I've stumbled upon a truly fascinating series of photos of a young woman and her friends and family, circa 1910-1911. A number of them are snapshots as opposed to posed shots, of this young woman, Pauline, and her friends on a park bench, or mugging for a photographer, or Pauline posing thoughtfully in a meadow.
Formal posed pictures can show you someone's outfit at its best; a snapshot shows the outfit as it actually lived on the person...lapels awry, buttons straining fabric, hat flapping in a smart breeze. Then too there are the intangibles: in Pauline's photos you glimpse how people walked and sat or lolled in their clothes, and how they felt in them.
If you look carefully at these particular photos, you will see a long coat that Pauline favored, for instance, and didn't mind wearing out to play in. You'll see exactly how she wore it, sometimes with a hat, but no gloves in evidence. You'll see a handsome suit she sported one fall or winter day, and in one special snap of Pauline and her classmates, you'll see how a group of women all differently approached dressing for an occasion. How they wore sashes, or whether they choose plain skirts or ones with buttons or pleats, what neckline treatments, and how they did their hair to complement their outfits, is all crisp and clear.
See the Pauline set, maintained by BigBrownHouse, on Flickr, at http://www.flickr.com/photos/93468869@N00/sets/807535/. With kind thanks to BigBrownHouse for those shown here.