Saturday, March 16, 2013

Happy "Wearing of the Green" to Ya!

Image courtesy of
Happy St. Patrick's Day!  Here's a quick post to celebrate the day with no...not green beer...but, with a bit o' green fashions from history.  Of course, you could always have a green beer while reading this post...seems perfectly reasonable.  Anyways, back to the bit o' green thing...well, why do we wear, dye beer and rivers green on St. Patrick's Day?  Most of us associate green with Ireland as the Emerald Isle...also, green is one of the three colors of the Irish flag and legend tells us that St. Patrick used a clover to teach the Holy Trinity to the Irish.  But, that's not all of the story...quaint little tidbits about the color green and the association with St. Patrick's Day are rampant on the web.  A bit deeper and darker connection to the color green may rest with the Irish Rebellion of 1798.  Inspired by the revolutions in America and France, a republican revolutionary group known as the United Irishmen began a violent uprising against British rule in May of 1798.  The fighting "officially" lasted until September with an enormous loss of life; pockets of rebels continued guerrilla warfare until about 1804.  The Society of United Irishmen had adopted the color green and the wearing of a shamrock as their symbol of resistance. (The History of the Irish Rebellion, James Gordon) The old Irish street ballad, "The Wearing of the Green" sings of this practice, proclaiming that, "they're hanging men and women there for wearing of the green" (listen to the song here). As such, many historians claim that the tradition of wearing green on St. Patrick's Day owes as much to this tragic episode in Irish history as it does any other theory.  I'm not a real fan of modern day St. Patrick's Day celebrations...however, I am a big fan of's one of my favorite colors, so bring on the wearing of the green!

Liturgical gloves - 17th Century - Europe- Metropolitan Museum of Art
Parasol - 1915 to 1920 - American - Metropolitan Museum of Art
Parason - Stern Brothers, America - 1876 - Metropolitan Museum of Art

Woman's bonnet - American - about 1830 - MFA Boston

Bonnet - silk - Early 19th Century - MFA Boston

Calash - American - ca. 1820 - Metropolitan Museum of Art

Silk evening slippers - American - 1835 to 1845 - Metropolitan Museum of Art
Silk women's shoes - British (probably) - 1810 to 1829 - Metropolitan Museum of Art
Ring with inset circular green stone - Indonesia - 8th Century to 10th Century
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Necklace - designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany - ca.1904 - New York, America
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Child's wool tunic - 430 to 620 AD - Egypt - Metropolitan Museum of Art
1808 to 1812 olive green wool dress - Fashion Museum of Bath
ca.1810 - French (probably) - silk - Metropolitan Museum of Art
Silk dress - late 1790's - American - MFA Boston

ca.1825 Riding Habit - Rijksmuseum
Afternoon dress - House of Worth - French - 1875 - Metropolitan Museum of Art
Robe a' la Polonaise - 1774 to 1793 - French - Metropolitan Museum of Art
Dressing Gown - ca.1740 - British - Metropolitan Museum of Art
Dress, silk - American - 1868 to 1870 - Metropolitan Museum of Art
Dress, silk - American - 1868 - Metropolitan Museum of Art
Dress - ca.1923 - American - Metropolitan Museum of Art
Evening Dress - Callot Souers - French - 1925 to 1926 - Metropolitan Museum of Art
Evening Dress - Fortuny - ca. 1920 - Italian - Metropolitan Museum of Art
Dinner dress - Valentina - American (Russian born) - ca.1941 - Metropolitan Museum of Art
Dinner dress - Henriette Favre - French - 1905 to 1907 - Metropolitan Museum of Art

Evening Dress - c.1906 to 1908 - London, England - Brighton & Hove Museums

I'm thinking that this isn't really what the United Irishmen intended when they chose green as the symbol of revolution. Oh well, at least they're having fun, right? 
Please wear your green responsibly folks! 

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