Cover image for Dress in North America
Dress in North America
De Marly, Diana.
Personal Author:
Physical Description:
volumes <1 > : illustrations (some color) ; 27 cm
v. 1. The New World, 1492-1800.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GT603 .D4 1990 V.1 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Choice Review

This opening volume of De Marly's treatise (two more volumes forthcoming) is an authoritative, scholarly, incisive study of three centuries of New World dress. Sources utilized are letters, diaries, travel accounts, inventories, shipping registers, and histories. Copious black-and-white illustrations, plus eight plates in color, consist of period artworks and frequently represent artists such as John White, Hollar, and Copley. Concentrating on regions that became the early US and Canada, De Marly examines the melange of fabrics and dress styles from the scantily clad, painted bodies of Native Americans through the sobriety and modesty of Puritans, Pilgrims, and Quakers to the establishment of the American republic. Exhaustive dress details are included. She indicates that under the tied markets system European influences on dress kept the upper hand in the maverick colonies. Dominant among these influences were women's and men's virtual uniforms, mantua gowns with and without hoops, and three-piece suits with breeches. In addition to European influences, other forces constitute De Marly's infrastructure: the spirit of independence presaging revolutions, the back-to-nature movement, and growing informality. The homespun movement, peasant and working dress, English country clothes, and the neoclassical white muslin chemise reflected these forces. De Marly interweaves currents of wars and revolutions, and highlights of topics such as sumptuary laws, rank in society, hardships, social life, customs, children's dress, trade, and the fledgling textile industry. The American textile industry was spawned by revolutionary patriotism and a made-in-America, buy American campaign. Included are endnotes, a bibliography, and an index. Essential for historic costume/fashion collections. -M. F. Morris, East Carolina University