‘I Have Been a Collector of Costumes’: Women, Dress Histories and the Temporalities of Eighteenth-Century Fashion

Date

2021-10-04

Advisors

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Wiley

Type

Article

Peer reviewed

Yes

Abstract

By the early nineteenth century, the ‘costume book’ genre was well established as a catalogue of national habits. These chronologically, socially and geographically devised sartorial indexes to the world strove to use dress as a means of categorising and delineating humankind. Such publications espouse a sense of neat chronological evolution, situated within a framework of masculine progress. While the majority of published costume books from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries were authored by men, this article explores the myriad ways in which women too constructed, subverted and engaged in sartorial histories. Published dress histories attempted to use dress as a means of constructing a coherent chronological narrative of a national heritage. Yet amateur women, such as Catherine Hutton, Mary White and Laetitia Powell, used pens, scissors, paste and needles to reach back through that time-tunnel, borrowing from and taking possession of the sartorial past.

Description

The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.

Keywords

dress history, eighteenth century, material culture, women historians

Citation

Dyer, S. (2021) "I have been a collector of costumes”: Women, Dress Histories, and the Temporalities of 18th Century Fashion. History, 106, (372) pp. 578-596

Rights

Research Institute

Institute of History