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Fashioning the Bourgeoisie : A History of Clothing in the Nineteenth Century - Philippe Perrot

Fashioning the Bourgeoisie

A History of Clothing in the Nineteenth Century

By: Philippe Perrot, Richard Bienvenu (Translator)

Paperback Published: 29th December 1996
ISBN: 9780691000817
Number Of Pages: 286

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When department stores like Le Bon Marche first opened their doors in mid-nineteenth-century Paris, shoppers were offered more than racks of ready-made frock coats and crinolines. They were given the chance to acquire a lifestyle as well--that of the bourgeoisie. Wearing proper clothing encouraged proper behavior, went the prevailing belief.

Available now for the first time in English, "Fashioning the Bourgeoisie" was one of the first extensive studies to explain a culture's sociology through the seemingly simple issue of the choice of clothing. Philippe Perrot shows, through a delightful tour of the rise of the ready-made fashion industry in France, how clothing can not only reflect but also inculcate beliefs, values, and aspirations. By the middle of the century, men were prompted to disdain the decadent and gaudy colors of the pre-Revolutionary period and wear unrelievedly black frock coats suitable to the manly and serious world of commerce. Their wives and daughters, on the other hand, adorned themselves in bright colors and often uncomfortable and impractical laces and petticoats, to signal the status of their family. The consumer pastime of shopping was born, as women spent their spare hours keeping up their middle-class appearance, or creating one by judicious purchases.

As Paris became the fashion capital and bourgeois modes of dress and their inherent attitudes became the ruling lifestyle of Western Europe and America, clothing and its "civilizing" tendencies were imported to non-Western colonies as well. In the face of what Perrot calls this "leveling process," the upper classes tried to maintain their stature and right to elegance by supporting what became the high fashion industry. Richly detailed, entertaining, and provocative, "Fashioning the Bourgeoisie" reveals to us the sources of many of our contemporary rules of fashion and etiquette.

Industry Reviews

"A fascinating and amusing examination of social attitudes."--The Times Literary Supplement "The overall thesis that emerges is both limpid and profound; as far as clothing is concerned, we still belong to the nineteenth century."--Liberation "[Perrot] glides through the dressing rooms and bedrooms of the Second Empire, inspects armoires, haunts the department stores and the fitting rooms of couturiers and tailors, lives with fashionable women and tarts, bankers, and 10-franc-a-month shop assistants."--Le Nouvel observateur "Perrot puts a serious and persuasive case for the importance of clothing to understanding the aesthetic and moral values of the nineteenth-century middle-class... Immensely learned, yet written with great delicacy and lightness of touch, it remains the best account available of the meaning, and eventual triumph, of the bourgeois trouser--that most resilient and universal survival of nineteenth-century Europe's dominance of the globe."--John Adamson, Sunday Telegraph "A fascinating book: not so much a history of clothing, as a history of French society seen through its fashions and its clothes."--Sharif Gemie, Modern & Contemporary France "Fashion history is not about hemlines, it is about the nuts and bolts of living. It is because he accepts this fact that Perrot's examination of a period so germane to our own is valuable."--Colin McDowell, Sunday Times (London)

List of Illustrations
Introductionp. 3
Toward a History of Appearancesp. 6
Clothing's Old and New Regimesp. 15
The Vestimentary Landscape of the Nineteenth Centuryp. 26
Traditional Trades and the Rise of Ready-Made Clothingp. 36
The Department Store and the Spread of Bourgeois Clothingp. 58
New Pretensions, New Distinctionsp. 80
The Imperatives of Proprietyp. 87
Deviations from the Normp. 124
Invisible Clothingp. 143
The Circulation of Fashionsp. 167
Conclusionp. 189
Notesp. 193
Bibliographyp. 253
Indexp. 267
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691000817
ISBN-10: 0691000816
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 286
Published: 29th December 1996
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.13 x 15.88  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.44