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The Way We Wore

Smithies Create

  • September 25, 2023
  • By Cheryl Dellecese


The Smith College Historic Clothing Collection comprises more than 4,000 donated items from the 1800s to the present and is unique for its large number of examples of women’s everyday clothing. Real Clothes, Real Lives: 200 Years of What Women Wore by Kiki Smith ’71, professor of theatre at Smith, examines pieces of the collection through a lens of feminism, fashion, and history, allowing them to tell the as-yet-untold stories of the women who wore them. Among the items featured are a black-and-white calico work dress (1865), a crocheted cotton day dress (1935), miniskirts and microminis (1968–70), decades of waitress and nurse uniforms, and a slew of hats and undergarments dating back to 1860. The book includes a foreword by fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, an introduction by fashion critic Vanessa Friedman, and an opening note from Smith College President Sarah Willie-LeBreton. 


Kiki Smith ’71

Rizzoli Electa, September 2023