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Shopping in Georgian London

The world of shopping in Georgian London offered an array of retail experiences for women in pursuit of the ultimate in fashionable clothing, every bit as sophisticated as those open to the 21st-century shopper.

Pair of indoor shoes made with brocaded silk and leather, Spitalfields, c.1735.

The London Tradesman in 1747 described a milliner as a retailer who would 'furnish everything to the ladies that can contribute to set off their beauty, increase their vanity or render them ridiculous'. The milliner worked alongside the mantua-maker, the haberdasher, the draper and the stay-maker to provide elite and middling rank women with the tools of sartorial fashion. Drapers and haberdashers provided fabrics, notions and ready-made goods; mantua-makers provided a design and construction service for gowns; and the milliner's role bridged the two. From buttons and trims to ornate concoctions of headwear, this array of retailers provided a vital resource for women who aspired to be à la mode.

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