Journal Article

Clothing Economy and Clothing Culture: The Nineteenth-Century Farm Wardrobe in a Gendered Perspective



This article examines the clothing of landowning farmers in inland Swedish from a gendered perspective during industrialisation in the nineteenth century. It considers clothes as possessions and goods within a European framework of trade and influence. In particular, it shows how clothing was a means of expression that changed during the course of industrialisation and how gender became an important factor in the supply and making of clothes. In the region examined, clothing changed from being a local fashion, characterised by similarities in material and workmanship between men's and women's clothes, to become a part of fashion in general with its emphasis on differences between men's and women's wardrobes. In the early nineteenth century, the female wardrobe accounted for a higher value as it included a greater share of garments made of manufactured fabrics. In late nineteenth century, when industrial forestry had replaced livestock farming as the main source of income in the area, men's wardrobes grew in value due to increased demand for tailor-made garments and purchased fabrics. By contrast, women's garments were often made of simpler fabrics and sewn by seamstresses. These changes responded to the growing breadwinner–homemaker ideal and to national-romantic ideas about folk costume – two tendencies that emphasised female domesticity and home-woven fabrics.

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  • Type:
    Journal Article (peer reviewed)
  • Journal:
    Gender & History.
  • Published:
  • Language:

About the Author

Marie Tengroth Ulväng

Marie Ulväng is Senior Lecturer in Fashion Studies, Stockholm University. She has experience working with collections and exhibitions at museums and has practical training in sewing and pattern design, from Stockholms Tillskärarakademi, among othe... Read more


Tengroth Ulväng, M. (2021). Clothing Economy and Clothing Culture: The Nineteenth-Century Farm Wardrobe in a Gendered Perspective. Gender & History. Available at: [Accessed 4 Oct. 2022].