Americans began the twentieth century standing in Europe's sartorial shadow, yet ended by outfitting the world in blue jeans, T-shirts and sneakers. How did this come about? What changes in American culture were reflected in fashion? What role did popular culture play? This important overview of American fashion in the twentieth century considers how Americans went from imitating British and French fashion to developing their own sense of style. It examines such influences on dress as class, jazz and hip hop, war, the space race, movies, television and sports. Further, the book shows how gender, psychology, advertising, public policy, shifting family values, the American design movement and expertise in mass production profoundly influenced an American style that has been exported across the globe.
Early Americans accommodated, adapted, and manipulated their clothing to adjust to their physical and social environment. This book focuses on the relationship of dress to the struggle of indigenous and immigrant Americans to fill expected and unexpected needs and express political ideologies and ethnic identity. In doing so the contributors hope to prompt readers to reconsider the place of dress in the interpretation of American culture. The casual reader of this book of essays may be surprised to learn that it has little to do with different styles of clothing or the vagaries of fashion. The contributors reveal the politics, or power, of dress, especially in its function as a symbol of American ideals, and examine changes in clothing behavior that occurred as Americans faced new experiences.
The subjects of the essays in this book range from looking at the ever changing means of specific garments and clothing practices of subcultural groups to examining dress as a reflection of changing life styles in American culture. The essays also examine fashions, fads, and popular images. Dress and Popular Culture hopes to shed new light on popular culture through a study of the associations of dress to culture.
This unique four-volume encyclopedia examines the historical significance of fashion trends, revealing the social and cultural connections of clothing from the precolonial times to the present day. • Covers the fashions of all economic levels of Americans from the indigent to the very wealthy, from T-shirts to architecturally sculptured gowns and suits • Includes hundreds of illustrations, sidebars, and primary documents to illuminate important areas of interest and encourage active learning • Addresses topics such as the formal wear of the Belle Epoque era, hairstyles of the Empire Revival, haute couture, and the evolution of clothes for teenagers • Presents four full-color photographic essays of clothing styles throughout American history
"In Pantaloons and Power Gayle V. Fischer depicts how the reformers' denouncement of conventional dress highlighted the role of clothing in the struggle of power relations between the sexes. Wearing pantaloons was considered a subversive act and was often met with social ostracism. Fischer contends that while it was not the goal of many reformers to alter gender relations, as women adopted pantaloons the perception of male and female power relationships blurred, and the boundaries of social roles for women began to shift." "This carefully researched interdisciplinary study successfully combines the fields of costume history, women's history, material culture, and social history to tell the story of one highly charged dress reform and its resonance in nineteenth-century society."--BOOK JACKET.