Foreign Fashions were Never out of Style
Annapolis maintained a thriving transatlantic trade throughout the Revolutionary period. One merchant noted in 1771 that "the quick importation of fashions from the mother country is really astonishing...a new fashion is adopted earlier by the...American than...in the great metropolis [London.]” Scottish-born cabinetmakers John Shaw and Archibald Chisholm were among the local artisans and merchants who imported goods from abroad. English fashions were popular in the city where wealthy residents could afford to adopt the latest styles.
This advertisement was published less than a week before George Washington resigned his commission, and indicates that importation continued after the end of the American Revolution. Shaw and Chisholm owned the largest shop in town and partnered from 1772-1776 and in 1783-1784.