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Fashion and Family History (Paperback)

Interpreting How Your Ancestors Dressed

Family History Social History Photographic Books Colour Books

By Jayne Shrimpton
Imprint: Pen & Sword Family History
Series: Tracing Your Ancestors
Pages: 200
Illustrations: 20 colour & 75 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526760265
Published: 30th November 2020


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Studying dress history teaches us much about the past. In this skilfully-illustrated, accessible and authoritative book, Jayne Shrimpton demonstrates how fashion and clothes represent the everyday experiences of earlier generations, illuminating the world in which they lived.

As Britain evolved during the 1800s from a slow-paced agrarian society into an urban-industrial nation, dress was transformed. Traditional rural styles declined and modern city modes, new workwear and holiday gear developed. Women sewed at home, while shopping advanced, novel textiles and mass-produced goods bringing affordable fashion to ordinary people. Many of our predecessors worked as professional garment-makers, laundresses or in other related trades: close to fashion production, as consumers they looked after their clothes.

The author explains how, understanding the social significance of dress, the Victorians observed strict etiquette through special costumes for Sundays, marriage and mourning. Poorer families struggled to maintain standards, but young single workers spent their wages on clothes, the older generation cultivating their own discreet style. Twentieth-century dress grew more relaxed and democratic as popular culture influenced fashion for recent generations who enjoyed sport, cinema, music and dancing.

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 Jayne Shrimpton

About Jayne Shrimpton

Jayne Shrimpton is a professional fashion historian and internationally-known ‘photo detective’ with a MA degree from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. A former Curator at the Heinz Archive and Library, National Portrait Gallery, London, she is an independent image consultant, speaker, author and magazine columnist, working primarily in the family history arena. She dates photographs at public events and advises on celebrity photographs, also appearing on-screen for BBC TV programme Who Do You Think You Are? Her books include Family Photographs and How to Date ThemBritish Working DressVictorian Fashion and Tracing Your Ancestors through Family Photographs.

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