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About antique Costume & Fashion Prints
Fashion, though Folly’s child, and guide of fools,
Rules e’en the wisest, and in learning rules.
The Library, George Crabbe 1754-1832
Fashion is the name given to the general habit of society in dress, pursuit of pleasure, studies, speech and even business. Of all fashions the most changeable and capricious is the fashion of dress.
The Britons, were, like the Gauls, a gens braccata, a people with breeches, as opposed to the gens togata, or (trouserless) people with cloaks – i.e. the Greeks and the Romans. Breeches and barbarism went together in Roman eyes, very oddly in our modern view. By the 1820’s knee breeches had fallen out of fashion as everyday wear, and trousers, which were first worn by sailors and working men before 1800, displaced the knee-breeches as fashionable wear.
The French were the first to make an industry out of fashion, and not just dressmaking. The association of France with fashion and style began with the court of Louis XIV. The luxury goods industry in France became a Royal commodity.