Some of Oak Bluffs’ whaling captains who financed the Oak Bluffs Land and Wharf Company moved their business to San Francisco. The price of whale oil went into a tailspin when it was found more expedient to dig oil from the ground. So whalers hunted bowhead whales for baleen — or whalebone — in the north Pacific. Baleen hangs from the roof of certain whales’ mouths and strains their food (krill) when the whale swims through schools of it. The whalebone market spiked during the Civil War from the dictates of fashion, hoop skirts and corsets. When corsets were no longer fashionable whaling was over.

Godey’s Magazine and Lady’s Book was the most widely circulated magazine from 1830 to 1878 and the final word on fashion. A Frenchman from New York, Louis A. Godey marketed Godey’s specifically to women. Sarah Josepha Hale (author of Mary Had a Little Lamb) was his editor from 1837 to 1877 and was committed to the interests of women and their education. One her many accomplishments was helping to create Vassar, the first women’s college in America. Another was her stance against slavery. She became influential as an arbiter of American taste, publishing stories by authors like Edgar Allan Poe (The Cask of Amontillado), Washington Irving (Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow), Frances Hodgson Burnett (The Secret Garden), Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Paul Revere’s Ride) and Harriet Beecher Stowe (Uncle Tom’s Cabin).

The magazine is best known for a picture (fashion plate) that appeared at the start of each issue, which provides a record of the progression of women’s clothing — and every issue included an illustration and pattern for garments to be sewn at home. The tradition of a white wedding dress was credited to Queen Victoria’s choice to wear a white dress at her wedding to Prince Albert, and Godey’s wrote: “Custom has decided, from the earliest ages, that white is the most fitting hue, whatever may be the material.” Sarah Hale also used her influence to advocate for establishing a national Thanksgiving holiday with a series of articles featuring descriptions and recipes of food now considered typical, like roast turkeys, stuffing, and pumpkin pies. In 1858, she petitioned the president of the United States to declare it a national holiday.

Our family house had a picture I’ve framed of two ladies with the caption Godey’s Fashion 1872, a keepsake heralding the year our house was built. Described by modern observers, Godey’s fashions for American women graduated from crinolines that gave way to hoop skirts and side curls, skirt widths were expanded with elaborate trim, sleeves tightened and loosened, hoops evolved into bustles. Ringlets, flared sleeves, knitted hoods, checkered pants, cashmere morning robes of Persian design, beaded opera hats, and flower adorned bonnets are among the many fashions found in the magazine’s pages.

A related note is that Hale opposed the fashion trend of tight bodices for women’s dresses on grounds that they were unhealthy. These required the corsets made from baleen —so Sarah Josepha Hale contributed to the end of the whaling industry.

Oak Bluffs’ home grown fashionista is also making her mark on the fashion industry. Jordan Rebello is featured in a special online piece by Vogue magazine (which has taken Godey’s place) titled The Los Angeles It Girl Guide to Vintage Shopping ( A model, actress, trend setter and entrepreneur, Jordan has graced LA billboards for American Apparel, been featured in fashion forward commentary on Pinterest and Instagram, and she and her equally cute daughter Wynter Poppy Thomson were pictured on the cover of Parents Magazine.

Jordan and her associate Abrielle Stedman recently opened LA’s newest trendy vintage store, Trouble in Paradise. Vintage clothing has been Jordan’s passion since age 11 when she bought a lime-green ’60s velvet minidress that she owns and can still wear. A product spokesperson, Jordan is featured on blogs opining on vitamins, make-up, hair care and all things fashion. First featured in a 2003 National Geographic article about Oak Bluffs as a teenager, you’ll see her next in Allure magazine. Jordan says the best advice she was given was to make dreams a reality. Her folks Mia (her role model) and Todd Rebello have helped her do just that.

Buh-bye Back Door Donuts. Martha’s Vineyard Gourmet Bakery closes for the season Saturday, Oct. 15. Better get a fritter or that cheese bread today. After a good summer Biscuits’ Chris Arcudi says see you next year.

Keep your foot on a rock.

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