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Fitting Into Fashion

“Underneath It All: fitting into fashion” will open at the San Bernardino County Museum on Saturday, September 16. The special exhibit in the textile cases of the museum’s Hall of History will run through January 7. The exhibit is free with museum general admission.

From bustle to hourglass to flapper, the shape of fashion changed radically from the 1870s to the 1920s. But women's bodies certainly didn't change that much in a short 40 years. How did fashionable women fit into their clothing? Today's fashionistas use exercise and diet to shape their bodies for modern clothing. A century ago, it was whale bone, steel springs, laces, and straps. “Underneath It All” will offer a peek at some of the unmentionables that created the fashionable silhouettes of a century past.

“Wanting to be in fashion is nothing new.  Every era has a certain style, each influenced by social and cultural events,” said Michele Nielsen, museum curator of history. “When you look at photographs of people taken long ago, have you wondered about the design of the women’s clothing?  How they could actually fit into what they have on? For that matter, why would they want to wear such garments in the first place? In ‘Underneath It All’ we explore some of these questions in the larger context of women’s social history.”

Nielsen will give some special insights about fashion and culture in a gallery talk on September 30 at 2 p.m. The talk is free with museum admission.

The San Bernardino County Museum is at the California Street exit from Interstate 10 in Redlands. The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays and holiday Mondays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $6 (adult), $5 (student or senior), and $4 (child aged 5 to 12). Children under five and Museum Association members are admitted free. Parking is free. For more information, visit

The museum is accessible to persons with disabilities. If assistive listening devices or other auxiliary aids are needed in order to participate in museum exhibits or programs, requests should be made through Museum Visitor Services at least three business days prior to your visit. Visitor Services’ telephone number is 909-307-2669 ext. 229 or (TDD) 909-792-1462.



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