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Laver's Law

Laver's Law
Costume and Fashion History

By Pauline Weston Thomas for

James Laver and Laws on the Timeline of Style

James Laver the famous costume historian and a past Keeper of the Robes at the London Victoria and Albert Museum, was a noted authority on dress and its relationship to society. When you assess any fashion look bear in mind his ideas on the timeline timetable of style.


Laver's Law says that fashions have a timeline and are considered to be:-

Laver's Law


10 years before its time


5 years before its time


1 year before its time




1 year after its time


10 years after its time


20 years after its time


30 years after its time


50 years after its time


70 years after its time


100 years after its time


150 years after its time 


James Laver was very astute, and in the 1970s Dr. Roy Strong wrote about Laver's idea in The Times many years after it was first proposed.  Why not check your wardrobe now and eliminate dowdy, hideous or ridiculous items.  Perhaps anything older has a certain museum quality or will come in handy for those 70's revival nights. 

Seriously if it is older than 20 years and it has a good label and in good condition it may well be valuable - ONE DAY - it is almost certainly already being collected by someone somewhere in the world and is described as vintage.  If you are philanthropic consider donating the item to a museum and leave them to decide if an item has historical value.  Alternatively check out some of the Vintage Fashion sites on the web and find out if you can do a deal.


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About looks at women's costume and fashion history and analyses the mood of an era.  Changes in technology, leisure, work, cultural and moral values. Homelife and politics also contribute to lifestyle trends, which in turn influence the clothes we wear.  These are the changes that make any era of society special in relation to the study of the costume of a period.Fashion History can take no responsibility for any information on the site which may cause you error, loss or costs incurred from use of the information and links either directly or indirectly.  This site is owned, designed, written and developed by author: Pauline Thomas and Guy Thomas. This site is designed to be viewed in 1024 X 768 or higher.

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