My love of vintage started after my grandmother died and lovingly bequeathed her vintage jewelry to me. I can remember playing with her earrings, necklaces, and brooches as a child. I was fascinated by the bright colors, sparkling gems and unique compilations of her vintage baubles. Each piece seemed to have its own story and to this day, I love wearing her jewelry knowing she had worn them a lifetime before.
Since then, my love of vintage has grown and my own collection now includes vintage clothing, evening clutches, fur collars, and costume jewelry. For my wedding, I wore a vintage veil and feather headpiece formerly worn by a professional ballroom dancer in the 1940’s. This timeless piece was my “something old” in the adage guiding brides to wear “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue” on their wedding day. And it remains one of my most prized possessions.
Leigh Anne Brown is also an avid vintage collector who began collecting vintage clothing more than 20 years ago. Her passion for vintage led her to start collecting vintage wedding dresses to which she has amassed more than 75 dresses from different decades. What is most unique about her collection is that the dresses represent the average American bride. They are not elaborate, they instead demonstrate what was happening politically and culturally that affected the styles of that time.
For Leigh Anne, the art of the dress is as important as the history of each piece. Her oldest dresses are from 1890 and show the transition from Victorian style. Others reflect the sociopolitical issues of the time such as during World War II – when zippers were not used because they were made into bullets.
Through Leigh Anne’s collection, you see the progression and evolution of women by each decade. The dresses are not changing shapes and styles simply because a designer changed the silhouette. A woman’s choice on her wedding day is influenced by economics, politics, war, education, family and societal expectations.
On Friday, January 27 the Florida Keys chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will host a luncheon at the Hilton Key Largo Resort where Leigh Anne Brown will speak about the History of Fashion. She’ll have 25 wedding gowns on display from her collection sharing stories of each bride, demonstrating how politics, economics, and education have shaped women’s wedding gown choices throughout history.
Tickets are $50. Call 443-631-2551 for more information or RSVP to FLKEYSDAR@gmail.com.