Writing & Talking about the History of Fashion

Dressing Up for Work (the World Over?)

When I last wrote – some time ago – I was attempting to understand the particular appeal of fancy dress costume among social elites. As my thoughts on this question have continued to evolve, other questions have come to appear more urgent and demanding of clarification. Presently, I am pondering why fancy dress seems to have been – and remains – more popular and prevalent in Britain (England, more specifically). One small example of this interest is the use of fancy dress events and competitions in the workplace.

Since the nineteenth century, British employers have convened, or sanctioned their employees to convene, dress-up events for workers and their families. These events continue to be held today; in some cases, they are advertised to attract prospective employees. UK human resources companies even offer advice on the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ of fancy dress wardrobes at work.

Fancy dress events for workers are held in parts of Germany, I believe, but typically only during carnival. I would be interested to know whether similar events have happened, or currently happen, in Japan and other parts of Asia. For this, I hope that followers of the blog will get in touch via the about page and let me know. As an understudied topic by academic researchers, details about contemporary fancy dress costume are few. Depending on responses, I shall offer my thoughts on this topic in a later post (I hope, unlike last time, not too much later…).

 

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