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 Dress to impress?

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ferval
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PostSubject: Dress to impress?   Fri 11 May 2012, 11:09

Since Mrs Argh draped her new fox pelt round her shoulders and said “It’s lovely dear but Mrs Urgh has a sable….” what we choose to wear has been much more than just a way of keeping ourselves warm and dry. Dress has been described as the ‘social skin’.
Our gender, our age, our status, our ethnic, cultural or religious affiliations all have been and still can be announced through our dress as well as more personal expressions of identity and all are tied up with the where, when and how we live. It can be used to display conformity but also to subvert.
Mantel’s fugger bags are a case in point, a telling detail which says so much about that society, the values and aspirations that were current, and more generally the way that dress is deployed to present the wearer as he would like to be perceived. Designer fakes are not new.
The topic of dress, jewellery, body art and fashion is vast and fascinating, both past and present, and anything but trivial, there is nothing else which is so intimately connected to our bodies but yet is directed outwards, intended to be seen, so conveying a message.
Given the scope of this, what are your thoughts?

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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Fri 11 May 2012, 11:31

Mm. Back to the Bronze Age then.

Your fascinating - pre exam and therefore not too much indepth - stuff on the Danish 'Find?' Research? of trendy early A.A. wear for the nubile begged many questions. You told me to start a thred but I had no time either.

What do we rckong about those miniskirts? I note the top had no sleeve seams so it was all in one weaving. ID asked about the textile material also. Since life espectancy was circa 34 years - someone correct me if wrong - of the early Bronze age, the girls would have been young - and inviting by the look of things if we are to accept this as a real situation and not invented or imaginative guff.

I assume the climate was much the same as now and Denmark can get cold. I reckon that short skirt thingy was worn beneath a long skirt. I note the belt of the skirt clumps it togther potato sack style yet in the east swathes of cloth as in sari/ dhoti sarong are often tucked into a tight belt of strong thread, a neater finish.

I assume that there was also a sense of style otherwise there wood have been no development of brooches, buckles and pins - denoting status of course as well. In haste, ferv. More later. Regards, P.
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Fri 11 May 2012, 13:07

I haven't really gone into the EBA clothing in a great deal of detail, it was very much a side issue in a more general discussion, but I suspect that the string skirt was not a mundane garment but something more specialised and this could be exemplified by these
and
There's something of the Minoan about them don't you think?
From these it might be deduced that it was worn for a performance, they are described sometimes as acrobats. Certainly its construction suggests to me that it was designed to highlight and facilitate movement and there are other graves where young women are found wearing the longer, wrap round style skirts.

Clothing in the distant past can be a bit of a bugger to assess, we're restricted to that which has survived and then we have to consider whether these garments were everyday wear or special burial clothes. In addition, it can be impossible to be sure whether the graves we can find where the preservation allows it were representative of the population in general or of a section that merited the elaborate tombs which made that preservation possible.
It's much better later when more fabric has survived and where there are visual and textual materials as well, the Middle Ages for example and I'm interested to hear what those with an informed view of that have to say.
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Fri 11 May 2012, 14:01

Where did these pics come from, ferv? Fascinating stuff. I note the suggestion of trousers on the EBA skate board kid. Like tights even.....

Nether garments of some sort were surely worn under the short skirt. Cloth through and scured fore and aft over a tight string - pygmy style, I hazard that guess.

As for the social skin, after many years in the east I have an instinct now for what is a pragmatic choice of clothing to wear for wherever. I find it harder in Uk. In the super market most people dress like unmade beds and one wonders what happened to all the stuff they herded into the sales for. I am often asked if am going out somewhere later. Perhaps the black Jaegar knitted coat is not such a good idea but it is warm and easy to wear. I have always worn some sort of matching scarf... my signarure if any..... and old as they may be having dozens and dozens I can always grab one that matches my mood or what its to go with. I don't dress to look smart or impress yet it seems that this is the message I send out. French women throw on a bit of navy , tie a scarf and look a million dollars. I think I picked it up in France a a teenager.... the scarf bit.

My mother thought that how clothes were worn and deportment by far the more important.

re textiles - a patch of silk was found in a La Tene 600BC grave so quality has always been important to create an impact. As for fur, well a mink jacket worn over track suit bottoms saved me from freezing to death in a Baloch snowstorm once but I have never worn it to a social event. The cat liked it alot.
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Fri 11 May 2012, 14:34

The pictures are just garnered from a variety of websites P, none very academic, I'm sick of that at the minute. You're right about the absence of undergarments, lots of implications from that alone aren't there about issues from notions of privacy and what is acceptable through hygiene to, wasn't the wool itchy?

Don't start me on style - that one's a minefield. As to assembling an appropriate outfit, a while ago I read a really intriguing anthropological study of three women putting together their outfits for different occasions, what they were hoping to achieve and how successful they were. It put a whole new perspective on getting dressed and made me dreadfully self conscious for a while. I've tried to find it again but no luck.

Fur is interesting as well. We are old enough to have seen the transformation of attitudes to it, from ultimate status symbol to discarded unsaleable fur coats being shipped to Romania to fight off hypothermia in the wake of the revolution. It seems to be creeping back though, perhaps I'll be able to wear the old inherited coats that are lurking in my wardrobe again.



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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Fri 11 May 2012, 14:52

many years ago my daughter joined a group of students from Leeds in a fur protest in Harrods.... she being the only one who knew where it was and how to get there. They got slung out of course p damn fast. So, I said, you are into that now are you? No apparently not. It was just an excuse to go down into the smoke for a few hours. harrods closed its fur dept shortly after that - don't know about now though.

Never worry about style, ferv. I have friends who spend a fortune on clothes and all look like Mr Blobby or Olive Oyle. French nonchalance always works - and sleeves pushed up the arm a bit.... you can't go wrong.

From paintings we can see the extraordinary gear of the filty wealthy in times past - achieved by having too much time on their hands and too many hands to help them spend it. However, real style is looking good at your execution.
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Fri 11 May 2012, 15:05

'Style' is a real bone of contention in archaeology and has generated endless papers arguing about whether or not it is a 'meaningful category' and worse, nit picking, angels on pins fashion, about whether it is emblematic, iconological or isochrestic!!!!!!!
I came across, in a different context, a wonderful expression of Freud's "the narcissism of small differences" that applies so well to so many academic debates and now I'm going to use it whenever possible.
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Fri 11 May 2012, 22:34

Not quite on topic but the book in my book on names in history there is a quotation presumably from some official document though it doesn't seem to be attributed. It's talking about the influence of continental immigrants on the name stock, and says, "Thirty 'dutchmen' who were all master workmen were granted permission to live in Norwich so they they might make 'bayes, arras, sayes, tapestrye, mockadoes, stamens, carsay and such other outlandysshe commodities', products that were not then being made in England."

I am not even sure which of these were clothes and which other material products. Arras is familiar mostly from Hamlet, mockadoes I found on the internet, but stamens and carsays are not in my vocabulary with a material meaning. The internet only talks of what your choice in car colour or model says about you, and I don't think this is quite what the writers were referring to. And stamens only refer to the natural parts of flowers. So what were the Dutch bringing to England in the 16th century?
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Sat 12 May 2012, 05:25

@ferval wrote:
Clothing in the distant past can be a bit of a bugger to assess, we're restricted to that which has survived and then we have to consider whether these garments were everyday wear or special burial clothes.

If not special burial clothes then clothes reserved for special occasions anyway. Still today people are not dressed in their gardening or work clothes for burial, good dresses and suits for men would usually be chosen. Seems we have a need to look presentable even in death and even if it is only the worms who will be seeing it.

I'm still really interested in the fibres used and also the weaving methods of the BA, but am too busy at the moment to find time for the research and am too tired at night to do anything other than natter nonsense in the bar.
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Sat 12 May 2012, 08:42

Interesting list, Caro - perhaps stamens have to do with corsetry - it sounds right.

Great definition, ferv. REflection of inner conceits is my own thought on style.

I note that researches for 20thC historical films use fashion mags for their ideas. Real peope were always about five years behind - except for The New Look and most people never touched fashion house ideas anyway. Current fashion shows are more like fancy dress shows. A recent one here showed an Asian girl who as a model covers from head to foot in the usual local gear, modelling a shift split to the waist with white lace long tight pants beneath. Wear that out and you'd get beaten up.

In my packing I found a forty year old Simplicity pattern book - we used them to get tailors to copy. Now those ere the sort of things women wore - I never saw anyone wearing stuff shown in a Vogue fashion book of the same era.
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Sat 12 May 2012, 19:55

Having just watched on U-tube the 2007 made-for-TV mini-series of Tolstoy's “War and Peace”, I was yet again reminded of the absurd and impractical nature of Napoleonic military attire.

At one point young Nikolai Rostov runs after the Princess Bolkonsky’s carriage. He’s barely able to keep a grip of the vital letter he’s carrying so fully occupied is he with holding onto his ridiculously tall shako, complete with wildly swinging tassel that is constantly threatening to take his eye out. He also has to hold onto his sabre and control his swinging sabre-tache (a sort of man-bag dangling from his belt which in particular seems designed solely to trip him up). Since he’s in a Huzzar regiment, he wears his uniform jacket on one arm/shoulder only, and so this too needs attention if it isn’t to slip off. And all this in breeches so tight every step threatens to either burst the seams or castrate him..... And of course he is then supposed to go off and fight Napoleon’s army in this pantomime costume!

And the French are no better: their regular line infantry - expected to march all the way to Moscow on dusty dirt roads, and then retreat back to France through mud and slush – are dressed in, of all things, white trousers! White might look good on the parade ground but it is hardly very practical for the rough outdoor life of a soldier – and without a single box of Persil to be had for more than a hundred years to come. (I’m sure khaki was fairly standard on the battlefield long before the British supposedly adopted it in late 19th century India).

You get my point. For some 200 years military uniforms, though flamboyantly lovely, were not very practical by modern criteria. But why?

The usual argument is that it is a combination of show and recognition. Show: to impress and over-awe the enemy and make one’s one troops look larger than life with bright uniforms and tall hats (elite regiments, like the grenadiers were always composed of the tallest men and grenadiers typically wore an extra-tall mitre-like hat to make them look even taller). And recognition: in the days when units deployed in simple blocks and before smokeless powder it was more important to know who was who than attempt anything like camouflage.

But I wonder is that the whole story? Colin Tudge in “Consider the Birds” (2008) has a nice turn of phrase… (NB he is of course writing a natural history about birds, and with this comment he is referring in particular to peacocks, and their kin, with their superbly flamboyant tails, which are also of course very expensive in energy (food) terms, as well as being more than just a bit of a liability to their owners).

"A recent exhibition in London of seventeenth-century portraits from England’s civil war showed various relatives and supporters of Charles I (the ‘Cavaliers’) and their republican, Puritan opponents (the ‘Roundheads’). The Cavaliers were dressed in brocade and frills and lace and pom-poms on their pointed shoes while the Roundheads, in studied contrast, wore leather jerkins and crash helmets. Obviously, the Roundheads were bound to win. The Cavaliers, so the critics seemed to agree, were clearly decadent, not to say louche.

In truth, though, the Cavaliers were just as tough, brave, and determined as the Roundheads were. Their frills were not foppish, but arrogant. They were not saying, ‘Look at me, for I am rich and can afford to be idle’, but ‘Be afraid! I don’t need to dress like a warrior because I can wipe the floor with you even though I can hardly move my arms in this jacket and I am wearing this ridiculous hat!’. The swagger is sublime. Soldiers and modern prizefighters seem to me to follow the same pattern. Either they dress like natural born killers, like the American marines or the SAS, or as Mike Tyson was wont to do; or as dandies, in the Cavalier mode, like Colonel Custer of Little Bighorn fame, or, among prizefighters, like America’s Max Baer and Britain’s Chris Ewbank. To be sure, it is hazardous to apply such notions too simplistically to human beings. But the handicap principle is more than plausible, and it certainly seems to apply to birds.”



Of course in Napoleonic armies the choice of uniform/costume was the preserve of the Emperors/Nobles/Commanders. The average Napoleonic squaddie had no say in how he was kitted out. …. The commanders incidentally often attended (one cannot really say they fought) their battles in civvies: frock coats, top hats etc…. nothing too outlandish for them! And the cavaliers and roundheads of Tudge’s remarks were of course also the nobles and commanders.

Going back to the beginning of the 16th century the Landsknechts (and I’m using the term rather loosely to mean any mercenary pike/shot unit be it Germanic or Swiss etc) were notorious for their outlandish dress. I believe it was the Holy Roman Emperor Maximillian I who specifically exempted troops in his employ from the current sumptuary laws in recognition of their precarious existence. They accordingly adopted the most flamboyant costume possible, almost in parody of normal civilian dress, to show to the world that they were different from everyone else. Billowing trousers, meeting at the groin in a massive codpiece decorated with bows and ribbons. Huge floppy hats bedecked with feathers and ribbons. Cut-and- slashed jackets, the linings pulled out through cuts in the external cloth (in vibrant contrasting colours) in mock imitation of real battle damage. Shoes that look like a cross between a ballet dancer's pumps and grand-dad’s slippers, possibly very comfortable but completely unsuitable for fighting a battle. But these guys were professional soldiers and very successful ones too, much in demand by all the warring european heads of state.

In contrast to these peacocks, their contemporaries: a militiaman from an Italian city state or a soldier raised by levy to fight at Flodden seem from contemporary descriptions and drawings to have usually turned out with a sensible pair of boots, and normal woollen hose, and, for defence a simple (but nevertheless effective) jacket of quilted linen or leather, and all topped off with a simple helmet (with maybe a single feather to boost the confidence). But for these guys preserving their skin was probably more important than any show of bravado.

Just some thoughts… Sorry I’ve rambled a bit.
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Sat 12 May 2012, 22:32

Can someone tell me if this is true or apocryphal? I remember from a chemistry lecture c. 50 years ago being told that Napoleon's army used tin buttons and, during the Russian campaign, the extreme cold caused to metal to change isotopic form and crumble. The lecturer concluded with "It's hard to fight while you're trying to hold your trousers up".
Even if it is a myth, it's certainly an excellent example of how to get a class of students to remember something!
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Sat 12 May 2012, 22:51

Apocryphal, though based on an actual property of tin - its tendency to transform allotropically at low temperatures. Colloquially this is referred to as "tin pest".

What makes the story apocryphal is that impure tin, such as that which would most likely have been present in French uniforms, is quite tolerant of even extremely low temperatures, and also that even pure tin would require about eighteen months for tin pest to render it damaged enough to lose structural integrity.

A mass grave containing two thousand French soldiers who died on the great retreat was excavated in 2002 near Vilnius in Lithuania. Identification was aided by the pewter regimental buttons which had survived remarkably well for over almost two hundred years in an often very cold environment. Thankfully for the archaeologists there was no sign of tin pest.
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Sat 12 May 2012, 22:54

Well, at least I've remembered one property of tin for a very long time, there's damn all else of that course that has stuck. And thanks for reminding me of 'allotropic', that had definitely gone.
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Sun 13 May 2012, 00:07

As a metallurgist I can only confirm that Nordmann is absolutely correct in what he says... basically apochryphal, but with elements of truth hidden therein.

Ferval: another property of tin that you might recall is "the cry of tin" the sound it makes when it is deformed... due to stress induced crystal-twinning if you are really interested. But frankly I'm surprised and impressed that you know about tin's allotropic nature. It's not something most people are familiar with... to say the least.
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Sun 13 May 2012, 13:15

Is there a link between flamboyant and decadent dress and the decline of a society's strength. I call to mind Etrurian flamboyance - circa the fall of Tarquin in Rome and thereafter as slaves virtually ran the country and the people spent excesses on exaggerated costume and imported frip frap to parade and show off until the failing economy kicked in and all savings were gone..... and the bickering tribes moved in.

Roman dress of the wealthy after the Republic and during its decline appears to have become highly decorative - then as Meles mentions, there are the Cavaliers. I think this is also reflected in the Ottoman empire and probably others too as the polarisation between the rich and poor increases and its society fails. The notion gains further credibility with handbags currently on sale now for 2000 pounds and similar over priced and over the top excesses during a recession. Whatever tax is slapped on to alleviate the problem the rich can meet without feeling the strain for quite a while whilst those that go under join the soup queue.
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Sun 13 May 2012, 14:49

@Caro wrote:
And stamens only refer to the natural parts of flowers. So what were the Dutch bringing to England in the 16th century?

Hi Caro,

I was talking to a chap in the pub last night about this - he's not a historian, but he does know a lot about languages. He said that stamen is the Latin word for "thread" or "warp" (it also means a string on a musical instrument), so perhaps it just refers to the Flemish talent for weaving - especially tapestries.

Cheers,

T.
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Sun 13 May 2012, 21:09

The alleged differences between the dress of Roundheads and Cavaliers is nonsense. There would have been very little difference between the opposing troops (though the Royalists may have had a slightly more 'Continental' look, since they had to import more equipment than the Parliamentarians, who had control of the arsenals and many of the arms manufacturies).

One thing which has always puzzled me, though, is the toga. Though the national garment of the Romans, it seems to me a spectacularly impractical item, nigh-on impossible to put on yourself and rendering one hand virtually useless because too much movement would result in the wretched thing falling off (properly worn, there shouldn't be a broach or anything to hold it in place, just correct folding, stance and the velcro-like qualities of the wool). I can't imagine many Romans wore it if they could possibly avoid it! (Interestingly, apparently the Praetorian Guard wore the toga on public duty, partly because it handily concealed the swords they in theory weren't supposed to carry within the boundries of Rome itself).
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Sun 13 May 2012, 21:41

Quote :
Though the national garment of the Romans, it seems to me a spectacularly impractical item,

Wasn't that maybe the point? My granny used to say 'Pride feels no pain' and pretty much throughout history the practicality of many garments has been secondary to their other functions, those expressing status or identity. It's often been only those who have to work, or fight, hard or can't afford the expensive materials or the servants to maintain them who have chosen utility over appearance.
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Sun 13 May 2012, 22:35

It's not always been only those who are wealthy or don't have to work that have word impractical clothes, though. It's quite hard to change from the norm even if it doesn't work well. (Witness present-day male clothes, suits etc worn in the most unsuitable places, the heat of Australia, on sports grounds, and if you can believe Midsomer Murders, by police in rural areas. Police in my rural area don't seem to bother ever with suits, but British people are more formal. Anyway I have got distracted from the point again.)

The early women settlers in this area and even in living memory wore long flowing skirts, even for workaday times, in an area where "roads" were better described as quagmires. People still remember girls coming to dances (and everyone went to the dances - no servants in this part of the world) and having to be carried from their vehicle, since otherwise their dresses would be covered in mud. It always seems odd to me that nowadays with easy washing and drying facilities we wear very easy-to-care clothing, but when it would have been sensible to do so, people wore these very cumbersome and hard to clean clothes. You could have had short cotton frocks in the old days, but people didn't. Endless petticoats as well as heavy-materialed outer layers.
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Sun 13 May 2012, 23:20

You're right of course Caro, it's all much more complicated than that - 7" stilettos, corsets etc, why? You can't look at it in isolation from the society and its values nor is it possible to overestimate the importance of conforming to expectations and norms. There's an interesting tension between conformity and individuality but often that individuality ends up by being a conformity to a different norm. Do you remember your efforts to introduce a subtle and slightly subversive change to your school uniform?
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Mon 14 May 2012, 00:12

Probably proving your point, I was a timid child and remember that, when everyone else changed the coat we wore so that it was fashionably worn sans belt, I wore mine with the belt done up, and probably looked more subversive than anyone! The girls all wore their socks up when they were supposed to be down, and their hats distorted, but, as you say, all ending up looking the same, if not the way the school rules said.

I get in a tizz these days because the girls in Dunedin and other cities (not in my little town) wear their kilts right down to the ground almost. I think it looks very wrong.

Sorry, this has got away from togas and gear worn in the Bronze Age.
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Mon 14 May 2012, 08:30

@ferval wrote:
Quote :
Though the national garment of the Romans, it seems to me a spectacularly impractical item,

Wasn't that maybe the point? My granny used to say 'Pride feels no pain' and pretty much throughout history the practicality of many garments has been secondary to their other functions, those expressing status or identity. It's often been only those who have to work, or fight, hard or can't afford the expensive materials or the servants to maintain them who have chosen utility over appearance.

Perhaps, though as has been discussed in the last couple of posts or so that isn't always the case.
In many cases the more absurd items have evolved from more practical garments. Did togas do the same, I wonder? Were they just really elborately folded cloaks, originally? I seem to remember reading somewhere that Cato the Younger insisted on going about togate without a tunic on underneath, as he believed it to be the proper Republican way. But then he could be a bit odd.
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Mon 14 May 2012, 09:30

Quote :
Sorry, this has got away from togas and gear worn in the Bronze Age.

Not a diversion at all Caro, and entirely on topic as far as I'm concerned. Although I totally agree that you can't map the present directly on to the past, it has been said that ' archaeology is anthropology or it is nothing' and that's a topic on its own!

AN, is there a similarity, I wonder, between the toga and the Highland plaid? Was it also originally an all purpose garment/tent/sleeping bag etc that became accreted with custom and memory and acquired a whole set of resonances that went away beyond its function? I'm inclined to think so.
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Mon 14 May 2012, 10:00

The toga - a swathe with a curved end evolved in Eutria first from a broad weave drape - I assume Tarquins lot wore it in Rome and the fashion stayed on.As I mentioned above, wealthy Eutrians - ie Etruscans, did not go in for practical gear to underline their rich indolence.

Drapped cloth is not that hard to wear - women here manage saris and men their dhottis with great apomb. I trie it a few times and was a complete mess after 10 minutes - espcialllly when trying to step from a car with resultamt startling revelations. Thai women with tight sarongs - there is an art in thetying to get the body form revealed manage to work most gracefully - and enticing ly. A kilt is but a short sari but best not mention that to the Black watch guys.
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Sun 13 Jan 2013, 15:18

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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Fri 22 Mar 2013, 09:49

Receding glaciers are proving to be a boon for archaeologists. This pre-viking woollen tunic is one of the most recent fascinating finds from Norway.

http://science.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/21/17403302-pre-viking-tunic-found-on-glacier-as-warming-trend-aids-archaeology?lite
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Fri 22 Mar 2013, 12:19

100 years ago a bill was laid before the State Legislature of Ohio to regulate women's dress, to prohibit "such styles and patterns of garments as they shall deem to be detrimental to chastity and virtue". This was to be administered by a committee of three, an ordained minister, a parent of at least three and a social worker, and it would become an offence to wear low necked or peek-a-boo dresses, show more than two inches of neck, or sport transparent lace insertions and open work stockings.
http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn90061417/1913-03-28/ed-1/seq-1/
http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&d=TC19130509.2.13
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Sat 23 Mar 2013, 07:52

Shades of the Taleban, though when the fashion, fortunately waning, was for youngsters wearing their trousers down low enough to show most of their lower anatomy, I felt a bill of a similar nature would have value.

I thought I had seen rules prescribing certain dress codes for women teachers in the early 20th C, but I can't find them on the same paperpast site. In fact in 1913 there are papers explaining that there has been a misunderstanding and the director of education has been directed by the Minister to say that the new regulations do not insist on any form of dress while teachers carry out physical education instruction and indeed there is no mention of dress at all. "It has never been suggested that any particular costume should be worn by teachers in playgrounds exposed to the public view." (Paperspast is a great site but irritating in that it can't easily be copied.)

But in 1925 Truth (a salacious sort of paper) reported that girls were becoming more masculinised and boys more feminised and this was the fault of the New Woman, and specifically women teachers. Manly sports for girls, and youths wearing puce or orange Oxford bags. And other daring colours. As an aside, I saw a nice green man's shirt yesterday while shopping, but my husband said, "It's not St Patrick's Day every day". Bit sad if green has been sidelined like that. It's a colour people should wear more - it generally looks good.

I said elsewhere that I couldn't wear my swimming togs under a dressing gown to the shop on the way to go swimming. When I said this to my husband he said "Certainly you won't", and my friend said, "No, people would think there was something wrong with you." (Ie some mental aberration would be assumed - early Alzheimer's at best and a full insanity attack at worst). So much for freedom of choice.

Re war garb - in my Sassoon book he says at one point that he had straightened his tie preparatory to heading out to battle - there were no rules that said he couldn't wear a tie on the front line. I found it odd that he would want to wear a tie in such a situation.


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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Sat 23 Mar 2013, 09:53

@Caro wrote:
though when the fashion, fortunately waning, was for youngsters wearing their trousers down low enough to show most of their lower anatomy, I felt a bill of a similar nature would have value

There is nothing new in that fashion, they were all the rage back in the late 60s and early 70s too, although we used to call them hipsters then. One knows one is getting old when we begin to see all the trends re-cycled, although usually under a different name.
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Sat 23 Mar 2013, 10:47

But hipsters stayed up, not like the loose things of around 2008.
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Sat 23 Mar 2013, 12:18

Maybe in NZ you were more prudish and weren't used to seeing big hairy backsides hanging out over the top of jeans Caro, not so in Aus. At least now they wear underpants that come over the top of the jeans so you can't really see what anyone ate for breakfast, unlike then.

The trend doesn't bother me at all, it is actually more modest than when we were young. But it must be terribly uncomfortable and annoying to wear though, having to pull the britches up all the time, or else they end up around the knees!
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Sat 23 Mar 2013, 19:37

They called that "builders crack" around here. I think the youngsters have got over it now.
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Fri 29 Mar 2013, 13:11

The original frontier hat designed by John B Stetson "the Boss of the Plains"



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boss_of_the_Plains
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Thu 18 Apr 2013, 12:11

Landsknechts

The most colourful of all military wear, must be the German mercenaries of the late 15th and early 16th centuries known as Landsknechts.
Exempted from the Sumptuary Laws by the Emperor Maximillian, because their lives were "short and brutish", the Landsknechts adopted highly colourful and, most importantly, *individual costumes.
This is only a sample of the clothing worn by these soldiers;








*No self respecting Landsknecht would be seen dead in a uniform

Sorry, the first image (a woodcut) isn't that great.
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Sun 21 Apr 2013, 15:31

@ferval wrote:
Our gender, our age, our status, our ethnic, cultural or religious affiliations all have been and still can be announced through our dress as well as more personal expressions of identity and all are tied up with the where, when and how we live. It can be used to display conformity but also to subvert.
In the 20th Century there was the 'Mao suit' in China. This is a famous but incorrect name because the suit was originally introduced by the nationalist Sun Yat Sen in the 1910s following the revolution. It is known in China as the Zhongshan suit. The suit was intended to mark a break with the imperial past while simultaneously resisting a Westernisation in Chinese dress. Some historians suggest that the Zhongshan suit was itself influenced by Japanese military styles which holds its own ironies.

Asia during the 20th Century also brought us the Nehru jacket which has been popular in India since the 1940s. It again was an attempt to distance modern Indian fashion from the West. This also carries an irony because the jacket became famous around the word not so much thanks to Jawaharlal Nehru but because of its adoption in the 1960s by English musicians such as The Beatles.
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Fri 24 May 2013, 10:42

An interesting article here on when man first began making clothes and the beginings of what we term today as fashion.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/sifting-the-evidence/2013/may/20/who-invented-clothes-palaeolithic-archaeologist?INTCMP=SRCH
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Fri 24 May 2013, 11:50

Apologies to everyone in advance;

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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Sun 02 Jun 2013, 14:37

A prehistoric fashion show given by University of Southampton and the Natural History Museum of Vienna, showcasing how people expressed their creativity and identity through potery, metal work and textiles during the period 1800-500BC.

Dr Grömer comments, “Usually a picture of dull and unattractive
clothing comes into our mind, if we think about people from Prehistory.
We would like to show, that the people from Stone and Bronze Ages made
the best out of their materials, They used patterns, colour and nice
jewellery. They had their style, their wish to express wealth, status,
identity and personality. All the costumes are based on archaeological
finds and they were handmade by us
.”

http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/06/2013/how-prehistoric-people-expressed-creativity-and-identity

http://cinba.net/
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Sun 02 Jun 2013, 17:49

Thousands of ivory beads and fox teeth decorated the garments which covered the bodies of a girl and a boy buried at Sunghir, Russia, around 28,000 years ago.

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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Sun 02 Jun 2013, 17:50

Sorry, it didn't look so big in preview.
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Mon 03 Jun 2013, 09:58

Have been reading about the Zoot Suit Riots which took place in Los Angeles 70 years ago. The zoot suit used more material than was allowed under US clothing rationing and the zoot suiters themselves were mainly Latino youths, both things which rankled white US servicemen.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/zoot/eng_peopleevents/e_riots.html

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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Mon 03 Jun 2013, 10:12

I was also reading something of this style. A very long watch chain was a vital part of the dress - would that be the three stranded thingy worn by the men in the pic?
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Mon 03 Jun 2013, 10:41

I think that's exactly what it is, Priscilla.
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Sat 31 Aug 2013, 17:58

I expect you've all seen this:

Iron age tunic revealed by retreating ice in Norway




Oh those frisky Scandinavians - even over 1000 years ago they were stripping off and running around in the snow butt naked .... And then forgetting where they'd left their tunic. I'll bet someone got a good telling off for that.
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Sat 31 Aug 2013, 19:18

I bet he did MM, seeing as some poor woman would have done the work of cleaning, spinning and weaving the wool, then sewen the tunic and all of it by hand. A lot of hours represented in that simple garment.
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Sat 07 Sep 2013, 11:33

Anyone interested in historic fashion, this fascinating site is packed with images of clothes from all ages. I've just spent ages admiring the workmanship
http://defunctfashion.tumblr.com/archive

Love this one




Beadnet dress | Egyptian Old Kingdom, Dynasty 4, reign of Khufu |2551–2528 B.C.Depictions of women in Egyptian art features garments decorated with an overall lozenge pattern. This design is believed to represent beadwork, either sewn onto a linen dress or worked into a net worn over the linen. This beadnet dress is the earliest surviving example of such a garment.The color of the beads has faded, but the beadnet was originally blue and blue green in imitation of lapis lazuli and turquoise.
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Sat 21 Sep 2013, 11:29

Coming up to more recent times, when I was working full-time, I worked in a few legal offices.  In  such offices they do tend to like their workers to dress "conservatively" [with a small "c"].  When I moved from an office in the East End to central London, the lady in charge wanted me to wear suits all the time (trouser suits were okay as long as they were smart) - to be fair she did give me a one-off clothing allowance.  Later I had a 23 month contract in a museum. On my first day I wore a suit,  but it was a terribly cold office (underground) and I was not interacting with the public so I ended up wearing warm track suits.  Even last year I did a temporary job and dressed quite smartly actually to  go there (a skirt suit) only I went in navy and when I got there I learned that the dress code was black and white - well they could have told me before I got there .....  So being expected to dress a certain way still goes on even in the 21st century.


Addendum:  I can't remember exactly which character it was but one character in "Game of Thrones" had a knitted type tunic which looked like one I had about 20 years ago [I'm entitled to some guilty watching TV pleasures - had to go to someone else's house to watch that show, though at the time as don't have Sky].  My knitting tends to be somewhat loose in tension and end up two sizes larger than it's supposed to be as did this tunic.
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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Sun 13 Oct 2013, 15:45

Interesting article from the 1920s on how outrageously expensive it was to dress in the Flapper style

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PostSubject: Re: Dress to impress?   Sat 16 Nov 2013, 18:10

This article on medieval shoes (of all things) is absolutely fascinating. The points today have nothing on the medieval lot, so long and dangerous were the shoes that Henry IV attempted to regulate the practice. http://www.medievalists.net/2013/10/16/medieval-shoes/

Although, apparently, the fashion is now being re-instated in Mexico.........



And the 15thC Austrian bras I think we have all seen, but these bikini pants? Remarkably similar to today



http://www.medievalists.net/2012/07/17/medieval-lingerie-discovery-in-austria-reveals-what-really-was-worn-under-those-tunics/
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