Fashion styles through the decades

Historical show held at Turner Hall

Lauren McMackin models a 1990s silk beigejacket and skirt. This was the most recent outfitworn in the Historic Fashion Show. The Italiancollar jacket represented a minimalist and causalstyle that dominated the end of the 20th century.

NEW ULM — The Brown County Historic Society took a walk down the memory runway with a historic fashion show Thursday.

The program was called “Fabricating Fashions: A Historic Fashion Show.” The show was held at Turner Hall and featured displays of outfits and accessories from yesteryear.

Following a special luncheon, guests were treated to a fashion show featuring 30 different looks modeled by nine volunteers.

Lisa Besemer served as the Master of Ceremonies, introducing each of the historic fashion ensembles.

Besemer opened the show by telling the story of her grandmother, Helen Brust, who loved to shop at the stores in New Ulm.

Brown County Historical Society (BCHS) director Amy Johnson (right) and former BCHS director Kathleen Backer (left) dressed for Historic Fashion show held at Turner Hall. The two directors pose in front of Backer’s vintage hat and accessories collection that was on display during the show.

“Shopping was a social event,” Besemer said. It was not unusual for women to dress up to go shopping. In honor of her grandmother, Besemer wore an outfit similar to what she would have worn in the 1950s. The fashion show was a way to remember all the ladies of fashion.

The show opened with several models wearing fashion from the 1960s, as it was a major decade in fashion. Looks from the ’60s included a yellow seersucker summer dress, a plum 1960s velour pants suit and a 1965 hot pink suit with a pencil skirt. Jenny Eckstein showed off a 1960s Berkshire sleeveless polyester knit dress.

Later in the show, a 1960s maternity top was modeled. The style of outfit originated in the 1950s. Besemer said it became acceptable for women to be out in public in later trimesters of pregnancy.

Model Karen King wore a 1960s shift house dress. The Shift dresses became popular in the 1920s but were revived in the 1960s. Besemer said the dresses look best for taller women like King.

Michele Juni Seifert wore a black and white 1960s hound’s tooth coat dress. The dress was considered a “Go-Go” dress often worn with Go-Go boots.

Karen King models a 1941 pink dress with stand up collar, matching jacket with beaded yoke ties for a flowing outfit. The dress is loan from Marilyn Hesse. The dress was worn by Leona Hesse on her 50th wedding anniversary.

The show jumped back to 1926 with a semi-shear, floor-length blue dress worn by Lauren McMakin. The dress originally belonged to Marguerite Pfaender Runk for her Senior Spring Dance at New Ulm High School.

Donna Wing modeled a late 1930s flapper dress with a matching headband. The dress was handmade. Wing modeled a series of 1940s dresses including a short sleeve polyester black dress and a 1940s blue velvet wedding dress. The velvet wedding dress made an impact on the audience. It was unusual to see blue wedding dresses. Besemer said it was a more common color for a bride’s dress. The velvet material helped brides stay warm during cooler season weddings.

The show featured several antique school uniforms, creating a wave of nostalgia for many in the audience. King wore an old Cathedral High School uniform featuring a wool blazer, tweed slacks and matching vest. The slacks option was introduced in the late 1960s.

Later, King modeled the 1961 white cotton gym romper that NUHS girls were required to wear for gym class in the early ’60s. Besemer said women who had to wear it do not remember it fondly.

Model Kristine Runck later showed off the 1927 Mankato teacher’s college basketball uniform. The dress belonged to Marguerite Pfaender who wore it on the basketball team. The uniform featured a pleated wool shorts but looked like a skirt from a distance.

Model Misty DeLeo impressed all by modeling a 1958 majorette uniform. The outfit was originally worn by Patricia “Patsy” Glaesmann who was a majorette at New Ulm High School. Patsy went on to become a National baton Twirling champion. Patsy attended the fashion show and received a round of applause from the audience.

Misty DeLeo wore a replica of a forest green 1950s Betty Paige outfit with an empire waist. The dress came from DeLeo’s own collection.

Jeanne Kretsch later modeled the classic Poodle Skirt. The Poodle skirt style was popular with teenage girls in the ’50s, worn to dances and as everyday wear.

Jeanne Kretsch wore a floral pattern jumpsuit with a matching jacket. The dress came from Herberger’s in the 1970s.

McMackin wore a 1975 jumper with a peach blouse and Peter Pan collar. The outfit belonged to Kristine Runck, who in addition to serving as a model, worked as an O.B. nurse and became one of the first women on the Milford Township board.

A 1970s peach coat-dress with a notched collar, lapels and scarf was worn by King. The modern coat-dress first emerged in the 1910s but remained a staple for decades.

Sarah Warmka modeled a 1970s floral shirtwaist dress with a matching fabric belt and lopped fringe accents. Besemer commented it was the perfect spring dress. Warmka later modeled a 1989 navy blue military-style dress with peaked leather lapels.

Seifert wore a red and grey polka-dot knit dress specially ordered from a JC Penny catalog. The dress is owned by BCHS Research librarian Darla Gebhard, who wore it to the dedication of the Brown County Historical Society’s new museum in 1986.

A 1990s silk beige jacket and skirt was the most modern outfit shown at the show. Besemer said by the end of the 20th century, fashion was moving toward a minimalist and casual style.

The show ended on a high note with a 1940s satin wedding gown worn by Misty De Leo. The dress features puffed sleeves, beaded shoulders, a ruffled back and a chapel-length train. The dress belonged to De Leo’s grandmother, Flavia De Leo.

At the close of the show, Besemer reminded the audience that it was still a fashion faux pas to wear white pants, shoes, or purses before Memorial Day.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper?

Starting at $4.38/week.

Subscribe Today