Thursday, 6 September 2012

New WordPress Blog

I have started a new blog over at WordPress which details my academic research and experiences. The address for the new blog (which is much more regularly updated!) is Take a look and follow me there!

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Desiring Fashion: The Consumption and Dissemination of Dress 1750-1850 - Review

Thank you to everyone who came to my conference and exhibition 'Desiring Fashion: The Consumption and Dissemination of Dress 1750-1850'. I do hope that you enjoyed it! For those who didn't make it, Ruth Mather, one of the chairs, has written a fabulous review on her blog. Read it here!

Monday, 30 April 2012


I have recently found out that I have been awarded the Costume Society Bursary to attend the Making of a Monarchy for the Modern World conference in London in June, and also that I am the 2012 recipient of the K G Ponting Bursary from the Fashion Museum in Bath.

Both of these pieces of funding will contribute to the research I am currently undertaking for my thesis entitled 'Dressing the Beau Monde: Fashion, Intimacy and Business in the Eighteenth Century'. I'm giving papers on this research at the White Rose Eighteenth Century Conference at Leeds in May, and at my own conference, Desiring Fashion, at York in June.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Desiring Fashion: The Consumption and Dissemination of Dress 1750-1850

Information about the conference I am currently organising, Desiring Fashion: The Consumption and Dissemination of Dress 1750-1850, is now available on the University of York website.

This day conference brings together academic and curatorial work on the desire to dress fashionably in the eighteenth century. From faces to feet, the fashionable men and women of the eighteenth century strove to achieve aesthetic perfection. This series of papers explores the process of fashion dissemination, production and consumption which enabled the fulfilment of these desires, and how this related to the concepts of desire, gender and beauty. The papers to be presented cover subjects such as cosmetics and beauty, fashion plates, silk manufacture and the relationship between dressmaker and client. A small exhibition of fashion plates and accessories from the period will accompany the conference.

Aileen Ribeiro (Courtauld) - 'Desiring Beauty: women and cosmetics in the eighteenth century'

Elisabeth Gernerd (Edinburgh) - 'Pulled Tight and Gleaming: The Stocking's Position within Eighteenth-Century British Masculinity'

Lesley Miller (V&A) - 'Material marketing: how Lyonnais manufacturers sold their silks in the 18th century'

Hilary Davidson (Museum of London) - TBC

Catherine Flood (V&A) - 'Fashion in Print and the Pleasure of Picturing Modern Life:fashion plates and fashion satires'

Serena Dyer (York) - 'A Beautiful Bargain: Lady Sabine Winn's relationship with fashion'

Registration: The registration fee is £12.00. This includes a simple sandwich lunch, tea and coffee. Registration will be available shortly via our online store.

Members of the University of York : Registration is free, but please email to register. Lunch (optional) is £5.00.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

An article about my work has just got live on the University of York website. In it I discuss my work with experimental archaeology and how I have used it in my academic research. Take a look here.

Monday, 7 November 2011

A History of my Work and Research

I am a dress historian, and am currently a member of the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies at the University of York. I have written extensively on the subject of dress in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, and am currently working on a thesis on the dressmaking and millinery trades in eighteenth-century Yorkshire. My earlier research has covered topics such as the perception of fashion plates in the late C18th and early C19th, and the politicisation of dress during the French Revolution.
In addition to my academic work, I run Dressing History, a company specialising in authentic reproduction dress and accessories from the C18th and C19th. My clients have included the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Costume Project, The Science Museum, Clifton Park Museum, the National Trust and the York Archaeological Trust. I use my work with Dressing History to conduct research into the concept of experimental archaeology, particularly in regards to the construction of dress and accessories from the C18th and C19th. The process of reproduction can teach us more about the material objects themselves, and about the working conditions and lives of the individuals who experienced these objects. In this blog, I will be charting both my research, and my experiments in dressmaking and clothing reproduction.
I also work as a freelance researcher, lecturer, writer and costume mounter. I have recently worked on the Revolutionary Fashion 1790-1820 exhibition at Fairfax House in York. I write for various magazines and journals on the history of dress, such as Your Wardrobe Unlock'd, and have lectured at venues such as the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute.
I am also the author of 'Bergère, Poke and Cottage: Understanding Early Nineteenth-Century Headwear', which is available from Dressing History, the Jane Austen Centre and Amazon.
As well as this new blog, you can keep up to date with what I'm doing via the Dressing History facebook page and my twitter.

One of my reproduction gowns in a photo shoot for Dressing History. The gown is c.1842, and constructed from blue silk with a white floral motif, woven at the Stephen Walters Silk Mills in Sudbury, Suffolk. The bonnet is covered in blue silk satin, and has a ruched lining of white silk.

Carrying out research at Leeds Museum for my current thesis on the dressmaking trade for the Yorkshire elite 1750-1850.

Working at Fairfax House, York on the Revolutionary Fashion Exhibition 1790-1820 as an exhibition assistant. This involved mounting the garments for display, carrying out research, locating images, writing display boards and arranging the gowns around the house.

The images above are from two talks held at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute as part of the Jane Austen Festival. I have talked and lectured on topics such as C18th and C19th headwear, the dressmaking trade, and women's accessories.