1. Fanny Parkes lived in India for a long time and her travel book (1850) is quite lively in it’s description of the country. Parkes was a bit of an Indophile, not uncommon in pre colonial India. Re the extract while India certainly changed Parkes’ perception on style and taste, the debate between classical Western drapery and the excesses of 19th century fashion I think was much debated in her time.
2. Wu Tingfang wrote a book on his American experiences (1914) which contrasts Chinese and American mores, sometimes in a humorous vein. The extract is from a chapter on American costumes, in it the author discusses both aesthetics and comfort and contrasts it with the Chinese ideal.
3. Anne Hollander wrote extensively on art and dress. The extract is from Sex and Suits which posits that innovations in men’s clothing post Beau Brummel became the template for 20th century fashions for women. It also discusses the fashioning of fashion (so to speak!) and visual representation in the West making it compelling to the rest of the world (which see sees as more fixed…I think).
Just a few extracts that kind of highlight the differing aesthetics and philosophy underlying clothing in the East and West. Which have often been discussed i.e. drape vs structure, timeless vs transitory, group vs individualistic and the like with one preferred over the other depending upon the writer.
Wu Tingfang playfully ends his chapter by suggesting that everyone adopt Chinese clothing but of course thus far the modern age has more often than not gone the other way. Though as this blog shows, not always:)