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Serena Dyer is currently working on an ESRC funded PhD at the University of Warwick, entitled ‘Alteration and Authenticity: The Afterlife of Eighteenth-Century Dress’. Her work focuses on the motivations behind the alteration of dress and the influence of these changes on the identity of garments as material objects. You can read about her work on her Warwick webpage.

Previously, Serena studied for an MA in Eighteenth Century Studies at the University of York, where her thesis was called “We Will Send You What is Most Fashionable”: Sociability and the Sensory Consumption of Dress Beyond the Shop, 1760-1830′. Serena has presented papers based on this research at the White Rose Eighteenth Century Conference (Leeds), the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies Postgraduate Forum (York), the annual Centre for the History of Retailing and Distribution Conference (Wolverhampton), Desiring Fashion: The Consumption and Dissemination of Dress 1750-1850 (York), and as part of the Dressing Sensibly: Sensory Approaches to Dress for Archaeologists at the Theoretical Archaeology Group Conference 2012 (Liverpool). Serena’s research was supported by funding from The Costume Society, the K G Ponting Memorial Bursary and the Pasold Research Fund. Serena recently organised the conference and accompanying exhibition Desiring Fashion: The Consumption and Dissemination of Dress 1750-1850, which brought together established names in dress history, such as Aileen Ribeiro and Lesley Miller. She has also worked as a freelance research assistant, costume mounter and lecturer with organisations such as Fairfax House, York and the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute. Her first book, ‘Bergere, Poke and Cottage: Understanding Early Nineteenth Century Headwear’ was published last year. Serena also writes for Your Wardrobe Unlock’d and Worn Through: Apparel from an Academic Perspective.

Serena now works for the National Trust as an Outreach Officer, and is involved in setting up a new hub for heritage volunteers in the Yorkshire region. She is also part of the Leeds Museums and Galleries Costume and Textiles curatorial team, working on a project to catalogue and document new acquisitions.

Please see the Dressing History facebook page for more information and the latest updates on our work.


Links and Resources

Your Wardrobe Unlock'd: the costume maker's companion
National Trust

Kentwell Hall



Jane Austen Today

Jane Austen's World

Meg Andrews

The Textile Society




Serena Dyer