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English Women's Clothing in the Nineteenth Century English Women's Clothing in the Nineteenth Century
A Comprehensive Guide with 1, 117 Illustrations. By C. Willett Cunnington. (Dover Publications, Inc., New York: 1990. Pg. xx, 460. 891 Black-and-White Line Illustrations, 226 Halftones.) ISBN: 978-0-486-26323-6.

This book can be ordered directly from Dover Publications at: www.doverpublications.com
Reviewed by Auggie Moore - June 25, 2010

Dover Publications has done textile and costume historians a great service by reprinting English Women's Clothing in the Nineteenth Century, by C. Willett Cunnington. Originally published in 1937 by Faber and Faber of London, this is an invaluable guide for anyone with an interest in nineteenth century women's clothing. This Dover edition has remained true to the original with the exception that the original edition featured a handful of color illustrations which have been rendered in black and white in this new edition.

English Women's Clothing in the Nineteenth Century is much more than just a catalog of women's fashion - it is as much a history text as it is a fashion guide. In this book, Cunnington provides a nearly year by year overview of women's fashion in England from 1800-1899, detailing what women wore - covering everything from underwear to how their hair was dressed. He examines what they wore during the various seasons and throughout the day, detailing various day, evening and outdoor outfits, including tennis and riding outfits, ball dresses, teagowns, bathing dresses, day dresses, mourning attire, walking, opera and carriage dresses, and much more. All related accessories are also detailed. As well he details the various fabrics, colors and textures used during the 19th century. He examines the numerous ways in which women's fashion changed throughout the century. The technical innovations that went into the creation and the wearing of these garments are also detailed.

Perhaps of most interest are the 1,117 illustrations that accompany this text. These illustrations not only depict complete ensembles, but also the various components that went into a women's wardrobe. Some of the most intriguing illustrations depict how various garments were put on, as well as unique features of the garments that are not readily apparent, such as fasteners, pockets, dress linings, bust improvers, and much more.

Almost encyclopedic in nature, English Women's Clothing in the Nineteenth Century is an essential reference for anyone interested in the history of textiles or costumes, 19th century English history, or costume design. This book will prove invaluable to anyone dealing with, or interested in, vintage clothing - from museum curators to reenactors. Included are three helpful glossaries covering materials, technical terms, and obsolete color names that will be of particular interest in fashion historians and students of fashion. This book will also be of great use to writers and costumers looking to add historical details to their works or who are simply looking for inspiration.

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Included in this book is a generous selection of fashion patterns drawn from Peterson's Magazine, 1860-1869. Black and white illustrations of each garment are presented, along with a description of how the various items are made, and all necssary pattern pieces.

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