When summer finally arrives and the temperature rises, it’s not just the weather that brightens up.
The merest hint of sunshine is usually the cue for us to shed our winter woollies and put on lighter, more colourful clothes.
And that was certainly true for the tiny owner of this 1970s summer dress, currently on display at Leeds City Museum.
The cotton dress, made by Marks and Spencer in 1970, is part of the museum’s For All Seasons exhibition, which explores the different ways the changing seasons influence everything from art to nature and fashion.
Cotton is a good conductor of heat, like many natural fibres, making it the perfect material for summer clothes designed to keep people cool.
Ruth Martin, Leeds City Museum’s curator of exhibitions, said: “Fashion and the clothes we wear at different times of the year are perhaps the clearest visual example of the influence the changing seasons have on us.
“For as long as people have been wearing clothes, they’ve had to adapt them to suit the climate and environment they live in and that in turn has led us to create more stylish and colourful designs that reflect our mood at different times of the year.”
For All Seasons is free to enter and can be found in Leeds City Museum’s special exhibitions gallery.
As well as vintage fashions, other objects are displayed which illustrate spring, summer, autumn and winter as well as a series imaginative centrepieces including a giant sandcastle, indoor tree, traditional sledge and hook-a-duck pond.
Exhibits include a variety of wildlife, some 100 year-old decorative Easter eggs, delicate ceramics, paintings and historic seasonal fashions.
The exhibition is also accompanied by specially-recorded classical piano sheet music from the museum’s collection.
Councillor Brian Selby, Leeds City Council’s lead member for museums and galleries, said:
“The power which the changing seasons have to influence every facet of our lives is perfectly illustrated by the sheer scope and variety of objects on display in this exhibition.”
For All Seasons runs until August 28. For more details about the exhibition and the programme of activities, please visit: http://www.leeds.gov.uk/museumsandgalleries/Pages/Seasons.aspx