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Southern Magic - History Tidbits

An Assortment of Accouterments for the Au Courant

By Carla Swafford

At the beginning of the Civil War, the need to mass-produce uniforms lead to developing standard sizes for men's clothing. Several years later, women's sizes were standardized with the help of Sears Roebuck mail-order catalog.

Purses, pouches and bags carried by women and men alike were popular mainly when clothing was flimsy or tightly worn. Loose clothing made it easy to have many pockets to hold personal or valuable items. So bags and purses were used especially in the Middle Ages, the years of 1780-1830 and in the 20th century.

The end of the 18th century, the stocking purse was popular for both sexes. The reticule was fashionable for the ladies between the years of 1794-1820.

Front fastenings for corsets were shown in the 1851 Great Exhibition and quickly became fashionable.

With the rapid popularity of wider crinolines, many women were severly burned by unknowingly standing too close to a fire.

The white wedding is a 19th century tradition. The end of the 16th century, white became a symbol of purity and virginity and occasionally worn by brides, but only in this context.

Muffs were used by men and women from the late 16th century until the 1790's, when it became regarded a feminine accessory.

From 1720, men's shoes were leather, usually black and often with red heels. In the 1470's, the Spanish farthingale was worn in Castile.

In the 15th and 16th centuries, boots were not fashionable. They were worn chiefly for traveling and outside in bad weather.

In the Middle Ages, a purse worn by a nobel was known as the gipser, scrip, wallet, purse, pouch, or bag.


Taken from Magic Moments - August 2000 Volume 3/Issue 8