The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Clothing Through American History 1900 to the Present Volume 1, 1900–1949


The Greenwood Encyclopedia Of Clothing Through American History 1900 To The Present VOLUME 1 1900–1949
By Amy T. Peterson, Valerie Hewitt, Heather Vaughan, Ann T. Kellogg, and Lynn W. Payne

The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Clothing through American History, 1900 to the Present Volume 1, 1900-1949

Preface ix
Chronology of World and Fashion Events, 1900 1949 xiii
Part I: The Social Significance of Dress, 1900–1949 1
Chapter 1: The United States in 1900 1949: An Overview 3
Politics in America 5
Ethnicity in America 6
Art and Entertainment 7
Daily Life 9
The Changing Role of Women 10
Sexuality and Morality 11
Growing Up in America 12
Fashion 14
Chapter 2: Political and Cultural Events 19
The 1900s 21
The 1910s 28
The 1920s 33
The 1930s 39
The 1940s 44
Chapter 3: Art and Entertainment 53
The 1900s 55
The 1910s 61
The 1920s 66
The 1930s 71
The 1940s 78
Chapter 4: Daily Life 87
The 1900s 89
The 1910s 95
The 1920s 100
The 1930s 105
The 1940s 107
Chapter 5: The Individual and Family 115
The 1900s 117
The 1910s 126
The 1920s 130
The 1930s 138
The 1940s 140
Part II: Fashion and the Fashion Industry, 1900–1949 147
Chapter 6: The Business of Fashion 149
Haute Couture 150
Ready-to-Wear 155
Retail Operations 158
Fashion Communication 161
Fashion Technology 165
Chapter 7:Women’s Fashions 169
1900 1908, The Edwardian or La Belle Epoque Era 171
1909 1914, Empire Revival 180
1914 1919,WorldWar I 188
1920s, The Jazz Age 197
1930s, The Great Depression 211
1940 1946,WorldWar II 223
1947 1949, The New Look 237
Chapter 8: Men’s Fashions 247
The 1900s 248
The 1910s 256
1920s, The Jazz Age 263
1930s, The Great Depression 272
1940s,WorldWar II 280
Chapter 9: Children’s Fashions 289
The 1900s 291
The 1910s 297
1920s, The Jazz Age 307
1930s, The Great Depression 316
1940s,WorldWar II 326
Glossary, 1900 1949 341
Resource Guide, 1900 1949 347
Print and Online Publications 347
Films and Video Media 352
Museums, Organizations, Special Collections, and UsefulWebsites 354
Cumulative Index 361
About the Contributors 391

Fashion is influenced by society, and, in turn, fashion influences society. Changes in appearance, however subtle or minimal, reflect changes in society. As society changes and evolves, so does fashion. Fashion is not the exclusive purview of the social elite, nor can it be summarily dismissed as mere vanity. It is much more complex than just wearing the latest styles. We use fashion to express who we are and what we think and to project an image, bolster our confidence, and attract partners. Fashion crosses all strata of society and is tightly interwoven into each individual’s identity. Undeniably, fashion ‘‘… is an essential part of the human experience’’ (Damhorst, Miller, and Michelman 1999, p. xi).

Clothing through American History 1900 to the Present examines the relationship between social, cultural, and political developments and fashion in the United States. Volume One discusses the culture, clothing, and fashion in America from 1900 to 1949, and Volume Two discusses the culture, clothing, and fashion in America from 1950 to the present, about midway through 2008 at this writing. Both volumes in this set are structured to provide two levels of information to the reader: first, what people wore and, second, and perhaps more important, why they wore it. In addition to chapters on fashion trends, this work contains chapters specifically dedicated to examining the impact that politics, culture, arts and entertainment, daily life, and family structures have on fashion and how fashion can serve as an impetus for change in society. This set also examines the history of the fashion industry and the communication of fashion information in print, in movies and television, and across the Internet. Research for this work was conducted through numerous primary and secondary resources on fashion and history, which can be found in the chapter references and in the Resource Guide at the end of each volume, particularly in the ‘‘Print and Online Publications’’ section. Not all historical or current events, art movements, or socio-cultural theories were considered in the development of this book; the scope was limited only to those areas the authors believed directly impacted fashion trends. Nor is this book a comprehensive guide to subculture or alternative fashion movements; the focus is on the mainstream, common fashion trends that were adopted by the majority of Americans.

To guide the reader, a chronology of key historical events and fashion trends is provided at the beginning of each volume. Illustrations of significant fashion trends for both men and women are included to supplement the descriptive text, as does a glossary of fashion terms, which will assist the reader with terminology. An extensive resource guide of numerous articles and books, videos, and films that demonstrate fashion of certain eras, and a substantial listing of authoritative websites, including those for museums and special collections, rounds out the Selected Resources provided.

The birth of the twentieth century marked the beginning of the new, modern era that was more open, expressive, and progressive than the reserved and sober nineteenth-century Victorian era. Changes in society were rapidly taking place. The telephone, electricity, automobiles, and cameras, at first technological marvels, became commonplace items. Over the course of the century, mass-produced ready-to-wear clothing replaced custom-made hand-tailored clothing, allowing new fashions to be rapidly reproduced and distributed in large volumes simultaneously across the entire country. First store catalogs, and then the Internet, made fashions immediately accessible to individuals in even the most remote parts of the country. After World War II, the economic prosperity experienced by most of the United States resulted in a population shift from urban to suburban, and fashion followed suit with the development of the shopping mall.

The last half of the twentieth century was marked by space exploration, activism, and civil unrest. The tumult of the 1960s witnessed the birth of both space exploration and the Civil Rights Movement. Although the ultra-hip donned vinyl dresses with metallic details, African Americans explored their origins and adopted traditional forms of African dress to express their identity. Middle-class youth became involved in numerous social protest movements against the establishment and, dubbed ‘‘hippies,’’ chose to differentiate themselves from their parents by rejecting Jackie-O dress with high heels and Brooks Brother suits and adopting ethnic dress, long hair, and beards.

As the final decades of the twentieth century approached, the social consciousness of the 1960s and 1970s was replaced by conspicuous consumption in the 1980s. Instead of reflecting allegiance with a social movement, fashion now reflected one’s material worth and station in society. Status symbols were prominently displayed on all apparel, as well as on many household goods. Bigger was better, and indulging in luxury was the message broadcast to all of society.

In response to the excesses of the 1980s, the 1990s appeared almost generic. Most forms of self-expressions in fashions were gone: not so many designer labels nor as much conspicuous consumption. Khakis and white t-shirts became the norm and were considered acceptable dress for almost every occasion. Even the workplace began to dress down, implementing ‘‘business casual’’ and ‘‘casual Fridays,’’ instead of the standard suit and tie and dressy outfits for women. Whereas the 1980s screamed self-indulgence, the 1990s quietly and calmly, in an understated manner, closed out the century.

From the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne to mass merchandisers, from Nordstrom to, the rapid (and now global) dissemination of fashion information is a potent agent for change in society. Fashion and society are inextricably intertwined, each influencing the other. This book attempts to identify those connections and not just document the fashions of this time but also give context to them. As we progress through the twenty-first century, we will have to wait until enough time has passed to look back and read how fashion influenced twenty-first-century society and how the events of this new century are registered in the fashions we all wear.

We thank our friends, family, and colleagues for their support and encouragement throughout the course of this project. We are grateful for the assistance and reassurance that you each provided.

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