Panache: 300 Years of Women’s Fashion (55+)

Frivolous or formal, austere or extravagant, fashion in every era has expressed the stylish confidence captured in the word “panache.”

We will explore three centuries of fashion, starting with the baroque, rococo and neoclassical styles (1700–1820), moving on to the Romantic and Victorian eras (1820–1900) and coming up to date through Edwardian and modern times (1900–2000). We will examine the styles of each period in detail and learn how changes in fashion have been influenced by politics, economics, technology and social attitudes. Our progress through the centuries will be illustrated by numerous slides, as well as examples of original garments from the instructor’s famous collection of historic clothing.

Please note that enrollment in this course is reserved for adults 55+.

Currently not available for registration.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, you should be able to:

  • Describe significant features of fashions of different eras
  • Give examples of how economics, politics, technology and wider society have influenced fashion
  • Discuss how some aesthetic qualities (such as panache) persist through changing fashions

Learning methods

You will learn through lecture with time for questions and answers (may vary from class to class). For Liberal Arts Certificate for 55+ students: you will write a reflective essay.


Week 1: Baroque, Rococo and Neo-classical fashion (1700 – 1820)

Week 2: Romantic and Victorian fashion (1820 – 1900)

Week 3: Edwardian and modern fashion (1900 – 2000)

Books, materials and resources

Reading material (if applicable) will be available in class. Some course materials may be available online.

Academic integrity and student conduct

You are expected to comply with Simon Fraser University’s Academic Integrity and Student Conduct Policies. Please click here for more details. Simon Fraser University is committed to creating a scholarly community characterized by honesty, civility, diversity, free inquiry, mutual respect, individual safety, and freedom from harassment and discrimination.

If you're 55+, you may take this course as part of

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