Fashion through the ages

Anntie M's Attic

Anntie M’s Attic – wall of wonder

This Labor Day weekend, we headed out for a family reunion/60th wedding anniversary celebration in Falls City, Nebraska. On the way there we stopped off to see one of our favorite destinations: Anntie M’s Attic  in Waterville, KS.

Anntie M's Attic

A tango dress, ready for a beautiful night out

As we drove into town, our journey was greeted by a noble railroad line and a lovely brick-covered street. Something about the texture and familiar bumps in the road seemed fitting for our final stop. Anntie M’s Attic takes its place on the corner of North Nebraska Avenue and East Commercial Street. A small building, its window dressings hint at the numerous treasures inside. At the door we were greeted by Ann, dressed in an authentic Victorian ensemble. Her warmth, knowledge, and obvious passion for fashion through the ages made us feel instantly at home. She expertly led us through her vast collection, making note of the various items and key moments in culture and fashion.

Anntie M's Attic

Amazing hats!

Many of the items on display were gifted to her by local friends or their family members. What’s amazing about that is it gives you an exact understanding of each clothing piece’s history. Looking at the picture of the woman who wore a dress while it was in its prime truly makes the past come alive. It’s easy to relate to what her desires and ambitions might have been: a better life for herself and for her children, enjoying a glamorous night out, or keeping it casual while working around the house.

Anntie M's Attic

Ann’s inspirations: her mother and grandmother

You can learn a lot with Ann at Anntie M’s Attic, like the very real dangers of antique fashion. Seeing the extent of hoop skirts puts the fire risk into perspective, feeling the weight of all the undergarments and accessories helps you to understand the heft of dressing as a proper lady, and seeing the inner workings of a bustle or corset shows how painful some of these trends were. It is incredible to think just how much these looks could honestly limit a woman’s potential. We were cut off from the world of sports and work simply due to what we were conditioned to wear.

Anntie M's Attic

Me and Ann, looking fab

Despite all these restrictions, incredible women have always pushed to the forefront of history. Ann is a guardian of women’s history and profiles several key leaders during her presentations: Molly Brown, Eleanor Roosevelt, Princess Di, and many others help to show the ever-changing role of women in power. Hearing their incredible tales of bravery and perseverance take the programs beyond just an appreciation of fashion to a genuine respect for the people who came before us. For example, I had always taken for granted the impact the flapper gal had on the traditional lady. Seeing firsthand the dramatic change in fashion and lifestyle from the 1910s to 1920s makes me respect their courage even more. And that’s the real beauty of Anntie M’s Attic: learning becomes fun. Ann encourages her guests to not just look with their eyes, but to try on hats and touch fabrics – put themselves in the shoes of our ancestors. That kind of experience is memorable and you’ll find yourself engaging in a lot of questions and rethinking previous assumptions.

Anntie M's Attic

Accessories and the women who wore them

The opportunities to learn are virtually endless – Ann’s collection extends into shoes, hats, photographs, dresses, pants, undergarments, furniture pieces, books, and magazines. Find yourself here, enjoy a Victorian tea or 1950s style malt, and whatever you do – take your shoes off and stay a while. We guarantee you’ll enjoy every moment you spend at Anntie M’s Attic. We know we did!

Cause A Frockus would like to thank the incredible Ann Walter at Anntie M’s Attic.
For our readers: what is your favorite decade of fashion through the ages?

More pictures from our visit

Anntie M's Attic

Me, trying on hats

Anntie M's Attic

The perfect sofa for reflecting on history

Anntie M's Attic

Ann’s popcorn maker from the early 1900s

Anntie M's Attic

The gown on the left is pure silk, French construction. Amazing!

Anntie M's Attic

Imagine going out on the town in this beauty!

Anntie M's Attic

Ann’s grandmother’s hat – the plumes can be changed

Anntie M's Attic

The flapper girls, that beaded number is surprisingly heavy!

Replies for “Fashion through the ages

  • Ellen M Dial

    What a wonderful place! A walk through fashion and women’s history!

    My personal favorite period in history – 1910’s through the 1920’s. Women were coming into their own, finally. The Suffrage Movement was in full throttle – women got the vote in 1920 and the Reform Movement made great strides – tight lacing became less common, clothing became less restrictive [OK, maybe excluding hobble skirts – there was still boning in bodices and corsets were still worn] but women were much more free to participate in sport and other activities.

    And the clothes…. the clothes! Gorgeous. Fabulous details, sumptuous fabrics and amazingly forward thinking designs [think Poiret, Lanvin, Fortuny and later, Chanel] – a celebration of feminine beauty. Women adorned themselves with glorious hats, wraps and gloves. Even the simplest of garments had an innate elegance.

  • Linda Caricofe

    Oh my, if I ever travel out that way, I will be sure to visit.
    I have always colected antique to vintage clothing.
    Once in a while, I would lecture for charity, while wearing an antique ensemble.
    So wonderful to see this journey of history is still enjoyed today.
    Although I have downsized my collection, I still have a few items.
    A mannequin stands in my foyer wearing a fabulous Vicorian era paisley fitted cape with fringe….LOVE it dearly 🙂
    Best wishes,

    • Becky Oeltjenbruns Post author

      Hi Linda,
      Thanks for stopping by! Anntie M’s Attic is a definite treat if you find yourself in that corner of the world. And I think your “greeter” sounds fab. I bet the paisley cape is stunning!


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