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“The Language of the Fan”: Pushing the Boundaries of Middle-class Womanhood

Ariel Beaujot

Source: Victorian Fashion Accessories 2012

Book chapter

In the nineteenth century the British tried to revive the art of fanmaking in part in order to address what Victorians had come to call the “surplus women question.” This debate, which centered around definitions of what type of woman a middle-class lady should be and what her place should be within society, came to the fore because of statistics revealed by the 1851 Census. Victorians exaggerated the census data in order to emphasize the seriousness of having a population of women who had no pla

Fans

Moira F. Harri

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Global Perspectives 2010

Encyclopedia entry

A handheld fan, made of feathers, leaves, paper, or cloth, with sticks of ivory or wood, is one of the oldest accessories for men and women in the world. There are four basic styles: feather, leaf, folding, and flat. The best-known feather fans use the plumage of the African ostrich. Palm leaves often served as early fans, but any other large leaf could be used. A flat fan is sometimes said to be Chinese in origin. Round in shape, the framed surface could be paper or cloth such as silk or gauze.

Accessories of Dress

Celia Stall-Meadows

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. The United States and Canada 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The accessories industries in Canada and the United States are multibillion dollar industries that include many diverse product categories. Fashion accessories may be defined as fashion items that are carried or worn, and support or accent apparel fashions. Common accessories used by consumers in North America include hats and headwear, eyewear, scarves, shawls, neckties, handkerchiefs, pocket squares, gloves, belts, handbags, small personal leather goods, luggage, umbrellas, fans, and watches. M

Niue: Dress, Hats, and Woven Accessories

Hilke Thode-Arora

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The small Polynesian island of Niue is one of the highest coral islands in the world. Only its plateau, rising with steep cliffs above a jagged coastline, can be inhabited. Throughout Niue’s history droughts and famines have been experienced with regularity. There are no rivers on the island, and, although soil is fertile, vast stretches of land have been exhausted by shifting cultivation and ill-advised agricultural programs of the past. The soil is easily blown off by frequent and often devasta

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