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English Costume

Dion Clayton Calthrop

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Book Overview: 

The world, if we choose to see it so, is a complicated picture of people dressing and undressing. The history of the world is composed of the chat of a little band of tailors seated cross-legged on their boards; they gossip across the centuries, feeling, as they should, very busy and important. As you will see, I have devoted myself entirely to civil costume—that is, the clothes a man or a woman would wear from choice, and not by reason of an appointment to some ecclesiastical post, or to a military calling, or to the Bar, or the Bench. Such clothes are but symbols of their trades and professions, and have been dealt with by persons who specialize in those professions.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .chre, no paint had touched the faces of the fashionable until this reign. Perhaps discreet historians had left that fact veiled, holding the secrets of the lady’s toilet too sacred for the black of print; but now the murder came out. The fact in itself is part of the psychology of [Pg 74] clothes. Paint the face, and you have a hint towards the condition of fashion.

Again, as in the case of the men, no determined cut shows which will point to this age as one of such and such a garment or such an innovation, but—and this I would leave to your imagination—there was a distinction that was not great enough to be a difference.

The gowns were loose and flowing, and were gathered in at the waist by a girdle, or, rather, a belt, the tongue of which hung down in front; but as the end of the reign approached, the gowns were shaped a little more to the figure.

A lady might possess such clothes as these: the gowns I have mentioned a. . . Read More