Tag Archives: historically inspired fashion advertising

Workhouse Fashion

Clothing ad for Gudrun Sjoden catalog, from New Yorker magazine, October 12, 2020.

I know this has been a horrible year — worldwide. But, in the category of WTF (“What the Fashion? ! ?”) ideas, this one struck me as inexplicable. Fashion takes its inspiration from strange sources, but do we really want to dress like the children in a Victorian workhouse?

Is that the zeitgeist for 2020? The Daily Mail posted a slideshow of “Evocative Pictures” from the Crumpsall Workhouse in Manchester, circa 1897. This how the old, the destitute, the orphans and the sick were housed and dressed 120 years ago. One reason aged couples and families avoided the relative safety of the workhouse was that they would be separated — men and boys from women and girls.

The 21st century hasn’t offered much improvement for the destitute, but our times are sufficiently depressing without dressing like Victorian orphans….

Victorian workhouses cropped children’s hair to prevent lice from spreading. Nice detail, photo stylists!

Time for me to get out of these gray pajamas and into the brightest clothes in my closet!


Filed under 1870s to 1900s fashions, Musings