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Keeping up appearances: genteel women, dress and refurbishing in Gold-Rush Victoria, Australia, 1851‒1870

journal contribution
posted on 2017-01-01, 00:00 authored by Lorinda CramerLorinda Cramer
The discovery of gold in 1851 attracted a flood of migrants to the Colony of Victoria. Aspirational migrants, who struck it rich on the goldfields or in providing services to the diggers, turned to material consumption to express their newfound wealth, with the consequence that clothing could complicate its wearer’s social status. Integrating primary sources and surviving material culture, this article explores genteel articulations of the spontaneous and extravagant purchases of luxury goods by the lower orders, and their response: an engagement with notions of tasteful dress and genteel economy. It examines how genteel women carefully selected their dress, essential when gowns were worn over many years and wearing secondhand clothing was common, and how clothing was maintained through material practices, including mending and refurbishing, to demonstrate the place of dress and related needlework activities in constructions of genteel identity.

History

Journal

Textile: cloth and culture

Volume

15

Issue

1

Pagination

48 - 67

Publisher

Taylor & Francis

Location

Abingdon, Eng.

ISSN

1475-9756

eISSN

1751-8350

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2016, Informa UK

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