In 1836, two tailors transformed the fashion industry forever when they opened the first chemiserie, a shirt store, in Paris. Their radical feat? They tailored a shirt. 

In this episode, John Finkelberg tells the story of how Monsieurs Pierret and Lami-Housset essentially invented the precursor to the modern button-down shirt. Within a few years, these garments were one of the most sought-after luxury goods. Created by expert men, these revolutionary new products embodied new notions of masculinity developing in nineteenth century Paris.

Except one of the tailors, Monsieur Pierret, was actually a woman.

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Historian Biography

John Finkelberg is a PhD candidate in History at the University of Michigan and a graduate student fellow at the Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies. He is the co-author, with Susan Siegfried, of “Fashion in the Life of George Sand,” published in Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body, and Culture (2020).  His PhD thesis, “Becoming a Man in the Age of Fashion: Gender and Menswear in Nineteenth-Century France,” traces the production, sale, use, and representation of menswear in France from the July Revolution of 1830 to the collapse of the Second French Empire in 1870.

Production Credits

Episode Producer: John Finkelberg

Voice Actors: Alexander Clayton, Frank Espinosa 

Host and Season Producer: Allie Goodman

Executive Producer: Gregory Parker

Editorial Board: Alexander Clayton, Henry Cowles, Christopher DeCou, Allie Goodman, Gregory Parker, Hannah Roussel

Image: N.n., “...Chemise de Pierret et Lamy [sic] Housset,” La Mode: Revue du monde élégant, vol.8 (1836). Hand-colored lithograph, 24.5 x 16 cm, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris.