Mary Wollstonecraft’s fashion choices
were aggressively frumpy for good strong political reasons. Here is one of my favorite MW passages. One of her little girl characters complains, “In this dress I am bound like a prisoner. Sometimes my hair tickles me, my feathers and flowers keep my head stiff, my stays hurt me, and when I begin to play, my flounces, flowers, or frock, catch every tree. Nay, the boys tread on my train on purpose to see me look silly.”
Of course, this lament is MW’s lament. It’s mine, too. Not that the boys tread on my train. But sometimes it feels like they do, at least metaphorically.