#FashionFriday – Graduation Fashion from 1914

Very excited to return to the Mary A. Barton Fashion Illustration Collection for this #FashionFriday! We’ve posted about this collection a few times before but the beauty of this collection never ceases to surprise me.

While browsing through box 12 of the collection, I found a variety of eye-catching illustrations, each a beauty to behold. One illustration that really caught my eye was on a page from McCall’s Magazine, dated June 1914.

The first page is titled “For the Day of Graduation”, and depicts three women in black and white with a pop of orange in the background. The woman on the far right of the image is holding a diploma.

On the other side of this page, there’s information on the different patterns available to create these outfits, along with information on the materials required.

I love being a student employee in Special Collections and University Archives. Not only because of the amazing people I’ve met here, but for the collections I’ve been able to explore. It is the most incredible experience to be handling materials from over a hundred years ago, and sharing them via social media.

#FashionFriday: 1800-1810

Mary A. Barton, an Iowa State Alumni, has been regarded as one of the best quilt makers of all time. Special Collections now stores her collection of fashion illustrations from years 1776 – 2008. I was very excited to explore this collection, and share some highlights with you all. However, due to the massive amount of these gorgeous fashion illustrations, I’ve decided to focus this blog post only on the ones from 1800-1810. Of course, there are still so many lovely illustrations from this ten-year period that this post will be featuring just a few of my favorites.

All of the materials in this post can be found in box 1 of the Mary A. Barton Fashion Illustration Collection, RS 21/7/9. Feel free to stop into the reading room to view these incredible artifacts, and many more, in person. Or view some of the digitized fashion images from this collection in our digital collections.

Additionally, we have posted a few other things from this collection, so check out those posts as well.

Fashion Show Flashback – 80s Edition

The annual Fashion Show event, currently put on by the Department of Apparel, Events, and Hospitality Management (AESHM), has provided students a chance to show off their designs to an eager audience for 37 years. Over the years, this student-run event has highlighted countless beautiful outfits designed by Iowa State students. Here are some of our favorite outfits from shows of the 1980s!

1982 Fashion Show

1983 Fashion Show

1985 Fashion Show

1987 Fashion Show

1988 Fashion Show

All of these images (and much more information on fashion shows of the past) can be found in Special Collections RS 29/2/4 Fashion Show Records (1982-2017). There are several  boxes in this collection but everything featured in this post can be found in box 1.

What a wild ride! 80s fashion is always worth looking back on. Which outfit was your favorite?

#TBT June Wedding

Bridesmaid, wedding, day and two visiting dresses all with large bustles. (published by Les Modes Parisiennes:Peterson's Magazine 1883)

June is a perennially popular month for weddings, so today we are taking a glance at the wedding attire of days gone by. Today’s Throwback Thursday image is from our fashion plate collection and is from an issue of Peterson’s Magazine in 1883. The two dresses on the far left are a bridesmaid’s dress and a wedding dress. As you can see, the tradition of wearing a white dress must date back from at least the late-19th century. It looks like it was also popular to have the bridesmaids wear a brightly colored dress for the occasion.

If you’re interested in seeing more fashion images, please visit our digital collection. You can also visit the archives to see the originals in the Mary Barton Fashion Illustration Collection.

#TBT March Fashions


Fashion Plate, RS 21/07/009

For today’s Throw Back Thursday picture, we have the recommended March fashions from 1846.  Would you like wearing any of these dresses?

This image comes from a collection of fashion plates that you can learn more about here.  We also invite you to explore the rest of the digitized collection, provided by  University Library Digital Initiatives.  Maybe you’ll get some inspiration for a new spring or summer wardrobe!

#TBT Spring Break Fashion


RS 21/7/9, box 18

To celebrate Spring Break, I present the most fashion-forward swimwear of 1917. 100 years ago, this is what the young ladies of Iowa State may have worn on their beach vacations.  Of course, spring break as we know it now did not exist in 1917, though there was a 3 day Easter vacation.  This picture is a magazine cover found in the collection of covers and fashion prints collected by Mary Barton.  You can browse the digitized images of fashion plates from this collection.

I know everyone will be clamoring to get their hands on this swimsuit! Have fun and be safe as you finish up Spring Break!

Fashion Show #TBT @ISUFashionShow

Last Saturday was the 34th annual Fashion Show. The picture below is from the first Fashion Show in 1982.

1982 Fashion Show (from Fashion Show Records RS 29/2/4 box 1)

1982 Fashion Show (from Fashion Show Records RS 29/2/4 box 1)


The Fashion Show is one of the largest fashion shows run by students in the United States. More than 150 student-designed garments are featured on the runway and in the exhibitions.

Drop by the reading room and look at the Fashion Show Records (RS 29/2/4). We’re open Monday-Friday 10-4!

Fashionable Friday

Here is another feature from the History of Costume collection! This time we have an example of costuming from the 16th century (presumably England). These fashion cards come from just one folder of the collection, and cover ancient Egyptian fashion through 17th century European.

An example of 16th-century fashion. RS 12/10/5, Box 1, Folder 4.

An example of 16th-century fashion. RS 12/10/5, Box 2, Folder 4.


Click here to download and print the page – happy coloring!

Please share what you’ve colored! Tag #ColorOurCollections #ISU_Archives

CyPix: Winter dresses of 1920

"Winter Dresses." A selection from the Mary A. Barton Collection of Fashion Illustrations (RS 21/07/009)

“Winter Dresses” from The Designer, January 1920. Part of the Mary A. Barton Collection of Fashion Illustrations (RS 21/07/009)

When I woke up this morning, the news stations were reporting that with the windchill, it was 9 °F outside. I don’t know about you, but the stylish winter fashions above don’t look nearly warm enough!

The image above, and others like it, are available online in the Fashion Plates digital collection.

Check out the following to see some of the other fashion-related collections held at the Iowa State University Special Collections and University Archives Department: