The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

February 12, 2014

Pella Women's Club celebrates 100 years

Earlier this year the Pella Women’s Club celebrated the start of their 100th year as an organization. The group met at the United Methodist Church with a total of 43 women, members and their guests attending.

The program that followed was a very interesting and authentic style show entitled, “Styles from the Past” presented by Valerie Van Kooten. She was assisted by five students from Pella Christian High School, who served as models; Kaaske Miller, Lynae Engbers, Julyn Holmes, Jalayna Morgan, and McKinley Zula.

Clothing modeled ranged from 1900-1975; which mirrored the history of the Women’s Club. HIghlights from the show included:

-In 1900, dress length was at the ankle or below. Women wore hats and may have carried parasols and wore gloves to protect their skin from the sun. In those years, white delicate skin was the desirable look for women.

-Tiny waists were the, “the thing”; so women wore corsets with steel stays in them, to achieve tiny waists. Some tell of 17”-18” waists. Women were not expected to engage in strenuous activities, i.e. basketball, soccer, etc.

-There was a big change after World War I; the war had made corsets a moot point since many were melted down for the steel stays inside to be used for the military. Dresses became looser, with dropped waists, hemlines higher, right at the knee. Women parted with their sometimes waist length hair, as shorter hair worked better with the cloche hats of the day—tight fitting “tskull” caps. They wore lots of long beads, rolled down stockings and rouge on their knees. This was known by many as the. “flapper era”.

-In the 30’s, hemlines drop again. Floral fabrics came in, as well as bias cuts and shoulder pads. Shoulder pads made waists appear smaller.

-In the 40’s, there were war time shortages, therefore, hemlines went up, skirts shorter and tighter, (to conserve fabric.) Hosiery was hard to come by and “leg make up” comes in. Women would draw lines on their legs to resemble seams of hosiery. The 50’s were the opposite extreme; circle skirts and poodle skirts, lots of crinolines, and beaded sweaters.

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