Bustles to Bras

200 Years of the Feminine Silhouette

Wilmington, Delaware

Fashion history presentations
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About the Show

fashion history in Delaware
Bodice of 1880s Wedding Gown

fashion history in Delaware
Symington Collection of Corsetry

In 2009, Karen wrote the original fashion show presenting the history of clothing for a women’s organization celebrating its 100th year.

In 2011, she enlarged the show to feature 180 years of fashion as a fundraiser for the New Castle Historical Society. Two shows in one day raised $5,000.

Today, the show has been updated in scope, format and content. Bustles to Bras is a media presentation of Karen’s collection of historic and vintage clothing combined with the unique photographs she took in England. Bustles to Bras presents the iconic images of women’s fashions by decades from the 18th to the 20th centuries connecting the silhouette with the history that inspired it.

Displays & Mannequins

This presentation may include a small display of accessories from Karen’s collection and mannequins dressed in original vintage clothing. When done as a fundraiser, a model or two dressed in authentic clothing from the past may be able to participate.

Karen will be asking for two volunteers from the audience to model pieces from her collection.
One must be a size 6 – 8; the other a size 10 – 12.

historic fashion
historic wedding gown
1940s Wedding Gown

victorian fashion
Victorian Shoe


Communication is always a good beginning. It is imperative that scheduling be done far enough in advance for Karen to put this on her calendar, notify an assistant, prepare and pack. Details regarding space, outlets, available technology and the number of people expected along with distance to the site are also important.

Karen provides these images from either a flash drive or a laptop. She has her own projector, projector stand and screen, but would appreciate using any of these that might already be at the facility. (Screens tend to be tricky).

Karen will arrive one / two hours ahead of the scheduled performance to determine the technology requirements and to set up the show and display.

Copyright © Bustles to Bras - The way we wore historic fashion. Lectures by Karen Jessee of Wilmington, Delaware       Site by Attraction Web Design