I’m celebrating two years as witness2fashion, and reaching over 200 subscribers. Thank you all for comments, expertise, and encouragement, and for sharing my peculiar obsession with what people wore!
I happen to have found an extra copy of one of my favorite books: The Way to Wear’em: 150 Years of Punch on Fashion, which is Christina Walkley’s wonderful history of 19th and 20th century costume as shown in English cartoons.
I keep recommending this book, not just because the cartoons are enjoyable, but because Walkley’s explanations and her many quotations from period sources are really informative.
Every cartoon is dated, with month and year. Walkley includes exerpts from diaries and memoirs, and background information to explain the cartoons, when necessary.
Scholarship plus jokes! What could be better? (If only I didn’t need a magnifying glass to read some of the cartoon captions….)
“Domestic Bliss,” which takes a humorous look at “the servant problem” and social class:
“The Venus of Milo,” chapter is about changing ideas of the “perfect figure.”
“Poetry in Motion,” has examples of highly impractical fashions (men’s wear included:)
“New Bits to Show,” is about changing erogenous zones:
“The Way to Wear’Em” chapter is about the reaction to women wearing traditionally male clothing; the book’s title comes from this 1899 cartoon:
“Trinity or Girton?” expands on perceptions of “masculine” and “feminine” clothing. These young ladies have adopted the Ulster coat, and are “mistaken” for men (1877); exchanging the large shawls of the 1860’s for a practical coat that keeps them warm and dry was seen as unwomanly.
“Seaside Costumes” [Speaking of the earliest two-piece bathing suits, this cartoon is from 1934:]
“Protest Clothes” covers unconventional fashions into the late 20th century. These two extremes are from 1878:
Giveaway rules: CLOSED If you would like a chance to own this book — a used but otherwise good copy — please add a comment to this post, including the words “Fashion Cartoons.” One entry per person, please.
I’ll pick a name from a hat and contact the winner. Contest closed at 9 p.m. PST, Friday, January 8th, 2016.
Happy New Year to all! (And yes, I do identify with the lady at the top of this post!)
NOTE: Please do not copy any of these images; I have used them only to show why every clothing historian ought to have a copy of The Way to Wear’Em, by Christina Walkley.