For the very poor, fashion obviously did not exist, but for those of modest means attempted to follow the trends as best they might by studying periodicals and using their dressmaking skills and cheaper materials. There was naturally a time lag in the taking up of fashion among the servant or poorer classes. Slow transatlantic communications also meant that fashions reached American somewhat later than their appearance in Europe. It must be stressed that only the favoured few enjoyed the pleasures & delights of fashion. Probably more than half the population of England still lived meanly, owning little, toiling hard, often hungry and usually wretchedly clothed.

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