Men's Fashion, 1686

Men's Fashion, 1688

Men's Fashion, 1689

Men's Fashion, 1689

Men's Fashion, 1693

Men's Fashion, 1694

Men's Fashion, 1744

I have always been interested in clothes, and, to all intents and purposes, I guess you could classify me as an eccentric dresser. Not that eccentric, mind you....

I guess my main fascination is with "sharp" dressing. I first fell in love with the allure of a jacket and tie at high school (I went to a very authoritarian public school with a draconian dress code). In one sense the only way to rebel was to go one better, and actually be MORE formal and straightlaced than the uniform code required. Little things: tie knots (windsor), shirt collars (standing or button down), socks (shiny nylon), amised us in the battle against the mindless tyranny of the school system. As my tastes swung towards the gothic, the game began to swing towards getting away with a maximum of black items.

But, first things first.

1985 rolled round and the first sniff of the Julian Temple production of "Absolute Beginners" reared it's ugly head (thanks for nothing, Bowie). I read the book, and fell in love with the Mod look (jazz MODerns as opposed the the '70s revival mod, with its reggae and swinging London crosscurrents) At the same time, I discovered a number of writings on style and fashion:

Ted Polhemus and Lynn Proctor,
"Pop Styles"
Vermillion, 1984

Dick Hebdidge,
"Subculture: the meaning of style"
Methuen, 1979

Peter York,
"Modern Times"
Heinemann, 1984

I started raiding local secondhand shops for jackets and ties, buying fluoro nylon socks, and my first pairs of winkle pickers and brothel creepers. Nonetheless, while wed to the look, my attempts to connect with mod culture were doomed. Under the influence of local radio station JJJ (that's jayjayjay not triple-jay) , I began to become attracted to experimental music, particularly, Shriekback, which I was fortunate enough to see in concert at "The Venue" in 1987.

The seriousness of the Goths I had seen in "Pop Styles" was reinforced by the appeal of Shriekback, and by a crush I had on Vicki, a shop assistant at a local record store who was completely OTT by my standards at the time. By the time the Sydney Morning Herald did a story on Sydney tribes and had a front-page spread of goths, I was hooked. But I was uncertain of how to proceed. A black trenchcoat was a good start, black shirts and jeans followed, along with my first pair of Docs Tyrannical parents opposed my plans, but I rebelled.

By 1988 when the next publishing revelation came along: Ted Polhemus, "Body Styles", Lennard, 1988 (also a TV series), the transformation was complete. Leaving school and going to TAFE had finally thrust into the Mod/punk milieu I had always wanted, too late! I started hanging out with a group of people who were consciously goth. In June 1988 I was identified as a goth in public by other goths and handed a flyer to go to a goth club opening. The club was "Sanctuary" and the rest is history. "Body Styles" also encouraged my interest in piercing and fetish fashion. Over the years my look has oscillated between sharp and scruffy, but the sharp has come out on top. Uniforms have their appeal for me... although over the years they have become harder to track down and more expensive.

My current obsessions are with 17th century and highland clothing. I enjoy sewing, but with long periods of being without a machine, and no encouragement when I was young, my enthusiasm outstrips my skill. Recently, however, I bought a secondhand Brother Star 300, which works quite well and have tackled a number of small projects to get my hand back in. One of these was a tailored kilt, which was wearable but not quite right (damn those pleats!).

As far as historical costuming goes, the sources for patterns have become more prolific, but are still very expensive. Amazon Drygoods is a good one stop shop for patterns if you can afford the prices. Otherwise, I suggest you check out the following books, all with patterns you can blow up:

Jean Hunisett,
"Period Costume for Stage and Screen", vol. 1 1500-1783,
London, 1986

Jean Hunisett,
"Period Costume for Stage and Screen"
, vol. 2 1783-1914,
London, 1988

Jean Hunisett is an experienced wardrobe mistress of TV, stage and screen, based in London, but of international renown. Her two books on women's fashion are new standard in teaching layout, cutting and construction for historical costumes. Good for medium-advanced sewers, I am anxiously awaiting a men's book!

Janet Arnold,
"Patterns of Fashion"
, 5 vols,
London, 1975

Have only seen a couple of volumes, but seems to be full of patterns and good basic info.

Nora Waugh,
"The Cut of Men's Clothes -1600-1900",

Faber, 1968

Nora Waugh,
"The Cut of Women's Clothes -1600-1900"
Faber, 1968

The men's book is excellent, with a collection of period sources, period cutting diagrams, illustrations of clothing in portraits and museums,and reconstructed patterns taken from them. I am currently working on blowing up patterns from this book... no success so far! (my own stupid fault)

The illustrations on this page, unless otherwise stated are all taken from:

James Laver ed.,
"Costume Illustration: the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries"
Her Majesty's Stationary Office, 1951

and now here are some interesting links:

Amazon Drygoods

Elizabethan Costuming Page

Jason Townsend and Sons, Outfitters

L'Age D'Or -18th Century Fashion

Milleux - the Fashion Links Site

The Real Landsknechte

Clothing and Costuming Links

Dressed To Kilt

Fashion Freedom

Modern Kiltmaking

Traditional Kiltmaking By R E Glover

Tartan Finder v1.0

Copyright: Dis Pater Design, 2000

Contributions to the cost of this website whilst not sought, are always gratefully recieved
PO Box 178 Newtown, NSW 2042 Australia

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