It’s a Rarity

What qualifies as rare in fashion?  Is it the singular genius of a designer’s work?  Is it the incredible delicacy of hand embroidered cotton or lace?  Is it the one-of-a-kind couture garment? We certainly have our share of beautifully designed, constructed and embellished garments in The Fashion Resource Centre Collection.  And many of these have been lovingly preserved by their owners or their owner’s descendants before making there way to us.  Ceremonial garments like christening gowns, graduation robes, bridal attire and formal wear, such as tuxedos, fall easily into this category.

I would agree that all of these qualify as rare but there is another, often overlooked classification of rare fashion: those items which we rarely see.

In our collection I believe some of the rare pieces are those that we preserved while others of the same category have been discarded.  If you think about what you have in your closet that you never seem able to send off to a Value Village or consignment store, what would it be?

Would you save underwear?  Would you save a ski suit you wore 15 years ago?  Would you save the maternity clothing you wore?  How about a simple day dress?

These are some of the pieces that I consider to be rare.  The everyday garments that we might describe as ordinary, but which are actually quite interesting to someone studying the clothing worn by members of a society decades ago.

These pieces are part of our Zeitgeist.  They reveal details of the people who have worn them.  The activities they engaged in and the type of clothing that may have been required either physically or socially.  They may illustrate the decorative arts popular in a particular period.  And, they may reveal the social position of the individual wearing them.

In a future blog my colleague Rhonda Roth has chosen to explore one such group of individuals who played an integral role in society in earlier centuries.

These are images of what I consider are rare garments within our collection.

Hope you enjoy!


A woolen, one piece bathing suit from the 1920s


A hand crochet vest for a “love-child” of the 60’s/70’s


Maternity wear from the 1950s

A day suit from the 1920s with an icon Art Deco pattern (and square, not round buttons!)

A day suit from the 1920s with an icon Art Deco pattern (and square, not round buttons!)

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