Profiles: Chester County Clothing in the 1800s

Clothing reveals a great deal about who we are.

In the early 1800s the United States was a new nation.  Economic and political opportunity varied across the country.
Chester County was the same, with residents ranging from poor to wealthy.  

The clothing people wore revealed individual identity, personal choice and place within the community.  With Chester County being only one day’s horse ride from Philadelphia, local people had access to global trends.  They accepted or rejected fashion styles based on what they could afford, their personal preferences and, in some cases, what they believed.  Both high fashion and everyday adaptations appeared throughout the century.

Support generously provided by: Coby Foundation, Ltd. and Fashion Archives and Museum of Shippensburg University. Exhibition graphic designer – Suzanne Gaadt, Creative Director, Gaadt Perspectives, LLC. Photography of clothing – Laszlo Bodo

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