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The Material Culture of C18th Fashion (Giorgio Riello)


  • What was the role of imported and exotic commodities in shaping eighteenth-century fashion?
  • How did individual and collective fashion choices change between the seventeenth and eighteenth century? And how far down the social scale did fashion go?
  • What was the role of second-hand and ready-made in fostering a ‘fashion revolution’ in the eighteenth century?
  • What are the sources used by historians investigating eighteenth-century dress?


John Styles, ‘Custom or Consumption? Plebeian Fashion in Eighteenth-Century England’, in Maxine Berg and Elizabeth Eger (eds.), Luxury in the Eighteenth Century: Debates, Desires and Delectable Goods (Basingstoke, 2003), pp. 103-18. HC 500.L8

Beverly Lemire, ‘Fashioning Cottons: Asian trade, domestic industry and consumer demand, 1660- 1780’, in David Jenkins (ed.), The Cambridge History of Western Textiles (Cambridge, 2003), vol. 1, pp. 493-512. NK 8806.C2

Negley B. Harte, ‘The Economics of Clothing in the late Seventeenth Century’, Textile History, 22/2 (1991), pp. 277-296.

John Styles, The Dress of the People: Everyday Fashion in Eighteenth-Century England (New Haven and London, 2007), in particular the introduction, pp. 1-19 and ‘Appendix 1: Sources’, pp. 326-34. GT 736.S79

Beverly Lemire, ‘Developing Consumerism and Ready-Made Clothing in Britain 1750- 1800’ , Textile History, 15/1 (1984), pp. 21-44.

Further Readings

Peter McNeil, ‘The Appearance of Enlightenment: Refashioning the Elites’, in Martin Fitzpatrick et alt. (eds.), The Enlightenment World (London and New York, 2004), pp. 381-401. B 802.E6  

Daniel Roche, The Culture of Clothing: Dress and Fashion in the ‘Ancien Regime’ (Cambridge, 1994).

Cissie Fairchilds, ‘The Production and Marketing of Populuxe Goods in Eighteenth-Century Paris’, in John Brewer, and Roy Porter (eds.), Consumption and the World of Goods (London and New York: Routledge, 1993), pp. 228-248. HS 2200.C6  

Beverly Lemire, ‘Domesticating the Exotic: Floral Culture and the East India Calico Trade with England, c. 1600- 1800’, Textile, 1/1 (2003), pp. 65-85.  

Aileen Ribeiro, ‘Fashion in the Eighteenth Century: Some Anglo-French Comparisons’, Textile History, 22/2 (1991), pp. 329-345.

Claire Walsh, ‘Shop Design and the Display of Goods in Eighteenth-Century London’, Journal of Design History, 8/3 (1995), pp. 157-176.  

Maxine Berg and Helen Clifford, ‘Commerce and the Commodity: Graphic Display and Selling New Consumer Goods in Eighteenth-Century England’, in Michael North and David Ormrod (eds.), Art Markets in Europe, 1400-1800 (Aldershot, 1998), pp. 187-200. N 8600.A7