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Kansas Kaleidoscope - April/May 2002

(Volume 5, Number 5)

A fun magazine for kids!

Kansas Kaleidoscope, April/May 2002 Dress to Impress:
A Century of Kansas Fashion Statements (1861-1961)

Clues in the Clothing

Today it is common for girls, boys, women and men to wear many similar types of clothing. But that wasn't always the case. When Kansas became a state in 1861, you could tell from miles away if a person was a man or a woman by the shape of the clothing.



Dress from the 1860s

For Parents and Teachers:
Clothes are an interesting way to study history since fashion is a reflection of society. For example, since September 11, clothes in red, white and blue and with flag motifs are abundant in department stores. Clothes are also a product of available resources. Many clothes today are made in different parts of the world; a reflction of a global society.

Fashion Statements: What Clothes Say About Us and Our Times

Compared with today, people in the 1860s wore lots and lots of clothes. They wore even more clothes when they dressed for special occasions. In Kansas Territory on New Year's Eve, 1860, Sarah Everett wrote a letter from her home in Miami County. She was thanking her husband's sister for her gift of new clothes.

Fashionable Fred Harvey wears a frock coat, vest and pocket watch.
1870s - 1880s: Looking at Legs

Men and women in the 1870s and 1880s wanted clothing that was easier to move around in. Men's frock coast were shortened. They wore their jackets buttoned high on their chests and open at the wrist to show off fancy vests and pocket watches.



1890s: On the Surface

These little boys pose wearing sailor suits with short pants in Russell.By the 1890s, more women were attending college and working at jobs. Some earned their living by working two new inventions: the typewriter and the telephone. They also worked in other professions such as teaching, sales, writing and medicine. These women meant business, and they demanded "sensible dress." So out went the bustle.

1900s - 1910s: Wear What?!

A new century inspired new ways of thinking. People showed a greater interest in traveling, exploring the outdoors and sports. Some pushed for greater political and work choices for women. Inventions such as electricity and engine-driven machinery made it easier to make inexpensive goods. New clothing materials were developed. All these new ideas brought changes in the way people dressed.

1920s - 1930s - 1940s
Flapper Dress

In 1920, Americans changed the U.S. Constitution to give women the right to vote. Women took on new roles in the workforce with World War I. Stylish ladies cut their long hair and their long skirts short. They wore head-hugging hats that would not blow off when they drove their new cars. They showed their legs in skin-colored silk stockings.

Part 5: The Barn Stormers

In the last issue of Kansas Kaleidoscope (volume 5, no. 4), our four young adventurers were swimming for their lives in the prehistoric sea which covered Kansas 70 million years ago. The story began in the modern day: Gina and her cousin Max, his little sister Opal, and Opal's dog Marshmallow took shelter from a storm in their grandparents' barn after a family barbecue.   Lightning struck the barn and the kids were forced to escape through a hole in the barn wall. Once outside, they were found themselves in the year 1804! One mishap after another took them back and forth in time, traveling through Kansas history. In the previous chapter huge, flying dinosaurs soared above their heads as the kids splashed in an ancient ocean. More afraid of the giant mosasaurs or sharks which prowled the waves, the kids and marshmallow swam quickly for shore, toward their final adventure.

We asked readers to write the next part of the story. One of these entries is published along with the final chapter of "The Barn Stormers."

In This Issue:

  • Kaleidoscope Challenge - Fashion Scramble
  • For Parents and Teachers
  • Kids Clothing Quiz
  • Wear What Matching Game
  • Joke Break
  • Bee a Winner!