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Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture

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The mirror of the graces; or, the English lady's costume: combining and harmonizing taste and judgment, elegance and grace, modesty, simplicity and economy, with fashion in dress; and adapting the various articles of female embellishments to different ages, forms, and complexions; to the seasons of the year, rank, and situation in life: with useful advice on female accomplishments, politeness, and manners; the cultivation of the mind and the disposition and carriage of the body: offering also the most efficacious means of preserving beauty, health, and loveliness. The whole according with the general principles of nature and rules of propriety

On the peculiarities of dress, with reference to the station of the wearer,   pp. 85-105

Page 85

As there is a propriety in adapting your dress
to the different seasons of your life, and the
peculiar character of your figure, there is like-
wise a necessity that it should correspond with
the station you hold in society.
  This is a subject not less of a moral concern
than it is a matter of taste. By the univer-
sality of finery and expensive articles in dress,
ranks are not only rendered undistinguishable,
but the fortunes of moderate families and of
industrious tradesmen are brought to ruin:
the sons become sharpers, and the virtue of
the wives and daughters too often follows in
the same destruction.
  It is not from a proud wish to confine ele-
gance to persons of quality that I contend for
less extravagant habits in the middle and lower
orders of people: it is a conviction of the evil
which their vanity produces that impels me to
condemn in toto the present levelling -and ex-
pensive mode.                     '-.

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