Unmentionables to Overskirts: An interactive night of fashion and history

Phi Alpha Theta and the Washburn history department is hosting a unique, interactive event called Unmentionables to Overskirts: An Interactive Exploration of Late Victorian Women’s Fashion at 7 p.m. Nov. 14 in Henderson 107.

This event is being led by Washburn University alumna Hannah Thompson. Thompson graduated from Washburn in 2012 with a degree in history and anthropology and continued her education by receiving her masters in museum studies from Texas Tech. She worked briefly as the director of operations at the Kansas Aviation Museum in 2017.

Thompson currently works as the director of the Harvey County Historical Museum and the pieces that she will be using as demonstration were made herself. It took her approximately a year in total to make all the pieces for the Victorian era walking dress that she will be displaying at the event.

The event will consist of Thompson explaining the typical dress for women of the Victorian era. She will then showcase how to put each layer of clothing on and how women wore clothes in the past using herself as a model. She will use this opportunity to speak on some of the social issues that faced Victorian era women. Thompson has done this event once before at Washburn and she is excited to do it again.

Thompson said that at the past event she had accidentally buttoned the dress on wrong and she had to start over, which goes to show how hard it was to wear the clothes in that era.

Washburn University is happy to welcome her back to bring an interesting, interactive experience that is an educational and entertaining event.

This event is open to everyone, but specifically history majors who are interested in museum studies in the future. While this event might seem gendered, Tom Prasch, history professor at Washburn University, recommends the event to anyone interested in Victorian era history and fashion or museum studies.

“This is a particularly interesting time in women’s fashion,” Prasch said. “It was the first time in history that women’s clothing started to come from off the rack, instead of everything being hand-made so it’s interesting to learn about.”

The event is being sponsored by Phi Alpha Theta, the Washburn University history sorority. Thompson was involved in this organization when she was a student here from 2010 to 2012 and even served as president for a year. This organization puts together many events for the history department. Most recently they organized several historical movie showings.

Unmentionables to Overskirts is at 7 p.m. Nov. 14 Henderson 107. it is free and open to the public and there will be refreshments offered. For questions regarding the event feel free to contact Tom Prasch at [email protected].