Lafayette Escadrille

When Germany invaded France and declared war on August 3, 1914, there was in Paris a group of young American men who wanted to volunteer and join the fight for France. There have always been Americans in Paris, particularly since the French nobleman, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roche Gilbert du Motier Marquis de Lafayette came…

Men’s Fashion Post-WII: From Frills to Informality

Men’s Fashion Post WWI: From Frills to Informality Though WWI had a significant impact on women’s fashion and most men donned a military uniform during this period, the effect of the war can still be seen in men’s fashion.  In post-WWI society, gone were the days of the ostentatious and opulent dress of the Edwardian…

Freedom through Fashion

Check out this short video from the Wall Street Journal discussing how the war led to women’s freedom, especially when it comes to fashion.  What do you think?  Can freedom be defined through fashion?

Coco Chanel: Because Who Doesn’t Love a Cardigan?

In Paris December 1918 everyone was dressed in black. Minimal jewelry, often fashioned out of ammunition or brooches holding a loved one’s strand of hair, donned those reuniting or grieving (Brower). Edwardian fashions could still be seen, but a young woman named Coco Chanel had set up shop at 31 Rue de Cambon offering simple…

The War is Long, but Skirts are Short

In the years leading up to the war, women’s fashion was brightly colored and ornate. Paul Poiret was the most prominent designer of the time, drawing his inspiration from many Eastern sources such as the Russian ballet and the Japanese kimono. Practical is the last word anyone would use to describe these styles; just consider…

Patriotic Food Show

As the old saw goes, an army travels on its stomach, and to feed an army there must be readily available foodstuff, and plenty of it.  In order to provision the fighting troops, sacrifices were necessary at home and the U.S. Food Administration put out a series of posters regarding conservation rules. It is simple…

Prohibition: Then and Now

Americans famously ignored the prohibition of alcohol, either through outright disregard of the law, or through more creative means such as prescription spirits (displayed above).  Despite the failure of alcohol prohibition, the United States enacted the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, effectively beginning a new era of federal prohibition.  Is modern day marijuana prohibition similar…

Prohibition: Spirited Republic Exhibit Tour

The National Archives shares a wonderful exhibit on America’s relationship to alcohol: SPIRITED REPUBLIC exhibition at the National Archives The exhibit ran through January 2016 at the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery and displayed some great primary sources on the Prohibition Era.