Worthing Museum Fashion Collection - Breeches

Updated: Oct 22, 2018

“The physicist William Tiller has demonstrated that thoughts can change the chemical nature of things and the space surrounding them. It is very likely then, that our clothing contains a record of our feelings, our greatest happiness’s and our saddest moments. In the future it may be possible to reconstruct the emotions and lifestyle of a person from their clothing. DNA can already be extracted from blood, skin and hair follicles – soon it may be possible to sample hormones, pheromones even amino acids from the analysis of sweat embedded within the fibres of a garment to recreate the emotions, character and intentions of the owner of a piece of clothing. More subtle technology may reveal what perfume you were wearing and what road you travelled along. Clothing and personal possessions may be the focus and inspiration of the museums of the future. The three dimensional archives of the emotional ephemera of our past creating a multi sensory virtual history tour of the future. Churchill’s cigar butt would perhaps recount witty anecdotes on vital decisions of World War II, Florence Nightingale’s bonnet would evoke the stench and horror of the Crimean War, teddy bears would speak of years of love and generations of cuddles and I’m not even going to mention lingerie. Anyway I’m off to spend happy moments with my favourite party frock”

Finally we looked at breaches. A buckskin pair from the Regency period and an earlier silk brocade pair of pantaloons from approximately 1720. We discussed who probably ownded them, how they were tied, the needs being met by the type of fit of both baggy or fitted breaches, both of which were fashionable at the time.

click here to listen to the associated audio

Because there are huge button holes in the fabric of these trousers just above the knee I expected to see buttons behind, but these holes were designed for what were known as Batchelor Buttons; removable buttons more akin to cufflinks, which would have been removed for washing and which have been lost in this case.

for more about batchelor buttons please see: