An often-overlooked resource, the clothing worn by women during the First World War can reveal some surprising links between conflict and fashion. This talk will explore the storytelling power of the objects that survive in museum collections and those lost to time, seeking to highlight the female experience of life wartime Britain. This talk will focus on three areas of First World War fashion – the changing culture of mourning dress, the balance between austerity and patriotism, and the growing practicality within women’s clothing – revealing the impact of conflict on the cultural and social lives of these non-combatants.
Lucie Whitmore is a second-year AHRC doctoral candidate at the University of Glasgow and a costume intern at Edinburgh Museums & Galleries. Her PhD explores women’s experiences of the First World War through their clothing, using a material culture framework to highlight the storytelling power of objects. She is currently working on a new costume gallery project at the Museum of Edinburgh.