Just your standard three-piece toddler suit, circa 1880
Since before America had settled into the style of putting babies in rompers and/or mini-sweatpants, toddlers have in fact worn small human clothes for as long as we know. This week, the Charleston Museum opens a new exhibition that explores this history, #YesterdayInMicrofashion: 150 Years of Charleston's Children.
Pink dresses for boys, blue boots for girls — just three or four generations ago, the clothes kids wore would have looked more than a little strange. In an era where couples create flaming infernos
for gender reveal parties and where parents are often surprised to find out how gendered
modern toddler clothing is, it can be formative to return to an earlier era of time and notice the contrast.
Needlepoint children's shoes (c. 1838) designed with straight soles, able to be worn on either foot
Teresa Teixeira, curator of historic textiles at the Charleston Museum, notes that even the word "toddler" is a recent invention, crafted by ad agencies. There are over 50 articles of clothing in the #YesterdayInMicrofashion
exhibition, including mourning clothes, morning gowns, suits, dresses, and more.
Stitched using a variety of materials, these clothes represent the standard fashion of children across the U.S, from Champagne, Ill. to Charleston. One of the highlights of the exhibit is a sampler created by Charleston native Julia Margaret Bachman, daughter of the Reverend John Bachman.
exhibit opens to the public on Dec. 15 and will be on display in the Charleston Museum’s textile gallery through May 12 2019.