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Mirroring Dress

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses dress practice that reflects an ideal, edited version of the world; clothing of men, women, domestic staff, and children are all examined, as well as the related issue of personal hygiene and clothing care. Mirroring dress is a predictable reflection of one's social surrounding, defined by environmental, cultural and economic/ political criteria. Towards the end of nineteenth century, the Eurasians and those people with European status wore a three-piece suit only at special ceremonies and in Church. The concept of specially designed uniforms for domestic staff epitomized the desire of creating a colonial dreamscape where ordinary Totok women suddenly saw themselves and their families occupying the upper ranks of society. It is striking to note that Ambonese children usually wore western clothing even though their mothers were often clad in traditional ethnic dress. Redefinition of the Ambonese hierarchical order reinforced clothing difference and the treatment of clothing.

Keywords: domestic staff; ethnic dress; mirroring dress; personal hygiene; Totok women



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