Victorian Fashion Accessories

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Berg, Feb 28, 2012 - Design - 216 pages
In Victorian England, women's accessories were always much more than incidental finishing touches to their elaborate dress. Accessories helped women to fashion their identities.Victorian Fashion Accessories explores how women's use of gloves, parasols, fans and vanity sets revealed their class, gender and colonial aspirations.

The colour and fit of a pair of gloves could help a middle-class woman indicate her class aspirations.The sun filtering through a rose-colored parasol would provide a woman of a certain age with the glow of youth. The use of a fan was a socially acceptable means of attracting interest and flirting.Even the choice of vanity set on a woman's bedroom dresser reflected her complicity with colonial expansion. By paying attention to the particular details of women's accessories we discover the beliefs embedded in these artefacts and enhance our understanding of the culture at large.

Beaujot's engaging prose illuminates the complex identities of the women who used accessories in the Victorian culture that created and consumed them. Victorian Fashion Accessories is essential reading for students and scholars of, history, gender studies, cultural studies, material culture and fashion studies, as well as anyone interested in the history of dress.
 

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Victorian Fashion Accessories takes the reader on a fascinating tour of the world of women's accessories and, in doing so, gives a sweeping view of nineteenth-century British cultural history.A woman's accessories were always much more than incidental finishing touches to elaborate dress. For example, the color and material makeup of a pair of gloves indicated her class aspirations. A "language of the fan" evolved so a lady could secretly communicate with potential lovers. The Sun reflecting through rose-colored parasols gave the illusion that a woman of a certain age looked young again. Even the vanity set on a woman's bedroom dresser indicated her affinity for the Orient and her approval of colonial expansion. This engaging study reveals the beliefs, values, attitudes, and assumptions embedded in women's accessories, unraveling the complexities and contradictions of the women who used these artifacts and the Victorian society which created them. Victorian Fashion Accessories is essential reading for students and scholars of fashion studies, history, costume, cultural studies and related disciplines, and anyone interested in the history of dress.
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Contents

Introduction
1
The Glove and the Making of MiddleClass Womanhood
31
Pushing the Boundaries of MiddleClass Womanhood
63
Umbrellas as Symbols of Imperialism Race Youth Flirtation and Masculinity
105
The Celluloid Vanity Set and the Search for Authenticity
139
Conclusion
179
Bibliography
183
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Ariel Beaujot is a Visiting Scholar and Post-Doctoral Fellow with the Department of History at the University of Vermont. She has also published the following articles relating to this study of Victorian fashion accessories: The Beauty of Her Hands: The Glove and the Making of the Middle-Class Body, and Coiffing Vanity: A Study of the Manufacture, Design, and Meaning of the Celluloid Hairbrush in America, 1900-1930.

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