11.10.2011

Clothing - A Juxtaposition

 
The other day, my wife and I for the first time in many many months had the time to sit down and enjoy a movie in the evening. We opted to watch Timeline, the film adaptation of Michael Chrichton's book featuring historians sent back to 1357 France. What struck me once again while watching the film was how much better the characters all looked in their mediaeval garb versus modern. After watching them for most of the film dressed as mediaeval peasants, they look rather like "bums" in the final scene where we see them back on their archaelogical dig.

Here is another good shot of their mediaeval garb:


Versus modern:


I must say that the change (for the worse) in women's clothing over the centuries is the most striking. Another example snapped by myself at the Tower of London offering further proof of my thesis that even the most basic peasant clothing of the mediaeval period was more gracious, dignified, and even functional than what we must wear today:

Now someone's sure to ask me what solutions I have to offer. My answer: the tag on this post is "musings", not "answers"! In seriousness though, while I may have a certain affinity for the past, we cannot relive it. But maybe we can get some ideas. In any event, I think it also gives me some further insight into why I prefer science fiction and fantasy genres over all others.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mr. Wansbutter,

Anybody who has engaged in the barest passing study of historical clothing/fashion will come away with similar vexations to your own. Significant change in underlying attitudes to the creation and production of the clothing we wear did not truly become revolutionary until the time of WWI.

Though mens and women's clothing had gradually ebbed and flowed through various cycles in the centuries prior, such change was measured, slow, and consisted of a series of modifications to a long established 'blueprint' if one will.

For womens' clothing, such changes were most evident (from the 1470's in spain and outwards to europe until the 1880's) with the appearance, disappearance and reappearance of framework skirts (The Farthingale (not withstanding unique Minoan examples of ancient times) first appeared in the Spanish court in the 1470's and was incorporated into the skirt itself). Other than this, neckline and cosmetic detailing of sleeves, collars, bodice arrangement etc were the only things to change. With men's clothing, from the early 1500's to the second decade of the 19th century, breeches and hose were order of the day, with cut, colour and detailing of upperwear being the focus of change, whether employing rich sumptuously coloured and decorated fabrics as in the 16th and most of the 18th century, or more muted choices as evident throughout the 17th century and last decade of the 18th century into the first decade of the 19th. The most significant innovation to male attire was the change from the abovementioned breeches/hose model to that of full length trousers.

the 20th century, in its third decade, saw the destruction of modesty for women and women's clothing with short cut hair (making its first appearance), short skirts that reached the knee by the end of the decade, almost sleeveless attire for day wear and the first appearance of trousers for women away from the catwalk (first appeared there in Paris, 1911; notwithstanding failed attempts i.e. bloomerwear and the American costume 60 years previously) in the 1930's.

The adoption of what was considered strictly casual wear for sporting and boating activities can be traced to California in the 1960's with the onslaught of the cultural revolution that would destroy all that was formerly considered modest, decent and civil, renaming the good things evil and the evil things good (a legacy that we are still cursed to live with today).

You may wish to spend some time studying historical costume and fashion. I did so extensiveily - almost obsessively - in my teens while still able, with the use of the parent technology to this http://www.humanware.com/en-usa/products ) ; such was an absolute conscience raiser for me! (lost the ability to use the above tech well over a decade ago). Your local library will have several good resources, though sadly they will likely be tainted with feminist rhetoric. I utilize the services of Christian clothierres for my attire; if choices are made prudently, one need not look as if they are affiliated with intentional protestant faith communities of North America. Men have a much easier time of it, as good shirts, trousers, ties and so forth are still very readily available and on the whole, blow for blow, much more affordable than women's clothing; it is a rare find indeed to stumble upon something that is both modest, feminine and practical for everyday wear. If you would like links, I am happy to provide them.

Let us revolt against the revolting, perhaps not in tunic and cape (though such would be a significant improvement), but with a little judicious research, discover what is out there and make a difference for the better in our corner of the world. and pray for we women, for our sisters within and outside the church are the greatest judges and pourers of scorn on our efforts, supposing all manner of motives on our part and shutting their hearts to the truth of it all.

Blessings,

Sarah,
Australia.

Mom said...

I agree that the medieval clothes look more interesting but the modern ones look more comfortable, especially for the young woman who is wearing items that are easy to move in, not so bulky and perhaps overwarm as the many layers of the period costume. It is nice that we now have the choice.

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