THE DRESS THAT CAUSED A STIR SERIES

 

This series was inspired by a comment found in a Sunday Magazine: "Every woman should own at least one dress that causes a stir!" The line made me smile as I wondered how much of a stir a dress could actually cause. I decided to take a look at important past inventions to explore if female clothing could be the inspiration behind their genesis. 

This story follows a young girl's frustration with her fiancé and his numerous, unsuccessful get-rich-quick schemes. Ennelin is dressed in a distinctive head dress and green robe. Her styling of these garments becomes increasingly ludicrous as her frustration grows. By the end of the story she has broken off their engagement and her flexible manner of wearing her clothing has inspired him to create the printing press. 

 

Many of the facts in the story are true. Guttenberg was involved in a number of dubious money making schemes and did have a broken engagement to a woman called Ennelin before going on to invent the printing press...... it is unknown if he was inspired by her clothing.  

Set in the eighteenth century, this story introduces us to Tetty Johnson, a stout, middle-aged woman getting dressed for an evening out. Tetty demands items of clothing layer by layer from a long suffering maid who finds it increasingly hard to understand the words Tetty is using. Tetty gets more and more frustrated and the maid gets more and more flustered. Throughout the story we glimpse Tetty's husband, a man called Samuel. He is ignoring the commotion and is busy scribbling something. Tetty berates him for always writing but never writing anything useful. She suggests if he wants to write something that he write a book which explains the meaning of words.

 

The book uses actual eighteenth century words which have since gone out of fashion. The vocabulary is unfamiliar to the modern day reader and the story is purposely hard to understand. In real life, Samuel Johnson became famous for creating a dictionary. His wife was apparently lovely.