Dressed to Impress: Fashion in the Eighteenth Century

Walker Art Gallery
William Brown Street
Liverpool
Merseyside
L3 8EL
Examples of the clothing on display at the Walker Art Gallery

About

A stunning collection of 18th century fashion items. Dressed to Impress: Fashion in the Eighteenth Century will display 13 male and female costumes as well as accessories. The exhibition highlights the changing attitudes towards body shapes as well as documenting the social climate of the time. 

The clothes in the display are typical of the main fashionable styles worn by the middle classes, known at that time as ‘the middling sort’. These people were neither rich nor poor, and often wanted to improve their social standing. Examples of their clothes to be seen in the display include a pair of ‘stays’ (a laced corset), formal female dresses, and elaborately embroidered men’s waistcoats with hand cut sequins known as ‘spangles’.

The display will also include a number of important accessories, such as a pair of women’s shoes with overshoes for outdoor wear to protect the feet against the unsanitary conditions in the streets. The accessories on display include two men’s wallets, one of which belonged to John Bridge, a Liverpool merchant heavily involved in the transatlantic slave trade. Money acquired from his activities would have been kept in this wallet, which is embossed with Bridge’s name in gold lettering.]

The display will include a rare pair of men’s stockings – one of just a few surviving pairs remaining in the UK– with padding designed to accentuate the calf area, from an era when it was deemed important for men to have shapely calves.

There will also be two videos on show in the gallery, depicting how 18th-century men and women were dressed by their servants.

Map & Directions

Opening Times

Season (4 August 2018 - 31 March 2020)

* Exhibition will be at Walker Art Gallery until Spring 2020

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