By now we all know the story of the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving, correct? If not, here’s a quick recap of their contributions and why we should be thankful for them. The very first thanksgiving celebrations that we know of were most likely held by Spanish settlers during the 16th century. But, the most famous was the feast held by the settlers in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621. Pilgrims, or early settlers of the United States, came to the new colony seeking religious freedom from the tyranny they encountered in England. Inadvertently their fame over these almost four hundred years has spawned several fashion movements in addition to the holiday meal tradition. How many of us have had the pleasure of making Pilgrim hats, or other iconic symbols of Thanksgiving in grade school? But, what are the stylish trends that suggest this central theme of the historic culture of our country? The following paragraphs highlight what styles we should be thankful (or perhaps not) to the Pilgrims for providing to us.
First and foremost because of their strict religious beliefs, the Pilgrim wardrobe was consistent with the time period and was composed of unadorned, yet tailored garments including frock coats for the gentlemen and long-sleeved dresses for the ladies. The common theme that we still aspire to is the contrast of dark and light colors so prevalent in their rather plain daily attire. Black-and-white themed clothing is nothing if not classic in the story of fashion just like this yearly food feast is to the world of U.S. history.
White collar, wasn’t originally a term for an office job, it literally meant wearing a white collar! These have made a comeback over and over again in the style pantheon. You can find collars that dress up a plain sweater or dress made of everything from linen to crochet with just a click of the mouse online. You could easily find garments that have a prominent collar at any of our Goodwill stores I’m sure, if you’re in the market to freshen up your look for fall and winter. You might even try wearing a white blouse with exaggerated collar under a black sweater or dress depending on the neckline! We’ve seen the contrast trend in many runway shows over the years, and it shows no signs of retiring into the annals of history anytime soon. Classic looks have staying power!
I must also mention that for his fall 2012 collection, designer Marc Jacobs famously brought back the buckled shoe! While his were of the glitzy variety with Swarovski crystal embellishments on the buckle, the square toe and stacked chunky heel are poised to become popular once again. Earlier in the year I stated that square-toed, chunky-heeled shoes always resurface in different ways throughout time, from the 40’s to the 70’s. Reinterpretation is the sincerest form of flattery to our Plymouth friends.
The buckle theme was also repeated on the black hat that the male pilgrims wore. This hat is also easily recognized as a symbol of the yearly celebration of thanks. A large metal buckle on a wide leather belt could also be seen as a nod to early settlers.
Not only should we be thankful to these trailblazers for one of our favorite holidays, or even their fashion sense, but also for instilling in us a feeling of gratitude for what we have. Whenever you purchase an item for your home or wardrobe from Goodwill, you’re sending a message of hope and generosity to those less fortunate in your community all year round, not only during the holiday season. And that, my friends, is really something to be thankful for!