AUBURN — The Androscoggin Historical Society will host an educational program with local collector, educator and businessman Lew Alessio titled “What Men Wore … and they called it macaroni.” The talk will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 24, at the society’s museum on the third floor of the Androscoggin County Building.

Food, shelter and clothing have always been considered the basic three requirements of life. The evening’s presentation will explore how factors such as sports, war, politics, women, social stigma and industry, far more than so-called “fashion,” affected men’s choices in clothing well beyond basics.

For example, how did the U.S. Post Office influence grandpa’s pants? Why do baseball players wear knickers? How do events during the U.S. Civil War still influence practically every article of men’s clothing bought today? Would politicians wear red ties if they knew what that once meant? What influences have social standards of gender always had on what men wore? And what were the life-threatening, world-changing reasons they called it “macaroni” on both sides of the Atlantic.

Alessio, born and raised in New York City, has lived for about 45 years in the 1791 Bachelder Stetson homestead in Greene, which he shares with his husband, Jim Shaffer, four cats and the spirits of generations of the Stetson family. They own both an antiques business and “in your own words, LLC,” which creates greeting cards using vintage images that are sold in shops across the U.S.

Program admission is free, although donations will be accepted. For more information about the society, call 207-784-0586. Enter the building at the side door on Court Street and go to the third floor. An elevator is available.


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