Recycling a fashionable wardrobe in the long eighteenth century in Sweden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article highlights the role recycling played in clothes culture as found in examples from Lady Märta Helena Reenstierna’s diary (1793–1839) and garments in Swedish museum collections. By using approaches from Textile Studies, clothes are seen in a lifecycle perspective rather than regarding fashion as luxury consumption focusing on the moment of purchase. Recycling as a concept allows central aspects of the relationship between clothes and fashion to be discussed, such as financial resources, social expectations, legislation and age. This approach deepens the cultural-historical understanding of the use of clothing over time and the wardrobe as everyday practice. It opens up interpretations of the economic, cultural and emotional value of the fashionable wardrobe and gives insights into the consumer’s attitudes, values, fashion knowledge, textile skills and creativity. The study shows how closely intertwined the production and consumption of clothing was. I argue that recycling was crucial to keep and maintain a fashionable wardrobe over time. This is discussed in terms of the wardrobe as process and capital. The study shows that an appropriate fashionable wardrobe among women in the Swedish manor house milieu in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century was the result of an active and well-considered strategy.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cultural Studies


  • Recycling, second hand, textile studies, fashion, consumer behavior, sumptuary laws, lifecycle perspective
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-222
Number of pages29
JournalHistory of Retailing and Consumption
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Nov 29
Publication categoryResearch
EventWorkshop Återbruk - Sörmlands museum, Nyköping, Sweden
Duration: 2015 May 182015 May 19

Related research output

Pernilla Rasmussen, 2019 Sep, Structuring Fashion: Foundation Garments through History. Pietsch, J. & Kammel, F. M. (eds.). München: Hirmer Verlag, p. 84-99 15 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter

View all (1)

Related activities

Rasmussen, P. (Invited speaker)
2019 Mar 7

Activity: Talk or presentationPresentation

View all (1)