In this expansive history of cloth and clothing norms, Robert DuPlessis demonstrates how early modern trade extended the availability of textiles around the Atlantic world and how its heterogenous population understood and employed them. To construct this commodity history, DuPlessis employs an impressive array of source materials, including probate inventories, commercial records, and advertisements as well as a variety of visual representations. With an eye toward change over time, the inventories and other archival documentation from more than a dozen sites, including Cape Colony, South Africa, Salvador da Bahia, Charleston, and Saint-Domingue, have been sampled from two periods: the last half of the seventeenth century, and 1760 to 1774. Working thematically, DuPlessis reveals an Atlantic in which cloth and clothing moved easily across oceans and imperial borders.

He begins by discussing the various understandings of the body, bodily decoration, and fabrics and...

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