Costume & Fashion: A Concise History, By James Laver


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The Independent Culture

Covering a culture where yesterday is old hat, this lively, engagingly detailed work displays impressive equilibrium in its treatment of the past.

On page 90, we reach the Elizabethans and learn that cheap bombast (stuffing made of bran) could bring social disaster by trickling out if a doublet got torn.

In 1850, "excitement, ridicule and vituperation" greeted the attempt of American Mrs Bloomer to introduce her eponymous underwear.

A new post-millennium chapter for this fifth edition notes the boom in "fast fashion", ie Primark.