Monday, October 12, 2015

The Little Ice Age and Fashion

From Madame Gilflurt's blog:
For most of human history, home heating was a rare luxury, and the temperature of human indoor spaces followed that of outdoor spaces far more closely than today.  As a result, clothing styles through the ages can tell us something about climate, as well as society.   As you can tell from the title, this post is about the traces that weather in Europe left in women’s fashions in particular, and especially in Georgian and Regency times.  I don’t claim that this is observable over periods shorter than 20 years or so, but I do think that some interesting clothing changes in this period can be attributed at least partially to weather. 

The little Ice Age ran from roughly 1300 to 1880.   Since home heating and lighting started to develop rapidly in the mid-19th century, particularly for the better off (which is the group at whom fashion is targeted) effects of weather start to become less important in the second half of Victoria’s reign. The picture to left shows the kinds of temperature changes Europe experienced during this millennium, during which the Medieval Warm Period of the halcyon “Merry Olde England” variety came to an end, and an era of much more variable, unpredictable and colder weather prevailed. (Read more.)

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