Collectively, sumptuary laws reflect a need for permanence that is shared by governments, religions, and smaller societal groups alike. That so many have been written and so few endure speaks to the fundamental dissonance between the institutional need for stability and the personal desire for independence.

See also Colonialism and Imperialism; Europe and America: History of Dress (400-1900 C.E.)


Baldwin, Frances Elizabeth. Sumptuary Legislation and Personal Regulation in England. Vol. 44: Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1926. Benhamou, Reed. "The Restraint of Excessive Apparel: England 1337-1604." Dress 15 (1989), 27-37. Great Britain. Statutes of the Realm. London: 1890. Reprint,

London: Dawson, 1963. Vincent, John Martin. Costume and Conduct in the Laws of Basel, Bern, and Zurich 1370-1800. New York: Greenwood, 1969. Original edition published in 1935.

Internet Resource "Platform Shoes of the 1600s." Available from < html>.

Reed Benhamou

SUNGLASSES Sunglasses, spectacles with tinted lenses, were originally a purely practical safety device, designed to protect the eyes from excess sun and glare. In the twentieth century, however, they became an important fashion accessory, whose use and meaning continues to evolve.

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