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4525-47a Avenue, Red Deer, AB T4N 6Z6
By: MAG Staff
Object: Cavalry twill riding jacket
Accession number: MAG Collection #1986.141.7
Note: "Cavalry Twill" is a type of fabric historically used for hard wearing garments such as military or sportswear.
Hi, my name is Katelin Karbonik and I’m the MAG’s Associate Curator of Clothing & Textiles. Right now I’m working on surveying the textiles collection, meaning taking out each garment, and trying to figure out what and how old it is. This is a big job and though I have special training in historic clothing, sometimes I get objects that I’m not sure about. Today I’m going to talk about what I do when I get these objects and share some simple strategies for when you want to learn more about a garment.
It is very rare to know the whole story of a garment. Even if a garment comes with histories, these may not be very detailed or, sometimes, they may be inaccurate. The provenance that comes with a garment can be useful but it should be considered critically.
Another way to learn about a garment is to slowly and carefully observe it. Garments are complex objects and they contain a lot of information in their physicality about where and why they were made, and also how they were used, which are sometimes different.
This is a red wool jacket I pulled out of the collection without any associated provenance. By looking at it closely, I was able to learn some things about what it is and how it may have been used.
By looking at the cut, materials and construction of this garment we can learn more about what it was for and how it was used. Though these are speculations, they can help narrow down the research process on an unknown garment.
A good resource for this kind of garment analysis is "The Dress Detective" by Ingrid Mida and Alexandra Kim. This book talks about object-based research and also gives several examples similar to what we did today with this riding jacket.
AGO post about Ingrid Mida (Sept. 23/20) "Becoming a dress detective" https://ago.ca/agoinsider/becoming-dress-detective
Where to find "The Dress Detective" (we do not receive any commissions from these links)