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Advertisement for Edward Grove, fashionable tailor and complete outfitter

Advertisement for Edward Grove, fashionable tailor and complete outfitter

Printer: Unknown

Medium: Lithograph, coloured

Date: 1880

Shelfmark: Evan.5827

Item number: 5827

Genre: Leaflet

At the beginning of the 19th century, all fashionable clothing for the upper classes was made by hand. Ladies and gentlemen selected fabrics, trimmings and threads and arranged for them to be made up by their tailor. Since this was an expensive process, clothes and fabrics would be expected to last a long time. Traditionally, a 'lady of quality' would pass garments on to her lady's maid, who would probably then sell them. Hand-sewn garments might also be remade into other items of clothing or cut down to fit children.

A trade in ready-made clothing developed steadily during the century and was well established by the 1870s. The larger department stores - including John Lewis, Jays, and Dickens and Jones based in London - were now able to include "fully sewn" dresses and ready-to-wear ranges alongside their made-to-measure clothes. However, although such stores might also offer a dressmaking service and even house a specially designated dressmaking salon, wealthy Victorians still preferred to use tailors like Edward Grove, whose bespoke designs are featured here. They might only visit the larger stores to select accessories, such as stockings, shawls and cloaks.

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