- tucked away in far north.  For centuries it was a place of mystery to Westerners; a place of exotic people, things, and practices.  The fabric first began to grace the bodies of rich Westerners in the 19th century- beginning in the Napoleonic era and gaining even more popularity during the Victorian age.

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Victorian Inspired OOTD

I have been so inspired by my Victorian Month that I decided to write my first ever style/ Outfit of the day (OOTD) post!

First, a few things you should know, 1- I am NOT a stylist (nor do I claim to have any sort of super styling talent) I enjoy putting different pieces together and playing around in my closet.  2. – I am not a millennial (although I think I might be borderline) so taking selfies is not second nature to me.  Back in the day we used to take selfies with our yellow disposable kodak cameras (you know what I’m talking about) and then wait until we got the film developed to see how they turned out.  More often then not half of your face was missing.  Please be kind to my selfie efforts- cut me some slack- this is an art form not easily conquered overnight 😉

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7 Victoria and Albert Trends That Became Tradition

Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert were serious trendsetters- if they lived today they would be “trending” on social media.  As the Queen of England and her consort, the power they had over popular culture and trends was pretty serious, and similar to William and Kate’s influence today.  I thnik that Victoria and Albert had even more power, as there were not as many competing factors.

Like Will and Kate today, Victoria and Albert were immensely popular and deeply in love.  Everything they wore or did became an instant fad and was copied the world over.  Sadly, Albert died young at the age of 42 and Victoria was heartbroken.  She wore black everyday for the rest of her life.  She died in 1901 at the age of 82.

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Canary Girls: Making Shells, Turning Yellow

OK- this is a little bizarre and totally would never happen in this day and age- but during WWI some women working in weapons manufacturing in England turned yellow.  Yellow?  Yep, yellow- their skin turned yellow and their hair turned highlighter orange.  It was so common they were nicknamed “canary girls”.  Some of them even claimed their baby’s were born yellow too.  Why were they yellow and why was this OK???

During WWI weapons factories filled up with women, because the men were all away fighting.  These girls were the predecessors to “Rosie the Riveter”.  In England they were affectionately known as Munitionettes.  Cute right?  They sound like a cheerleading squad- I bet they had cute outfits right?!?  Seriously though, they worked in extreme conditions, long hours, handling dangerous chemicals, in a time when the technology was new and largely untested.  These girls were BRAVE.  Doing their bit for the war effort and the fight for women’s equality.

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8 Powerful Propaganda Images from WWI

I’ve written previously on the subject of WWI.  I find this war intensely interesting and spend a lot of my free time reading and researching the subject.  Propaganda from the war is particularly of interest to me, and it’s use was wide spread during the war.  Both sides embraced propaganda as both a recruitment tool and morale booster.  The following photos show propaganda from some of the major players involved in the conflict- Britain, France, Germany, Austro-Hungary, and The United States.  Each country has their own unique style, and their propaganda reflects their culture and the mindset of their countrymen at the time.

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The Real Cupid- Not So Innocent

Valentine’s day is just about a month away.  Hearts, flowers, candy, valentine’s, and little cherubic Cupids are beginning to adorn the aisles of Target and Publix.  Cute little Cupid is basically the modern symbol of Valentine’s Day.  He’s everywhere and he’s so cute, innocently flying around shooting loving couples with his golden arrows.  Causing love to abound everywhere- beautiful and sweet.  Here he is:

Sweet CupidHe looks so cute and innocent- positively angelic. But, who is he really?  Is he a modern invention or an ancient creation?  Maybe the Victorians invented him? After all they popularized Valentine’s Day.

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“Wonderful Things”: King Tut, Highclere Castle, and Downton Abbey

Highclere Castle: The Real Downton AbbeyThis is Highclere Castle, the real Downton Abbey.  The widely popular t.v. show is filmed here.  Additionally, the writer of the show Julian Fellowes drew inspiration from the real family that calls the castle home.  For several centuries the castle has been the domain of the Earls of Carnarvon.  The 8th Earl and Countess are the current owners of the home.  The 5th Earl- The Great Grandfather of the current Earl was a pretty famous guy back in his day.  His name was George Edward Stanhope Molyneux Herbert, know as the 5th Lord Carnarvon.

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Auld Lang Syne or Sang or…Who Knows?!

auld lang syneEvery New Year’s Eve at the stroke of midnight groups of party goers happily mumble/lip sing to the words of Auld Lang Syne.  Nobody seems to know what the words actually are, never-mind what language it’s in or what it means, but everyone sings along.  It’s sung all over the world-on every continent; but where does it originate?  Here’s the story behind the New Year’s Eve anthem, Auld Lang Syne.

It was written in 1788 by Scottish poet Robert Burns.  Burns was the son of a poor tenant farmer.  He was born in Alloway, Scotland in 1759 and began writing poetry at the age of 15.  In his 20’s he continued writing and began working on two anthologies of Scottish folk songs and traditional poems.  The first was “The Scots Musical Museum” which he co-wrote with James Johns.  The second was “Select Collection of Original Scottish Airs”  Auld Lang Syne is one of his most famous works.

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