Age & Durability

It is amazing to imagine that Cornell University was founded in 1865 and is over 100 years old. As an educational institution that provides opportunities to develop intellect and contribute to a greater development of society, it makes sense for the University to exist for such a long time and have such a strong reputation.

Similar parallels can be made with clothing; however clothing makes different contributions to society. Clothing is more personal and accessible to everyone.  Everyone has an equal opportunity to obtain clothing that they can develop strong relationships with across all income levels.

I’ve often seen clothing as old as Cornell only in books and museums. I have come across very few accounts about the “long-life” of clothing, and the lives that it touched. Recently I found an article that talks about a woman who got married in a heirloom wedding dress that is 129 years old, from about 1884. The wedding dress is almost as old as Cornell University and it is still in use. (Photos by Jon Koch)

Allison Rinaldi wore her great-great grandmother’s silk brocade, chrysanthemum patterned dress in 2011. The dress was first worn in 1884 by Nellie Campbell in a small wedding in Iowa. The dress skipped one generation, and was worn in 1941. The dress has been valued because it has happy, loving family memories as each bride was helped into the dress by the previous bride or family member. The vintage dress is still in great conditions and has only needed minor repairs.

1941: Married in Iowa
1941: Allison’s great-grandmother wearing the dress, Iowa
1975: Allison's aunt wearing the dress, Wichita Kansas
1975: Allison’s aunt wearing the dress, Wichita Kansas
1982: Allison's mom wearing the dress, St. Louis Missori
1982: Allison’s mom wearing the dress, St. Louis Missouri
2011: Allison wearing the dress
2011: Allison wearing the dress

This endured relationship with clothes across generations conveys that clothing can have significant value. As a recent news story, it suggests that  strong relationships to clothing continue to be relevant. It also leads us to think about our own relationships with clothing both special occasion and everyday wear.

As individuals we continue to develop our intellect with formal education, this story serves as a reminder that we can also develop our intra-personal intelligence with our clothing that are inherent aspects of our lives since we are born.


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