Celebrating fashion history as we hit the sales!

Shoppers hit the Regent Street Liberty store in the 1920s. Image property of Westminster City Archives.

Shoppers hit the Regent Street Liberty store in the 1920s. Image property of Westminster City Archives.

In these opening weeks of 2012, hundreds of thousands of people have flocked to the West End’s shopping districts to ease the post-festive season blues by hitting the shops.

The January sales are not a new attraction: catalogues at the City of Westminster Archives Centre show how bargain-hunting was a big draw for Londoners and visitors as far back as the 1890s, and photographs show shoppers eyeing up stock on sale at Liberty’s in the 1920s.

What would you wear? Fashions from William Whiteley’s Westbourne Grove store, 1885. Image property of Westminster City Archives.

What would you wear? Fashions from William Whiteley’s Westbourne Grove store, 1885. Image property of Westminster City Archives.

People have been lifting their mood by investing in wardrobe updates for centuries, and the psychological and cultural relationships between individuals and the clothes they wear has long been analysed and documented.

The Chronology of Fashion, by NJ StevensonA recent contributor to this field of study, acquired for the reference collection at the City of Westminster Archives Centre, is NJ Stevenson’s The Chronology of Fashion.

Stevenson’s book, which traces the development of modern fashion (from 1800 onwards), contains sumptuous full-colour illustrations depicting trends ranging from the Empire-line silhouette of the Regency era, through to Victorian whale-bone corsets, outlandish 1980s post-punk creations and ending with an intriguing forecast of what we’ll be wearing in 2020.

[Michelle]

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One response to “Celebrating fashion history as we hit the sales!

  1. Pingback: London in the 1960s | Books & the City

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