The fashion reference for upper middle-class women was Paris and prototype for men was the English gentleman and, to some extent, the Frenchman too. The tireless and meticulous handwork of many seamstresses and dressmakers required skills and abilities which are unimaginable today. All these designs were inspired by trends set mainly in Paris and London.
The concept of elegance spread through magazines and publications, some of which were foreign, promoting not just a fashion to follow, but also a way of living in which the women were kept out of important affairs, decisions and concerns of the modern age, which were reserved only for men.
Generally speaking, working women could only access a limited number and type of jobs, whereby there was no such thing as coexistence between the two sexes, except in the case of family businesses. The sectors open to women were essentially sales and domestic-service; such as sardine sellers, milkmaids, shop assistants, maids, cleaners, ironers, etc.
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