From Margaret Drabble’s introduction to Lady Susan, The Watsons, and Sanditon:
We may tend to think Elizabeth Bennet a sensible girl not to mind getting her skirts muddy, and the Darcy and Bingley women ridiculous for noticing, but eighteenth-century mud was doubtless much more substantial than our own, and long skirts picked it up more, as those who now wear long skirts again will surely have noticed…. The Austen family wore pattens when young, to negotiate the country lanes round Steventon, a practice which seemed as archaic and vulgar to Jane Austen’s nephew, as the wearing of clogs would have seemed to us now, had not a freak of fashion brought them very nosily back again in 1972.
I confess I did wear clogs in the 70’s, though I preferred pants to maxi-skirts. I wonder what cultural trends we could relate to Jane Austen today? Perhaps laptops are today’s writing desks, and instead of daily letter-writing today’s young ladies check Facebook.