Category Archives: Fashion

The Purposes of the Grand Tour

During the 17th and 18th centuries, rich young Englishmen finished their education by going on The Grand Tour — an extended cultural and collecting trip through continental Europe. You can think of it as a ‘finishing school’ for the sons … Continue reading

Posted in Fashion, Leisure, Travel | 5 Comments

Of Popinjays, Fops and Macaronis

Originally, the word ‘fop’ simply meant a fool. However, by the 18th century, its meaning had narrowed to mean a fashionable man who put on airs and graces. A man who tried to portray himself as more refined, more witty … Continue reading

Posted in Fashion, Georgian Society, Uncategorized

The Other Downton

Everybody knows (hopefully!) that Downton Abbey is an imaginary place, crammed with romance, intrigue and angst and staffed by implausibly engaging servants. It is not, however, the only English ‘stately home’ called Downton—nor, to my mind, the most interesting one. … Continue reading

Posted in Fashion, Georgian Society | 1 Comment

Georgian Hair-care: Pomades

I recently gave a talk to a local group on the subject of sea-bathing. In it, I mentioned the use of pomade or pomatum for the hair: a dressing originally including mashed, overripe apple, as the name suggests, along with … Continue reading

Posted in Fashion, Georgian Society | 3 Comments

The Rise of the Fashionable Eighteenth-century Shopper

One of the distinguishing marks of the 18th-century is the steady rise in the standard of living amongst the better-off parts of British society. Compared with their Tudor and Stuart ancestors, the people of Georgian times lived in grander houses, … Continue reading

Posted in Fashion, Georgian Society

Hair Fashions ‘Well Deserving the Attention of Bathing-Ladies’

Here’s an interesting advertisement from The Norfolk Chronicle for a business in Holt, Norfolk, dated May 20, 1783. Notice the use of the word sophistication to mean something like trickery. PAGE, Hair-Dresser, Perfumer, and Haberdasher, Begs Leave to acquaint the … Continue reading

Posted in Fashion

Georgian ‘Consumerism’?

One of the reasons why I find the eighteenth century so fascinating is the constant discovery of ways in which the preoccupations of that time exactly mirror our own, more than two hundred and fifty years later. We know we … Continue reading

Posted in Fashion, Georgian Society