Melinda and I both love looking at old clothes — we are always flabbergasted by the craftsmanship and the detail, especially considering that all the work was done by hand, and so very, very long ago! One of our favorite places to spend time online is the Victoria and Albert museum, in London (online at http://www.vam.ac.uk/index.html ). Here are two gorgeous, very inspiring garments we found there.
Just look at the detailing! The tiny, perfect gathers and pleats on the hat; the impeccably executed sleeves and cuffs on the dress; it’s so beautiful, and all of it by hand—think of all the time and skill that went into these projects! Both of these examples are from the nineteenth century (the dress dates to 1837-1840, the hat to 1807), mostly because that’s my favorite period right now. However, the V&A has an extensive costume collection covering a large span of history, so go and look around, and be inspired by these clothes that are truly wearable works of art and craftsmanship!
PS–Melinda just reminded me that it can be a little tricky to navigate their site at times, so here’s the link to the ‘Search the Collections’ page: http://collections.vam.ac.uk/. Type whatever you want to see in the box, and have fun looking!