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Suffrage Paraders, N.Y.

What Are You Wearing to the Polls?

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So, have you made a voting plan yet?

Have you checked your registration?  Do you know if you’re going to vote in person, by mail, by ballot dropbox?  How about the address of your polling station, postbox, ballot dropbox? When’s the earliest & latest date you can vote?  Do you know what you’re wearing to the polls?!

Okay okay, we know what you’re wearing isn’t the most important thing when it comes to voting this year but maybe you want to take a moment and think about it.  Have you ever asked your grandparents about voting years ago?  Many of them may tell you how they dresses to the nines to cast their vote.  There’s a history here you may not even be aware of…

Suffrage demonstration at Lafayette Statue

Suffrage demonstration at Lafayette Statue (to get the last vote in the Senate) before June 4 1919

If we take a look back to the early 1900’s woman were making political statements through their ensembles.  During the Suffrage

Mary Winsor (Penn.) 1917

Mary Winsor (Penn.) 1917

Movement you’ll notice three primary colors being worn at protests & marches – purple, white & gold.  Purple is to represent loyalty, white purity and gold is a nod to the campaigns of Susan B Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton in Nebraska (in Britain they swapped gold for green, representing hope).

Many female protesters also know as suffragettes would wear a uniform of a long white dress with a purple & gold sash to events.  These uniforms made a striking image to say the least.  Later in the movement, suffragettes changed the uniform to be a more inclusive all white – this allowed participants of all economic background to participate, plus it pops in black and white photos.  (Of course during this incredible movement they made things such as their uniform MORE inclusive!)

Nation-wide demonstrations were held on May 2nd in support of Federal Amendment. Envoys from these demonstrations brought petitions to Washington on May 9th and carried them in procession to Congress from Lafayette Square. Five thousand women massed on and about the East Steps of the Capitol singing

This idea of the white uniform did not disappear after the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment.  As women, we know our fight for equality was not and is not over.  You see white outfits appear in the 1970’s during the Civil Rights Movement.

We’ve seen suffrage white outfits throughout historical moments near and far.

In 1968, Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to congress

Shirley Chisholm 1971

Shirley Chisholm 1971

wore the uniform suffrage white during her victory night. Geraldine Ferraro embraced a suffrage white outfit for her acceptance speech as the first female Vice Presidential Nominee.  Hilary Clinton also donned white for her Presidential Nominee.  Alexandria OcasioCortez, the youngest female elected to congress, sported all white piece during her swearing-in ceremony and said “I wore all-white today to honor the women who paved the path before me, and for all the women yet to come. From suffragettes to Shirley Chisholm, I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the mothers of the movement.”

As recent as during this current administations’ the State of the Unions address, many female lawmakers wore the iconic sufferage white uniform.  When asked, Rep. Lois Frankel (FL), chair of the House Democratic Women’s Working Group, stated the outfits were to “honor all those who came before us and send a message of

solidarity that we’re not going back on our hard-earned rights.”

I’ll surely wear an Elisabethan piece to the polls this year as it’s woman owned and ecofriendly.  I don’t own much white these days, but I think I’ll be wearing a combo purple, gold and green to fulfill this national duty of mine.

This year before casting my ballot, I’ll take a moment to recognize those who came before me and gave me this incredible privilege.  Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Shirley Chisholm, Geraldine Ferraro, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and so many more.

Thank you ladies.

Please vote.

Also, we’d like to note there are a few things you can NOT wear while voting dependent upon the state.  If you’d like to read more info on what not to wear – read CNN’s article here.

Marchers in Suffrage parade 1912

Marchers in Suffrage parade, 5/4/1912 – Miss Brannan & Mrs. John Rogers, Jr.

If you’d like to read more info here’s a couple articles we enjoyed:

History of Women Wearing Suffragette White by CR Fashion Book

Why Democratic Women Wore White at the State of The Union by The New York Times

Shirley Chisholm with Vice President Rockefeller 1975

Shirley Chisholm with Vice President Rockefeller 1975

‘Bethan Stories – Vicki P.

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At Elisabethan, we’re not only proud of our products, we’re proud of our customers!  We’ve learned over the years that Elisabethan collectors are some truly incredible people.

This ‘Bethan Story is about the fabulous Vicki P. who projects positive messages in her work and wardrobe.  As the director of the Child Advocacy and Parenting Services, Vicki teaches a bullying prevention program (grades 3-6), a Happy Bear program (sexual abuse prevention to pre-school – 2nd grade) and parently classes.  

” Your clothes do help me do my job, as they are a visual reminder of what I am teaching–‘More love’, ‘Make a Difference’, ‘Build a Healthy World’ and ‘Be Kind’….When people may tire of listening to me, they will still get great messages from my (your) clothing! ” – Vicki. P.

 

Vicki has been a loyal fan and customer for years… we’re delighted that our clothing helps you make a difference.  Thank you Vicki for all of the positive work you’re doing.  Keep it up, we’re proud of you!

Vicki is one of the people we look forward to seeing at the Smoky Hill River Festival each June in Salina, KS. It’s one of the first shows we did way back when (we’ll tell you sometime about the first time- 1996?- rolling in to set up with a flat tire… the entire high school football team swarmed the Toyota van to fix it, AND help set up the booth!)

Elisabethan strives to make clothing that is “good” for the world.  Yes, our clothing is eco-friendly (98.6% of all materials are repurposed) but we’re going for more than that.  We aim to make pieces that spread positivity, love and remind you that YOU are one of a kind.  Stories like these make our hearts smile.

If you’d like to be featured in our ‘Bethan Stories series, please email us at duds@elisabethan.com