and traditional styles were steadily overtaken by factory produced alternatives.
The costume of country women lagged behind that of town dwellers until
the middle of the nineteenth century when simplified versions of more
fashionable clothes were increasingly adopted. For the poor, new clothes
were often hand-made at home with cloth bought from both local shops and
travelling salesmen. A large trade in second hand, and even third and
fourth hand, clothes existed during this period. The wives and daughters
of prosperous farmers however, sought as fashionable clothes as they could
find. From the turn of the twentieth century the distinction between rural
and town costume had virtually disappeared and country women dressed to
suit their personal taste and what their pockets could afford. The country
woman pictured is wearing a waist apron and a sun bonnet. Such bonnets
were particularly popular between 1840 and 1914.