The early history of our manufactures frequently excites a smile at the quaint and energetic manner in which some of the old writers denounce the fashions of their times; but while we are often disposed to agree with them in ridiculing the strange forms of dress which have been adopted at different periods, we must withhold our assent to the principles of their commercial economy, which are often lamentably short-sighted.
Philip Stubbs, a writer of the Elizabethan age, published, in 1585, his “Anatomie of Abuses,” in which, among other things, the costume of the time is made the subject of censure. After anatomizing ladies' dresses, and discoursing on the iniquities of ruffs and furbelows, he visits the wardrobes of the other sex for a similar purpose, and thus speaks of the then fashionable hats:—“Sometimes they use them sharp on the crown, peaking up like the spear or shaft of a steeple, standing a quarter of a yard above the crown of their heads, some more, some less, as please the fancies of their inconstant minds. Some others are flat and broad on the crown, like the battlements of a house. Another sort have round crowns, sometimes with one kind of band, sometimes with another, now black, now white, now russet, now red, now green, now yellow; now this, now that, never content with one colour or fashion two days to an end. And thus in vanity they spend the Lord's treasure, consuming their golden years and silver days in wickedness and sin.” But the ma
From Days at the Factories: Manufacturing in the Nineteenth Century. London: Charles
Knight & Co., 1843.