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What We Wore | A history of fashion from 1720 to 1982

About this collection

This unusual collection of programmes reveals what it took to be stylish through over 250 years of British history as it explores fashion from 1720 to 1982.

Included here is the first colour series made by the BBC. Pre-dating colour TV by a decade, this is the first time it has been available to view as it was intended. It also features some surprising live models.

Witness the gradual democratisation of fashion through the ages and see how clothes began to throw off the shackles of class from the 1960s onwards.

What We Wore Collection

A row of women dressed in frocks from different periods in history.

Men, Women and Clothes

How Fashions Come and Go

BROADCAST 1957
15 MINUTES

The BBC's first ever series in colour explores the history of fashion.

A stylish woman wearing a wide-brimmed hat.

Men, Women and Clothes

Sense and Nonsense in Fashion

BROADCAST 1957
15 MINUTES

Irrational clothes - a look at why we wear things we can't function in.

A woman applies lipstick while looking into a compact mirror.

Men, Women and Clothes

Fashions in Faces and Figures

BROADCAST 1957
14 MINUTES

How fashion dictates body shape and facial decoration.

Close up on woman in frilly cape.

Men, Women and Clothes

Formal Clothes

BROADCAST 1957
14 MINUTES

From christenings to funerals - how clothes signify important occasions.

A woman sunbathing under a large parasol.

Men, Women and Clothes

Informal Clothes

BROADCAST 1957
14 MINUTES

Everyday wear from the last 200 years.

A woman smiles from behind a fan.

Men, Women and Clothes

Facing the Elements

BROADCAST 1957
15 MINUTES

'The purpose of most fashion is to be ostentatiously non-functional.'

Presenter, guest and rolls of fabric.

Clothes That Count

Shirt Waister

BROADCAST 1967
29 MINUTES

Keep up to the minute by making this attractive and versatile dress.

Three fashion models wearing suits in 1955.

Clothes That Count

Suit

BROADCAST 1967
30 MINUTES

Suits for women of all shapes, sizes and postcodes.

Back view of two girls in different length skirts.

Clothes That Count

A Double-Breasted Coat

BROADCAST 1967
29 MINUTES

Solve your outer-wear problems with a fashionable and functional coat.

Presenter at desk and fashion model in minidress.

New Clothes That Count

Suit

BROADCAST 1969
29 MINUTES

Look smart and stylish with this trendy suit.

Fashion model in striped jumper holding an umbrella.

Knitting Fashion

Setting the Style

BROADCAST 1976
22 MINUTES

Making fashionable garments at a fraction of the retail cost.

Male and female fashion models in knitwear at picnic.

Knitting Fashion

Design for Yourself

BROADCAST 1976
25 MINUTES

In fashion 'all designers should be obsolete'.

A close shot of two reels of thread.

Weekend Wardrobe

One

BROADCAST 1982
24 MINUTES

How to make your own Caroline Charles outfit.

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