Power to Fashion Space (Civil War)

Compare this fashion illustration (“Gimage001odey’s Fashions for August 1880”) with the Civil War era and the pre-war

fashions from my previous two posts. What has changed? Remains the same? Note the serious little drummer boy in his fancy sashed dress.

The interior space is secondary to the fashion, so it is faintly sketched in black and white. Yet the sewing art can fashion personal space. And more, as this excerpt from Soldier’s Heart illustrates:

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Wartime Fashion Fantasies

July i

Upon meeting Robert’s glance, Henry lightly raised his glass in salute. Nearby, Phillip stood stiffly, his arms crossed, studying his seated female companion, shimmering in a gold and silver brocade-patterned satin dress. Maggie’s older sister Rebecca, or Becky, as the family called her. Maggie’s parents sat together at the center of a high-backed sofa, their attention fixed on their daughter at the piano. Mr. Webster listened with his eyes closed.

—excerpt from Soldiers Heart

            I was never much of a clothes hound. My mother did most of the clothes shopping, until seventh grade. My hand was forced after the humiliating fashion disaster I’ll call the Orange Vinyl Purse Affair. (I still break into a cold sweat when I walk past a store handbag display.) (more…)

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