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Dress, Fashion, and Anti-Fashion in the Medieval Imagination

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Stasis in the Medieval West?

Part of the book series: The New Middle Ages ((TNMA))

Abstract

Louise Sylvester discusses notions of stasis in fashion discourse from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century, considering sumptuary legislation, wills, Royal wardrobe accounts, and anti-fashion diatribes. Sylvester seeks to explore the place of clothing and fashion in the social imagination of the medieval period, illustrating the way in which clothing was a kind of chattel to be handed on to heirs as well as part of regular livery. However, in discourses around fashion, many writers crave stasis. The ever-changing fashion system is a cause of great anxiety because it collapses class distinctions, making social rank less legible. This anxiety is most powerfully conveyed in sumptuary legislation of the period, which attempts to codify in law the concerns displayed by the authors of anti-fashion diatribes.

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Sylvester, L. (2017). Dress, Fashion, and Anti-Fashion in the Medieval Imagination. In: Bintley, M., Locker, M., Symons, V., Wellesley, M. (eds) Stasis in the Medieval West?. The New Middle Ages. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-56199-2_13

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-56199-2_13

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  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, New York

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-349-95033-1

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-137-56199-2

  • eBook Packages: HistoryHistory (R0)

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