What Clothes Reveal: The Language of Clothing in Colonial and Federal America

What Clothes Reveal: The Language of Clothing in Colonial and Federal America

by Linda Baumgarten
     
 

Paintings of upper-class men and women tell an important part of the history of costumes, but surviving garments themselves reveal even more. Every crease, stitch, and stain in a piece of clothing supplies information about its wearer and its era. This stunning book features 18th- and early-19th-century garments from the premier collection of the Colonial

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Overview

Paintings of upper-class men and women tell an important part of the history of costumes, but surviving garments themselves reveal even more. Every crease, stitch, and stain in a piece of clothing supplies information about its wearer and its era. This stunning book features 18th- and early-19th-century garments from the premier collection of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Illustrated with more than 300 color photographs, including many details and back views, the book treats not only elegant, high-style clothing in colonial America but also garments for everyday and work, the clothing of slaves, and maternity and nursing apparel.

Drawing on contemporary written descriptions and on actual costumes of the period, the book analyzes what Americans in the 18th century considered fashionable and attractive and how they used clothing to assert status or to identify occupations. The book also examines the myths and meanings of clothing in British and American society, clothing for the entire lifecycle, and a history of clothing alteration. Informative sidebars on a variety of fascinating topics complete the volume.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300181074
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
02/28/2012
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
280
Sales rank:
548,931
Product dimensions:
9.40(w) x 12.00(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

President's Message
Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Collecting Costumes at Colonial Williamsburg2
Ch. 1Costume: Old and New Connoisseurship16
Ch. 2The Myths and Meanings of Clothing52
Ch. 3Homespun and Silk: American Clothing76
Ch. 4Common Dress: Clothing for Daily Life106
Ch. 5Cradle to Coffin: Life Passages Reflected in Clothing140
Ch. 6Tailoring Meaning: Alterations in Eighteenth-Century Clothing182
Conclusion: Listening to Clothes208
Time Line216
Notes240
Selected Bibliography252
Index258

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