Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The tunics, they are a-changin'

From Civilization and Capitalism, 15th-18th Century: The structure of everyday life by Fernand Braudel.
The really big change came in about 1350 with the sudden shortening of men’s costume, which was viewed as scandalous by the old, the prudent, and the defenders of tradition. 'Around that year,' writes the continuer of Guillaume de Nangis's chronicle, "men, in particular noblemen and their squires, and a few bourgeois and their servants, took to wearing tunics so short and tight that they revealed what modesty bids us hide. This was a most astonishing thing for the people.' This figure-hugging costume was to last, and men never went back to wearing long robes. As for women, their bodices too became more close-fitting, and were cut with a large décolleté - another cause for censure.
Shades of the Bob Dylan song which ends with:
Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.

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