One Hundred Years: Centennial Events and 1917 Fashion

Networking; FashionIf you didn’t know that the WNBA is in its hundredth year, you will soon—as the 2017 season ramps up, we’re moving closer to the Centennial anniversary! Read on for a quick overview of upcoming events and fashion advice from 1917, in honor of Fashion Week ending here in NYC.

The Centennial Celebration will follow hot on the heels of National Reading Group Month in October, which itself celebrates ten years of Great Group Reads! You should hear plenty about the celebrations in the upcoming months, but here’s a quick overview in case you haven’t had time to browse the Events page.



Some of the Centennial events have already kicked off: in addition to the ongoing Bookwomen Speak lecture series across the country, the WNBA awarded Little Free Library with the WNBA Second Century Prize. And let’s not forget the two 100 Book lists, awarding fashiontwo women with the WNBA Award in honor of the Centennial, or the Book-A-Day initiative during Women’s History Month that sent books to the president and his staff.

There are great events yet to come, so watch out for them! National Reading Group Month will host a panel on Friday October 27th featuring authors from the first Great Group Reads. This will kick off three days of WNBA National meetings that we’re hosting here in NYC as well as celebrate the soon-to-be-published WNBA book Women in the Literary Landscape: A Centennial Publication of the Women’s National Book Association. On Saturday, October 28th, the Centennial Celebration will be open to members—all members will receive an invitation with information about RSVPs, so watch your inboxes!

You can read all about the history of the WNBA on the Centennial page, but let’s not forget that we’re having a party! As you receive your invitations and return them (in case you didn’t click before, check out the Centennial Celebration’s planned events—that should be enough to convince you), take some fashion inspiration from the women who founded the WNBA.


A 1917 Parisian fashion advertisement
Photo courtesy of NineteenTeen



1917 Fashion
Photo Courtesy of Susanna Ives

As always, fashion reacted to world events. With WWI ongoing in 1917, fashion became less about embellishment and more about utility. Or at least it seemed to—this New York Times article talks about why war fashion was more restrictive though it was marketed as freeing (because fashion labeled as war-related or factory-safe was more likely to sell). Flared skirts, dropped-waist blazers, and velvet hats were au courant; the scandalously rising hemlines that only fell to ankles reflected the continued hold of traditional modesty even as women appeared in the workforce.


Children of Men imagines 2027 Courtesy of SciFiMovieZone

The fashion of the 1920s tends to stand out more, historically speaking, than that of the teens. After all, there were other rather more important things happening in 1917 than a few hemlines rising a few inches. And the 20s has fringe, beaded dresses, bobbed hair, flappers—it’s a more iconic era for the direct representation of women’s liberation in clothing. Who knows what’s to come in the 2020s?


About Katherine Akey

Katherine is a copywriter and an all-around bookworm who enjoys reading classics, literary fiction, and just about anything that crosses her desk.

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