lliira: Fang from FF13 (Default)
[personal profile] lliira
Gah, clothing research. I have a really hard time with it because 1) there's contradictory info and 2) (the main problem, as there's contradictory info on everything) I don't care. I know it's important, I don't think it's some silly thing that doesn't matter, but I still can't care. Clothing is not one of my interests at all, whatever the time period. I like pretty colors and nice-feeling fabrics, but that's where it ends. And when I can't make myself care about something, I have a hell of a time keeping it in my brain.

The only thing I can think of to compare it to, history-wise, for my level of not-caring, is troop movements on the battlefield. But I don't have to think about that when writing historical romance. I kinda need to know something about clothing, though my books are still not going to satisfy people who love clothes porn. Though I do like jewelry, so I do dwell on that a little, so maybe that will make up for it.

Okay so now that I've written this, I think I know my problem. Like troop movements and battle strategies, I almost always see clothing discussed in a vacuum. Here is what people were wearing/here is the way soldiers were told to move. Nothing about the economic, social, or even individual factors that influence and are influenced by it. Hardly even any discussion of what different classes of people might be likely to wear. Almost everything's about the richest people. The implication that everyone wore the same thing all the time -- like "men wore neckcloths like this" and "women wore petticoats like this", as if everyone lived in the same place and had the same kinds of lives. 

And what did muslin, for instance, being so popular mean economically? What happened economically when it became less popular, and what drove that? Why did women start wearing nightgowns? It was a really big deal that people of different classes wear different types of clothing, to the extent that that difference was often legislated. But what, exactly, was that difference? I have yet to find a work that connects the details of what people wore with the whys and hows of it beyond "because Beau Brummel" or "because Queen Victoria". And if there is no why and how, if something is divorced from its context, I cannot follow it at all and therefore cannot gaf.

If anyone does know of something that does that, especially about the last quarter of the 18th century and first of the 19th, please let me know. Website, documentary, book, article, whatever. 
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