“Contemplation” (1945) by Francis Edwin Hodge, part of the Russell-Coates museum collection. The fashion is so evocative of the late 40s (think of photos of the Queen’s engagement and the early episodes of “The Crown”), but the image of a young wife perched on a chair in a fashionably-slender dark dress with bright hat perched at a jaunty angle and with hints of old England in the setting behind her is much more interwar.

Just as importantly, the tasselled bow on her hat is making me think of these fantastic shoes from MissLFire that a friend and I bought in this year’s sale:


Active girls


Publicity shots for a 2020 exhibition of women’s activewear at FIDM – nice that they are planning to show the garments in motion. I feel that Gertrude Bell and Harriet would approve! Meanwhile in London, Anni Albers and her weavings are still on show and a massive Dior exhibition will be opening soon.



When she woke up the next morning, Maria found to her great surprise that her riding-habit had not been put ready for her. Instead there had been laid out a very decorous dark-blue gown with plain white linen collar and cuffs, a dark-blue cloak and a dark-blue straw hat with delphinium-blue ribbons.

Maria was not very fond of this costume. In spite of the ribbons, it was rather a sombre and serious outfit, and it made her feel as serious as itself. However she knew better than to put it away and get out her habit, for she realised now that what she did day by day was not left entirely to her own choice. She was more or less under orders. And it seemed that her orders for today did not include riding.

The Little White Horse – Elizabeth Goudge. The dress here actually is a rising habit and from about 40 years later than The Little White Horse is set, but as soon as I saw it it reminded me of this passage. Photo from @katestrasdin


Gaudete Sunday is the third Sunday in advent and the time when the reflections on sin, longing and exile are replaced by a moment of hope. It’s symbolised by a change from deep purple vestments to pink in the Catholic Church, and is a moment of excitement for all children who know that Christmas itself isn’t far off now.


Pink is a colour that for centuries in the West was a “male” one, being viewed as a faded version of martial red, but in the early 20th century it changed and baceme associated with women. The Museum at FIT have a show exploring how this colour can be powerful, punk and provocative as well as pretty and I’m sorry I won’t have a chance to see it before it closes on January 5th. If you’re back in the area, do see it – their 2016 shows on uniformity and on Proust’s muse are two of the most thought provoking shows I’ve seen.


Jane Eyre vibes


As every Jane Eyre  fan will know, she insisted on buying grey merino even for her trousseau, but seeing this 1860s crinoline with purple-slashes sleeves makes me think maybe it wasn’t so muted after all. Dress in the Met Institute of Fashion.