The Munitions workers had already established their image in tunic and trousers, but were mainly centred in industrial towns and worked indoors. The Women’s Defence Relief Corps had introduced the idea of longish smock and gaiters and boots, but not as compulsory uniform. Now the Land Army girl was officially clad in twill breeches, pullover and smock mackintosh, also a light smock for summer, with smart laced gaiters and boots – and was seen in villages and remote hamlets, where women’s clothes had not changed much for a century or so: bonnet, long skirts and apron. The Land Girl was met with the remark: ‘Neither a man nor a woman!’
Fighting on the Home Front
Wiltshire has a wealth of history when it comes to fabric so what better place for the young people involved in the Fabric of Life to start their research than their local museum!
At Chippenham Museum participants were treated to an private showing of some of the museums fashion collection which included a lot of everyday wear as well as uniforms. We were able to see how uniforms changed fashion for women in particular and blurred gender lines.
Both Salisbury and Trowbridge Museums had brilliant examples of how Victorian children were dressed very similarly regardless of gender. When asked why they thought this was one young person said they were treated as children equally.
The museum collections have been a great start to our research and have given the participants a real insight in to how fashion has changed and how identity can be formed out of what we wear. We have seen the shapes of both men’s and women’s clothes change, seen women’s clothing become more comfortable and men’s less peacock like.
To see all of the photos from our museum trips please take a look at the WYAP Facebook page.