Fashioned from Penury: Dress as Cultural Practice in Colonial Australia

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As a history of the cultural practices of dress in Australia rather than an account of fashion, this book examines the meanings encoded in the dress and bodily decoration of convicts, emancipists, town and country dwellers and Aboriginal people. It shows that clothing was central to the ways in which class and status were negotiated and was equally significant for the marking out of sexual differences. It also looks at the impact of the goldfield experience on Australian dress and the nature of local manufacturing and retail outlets. Dress is central to identity and lies at the heart of some long-held myths about the Australian way of life, myths which Margaret Maynard argues need to be re-evaluated. She shows that the colonies did not always slavishly follow British fashion, and that the egalitarian style of dress may have covered up class divisions in society. She also looks at the way in which rural men's bush dress, rather than women's dress, came to be regarded as the only valid sign of being Australian. In the light of current moves towards republicanism, the issue of what constitutes an 'Australian' form of dress is more relevant than ever.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"How refreshing to discover that such an intelligent book title crowns and equally thought-provoking text! We are treated from the very start to some of the best commentary I have read about the discipline of costume research." Rags

"In her scholarly, multi-faceted study, Maynard...dispels myths entrenched in romanticized patriarchical, economic, and industrial forces...Recommended for comprehensive collections in costume history and Australian studies at all levels." M. F. Morris, Choice

" original, engrossing treatment of a fascinating subject....[A] fresh and vivid picture of nineteenth century Australia emerges. Copious well-chosen illustrations constitute an attractive supplement to the text. Making excellent use of literary sources, Maynard convincingly refutes the common view, both then and now, that Australian dress merely imitated British styles." Thomas E. Tausky, Australian and New Zealand Studies in Canada

"Well researched and well presented, this book usefully extends the study of the history of fashion into hitherto unexplored territory." Valerie Steele, American Historical Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521453103
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 9/30/1994
  • Series: Studies in Australian History Series
  • Pages: 247
  • Product dimensions: 6.85 (w) x 9.72 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Pt. I Penal Dress, 1788-1840
1 Irregular Patterns: Government and the Social Order 9
2 Fraying at the Edges: Clothing Supplies and Manufacturing 27
3 A Cut Above: Fashion, Class and Power 41
4 On the Fringe: Clothing and Aboriginal-Colonial Relations 59
Pt. II Colonial Dress, 1840-1901
5 Dressing the Part: Urban Codes - Class and Gender 77
6 From a Different Cloth: Etiquette and Social Practice 99
7 Material Needs: Supply and Demand 116
Pt. III An Australian Distinctiveness
8 A Loose Fit: Emigration and Adaptation 137
9 Alternate Threads: Perceptions and Stereotypes 150
10 Rough and Readymade: Bush Dress and the Mythology of the 'Real' Australian 165
Appendixes 183
Abbreviations 185
Notes 187
Bibliography 211
Index 227
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