From Stockings To Fatigues: A Century Of Professional Women

Mar 22, 2017

Necessity drove more women to the workplace in the 20th century. Ambition - and just being good at their jobs - kept them there. But women were held to different standards, and this is especially obvious in dress codes throughout the early and mid-1900s.

Alice Miller has been collecting women’s work uniforms for 20 years. She has more than 150 outfits dating from 1909 to 2014.

“You can attract people with the uniform," Miller said. "Someone will say, 'Oh that’s really unusual! Look at the skirt on that! Look at the shirt or the jacket!' Then, you can go into the history of the women that wore it.”

Along with the clothes, Miller collects stories. She has met the highest ranking female Marine who was stationed in Vietnam. Years ago, she's talked to a woman who served as a medic in the trenches of World War I. Her husband's grandmother was a real-life Rosie the Riveter in Tacoma.

These are a few of the stories she told to 88.5’s Kayla Roberts at the White River Valley Museum in Auburn where some of her collection is on display until June 18.