After reading through Beverly Serrell’s book, Exhibit Labels: An Interpretive Approach, it is time to put these guidelines into practice. I have attempted to write three captions, each taking a different interpretive approach. While I have attempted to not commit the ten deadly sins of unsuccessful labels, I must say that this is much more difficult than it seems. Each of the captions seeks to address larger historical questions, while exploring local history as these captions can all be linked to points on a map.

Caption 1: 

Located in the heart of one of the most fashionable streets in the world,  P.N. Degerberg manufactured this wool tweed sports suit in 1919. While department stores tempted shoppers with the convenience of ready-made goods, a perfect fit was expensive and could only be achieved by a skilled tailor. 

Rationale: This caption attempts to demonstrate the importance of Philadelphia as a fashion hub in Philadelphia. I don’t mention the specific address of P.N. Degerberg because if the caption is linked to a point on a map, it is not necessary when working with a limited amount of words. I would rather spend my characters on larger ideas rather than specific details of location. I also chose to mention Mrs. Sarah Bright in this caption considering that she is not the focus. I also tried to hint towards the socioeconomic divide and elitism that comes with fashion history. Maybe this caption can encourage people to question who was purchasing ready-made goods vs. who was purchasing tailored goods.

Caption 2:

This wool tweed sports suit was manufactured in 1919 for Mrs. Sarah Bright, a wealthy native of Philadelphia. Sportswear became popular for women who desired the simplicity and practicality of separates over the complexity of elaborate dresses. Suits like this were popular among women who could afford to participate in leisurely activities.

Rationale: This caption attempts to discuss style preference changes that became popular during the 1920s. I try to talk about a change in popularity of clothing to serve a practical purpose. Though I don’t mention specifically which leisurely activities women would participate in, it would encourage readers to imagine or do further research on what types of activities were popular. It could also encourage readers to question what non-wealthy people were doing for leisure, if anything.

Caption 3: 

This wool tweed sports suit was manufactured in 1919 by P.N. Degerberg, a women’s tailor located on Chestnut Street. Degerberg was known for his high quality production of custom-fitting goods inspired by the latest European trends. This suit also marks the end of an era for Philadelphia fashion with the acceptance of ready-made goods and manufacturing relocated to other regions.

Rationale: This caption seeks to focus on P.N. Degerberg and his work being seen as elite and influenced by European styles. In this caption, I hope readers will question the influence of Europe on American fashion. Though I don’t go into specifics, this is something that could be explored later if the reader is interested. I also elude to the collapse of Philadelphia as a center of American fashion, though I think the reader may need more context.