Fashion Programs


The Little Black Dress:  Black has been used for both mourning AND fashion throughout history.  Learn more about the history of this closet staple and the story behind a  few of Hollywood's iconic looks (including "Breakfast at Tiffany's")and  see the versatility that the LBD can bring to your wardrobe!

The Fashions of Downton Abbey:   Learn more about the changes in fashion c. 1912 - 1924 as seen on the  hit PBS program 'Downton Abbey', and see how each character's clothes  support her personal story. Includes behind-the-scenes information on  the show.

The Fashions of Downton Abbey: The Roaring 20s:   Learn more about the very special fashion revolution of the Roaring  20s, as seen on the hit PBS program 'Downton Abbey'.  Includes  behind-the-scenes information on the show.
Hats Off!:  An informative look at evolving ladies’ hat styles.  From demure  bonnets to flirty pillboxes, this program covers the 1860s through the  1960s.  Can be presented as a Fashion Show with volunteer models from  the audience, and best for larger (50 plus) groups. 

Fifty Years of Hats:  Same as above, but covers the years from 1920s through the 1960s!

Fashions of Titanic - Splendor and Struggle:  The Edwardians elevated ladies' dressmaking to a fine art. Silk,  velvet, beading, and lace were used, sometimes on the same garment!   Learn the differences in clothing between First Class passengers and  those not so fortunate.   We'll also delve into the costumes from the James Cameron blockbuster 'Titanic' with Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio.

The Real Victoria's Secret: Antique and Vintage 'Unmentionables'  Ladies' underpinnings support and structure the clothes beneath which  they are worn.  From corsets and bustles, to girdles and the 'bullet  bra', enjoy a nostalgic presentation of ladies' underclothing styles  from the Victorian era through the 1960s.

Tale of the Corset:    “Waist Training” was a way of life in the Victorian era.  Learn more. .  . why did they wear corsets and why did we stop wearing them. . . or  did we?  Antique corsets are shown.

Fashion Faux Pas:  Victorian and Edwardian fashion was all about exaggeration of the  female form.  Laugh and learn while viewing antique hoops, bustles,  corsets and other unique artifices used to distort and ‘improve’ the  figure.  A humorous look at a very serious subject!

The Fashions of “Mad Men”  Peggy? Joan? Betty? Megan? Learn about vintage fashion as seen on the  hit show from the late 1950s to the late 1960s and how each character's  dress and style supports her character development.

The Victorian Fan:  Learn the history of antique ladies' hand fans, and view lovely antique  examples. Additional option to purchase inexpensive hand fans for  participants to decorate.

Inside Out!  Most  fashion programs focus on the side of clothing that shows.  Get an exclusive peek at Victorian and Edwardian clothing. . .inside out.    Revel at the construction details and exquisite craftsmanship of the era  that was never meant to be seen. 

Yesterday’s Bride:  Learn about antique wedding and courtship customs as you watch a live model dress for her wedding circa 1906.  A spectacular antique ensemble,  including a wedding gown, and accessories, will be shown.

Transformation of Style - Fashion:  An informative look at evolving ladies' fashions. Learn how the Hoop  and Bustle Eras evolved to the Gibson Girl and the Flapper. Covers the  1860s through the 1910s.   Can be presented as a lecture or mini fashion  show.  Laura brings at least four complete antique outfits and  accessories.  

Fashion Spotlight: We shine our Fashion Spotlight on the early 1900s.. Learn details of how ladies' fashions changed from the early 1900s through the Titanic era and on through World War 1 (available for any decade 1860s – 1980s)

Vintage Lifestyle and Culture Programs

The Victorian Child: Explore the world of Victorian children both pampered and poor.  Learn about customs, toys, schools, books, and clothing. 

Secret Languages: Victorians knew that messages could be conveyed by other than the spoken word.  Learn about the lost languages of flowers and fans.  

Meet Me at the Fair: A Tale of Two Expos  Victorians loved their World's Fairs. Learn about the 1893 Columbian Exposition and the 1901 Pan American World's Fair. 

All About Tea: Learn more about the history of our favorite beverage!  Perfect for an introduction before your ladies’ tea party. Covers tea history, how to brew and serve tea, tea fashions, setting your table, theme teas and more.

Victorian Valentines:  A nostalgic look at lovely Valentines from the past.  Includes  valentine history, customs, construction, and information on collecting  vintage valentines today.

A Day at the Seaside: Victorians took the waters with abandon at  seaside resorts.  Learn more about those golden days of ‘bathing’ (not swimming!),  antique swimwear, souvenirs, and summer promenades.

The Victorian Garden: Uncover secrets of Grandmother’s garden,  including formalized, structured plantings and more naturalized cottage  gardens.   Includes a list of Victorian favorites available today.   

Lizzie Borden -- Did She or Didn't She?  The most famous American murder case of the Victorian era took place in  1892. Build your own theory of ‘whodunit’ while we explore the cultural  implications of an upper-class Victorian woman accused of a grisly  double murder. 

The Silent Messenger:  Victorian Calling:  Learn about the rigorous social practice of “calling” upon friends.   Calls were more obligation than visit, and your personal calling card,  the ‘silent messenger’, played a vital role in your position in  society.   

Victorian Mourning, A Celebration of Life:  Death touched Victorians heavily.  Learn about mourning traditions,  including clothing, hair jewelry, and memorial artwork, that celebrated  the lives of lost loved ones.  

The Victorian Scrapbook: Love scrapbooking?  One hundred years ago,  scrapbooks were as treasured as they are now – though they rarely  contained photographs!  What was in them?   Come and learn! 

The Light of the Home – Women in Victorian Society: A woman’s work was never done.  Learn about family life, social customs, fashion and more.

Struggle for The Vote: The early 1900s were a time of turmoil for  women who fought hard for the right to vote.  Learn about early suffragists and their cause.

Victorian Sampler: An overview of life in the Victorian era, including fashion, home, social customs and more. 

Ectoplasm!  The Rise of Victorian Spiritualism:  Death touched the Victorians heavily.  Learn about the Victorian Spiritualist movement, (and some famous Spiritualists!) and those who debunked it.

The Exhausting Travails of the Edwardian Millionaire:  Changing clothes 7 or more times per day? How tiring.  Learn about the strenuous lives and styles of the very wealthy in a time before income taxes.

American Heiress to British Aristocrat:  The Real Cora Crawleys Many wealthy Americans married their daughters into British noble families. Learn more about this sweeping societal phenomenon in the early 1900s.

Beyond Peter Rabbit: Beatrix Potter was not only the author of charming children's books, but was an expert botanical artist, naturalist, and protector of the environment and nature. Learn more about this fascinating woman.

I'll Read your Head Now:  Victorian Phrenology  Much as we would consult a doctor, the Victorians saw the phrenologist.  All about the lost 'art' of divining personality types, skills, strengths, and faults by reading people's heads and faces.

Dine like a Victorian! The gustatory exuberance of wealthy Americans at the turn of the last century knew no bounds. Learn more about the fads and foods as served in la Belle Epoque (The Beautiful Era).

Victorians and Animals: The Victorians both loved animals and hunted them with abandon. Learn more about the dichotomy of animals in this fascinating era.

The Real Richard Harrow:  'Boardwalk Empire' fans will be familiar with Richard's mask, but did you know that trench warfare really did lead to catastrophic facial disfigurements for WW1 soldiers? Artists and surgeons, working together in London, envisioned and constructed realistic facial reconstructive masks to ease the soldier's transition back to society. Learn more about this fascinating history.

The Gibson Girl and the Murderer: Evelyn Nesbit: the toast of the world when as a teenager she became an inspiration for the iconic Gibson Girl. Stanford White: a world-renowned architect whose designs are still admired today.  Harry K. Thaw: a crazy, drug-addicted, sociopathic Pittsburgh billionaire who loved Evelyn and became a murderer because of it.  Learn more about this intriguing and tragic true story love triangle.

The Dark Side of the Victorian Era  Elegant tea parties, croquet on the lawn, roses, and romantic hats and clothing? Not really! Disease, child labor, racism and sexism, overcrowding, and filth were prevalent instead. Come and learn about the dark side of the era.

Make Do and Mend:  The shortages of wartime 1940s created a phenomenon of thrift and re-use that resonates today!  Uncover tips and techniques for Making Do and Mending by learning from our ancestors.

Famous Victorian Women: Fascinating character sketches of some of the most famous (and infamous) women from the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Learn what made them tick and why they are still relevant today!  

Select from:  Marie Curie, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Victoria Woodhull, Mary Surratt, Maude Adams, Queen Victoria, Susan B. Anthony, Queen Alexandra, Coco Chanel, Ida Rosenthal, and Sarah Winchester.

Antique and Artifact-Based Programs

No Idle Hands: Handwork is a dying art. Explore the making of clothing, quilts, embroidery, and more techniques of the past, all done by hand.

Antique and Vintage Quilts: Learn about these wonderful works of textile art, including dating, care, patterns, collecting, and valuing.

Lace: Always in Style If not for lace, we might not have computers! Learn about the fascinating history of this luxurious textile as you view antique and vintage examples of the lacemaker's art.

The Victorian Fan: Learn the history of antique ladies' hand fans, and view lovely antique examples.  Additional option to purchase inexpensive hand fans for participants to decorate. 

The Charm of Vintage Redwork Redwork embroidery likely started in Europe and became popular in the US by the late 1800s. View antique and vintage examples of wonderful redwork while you learn about its history.

Silk Art Embroidery: "Society Silk" embroidery from the Victorian era displays incredibly impressive needlework skill. Learn more about this phenomenon as you view antique examples.

America's Pastime:  The Psychology of Collecting.  Learn about collecting, curating, and the fine line between collecting and hoarding.  

Intro to Victorian Architecture There is no one architectural style called 'Victorian' but rather a changing panorama of classic and exuberant styles. Learn to identify and appreciate them.

Remembering the 1950s Christmas!  Department store windows, aluminum trees, Bubble lights, and Mr. Jingeling. Relive the excitement and nostalgia of a 50s Christmas in Northeast Ohio.

Collecting Vintage Clothing:  In a society where throwaway 'fast fashion' has become epidemic, another alternative beckons.  Vintage is stylish, well-made, easy to source, and most of all, unique.  No one else will have your dress!  Learn tips and techniques for starting or adding to a vintage collection.  If you'd like, bring a favorite vintage item to share with the group.

The Romance of Victorian Crazy Quilts:  In the 1880s, Victorians were crazy for crazy quilts.  Learn the social  context, artistry, and needlework techniques of these ‘show’ quilts.   

Victorian Valentines:  A nostalgic look at lovely Valentines from the past.  Includes  valentine history, customs, construction, and information on collecting  vintage valentines today. 

Program Pricing

My programs include:  

A 45-minute to one-hour talk with plenty of time for audience questions and participation

Antique artifacts for display from my personal collections, suiting the topic of the talk.  Pricing depends upon display size. 

I present all talks dressed in authentic antique or vintage clothing from head to toe

Most programs have an accompanying Powerpoint slide presentation filled with captivating images

Free program consultation, including fundraising ideas

Basic pricing includes above, with no display:  $300


Add displays of relevant antique and vintage artifacts as follows:


One - two tables of display items:  $350 total

Two - three tables of display items:  $400 total

Three - four tables of display items:  $450 total, and up

I reserve the right to quote program pricing to you based upon your event specifics, including intended audience size, distance, etc.  Additional fees will be added for programs more than a two-hour driving distance or those requiring an overnight stay or additional work.  Call or email for a quote!