Fashion and Women's Attitudes in the Nineteenth Century

Format: Hardcover
Pub. Date: 2013-12-20
Publisher(s): Dover Publications
List Price: $42.61

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The nineteenth century, according to C. Willett Cunnington, was a period when the cult of modesty was a tactical maneuver camouflaged as a virtue. It was also a period when euphemisms were used for such terms as "naked," "breast," and "leg," and when underclothing was vaguely spoken of as "lingerie."
Cunnington, an early twentieth-century authority on fashion, argues that the Victorian matron was governed as much by current popular style as she was by instinct and custom. In a light, amusing, and highly readable account, he not only describes what Englishwomen wore in the nineteenth century but also explains why they clothed themselves as they did.
Enlivened with extracts from novels; correspondence from the columns of ladies' magazines; fashion descriptions and period advertisements of beauty aids; the volume traces changes in feminine dress and ideas decade by decade through the 1800s. The importance of being "in fashion" and the longing to imitate — in appearance — those in the same social group is closely examined, as is the desire to be sexually attractive and its counter-effort — to conceal sexual features.
A carefully researched work on a fascinating subject, this volume will appeal to a wide audience, encompassing feminists, sociologists, fashion historians, and costume designers.

Table of Contents

I Introduction
II The Vertical Epoch
III The Dawn of Romance
IV The Romantic '30s
V The Sentimental '40s
VI The Perfect Lady of the '50s
VII The Revolting '60s
VIII The Ornamental '70s
IX The Symbolic '80s
X The Prude's Progress in the '90s

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