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English Women's Clothing in the Nineteenth Century: A Comprehensive Guide with 1,117 Illustrations (Dover Fashion and Costumes) Paperback


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English Women's Clothing in the Nineteenth Century: A Comprehensive Guide with 1,117 Illustrations (Dover Fashion and Costumes) + Victorian Fashions and Costumes from Harper's Bazar, 1867-1898 (Dover Fashion and Costumes) + Nineteenth Century Fashion in Detail
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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Fashion and Costumes
  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; Reprint edition (May 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486263231
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486263236
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,985 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 30, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is an excellent reference for those who wish to study the fashion of English women's clothing in the nineteenth-century. Sumptuously illustrated, it also has helpful commentary about the clothing's details, including information about what influenced the design, materials used, the situation in which the garment would have been worn, and what type of person would have worn the garment. It is a wonderful reference for the costume designer or student of fashion. This is one of the most useful books for nineteenth-century fashion I have found.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By C.A. Thielman on November 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
Absolutely the best resource for women's clothing in the 19th century. Includes photos and line drawings of actual clothes (all B&W in this edition, unfortunately). Most importanly, gives details on every aspect of clothing- from fabrics, trmis, shoes, under garments to hats, fans, and coats year-by-year. Also lists changes in each year's fashions. A must-have for those interested in Regency and/or Victorian eras, especially! It's my cosutme Bible!
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Catherine Raymond on March 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
Cunnington's year-by-year survey of fashionable English women's costume in the 19th century is replete with detail. The only flaw is the absence of color photographs, hampering the historian or recreationist who is attempting to ascertain the exact hue of "Solferino" or "Isabella". In addition, if you need a general reference for 19th century costume, or are interested in the attire of persons of the lower orders, you will have to look elsewhere.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 23, 1997
Format: Paperback
This thick, oversized paperback, profusely illustrated, is thecheapestand most comprehensive of the currently available 19th century clothing references. Black and white line drawings and photographs (for the latter part of the century) illustrate fashionable woman's attire. In many cases, details of construction are also given. The accompanying text includes an overview for each decade and minute description, year by year, of hairstyle, fabric, accessories, as well as the costumes themselves. Abundant quotation from original sources. Glossary of terms. Weaknesses (1) no attention is paid to middle and lower class woman's clothing, but this is an all too common fault. (2) No color plates, a real loss for a period when women's clothing achieved such distinctive, not to say, garish hues. Overall, this is a lot of book for the money, a good first reference for this period.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Joseph A. Admire on August 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
While this book was originally published in the 1930's, it has stood the test of time to become a definitive reference on the subject of 19th-century women's fashion, from the beginning of the Napoleonic/Regency era right into the early years of the Edwardian period. The text is exhaustive, delving into the smallest details (which can sometimes be the most important) of every feature of feminine costume from year to year, and features extensive sidebars on such things as underclothes and headgear. Since I run a website devoted to glove fashion and history, I particularly appreciated the attention given to gloves (which were so much a key - indeed, mandatory - accessory of women's clothing throughout the century that women would often even go to bed wearing gloves!). The hundreds of illustrations are a mix of first-class original work and authentic period illustrations. Since this is a reprint, there are no color illustrations (which are mentioned in the text), but this is a minor flaw. Anyone who has any interest at all in 19th-century women's clothing needs to make this book a basic part of their reference library.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Vivienne Westlake on July 5, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book covers costume by detailing each decade of the nineteenth century. You'll see examples of dresses, hats, fichus, mantles (jackets), trimmings, and undergarments. If you need very specific detailing of undergarments or sewing techniques, this book is general in nature and doesn't always give examples of every part of a woman's attire for each decade. Some decades emphasize particular parts of a woman's dress. But, in each decade, you'll see examples of the silhouette and popular dress styles. You can also find the contemporary price of yardage or accessories like stockings or gloves.

In short, this is a handy reference, particularly when you have a quick question or if you want to see the difference in style from the 1840's versus the 1860's. It's great for me as a historical romance writer because I can quickly get a sense of the costume and layers of the garments. My only issue is that there is not enough detail about the intricacies of women's undergarments in the nineteenth century. There are illustrations of bustles and crinolines and corsets, but during the Victorian period, there were so many layers to women's underclothes that it can be confusing as a writer to remember all of the details.

So, I would say that this book is a terrific place to start historical research because it explains each type of garment rather than just shows pictures or illustrations as some historical costume books do. But, if you need to research a particular undergarment or accessory, you may wish to supplement this book with other resources to get the finer details.
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