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Dressing the Elite: Clothes in Early Modern England [Paperback]

Our Price $ 32.26  
Retail Value $ 37.95  
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Item Number 308299  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   320
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.5"
Weight:   0.35 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 2003
Publisher   Berg Publishers
ISBN  185973751X  
EAN  9781859737514  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Clothing occupies a complex and important position in relation to human experience. Not just utilitarian, dress gives form to a society's ideas about the sacred and secular, about exclusion and inclusion, about age, beauty, sexuality and status. In Dressing the Elite, the author explores the multiple meanings that garments held in early modern England.Clothing was used to promote health and physical well-being, and to manage and structure, life transitions. It helped individuals create social identities and also to disguise them. Indeed, so culturally powerful was the manipulation of appearances that authorities sought its control. Laws regulated access to the dress styles of the elite, and through less formal strategies, techniques of disguise were kept as the perquisites of the powerful.Focusing on the elite, the author argues that clothing was not just a form of cultural expression but in turn contributed to societal formation. Clothes shaped the configurations of the body, affected spaces and interactions between people and altered the perceptions of the wearers and viewers. People put on and manipulated their garments, but in turn dress also exercised a reverse influence. Clothes made not just the man and the woman, but also the categories of gender itself. Topics covered include cross-dressing, sumptuary laws, mourning apparel and individual styles.

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More About Susan Vincent

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Susan Vincent is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at St Francis Xavier University.

Susan Vincent was born in 1960.

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Product Categories
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Why did they wear that?  May 11, 2006
Fashion is fun, and the study of fashion is an engaging hobby. But at some point we all ask ourselves, "WHY would anyone wear that?" For the Elizabethan and Stuart eras, author Vincent has provided an easy to read and very informative study of that question. A survey of why clothes matter--and how they were acquired and by whom in the 16th and 17th centuries--adds to our understanding of the times and rounds out the picture we acquire from standard history texts. This is a good introduction to an up-and-coming subject that is just starting to attract scholarly attention. (While historic costume enthusiasts have debated these ideas for decades, that hasn't always been the case at the university level.) The publisher seems to be promoting this volume for academic use but I think it is useful for a wider audience. Re-enactors, "Renfaire" visitors, and theatrical costumers may all find something of value in this discussion.

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