You are on page 1of 27

Sentimental Recycling of Dress

What My Mother Wore...

August 15September 15, 2013
Milam Hall Corridor (2nd floor)
Oregon State University
Corvallis, Oregon

Exhibit Catalog
The School of Design and Human Environment Presents


Forward 4
Exhibit Planning and Installation Credits 5
Introduction 6
Bridesmaids Dress of Vicki Menard 9
Bridesmaids Dress of Damon Family12
Paisley Wrap Skirt of Natalie Menard 15
Wedding Veil of Margaret Reeves 18
Ring of Emily Damon 20
Sicilian Ring of Martin Family 22
Promotional Flier 24
Press Release 25
Table of Contents

In the inaugural offering of DHE 399: Dress, Museums, and Popular Culture at Oregon State Univer-
sity, students were given the opportunity to design an exhibit that incorporated dress and popular
culture (i.e., the interpretive process of creating experience through dress in the museum space). The
whole class worked together as a team, separated into five smaller committees, to prepare the dress
exhibit that is chronicled in this catalog. This exhibit depicts the popular culture of the mother-
daughter relationship and sharing of dress from mother to daughter. The exhibit is special because it
is comprised of the objects owned by students and instructors. That is, the objects contained in this
exhibit represent the lived experience of those who used their time and energy to create it. We are so
proud of the work that the students have produced!

We want to extend special thanks to Student Multimedia Services at Oregon State University and
Alex Trevigne for his wonderful photography contributions. Many thanks to all of the family mem-
bers that assisted us in gathering the garments, photographs, and oral histories that add so much
richness to this exhibit. Also, thank you to Dr. Elaine Pedersen for her guidance on this project, as
well as the use of display space and support materials for student use in the exhibit.

We hope you enjoy this unique view into the lives of mothers and daughters, as told through dress.



Exhibit Planning and
Installation Credits

The mother-daughter relationship is an important part of popular culture
and especially influential when it comes to dress. When we are young, we
like to play dress-up in our mothers clothes. When we get older, we are
eager to pick out our own clothes and wear what our mothers would never
let us wear. As adults we want to wear clothing that reflects our individual-
ity and sense of self. Some of these items turn out to be the dress that our
mother wore.

Whether its a dress our mother made, jewelry passed down through gen-
erations, or even some of her favorite outfits that are now coming back in-
to style, we can represent that special connection and feel close to our
mothers. These items are unique and can be upcycled to become a part
of your everyday wear.

This exhibit was created by the students of DHE 399: Dress, Museums, and
Popular Culture. It is dedicated to the most stylish women we know-our

Popular culture is the culture of mass appeal.

It reflects the value of the majority and recognizes societys
multicultural values. Oral history reveals the lives of ordi-
nary people, and allows us to have a more in-depth under-
standing of a specific time or place. We can use the oral
history provided by our mothers to have a greater apprecia-
tion for their life experiences and value their sense of self.

I realize then how little we know of our parents when they
were our age, even after we pry their stories from them. Try-
ing on my mother's dress offers me another glimpse and
helps me understand, in a physical way, part of her life.
This dress tells me we really are a perfect fit.

Hua, V. (2004). Young woman puts herself in her mother's
dress. San Francisco Chronicle, p. F3.

Introduction, cont.

Childhood is an important time to define identity and the
relationship between mother and daughter is a central part
of the process. Our notions of femininity are revealed
through the creation of our identity through fashion, and ul-
timately we learn how to be women from our mothers. This
process of socialization based on clothing preferences
stems from the mother-daughter relationship that is negoti-
ated through clothing and then redefined into adulthood.

"The mother's position is therefore informed by their own
cultural and life experiences that in turn shape the way in
which their daughters' view certain issues such as fash-
ion...the mother-daughter relationship is an extremely im-
portant influence on a young girl's life.

Rawlins, E. (2006). Mother knows best? Intergenerational
notions of fashion and identity. Childrens Geographies. Vol.
(4)3. 359-377.
Introduction, cont.

Womens bridesmaid dress, ca. 1996. Magenta
-colored, above the knee with capped tulip
sleeves. Courtesy of Natalie and Vicki Menard.

Front of dress
Back of dress

My mom made this dress for her sister's wedding
in 1996. My Aunt Kathy wanted to choose a pat-
tern that wasn't too complicated and that easily
could also be worn to other functions. My mom
mentioned recalling the new trend of bridesmaid
dresses being more versatile, allowing the dress to
be worn multiple times to diverse events without
being known as merely a "bridesmaids" dress.
-Natalie Menard

This dress is sentimental to me because I always
remember playing dress-up in it as a kid, and
wanting to be able to wear it. I essentially wanted
to look as beautiful as I remember my mom look-
ing on the day of my aunt's wedding. Around 17
years later, I can now fit into the dress and am
anxiously awaiting the day I can wear it to an ap-
If anything, the magenta bridesmaid dress is a
representation of my sewing hobby being handed
down to me from my mother just like the

Womens bridesmaid dress, ca. 2000. Pink-
colored satin, below the knee, with tulle petti-
coat. Courtesy of Emily Damon.

My grandmother made this dress for my aunt Jennifers
wedding in 2000 (pictured at left). She made eight of them.
It was also worn in my other aunts wedding. It has been in
my grandmothers closet since. My grandma has been a
wedding dress seamstress for the past 10 years and has re-
cently retired from sewing wedding dresses for other peo-
ple. My little cousins have enjoyed playing dress up in them
in the bridesmaid dresses that my grandma has made over
the years. I remember playing dress up with all of my aunts
old dresses that hung in my grandmas closet. My grandma
has also tried to teach me how to sew, but I have never re-
ally caught on other then mending the simple button.
-Emily Damon


My little cousins have enjoyed playing dress up in
them in the bridesmaid dresses that my grandma has
made over the years. I remember playing dress up
with all of my aunts old dresses that hung in my
grandmas closet. My grandma has also tried to teach
me how to sew, but I have never really caught on oth-
er then mending the simple button.

This dress (pictured below) was passed down to me to
wear as a junior bridesmaid in my Aunt Julies wed-
ding. I think I was around twelve years old. The wed-
ding was held
on a rooftop in
Brea, California
in 2004.

-Emily Da-
Emily wearing the
pink dress as a
young girl

Womens wrap around skirt, ca. 1990s. Navy,
purple and white paisley with ties. Courtesy of
Natalie Menard. Tank top for photo ensemble
courtesy of Jennifer Mower.

My mom remembers buying this skirt because she
loves bandanas and blue, although she can't remem-
ber where she bought it it may have been a thrift
store purchase. She initially thought it would be cute
to wear over her bathing suit for trips to the river. Be-
fore she passed it down to me, she remembers wear-
ing it last on a hot summer night with a white cotton
camisole (which is actually what I have also paired
with it a few times). Interestingly, the white camisole
had belonged to her mom, who passed down many
summer tops to my mother. My mom remembers
buying the skirt in the late 90s and wearing it to many
music festivals, where she recalls the skirt trying to fly
open when she would dance. I now wear the skirt with
a few safety pins attached to the skirt, in order to
avoid this very scenario.
Natalie Menard
Natalie (far right) wearing a
dress of a similar print as a
young girl at an outdoor gath-
ering with her mom and twin
sister, Kathleen

This wedding veil was worn in the 1977 wedding
of Margaret and Frank Reeves in Los Alamos, New
Mexico. The veil (and accompanying dress) were
custom made by Mrs. Vera Rauchfuss, also of Los
Alamos, for the wedding. Photographs provided
by Genna Reeves-DeArmond and Margaret
The bridal veil of Margaret Reeves worn
by daughter Genna Reeves-DeArmond
for her wedding rehearsal


This is the wedding veil
worn by my mom, Marga-
ret Reeves. It was original-
ly made with an accompa-
nying wedding dress by
Mrs. Vera Rauchfuss, a
neighbor from down the street when she was
growing up. The dress and veil had been chosen
from a bridal magazine in 1977 (pictured at
above). Vera was so talented at sewing that she
was able to make the dress from a magazine pic-
ture without a pattern. My mom provided a head-
piece to which Vera sewed the finished veil. It was
a truly custom, original and special piece for my
The magazine advertisement
that Gennas mom used as a
template for her wedding
dress and veil.

My mom told me in August
2013 that she had hoped her
daughters would wear her
wedding dress and veil one
day because it represented a
special day for her. My mom
explained to me that it was
nice to see me wear it for one
of my special days. My mom
also appreciated that she
saved it and it was actually worn again because, as a frequent
shopper at thrift stores, she values the idea of recycling and
making an old item new again. My mom thought it was neat
that I asked for her veil to wear at my wedding rehearsal be-
cause she may not have thought to offer it for use. It was a way
to creatively add something borrowed and something old to
my special day and have my mom more front and center on my
wedding day.
-Genna Reeves-DeArmond
Genna chose to wear the veil for
her wedding rehearsal and re-
hearsal dinner in preparation of
marrying Richard DeArmond on
July 13, 2007.

Emily received this ring from her grandma on her
birthday. Emilys grandma was bestowed this
ring on her birthday from her parents when she
was a little girl. Emily continues to wear this ring
on special occasions like her prom. This is Emilys
favorite piece of jewelry and she plans on passing
it down to her future granddaughter. Photograph
Emily Damons Ring Passed Down
from her Grandmother as a Rite of Passage

Dear Emily,
So hard to believe that you are 16. Seems like you were just a sweet new baby.
This ring I got from my parents when I was 16. Now that I am 67 the ring is 51 years
old. I decided since you are my frst granddaughter turning 16 you should have it. May
be someday you can give it to your 16 year old granddaughter.
Love you very much Grandma
Emilys grand-
mother wrote a
letter (pictured
at right) that
was given to
her with the

Read the letter
to find out
more about
their special

A gold-set diamond ring. Made in Sicily, Italy in
1923. Photographs provided by Joseph Martin.
Capturing True love and Perseverance
with a Cherished Sicilian Ring in the Martin Family

This ring is from my great grandmother who
passed away several years ago from a broken
heart four months after my great grandfather
died. It was brought over by her and her family
from Sicily, Italy when she came to Ellis Island in
1923. The ring has a lot of sentimental value to
my family and I because of its history and also
because of our love for our great grandmother.
My mother used to wear the ring as a memorial
piece until the gold
started to become
worn and it has be-
come antique and
the stones are be-
coming loose.
Joseph Martins
mother wearing
the ring

Promotional Flier

Press Release
Sentimental Recycling Exhibit
The students of DHE 399 have come together to create an exhibit that
illustrates the sentimental recycling of dress from the lives of OSU stu-
dents and their mothers. Items have been donated from generations
of Oregon State students families to illustrate the sentimental value
and history that each garment holds. Join us in the journey of explor-
ing the history and nostalgia that is depicted in each garment. Engage
with our exhibit by telling us your own story of clothing you own that
has been passed down in your family.
The exhibit will be open for viewing from August 15 to September 15,
2013 in Milam Hall in the display case directly across from Milam
236/224. Bring your friends and family and join us in the free event.
Throughout summer session 4, students of DHE 399:Dress, Museums,
and Popular Culture have learned the significance of dress in Western
museums and how to curate a museum exhibit successfully. As a class,
the students of DHE 399 came together to brainstorm ideas for a mu-
seum exhibit and were put into various committees to work together
to curate this exhibit.

Press Release Submitted to OSU Today:

Sentimental Recycling Exhibit: The students of DHE 399 present their final museum exhibit pro-
ject to the public for viewing. The exhibit illustrates the sentimental recycling of dress from the lives
of OSU students and their mothers. The exhibit will be open for viewing from Aug. 15 to Sept. 15 in
Milam Hall in the display case directly across from Milam 236/224. Free.