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Dress and Morality [Hardcover]

Aileen Ribeiro

RRP: 53.00
Price: 50.41 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Oct 2003
Moralists have raged throughout history against various fashions for being too short, too long, too tight, too loose or too costly. Highlighting the times when choice of dress was a moral minefield, this enlightening and entertaining book looks at fashion extremes over the centuries, from the sexual display of the codpiece through to corsets, crinolines and décolletage. Providing a sharp and humorous look at the outright risqué as well as the grotesquely exaggerated and even the repulsive, Ribeiro shows how dress has functioned variously as a vehicle of righteousness or turpitude and as an expression of sexuality, class or social status. In 747 St Boniface deemed wide stripes and scarlet borders to incite lust and ruination of the soul. Well over a millennium later immodest dress ranked high in Jesuit Father Bernard Vaughan's book on the sins of society. Medical practitioners once labelled the v-necked top, now a standard style, 'the pneumonia neckline'. Was it the force of society or sheer vanity of fashion that drove women to wear sleeves the size of balloons? Are sexual boundaries between dress worn by men and women diminishing? What morals still bind us to our Judeo-Christian heritage and lead us to express ourselves through appearances? Lavishly illustrated and packed with countless thought-provoking quotes, Dress and Morality is an in-depth exploration of the comical vanities and social etiquettes associated with dress in the past. At last here is the much-anticipated updated edition of this classic book.

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'Sexual morality is the story of Dr Ribeiro's meticulously researched and racy book.'The Times'Aileen Ribeiro has painstakingly charted the history of dress - from the earliest times to the present day - as seen from the point of view of its moralist critics.'The Guardian'Superb.'The New York Times

About the Author

Aileen Ribeiro Professor in the History of Art, University of London, and Lecturer in the History of Dress Department, Courtauld Institute of Art.

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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars fascinating topic but.... 2 Dec 2004
By T. Hermanson - Published on Amazon.com
I am extremely intereted in the relationshiop between morality and dress and was immediately drawn to this book. Costume has been used throughout the ages to advertise social status, distinguish genders, and as a reaction to current politics, and has therefore always been controversial. However, Ribeiro has made this incendiary topic extremely dry, perpetually refering to moralists' problems with the fashions of their times without connecting the issues of decency to anything: politics, cultural issues, etc. The inclusion of more specific fashion scandals-their causes and results-- would have made this a far more enjoyable and poignant read as well. This book is a decent chronology of sumtuary laws, but it's missing a theme more coherent than "moralists had a problem with all types of clothing at some time."
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