Do you have any idea how much bigger the human race has become ? I don’t just mean in terms of obesity…..I mean that the whole substance of our bodies is much larger than in times gone by.
This is often made obvious when trying on some of the older hats from the collection, for example this one, photographed on my standard model, known as Edith (see ‘Meet My People’). Here the lovely silk bonnet is just perched on her head,
but see how different it is on a much smaller model ( Belinda ) where it really looks as it was intended. This is from about 1850. Sadly, the silk is beginning to shatter across the top, but I have been able to get it back to some sort of shape….it was rather flattened and very dusty when I got it.
This whole aspect of size was made very evident recently, when I went to Killerton,(National Trust property just outside Exeter in Devon) with the Southern Counties Costume Society, and we had a fascinating afternoon looking at some of their costume collection……..the people who wore these clothes were tiny . In order to display them properly, specially made figures have to be commissioned; and they are quite a different height, size and shape to today’s people. Men’s jackets are made with much more sloping shoulders and higher necklines, and women’s dresses would only fit today’s ten year olds. It follows also, that their heads were smaller….which is why antique hats, and even vintage ones, will not go on our modern heads.