Free Download: A Knitting Pattern for a Sweater Depicting an Iconic Cover of George Orwell’s 1984

It’s win­ter, and we still have a ways to go. So maybe we could inter­est you in a free knit­ting pat­tern that depicts a vin­tage Pen­guin Clas­sics cov­er of George Orwell’s <i>1984</i>. A col­lege stu­dent gave it a go and post­ed the results on Red­dit. It’s pret­ty swelle­gant. You can down­load the pat­tern here.

Please note, “The pat­tern includes extra alpha­bet charts so that you can cus­tomise the title and author to your favourite book.”

via Kot­tke

Relat­ed Con­tent 

The BBC Cre­ates Step-by-Step Instruc­tions for Knit­ting the Icon­ic Dr. Who Scarf: A Doc­u­ment from the Ear­ly 1980s

A Mas­sive, Knit­ted Tapes­try of the Galaxy: Soft­ware Engi­neer Hacks a Knit­ting Machine & Cre­ates a Star Map Fea­tur­ing 88 Con­stel­la­tions

Behold an Anatom­i­cal­ly Cor­rect Repli­ca of the Human Brain, Knit­ted by a Psy­chi­a­trist

Behold 1,600-Year-Old Egypt­ian Socks Made with Nål­bind­ning, an Ancient Pro­to-Knit­ting Tech­nique



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Why Henry VIII’s Codpiece Is So Monumental in Holbein’s Famous, Lost Portrait

Dur­ing the 15th and 16th cen­turies, fash­ion­able men sport­ed a cod­piece. Orig­i­nal­ly a gar­ment designed to pro­tect and sup­port the prover­bial “Willy” (espe­cial­ly when men wore tights), the cod­piece mor­phed into some­thing else–a sign of viril­i­ty, “a bulging and absurd rep­re­sen­ta­tion of mas­culin­i­ty itself.” The cod­piece fea­tured promi­nent­ly in paint­ings by mas­ters such as Tit­ian, Gior­gione, Bruegel and Hol­bein. Above, Evan Puschak (aka the Nerd­writer) intro­duces you to Hol­bein’s famous por­trait of Hen­ry VIII, “the poster boy for cod­pieces.”

For a deep­er dive into the sub­ject, you can read the New York­er piece “A Brief His­to­ry of the Cod­piece, the Per­son­al Pro­tec­tion for Renais­sance Equip­ment.” And to go still deep­er, see Michael Glover’s entire book ded­i­cat­ed to the sub­ject, Thrust: A Spas­mod­ic Pic­to­r­i­al His­to­ry of the Cod­piece in Art.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Relat­ed Con­tent 

Get­ting Dressed Over the Cen­turies: 35 Videos Show How Women & Men Put on Clothes Dur­ing Ancient, Medieval & Mod­ern Times

Watch the Renais­sance Paint­ing, The Bat­tle of San Romano, Get Brought Beau­ti­ful­ly to Life in a Hand-Paint­ed Ani­ma­tion

Free Course: An Intro­duc­tion to the Art of the Ital­ian Renais­sance


Behold 1,600-Year-Old Egyptian Socks Made with Nålbindning, an Ancient Proto-Knitting Technique

We have, above, a pair of socks. You can tell that much by look­ing at them, of course, but what’s less obvi­ous at a glance is their age: this pair dates back to 250–420 AD, and were exca­vat­ed in Egypt at the end of the nine­teenth cen­tu­ry. That infor­ma­tion comes from the site of the Vic­to­ria and Albert Muse­um, where you can learn more about not just these Egypt­ian socks but the dis­tinc­tive, now-van­ished tech­nique used to make socks in Egypt at the time: “nål­bind­ning, some­times called knot­less net­ting or sin­gle nee­dle knit­ting — a tech­nique clos­er to sewing than knit­ting,” which, as we know it, would­n’t emerge until the eleventh cen­tu­ry in Islam­ic Egypt. The tech­nique still remains in use today.

Time con­sum­ing and skill-inten­sive, nålbind­ning pro­duced espe­cial­ly close-fit­ting gar­ments, and “fit is of par­tic­u­lar impor­tance in a cold cli­mate but also for pro­tect­ing feet clothed in san­dals only.” And yes, it seems that socks like these were indeed worn with san­dals, a func­tion indi­cat­ed by their split-toe con­struc­tion.

A few years ago, we fea­tured archae­o­log­i­cal research here on Open Cul­ture point­ing to the ancient Romans as the first sock-and-san­dal wear­ers in human his­to­ry. These par­tic­u­lar socks were also made in the time of the Roman Empire, though they were unearthed at its far reach­es, from “the bur­ial grounds of ancient Oxyrhynchus, a Greek colony on the Nile.”

As’s Emi­ly Spi­vack writes, “We don’t know for sure whether these socks were for every­day use, worn with a pair of san­dals to do the ancient Egypt­ian equiv­a­lent of run­ning errands or head­ing to work — or if they were used as cer­e­mo­ni­al offer­ings to the dead (they were found by bur­ial grounds, after all).” But the fact that their appear­ance is so strik­ing to us today, at least six­teen cen­turies lat­er, reminds us that we aren’t as famil­iar as we think with the world that pro­duced them. And if, to our mod­ern eyes, they even look a bit goofy — though less goofy than they would if worn prop­er­ly, along with a pair of san­dals — we should remem­ber the painstak­ing method with which they must have been craft­ed, as well as the way they con­sti­tute a thread, as it were, through the his­to­ry of west­ern civ­i­liza­tion.

Relat­ed con­tent:

The Ancient Egyp­tians Wore Fash­ion­able Striped Socks, New Pio­neer­ing Imag­ing Tech­nol­o­gy Imag­ing Reveals

A 3,000-Year-Old Painter’s Palette from Ancient Egypt, with Traces of the Orig­i­nal Col­ors Still In It

An Ancient Egypt­ian Home­work Assign­ment from 1800 Years Ago: Some Things Are Tru­ly Time­less

3,200-Year-Old Egypt­ian Tablet Records Excus­es for Why Peo­ple Missed Work: “The Scor­pi­on Bit Him,” “Brew­ing Beer” & More

The Met Dig­i­tal­ly Restores the Col­ors of an Ancient Egypt­ian Tem­ple, Using Pro­jec­tion Map­ping Tech­nol­o­gy

The Ancient Romans First Com­mit­ted the Sar­to­r­i­al Crime of Wear­ing Socks with San­dals, Archae­o­log­i­cal Evi­dence Sug­gests

Based in Seoul, Col­in Marshall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

Explore Exquisite Kimono Designs from 19th-Century Japan

Japan’s 19th-cen­tu­ry kimonos blur the lines between art and fash­ion.

Mei­ji era cus­tomers could browse hina­ga­ta-bon, tra­di­tion­al­ly bound pat­tern books, on vis­its to drap­ers and fab­ric mer­chants. These col­or­ful vol­umes offered a glam­orous update of the Edo period’s black-and-white kimono pat­tern books.

Aspir­ing design­ers also stud­ied hina­ga­ta-bon, as many of the designs fea­tured with­in were the work of cel­e­brat­ed artists.

Each page fea­tured a stan­dard kimono out­line in a back or side view, embell­ished with the pro­posed design. These range from tra­di­tion­al flo­ral motifs to bold land­scapes to strik­ing geo­met­ric pat­terns, some arrest­ing, some dis­creet.

As Hunter Dukes observes in the Pub­lic Domain Review, the Mei­ji era ush­ered in a peri­od of tech­no­log­i­cal advance­ment. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Japan­ese tex­tile indus­try ven­tured abroad, embrac­ing and adapt­ing dying process­es they saw prac­ticed in the Unit­ed States and Europe. The abil­i­ty to sten­cil pastes of chem­i­cal dye onto silk helped to indus­tri­al­ize the kimono-mak­ing process. Peo­ple who pre­vi­ous­ly could­n’t have afford­ed such a gar­ment could now choose from a vari­ety of designs.

The explo­sion in kimono pro­duc­tion spurred demand for fresh designs. Pub­lish­ers began to release hina­ga­ta-bon annu­al­ly. Pre­vi­ous years’ pat­tern books were of lit­tle inter­est to sophis­ti­cat­ed cus­tomers clam­or­ing for the lat­est fash­ions.

Unlike today’s dis­pos­able fash­ion mags, how­ev­er, the pat­tern books’ high aes­thet­ic and pro­duc­tion qual­i­ty saved them from destruc­tion.

In her 1924 book, Block Print­ing and Book Illus­tra­tion in Japan, author Louise Nor­ton Brown wrote that cast-off hina­ga­ta-bon could be “found in all the sec­ond­hand book shops of Japan … (where they were) com­par­a­tive­ly inex­pen­sive.”

These days, you can find Mei­ji era pat­tern books in a num­ber of world class institution’s col­lec­tions includ­ing the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Art, the British Library, the Art Insti­tute of Chica­go, and The Smith­son­ian Nation­al Muse­um of Asian Art, which dig­i­tized the kimono designs by Seiko Ueno fea­tured in this post.

Explore four Mei­ji era kimono pat­tern books here.

Relat­ed Con­tent 

Explore the Beau­ti­ful Pages of the 1902 Japan­ese Design Mag­a­zine Shin-Bijut­sukai: Euro­pean Mod­ernism Meets Tra­di­tion­al Japan­ese Design

1,000+ His­toric Japan­ese Illus­trat­ed Books Dig­i­tized & Put Online by the Smith­son­ian: From the Edo & Meji Eras (1600–1912)

Hun­dreds of Won­der­ful Japan­ese Fire­work Designs from the Ear­ly-1900s: Dig­i­tized and Free to Down­load

– Ayun Hal­l­i­day is the Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine and author, most recent­ly, of Cre­ative, Not Famous: The Small Pota­to Man­i­festo and Cre­ative, Not Famous Activ­i­ty Book. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

David Byrne Explains How the “Big Suit” He Wore in Stop Making Sense Was Inspired by Japanese Kabuki Theatre

In the nine­teen-sev­en­ties and eight­ies, the name of David Byrne’s band was Talk­ing Heads — as the title of their 1982 live album per­pet­u­al­ly reminds us. But their over­all artis­tic project arguably had less to do with the head than the body, a propo­si­tion mem­o­rably under­scored in Stop Mak­ing Sense, the Jonathan Demme-direct­ed con­cert film that came out two years lat­er. “Music is very phys­i­cal and often the body under­stands it before the head,” Byrne says in a bizarre con­tem­po­rary self-inter­view pre­vi­ous­ly fea­tured here on Open Cul­ture. To make that fact vis­i­ble onstage, “I want­ed my head to appear small­er, and the eas­i­est way to do that was to make my body big­ger.”

Hence cos­tume design­er Gail Black­er’s cre­ation of what Talk­ing Heads fans have long referred to as the “big suit.” Byrne has always been will­ing dis­cuss its ori­gins, which he traces back to a trip to Japan. There, as he put it to Enter­tain­ment Week­ly in 2012, he’d “seen a lot of tra­di­tion­al Japan­ese the­ater, and I real­ized that yes, that kind of front-fac­ing out­line, a suit, a businessman’s suit, looked like one of those things, a rec­tan­gle with just a head on top.”

A friend of his, the fash­ion design­er Jur­gen Lehl, said that “every­thing is big­ger on stage.” “He was refer­ring to, I think, ges­tures and the way you walk and what not,” Byrne told David Let­ter­man in 1984. But he took it lit­er­al­ly, think­ing, “Well, that solves my cos­tume prob­lem right there.”

Though Byrne only wore the big suit for one num­ber, “Girl­friend Is Bet­ter” (from whose lyrics Stop Mak­ing Sense takes its title), it became the acclaimed film’s sin­gle most icon­ic ele­ment, ref­er­enced even in chil­dren’s car­toons. New York­er crit­ic Pauline Kael called it “a per­fect psy­cho­log­i­cal fit,” remark­ing that “when he dances, it isn’t as if he were mov­ing the suit — the suit seems to move him.” The asso­ci­a­tion has­n’t been with­out its frus­tra­tions; he once spec­u­lat­ed that his tomb­stone would be inscribed with the phrase “Here lies David Byrne. Why the big suit?” But now that Stop Mak­ing Sense is return­ing to the­aters in a new 4K restora­tion, near­ly 40 years after its first release, he’s accept­ed that the time has final­ly come to pick it up from the clean­er’s. Unsur­pris­ing­ly, it still fits.

Relat­ed con­tent:

A Brief His­to­ry of Talk­ing Heads: How the Band Went from Scrap­py CBGB’s Punks to New Wave Super­stars

An Intro­duc­tion to Japan­ese Kabu­ki The­atre, Fea­tur­ing 20th-Cen­tu­ry Mas­ters of the Form (1964)

How Talk­ing Heads and Bri­an Eno Wrote “Once in a Life­time”: Cut­ting Edge, Strange & Utter­ly Bril­liant

Japan­ese Kabu­ki Actors Cap­tured in 18th-Cen­tu­ry Wood­block Prints by the Mys­te­ri­ous & Mas­ter­ful Artist Sharaku

How Jonathan Demme Put Human­i­ty Into His Films: From The Silence of the Lambs to Stop Mak­ing Sense

Talk­ing Heads Live in Rome, 1980: The Con­cert Film You Haven’t Seen

Based in Seoul, Col­in Marshall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

A Creative Animation Tells the Story of Maximilien Robespierre, One of the Most Influential Figures of the French Revolution

Robe­spierre is an immor­tal fig­ure not because he reigned supreme over the Rev­o­lu­tion for a few months, but because he was the mouth­piece of its purest and most trag­ic dis­course.

                                 — François Furet, Inter­pret­ing the French Rev­o­lu­tion


Cal Arts ani­ma­tion stu­dent Michelle Cheng’s char­ac­ter design primer, above, draws atten­tion to the many hats an ani­ma­tor must be pre­pared to wear when bring­ing to life a fig­ure who actu­al­ly exist­ed:



Cos­tume design­er…



Her choice of Max­im­i­lien Robe­spierre, one of the most influ­en­tial fig­ures of the French Rev­o­lu­tion, sug­gests that Cheng enjoys a chal­lenge.

As his­to­ri­an Peter McPhee writes in The Robe­spierre Prob­lem: An Intro­duc­tion:

Was Robe­spierre the first mod­ern dic­ta­tor, ici­ly fanat­i­cal, an obses­sive who used his polit­i­cal pow­er to try to impose his rigid ide­al of a land of Spar­tan ‘virtue’? Or was he a prin­ci­pled, self-abne­gat­ing vision­ary, the great rev­o­lu­tion­ary mar­tyr who, with his Jacobin allies, suc­ceed­ed in lead­ing the French Rev­o­lu­tion and the Repub­lic to safe­ty in the face of over­whelm­ing mil­i­tary odds?

Cheng believes an ani­ma­tor’s first job is to under­stand any giv­en character’s role in the larg­er sto­ry, and her research sug­gests that “there is nev­er just one sto­ry.”

In the end, ani­ma­tors make choic­es based on the nar­ra­tive they wish to push, enlist­ing palettes and styles that will sup­port their favored approach.

Cheng went into this assign­ment per­ceiv­ing Robe­spierre to be “a prime exam­ple of sit­u­a­tion­al irony, a fanat­i­cal dic­ta­tor who had sent hun­dreds of peo­ple to the guil­lo­tine only to be guil­lotined him­self in the end.”

This, she read­i­ly admits, is a two-dimen­sion­al under­stand­ing.

Though he only lived to thir­ty-six, the man evolved. Robe­spierre, the sym­bol of the Reign of Ter­ror, is dis­tinct from Robe­spierre the indi­vid­ual cit­i­zen.

This dual­i­ty led her to con­coct a range of Robe­spier­res — evil, good, and neu­tral.

A not par­tic­u­lar­ly dis­tin­guished-look­ing fel­low, he was wide­ly acknowl­edged to be fas­tid­i­ous about his appear­ance.

All three ani­mat­ed char­ac­ters are garbed in the neo­clas­si­cal fash­ion typ­i­cal of a pro­gres­sive gen­tle­man of the peri­od — shirt, breech­es, stock­ings, waist­coat, coat, a lacy cra­vat, and a curled wig. 

Cheng, in con­sul­ta­tion with fel­low Cal Arts ani­ma­tor Janelle Feng, equipped the “evil” ver­sion with an omi­nous, fig­ure-con­ceal­ing black cloak lined in blood red. Angles and points are empha­sized, the face draws on his oppo­nents’ sin­is­ter descrip­tions of his habit­u­al expres­sions, and sub­tle nods to punk and Goth cater to mod­ern sen­si­bil­i­ties.

The “good” ver­sion employs rosy Roco­co hues to lean into the Robe­spierre his friends and fam­i­ly knew — a poet who loved his pet pigeons.

His­to­ry pre­vents Cheng from ditch­ing his sig­na­ture wig entire­ly, but she grant­ed her­self some lee­way, soft­en­ing it for a more nat­ur­al look.

This Robe­spierre is as dreamy as any Miyaza­ki hero.

Between these two poles is the “neu­tral” Robe­spierre, per­haps the most chal­leng­ing to depict.

Feng took the lead on this one, seek­ing to strike a bal­ance between his report­ed­ly unpre­pos­sess­ing appear­ance and his rev­o­lu­tion­ary fire.

She retained the striped coat of his most icon­ic por­trait, but updat­ed it to a cool green palette. His nick­name — the Incor­rupt­ible —  is embod­ied in his firm com­port­ment.

The video draws to a close with a review of the var­i­ous ways Robe­spierre has been depict­ed in art and film over the years, a vivid reminder of Cheng’s asser­tion that “there is nev­er just one sto­ry.”

See more of Michelle Cheng’s ani­ma­tions on her lemon­choly YouTube chan­nel.

See more of Janelle Feng’s French Rev­o­lu­tion era designs here.

Relat­ed Con­tent 

14,000 Free Images from the French Rev­o­lu­tion Now Avail­able Online

Enter a Dig­i­tized Col­lec­tion of 38,000 Pam­phlets & Peri­od­i­cals From the French Rev­o­lu­tion

- Ayun Hal­l­i­day is the Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine and author, most recent­ly, of Cre­ative, Not Famous: The Small Pota­to Man­i­festo and Cre­ative, Not Famous Activ­i­ty Book. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

Humans First Started Wearing Clothes At Least 300,000 Years Ago, New Research Finds

Images cour­tesy of Uni­ver­si­ty of Tue­bin­gen

That peo­ple wore clothes back in the Stone Age will hard­ly come as a sur­prise to any­one who grew up watch­ing The Flint­stones. That show, nev­er whol­ly reliant on estab­lished archae­o­log­i­cal fact, did­n’t get too spe­cif­ic about its time peri­od. But it turns out, based on recent­ly pub­lished dis­cov­er­ies by a team of researchers from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Tübin­gen, the Senck­en­berg Cen­tre for Human Evo­lu­tion and Palaeoen­vi­ron­ment, and Lei­den Uni­ver­si­ty, that Stone Agers were dress­ing them­selves as ear­ly as 300,000 years ago — over one hun­dred mil­len­nia ear­li­er than pre­vi­ous­ly thought.

“This is sug­gest­ed by cut marks on the metatarsal and pha­lanx of a cave bear dis­cov­ered at the Low­er Pale­olith­ic site of Schönin­gen in Low­er Sax­ony, Ger­many,” says the Uni­ver­si­ty of Tübin­gen’s site. The loca­tion of such marks indi­cate that the bear was not sim­ply butchered but care­ful­ly skinned.

A cave bear’s win­ter coat “con­sists of both long out­er hairs that form an airy pro­tec­tive lay­er and short, dense hairs that pro­vide par­tic­u­lar­ly good insu­la­tion” — mak­ing it a fine win­ter coat for a pre­his­toric human being as well. Such a use of bear skins “is like­ly a key adap­ta­tion of ear­ly humans to the cli­mate in the north,” where win­ters would be dif­fi­cult indeed with­out warm cloth­ing.

Though some res­i­dents of Bedrock did wear furs (made from the prized pelts of the minkasaurus), they seemed not to be essen­tial to sur­vival in that Stone Age equiv­a­lent of Cal­i­for­nia. Jean M. Auel’s The Clan of the Cave Bear proved much more real­is­tic about this sort of thing, though its char­ac­ters live and die between 28,000 and 25,000 BC, the rel­a­tive­ly recent past com­pared to the Low­er Pale­olith­ic from which this par­tic­u­lar cave bear dates. It was also in Schönin­gen that “the world’s old­est spears were dis­cov­ered,” mak­ing it a prime loca­tion from which to under­stand more clear­ly the ways of humans from that dis­tant peri­od. If a foot-pow­ered Stone Age car were one day to be unearthed, it would sure­ly be unearthed there.

via Boing Boing

Relat­ed con­tent:

Archae­ol­o­gists Find the Ear­li­est Work of “Abstract Art,” Dat­ing Back 73,000 Years

Hear the World’s Old­est Instru­ment, the “Nean­derthal Flute,” Dat­ing Back Over 43,000 Years

The Ancient Egyp­tians Wore Fash­ion­able Striped Socks, New Pio­neer­ing Imag­ing Tech­nol­o­gy Imag­ing Reveals

How to Wear a Toga the Offi­cial Ancient Roman Way

The Ancient Romans First Com­mit­ted the Sar­to­r­i­al Crime of Wear­ing Socks with San­dals, Archae­o­log­i­cal Evi­dence Sug­gests

Get­ting Dressed Over the Cen­turies: 35 Videos Show How Women & Men Put on Clothes Dur­ing Ancient, Medieval & Mod­ern Times

Based in Seoul, Col­in Marshall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

Getting Dressed Over the Centuries: 35 Videos Show How Women & Men Put on Clothes During Ancient, Medieval & Modern Times

Across vast swathes of the world, many of us — arguably too many of us — have grown accus­tomed to putting on lit­tle more than a T‑shirt and jeans every morn­ing, regard­less of our sta­tus in soci­ety. We all know it was­n’t always this way, but we may not ful­ly under­stand just how much it was­n’t always this way. Through­out most of civ­i­lized human his­to­ry, dress­ing did­n’t just reflect one’s way of life, it prac­ti­cal­ly con­sti­tut­ed a way of life in itself. Thanks to Youtube chan­nel Crow’s Eye Pro­duc­tions, we here in the twen­ty-first cen­tu­ry can enjoy detailed, even cin­e­mat­ic re-cre­ations of the dress­ing process in var­i­ous eras and places the West, from Roman Britain to Renais­sance Flo­rence to 1969 Lon­don.

You can watch all 35 of these dress­ing videos in chrono­log­i­cal order with this playlist. Many of the dressers, includ­ing such august per­son­ages as Prince Albert and Queen Vic­to­ria (on Christ­mas Day, no less), occu­py ele­vat­ed social posi­tions.

But the maids and gar­den­ers of the Vic­to­ri­an era had to get dressed too, and though their cloth­ing may be sim­pler than that worn by the roy­als — or even by the mid­dle class — it’s no less reveal­ing of his­to­ry. One could no doubt tell an even rich­er sto­ry of tech­no­log­i­cal, eco­nom­ic, and cul­tur­al change over the cen­turies through the cloth­ing of “the mass­es” than through the cloth­ing of the elites.

Even war, that most tra­di­tion­al his­tor­i­cal sub­ject of all, has its con­nec­tions with dress. This playlist fea­tures three videos on the dress­ing rou­tines of sol­diers, nurs­es, and young women dur­ing the First World War, as well as one on the mem­bers of the Wom­en’s Land Army dur­ing the Sec­ond World War. Estab­lished in 1917, the WLA orga­nized “Land Girls” to take over the agri­cul­tur­al work while the men who’d been doing it were out fight­ing on the front.

This was just the kind of effort neces­si­tat­ed by total war, as well as one that could only have been per­formed by women. It’s also, there­fore, engag­ing­ly approach­able by a series like this, with its pri­ma­ry focus on wom­en’s dress — which, at least since the Great Male Renun­ci­a­tion, has had a pret­ty spec­tac­u­lar his­to­ry of its own.

Relat­ed con­tent:

How Wealthy Women (Like the Mona Lisa) Got Dressed in Renais­sance Flo­rence

How Fash­ion­able Dutch Women (Like the Girl with a Pearl Ear­ring) Got Dressed in 1665

Author Imag­ines in 1893 the Fash­ions That Would Appear Over the Next 100 Years

Fash­ion Design­ers in 1939 Pre­dict How Peo­ple Would Dress in the Year 2000

Life Mag­a­zine Pre­dicts in 1914 How Peo­ple Would Dress in the 1950s

Google Cre­ates a Dig­i­tal Archive of World Fash­ion: Fea­tures 30,000 Images, Cov­er­ing 3,000 Years of Fash­ion His­to­ry

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall, on Face­book, or on Insta­gram.

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