Add color to your winter with the Brooklyn Museum Costumes collection
By Ayesha Akhtar, User Services Assistant
What winter in the Northeast means for most is being able to get away with wearing black and gray, staying home in lieu of going out for fear of catching a cold, and wearing a troublesome amount of layers. But for me, grey winter skies provide the perfect backdrop for vibrant colors, I indulge in winter walks on snowy evenings, and layers mean ample opportunity to show off my keen fashion sense. After all, more clothes equal more fun. However, after festivities end the trend is a downward slope into a lackluster bowl of winter blues— and this decline of spirit reflects itself in one’s wardrobe.
This winter, with inspiration from the plethora of fashion images in The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Brooklyn Museum Costumes collection in the Artstor Digital Library, it’s easier to fight the urge to blend in with the seasonal black and gray.
Here are just a few ways to revamp your mid-winter wardrobe:
Socks are a winter essential. They not only prevent cold feet, but they also incorporate fun. These stockings hit all the right notes – rich colors and the perfect combination of patterns.
Fun socks are discreet enough to get away with wearing in places where color is frowned upon (ahem, corporate offices), but funky enough for someone to catch a glimpse when you walk by.
Winter is also a great time to explore different fibers—alpaca, wool, quiviot, fur, cashmere, silk just to name a few. Animal fibers are the warmest!
My favorites are Alpaca and cashmere. Alpaca is spun from the fleeces of members of the camel family. Alpaca is not just soft and warm, it’s also lightweight. The inner cores are hollow, which adds significantly to its insulating properties. It’s an ideal material for scarves, hats, and mittens. Cashmere is combed once a year from the bellies of the Cashmere goat. It is weaker than wool, but luxurious and extraordinarily soft. What I like most about it is its extremely receptive to dyes.
This winter, dare to wear bold colors. Check out how this red sash really pulls together this outfit. If you’re not into making bold statements, pastels provide a subtle and delicate presence.
With the right accessories, like hats and gloves and shawls, there’s no end to how you can mix and match your winter wardrobe. They add that extra drop of delight and detail to your attire.
The Met’s costume collection is just one of many collections in the Digital Library that can help to keep you in style this winter, and more importantly, help you fight those post holiday winter blues. Other collections you might want to check out include Gazette du Bon Ton (Minneapolis College of Art and Design), which features images of French fashion plates from the early 20th century, and the Condé Nast collection, which contains photographs dating back to 1892 from publications such as House & Garden, Glamour, Vanity Fair, and Vogue, and from the Fairchild Photo Service, the fashion world’s preeminent image gallery.
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