Discovering History in Costume

It is said we live in a wonderful time, things are easier, we have the technology and resources for a more comfortable life. Perhaps this is most true in the clothing we wear. Especially in Colorado.

Colorado is known for its laid back jeans and t-shirt standard of dress, and Fort Collins embraces this standard on whole new levels. We are an active lot, biking, hiking, hitting the gym, and rarely do we get gussied up for a night on the town. If we have to leave the chuck Taylor’s home, we probably won’t go.

As most know, people wore different clothes back in the day. They especially wore a lot more layers, and dressed much more modestly, and men were rarely seen not wearing a suit. Often these layers and suits all had practical purposes to save money, and time, to stay warm and dry and to protect oneself from the elements. Along with just being fashionable.

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Owners of a Cigar company stand outside of their location at 210 Linden Street in Fort Collins.

Men and women alike would wear a base layer that would often be slept in, and worn under their clothing. This acted not only as an extra layer of warmth and modesty but also protected expensive outer layers from sweat. Clothes for working class people were also very simple in order to save money and make things practical. If a dress was covered in embroidery, bead work, and lace all of those element would have been hand made and stitched to an outfit. Which meant a lot of labor or a lot of money depending on a woman’s station in life. In the American West, there was rarely time for such luxuries until fortunes were made and household staff could take care of normal chores.

Though it seems boring to study clothing, it is also vital to understand the expectations of a culture or the status of an individual. These photos represent working class people, their businesses and how the clothes look with modern photography in the same places.

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