Clothing Styles of Peasant Women, Jamaica, 1840s

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This record was last updated on 27 Dec 2012

Image Reference

James M. Phillippo, Jamaica: its past and present state (London, 1843), p. 230

Captioned, "Female Negro Peasant in her Sunday and Working Dress," shows the difference in clothing styles; both figures carry baskets, one under the arm, the other on her head. The author, a Baptist missionary, had resided in Jamaica since 1823. Although this scene is post-emancipation it is evocative of the later slave period (which ended in 1834-38). "Seldom, indeed," Phillippo writes, " is an individual seen, especially on the Sabbath, except in the most becoming attire. . . . The dress of the women generally consists of a printed or white cotton gown, with a white handkerchief tied in a turban-like manner round their heads, and a neat straw hat trimmed with white riband; while some, especially the young women, wear straw bonnets and white muslin dresses . . . . Contrary to the prevailing opinion in England, the taste of the females is no longer characterized by a love of gaudy colours" (pp. 230-31).