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Digital Subscriptions > Family Tree > Family Tree July 2018 > The feel of fashion

The feel of fashion

Learn about the clothing your ancestors were wearing during the late Georgian and early Victorian era, when Britain underwent rapid social and economic change. Jayne Shrimpton reflects on the fashions of the past


Reflecting the world around them: This fashion advertisement by tailor Benjamin Read displays diverse fashions, including children’s dress, for the summer of 1833

Fashion is a mirror, refiecting the world around us. Early to mid-19th century dress expresses an era of tradition and change as Britain shifted from a largely agrarian economy to a manufacturing nation.

Female fashion

High-born or newly-affiuent ladies could embrace elite fashion, wearing luxury fabrics, novel accessories and ornaments. The early 1800s neo-classical vogue dictated columnar high-waisted garments, the most decadent trained gowns of diaphanous white muslin emulating antique statuary. Modish accessories were short Spencer jackets or longer pelisse coats, stoles, muffs, stylish headwear and dainty pumps or sturdier outdoor boots. Some modes were inspired by topical events: throughout the French Wars martial elements included military-style braid on coats and riding habits and helmetlike peaked or plumed hats.

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About Family Tree

Join us as we celebrate the mothers, grandmothers, aunts and more on your family tree. It's vital to research the female ancestors, otherwise you're only learning half of your family history. This issue we have plenty to help and inspire your research into women's history and so gain a fuller understanding of your family members and their lives in times gone by.