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. In Victorian England, a woman's accessories were always much more than incidental finishing touches to elaborate dress. For example, the colour 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-coloured 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.
Contains four detailed case studies of key fashion accessories: gloves, fans, parasols and vanity sets Provides an exploration of class, gender and racial identities in the period Explains the hidden meanings of accessories: fans were used to communicate with potential lovers; the colour of gloves signalled class aspirations; and the style of a woman's vanity set could indicate her approval of colonial expansion Also available in hardback, 9781847886835, GBP55.00 (April 2012)
Introduction 1. The Glove and the Making of Middle-Class Womanhood 2. The Language of the Fan: Pushing the Boundaries of Middle-Class Womanhood 3. Underneath the Parasol: Umbrellas as Symbols of Imperialism, Race, Youth and Flirtation 4. The Celluloid Vanity Set and the Search for Authenticity Conclusion Notes Bibliography Index