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Jane Austen Fashion Hardcover – 23 Sep 1999

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Hardcover, 23 Sep 1999
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Excellent Press; 1st ed edition (23 Sept. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1900318121
  • ISBN-13: 978-1900318129
  • Product Dimensions: 22.2 x 14 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 992,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


Penelope Byrde discusses every aspect of female fashion in ... 'Women's Dress', including what it meant to be a well-dressed woman, ...and the chapter on 'Men's Dress' is no less revealing. But it is the chapter on 'The Making and Care of Clothes' that brings the period most vividly to life.....Fashion plates seen at the dressmaker or at friends gave ideas of how elegant one might look, and the book is lavishly illustrated with beautiful examples well chosen to complement the text. -- The Oldie, January 2000

Penelope Byrde makes use of the letters and novels to give a background to the making and care of dress, describing fashionable bonnets, parasols and reticules and providing an insight into the role of the dressmaker and the mantua-maker. Public mourning seems to have called for some ingenuity. On a visit to London in March 1814, Austen wrote ...'I have determined to trim my lilac sarsenet with black sattin ribbon just as my China crape is, 6d width at bottom, 3d or 4d at top...With this addition is will be a very successful gown. -- Times Literary Supplement, 9th February 2001

From the Author

Jane Austen was not only a brilliant social observer but also a skilled needlewoman, with a keen interest in fashion. In this book I have drawn together the fascinating insights into the dress and etiquette of her time that her letters and novels provide. I studied the History of Dress for a postgraduate degree at the Courtauld Institute of Art and have written several other books on the history of costume. I currently work as Curator of the Museum of Costume and Fashion Research Centre in Bath, and am a life member of the Jane Austen Society.

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Read this almost n one fitting as it was so readable. It was naturally very slanted toward women which only one chapter on male fashion ( if memory serves) which I thought was a bit scanty. There was also slightly less description of the exact detail and feel of materials as this often confuses me a little still... The dimity, cambric etc
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By Dianne, Norwich on 28 Aug. 2014
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Gathers together all references to fashion and shopping in Jane Austen's writings.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 1 review
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
A Charming introduction to fashion in Jane Austen's time 3 Jan. 2007
By Elizabeth A. Root - Published on
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This is a lovely little book with numerous color pictures, mostly fashion plates, and decorative chapter headings. The title of the chapter is in red, there is an orange decoration, and then the first letter is enlarged and printed in blue, a very pretty effect. Further, the author, Penelope Byrde, is curator at the fabulous Bath Museum of Costume and an established expert in the field. If one is looking for a good introduction to the era's costumes, especially one that is visually pleasing as well as informative, this is a great choice. I would consider it as particularly suited as a gift to someone just learning about the era.

The discussions are tied into Jane Austen's life and works, with extensive quotations of her novels, letters, and family accounts. These are carefully annotated. The bibliiography deals with sources about Austen, rather than further costume references.

I suppose that this does offer a great deal for people who are truly knowledgeable about the subject, but for those of us who know a bit, but not a lot, it is still useful. It seems that I always learn a bit more than I knew. The pictures alone may make one want the book, even if one does have other sources, and one does have the assurance that Byrde is authoritative.

I am left with one question: is the very different silhouette shown in Niklaus von de Heideloff's plates (late 18th to very early 19th century) entirely due to changes in fashion (i.e., the narrowing of skirts, or did he just like to draw women with more abundant figures?
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