The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Clothing Through American History 1900 to the Present Volume 2, 1950-Present


The Greenwood Encyclopedia Of Clothing Through American History 1900 To The Present Volume 2, 1950-Present
By Jos_e Blanco F., Scott Leff, Ann T. Kellogg, and Lynn W. Payne

Greenwood Encyclopedia of Clothing through American History

Preface ix
Chronology of World and Fashion Events, 1950 to the Present xiii
Part I: The Social Significance of Dress 1
Chapter 1: The United States from 1950 to the Present:
An Overview 3
Politics in America 4
Ethnicity in America 6
Arts and Entertainment 7
Daily Life 9
The Changing Role of Women 11
Sexuality and Morality 12
Growing Up in America 13
Fashion 14
Chapter 2: Political and Cultural Events 17
The 1950s 19
The 1960s 24
The 1970s 30
The 1980s 35
The 1990s and 2000s 40
Chapter 3: Arts and Entertainment 49
The 1950s 51
The 1960s 58
The 1970s 67
The 1980s 74
The 1990s and 2000s 83
Chapter 4: Daily Life 95
The 1950s 96
The 1960s 100
The 1970s 104
The 1980s 108
The 1990s and 2000s 112
Chapter 5: The Individual and Family 119
The 1950s 121
The 1960s 126
The 1970s 134
The 1980s 142
The 1990s and 2000s 148
Part II: Fashion and the Fashion Industry, 1950–2008 157
Chapter 6: The Business of Fashion 159
Haute Couture 160
Ready-to-Wear 164
Retail Operations 167
Fashion Communication 170
Fashion Technology 174
Chapter 7:Women’s Fashions 179
The 1950s 180
The 1960s 192
The 1970s 204
The 1980s 215
The 1990s 227
The 2000s 236
Chapter 8: Men’s Fashions 247
The 1950s 249
The 1960s 258
The 1970s 268
The 1980s 277
The 1990s 287
The 2000s 297
Chapter 9: Children’s Fashions 305
The 1950s 306
The 1960s 319
The 1970s 332
The 1980s 347
The 1990s and 2000s 360
Glossary, 1950 to the Present 375
Resource Guide, 1950 to the Present 381
Print and Online Publications 381
Films and Video Media 388
Museums, Organizations, Special Collections, and UsefulWebsites 390
Cumulative Index 397
About the Contributors 427

The United States from 1950 to the Present: An Overview
The United States entered the greatest period of economic growth it ever experienced after World War II (WWII). The population of the United States grew by 28 million between 1950 and 1960, representing the second-highest decade of population increase during the century. With a U.S. population of about 150 million in 1950, the postwar housing shortage for returning G.I.s (for ‘‘government issue’’) and their new families gave way to a new style of living, the suburbs. The suburbs offered newer housing, more open space, and usually better schools. However, prosperity did not reach all population groups. Many Americans, including a high percentage of African Americans, continued to live in poverty.

President Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) declared a ‘‘war on poverty’’ in 1964 with his ‘‘Great Society’’ program. As a result, unemployment dropped from 5.5 percent in 1960 to 3.5 percent in 1969 (Kurian 1994, 75), and the number of U.S. citizens living below the poverty line decreased from 22.4 percent in 1960 to 14.7 percent in 1966. However, these gains were only temporary, and soon the United States faced extreme inflation, a recession, oil embargoes, and gas shortages. Unemployment rose steadily throughout the 1970s, peaking at 7.7 percent in 1976 (Kurian 1994, 75). By many measures, the average American’s life had become much more difficult: interest rates were nearing 20 percent, and, from 1974 to 1975 alone, the number of poor grew by 10 percent (Zinn 1995, 545).

In response to the economic downturn of the 1970s, the nation elected Ronald Reagan president in 1980, and, over the next nine years, personal income grew at a rapid rate, increasing approximately 85 percent (Berkin 1995, 964). The last half of the twentieth century closed with the U.S. population almost doubling the 1950 level; more than 281 million people now resided in the United States. The world population also boomed at the close of the century to reach 6 billion. The United States, as part of an overpopulated world, now faced ever-increasing challenges dealing with poverty, crime, immigration, and environmental concerns.

To many, the 1950s conjure an image of an idyllic and peaceful America; however, the reality was quite different from the image. The utopia everyone believed in was supported by the election of the ‘‘perfect president,’’ Dwight D. Eisenhower, in 1952. Eisenhower was a war hero and supported the building of federal highways and the St. Lawrence Seaway for commerce. However, behind the ‘‘perfect’’ fa_cade was a president planning not for a utopia but for nuclear war against the escalating communist threat; his support for federal highways was actually a plan to provide a network of emergency runways in case of Soviet attack. The eight years of the Eisenhower administration were marked by economic growth and innovation as well as the escalation of the Cold War and the threat of nuclear war that left Americans uneasy about the future.

When John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK) was sworn in as the thirty-fifth president of the United States in January 1961, it signaled an awakening in America. In his inaugural speech, JFK stated that ‘‘the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans.’’ The assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas on November 22, 1963, brought a tragic end to an administration that had captured the public’s imagination. His successor, LBJ, capitalized on residual goodwill toward the fallen president to pass many of JFK’s social programs as well as to champion his own.

The great strides that LBJ’s administration made on social issues were overshadowed by the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War. Now, with the Vietnam conflict as an impetus, many groups were chafing against the established order: ‘‘There was general revolt against oppressive, artificial, previously unquestioned ways of living. It touched every aspect of personal life: childbirth, childhood, love, sex, marriage, dress, music, art, sports, language, food, housing, religion, literature, death, schools’’ (Zinn 1995, 526).

The presidential election of 1968 signaled the end of an era. By electing Richard Nixon, who had first gained notoriety during the Red Scare of the 1950s, the U.S. public signaled that it was fatigued by the upheaval of the 1960s and longed for someone to restore order. Driven in part by the growing antiwar movement, President Nixon began a de-escalation of U.S. forces in Vietnam. Although Nixon’s policy toward the war contributed to his reelection in 1972, his administration would soon be overwhelmed by scandal. In the midst of the country’s economic challenges, a political firestorm erupted over allegations of obstruction of justice and conspiracy by the Nixon administration. By June 1973, when 67 percent of the public believed that the president had been involved or had lied to cover up his involvement in the Watergate scandal (Zinn 1995, 532), the president had no choice but to take an unprecedented step: resign from office.

President Gerald Ford, who succeeded Richard Nixon after his resignation, was a decent, honest man who, in the opinion of many, was not capable of healing the nation and setting it on the right course. Jimmy Carter defeated Ford in the 1976 election, but to many, he seemed similarly unable to restore the country’s faith in the presidency and government as a whole.

The presidency of Ronald Reagan was not only marked by increased wealth in the United States and a move toward conservatism but also by a commitment to a strong foreign policy. From the Middle East to Grenada, the message seemed clear: America had claimed a place as a superpower and worked to unite the world.

The economic and world policies established by Reagan were to be continued through the presidency of George Bush. However, two years after Bush’s election in 1988, the United States faced both an economic recession and a war in the Persian Gulf. By 1992, Bush’s approval rating had dropped to 40 percent, paving the way for the election of Bill Clinton. Clinton’s agenda called for a stronger domestic policy, with a focus on education and healthcare. Even after facing several personal scandals and possible impeachment, Clinton remained one of the most popular American presidents, serving two terms. However, the 2000 election night would send Americans to bed without knowing who their next president would be, George W. Bush or Al Gore. Voter irregularities, especially in Florida, meant that Americans had to wait for an entire month for the final results naming George W. Bush the next president.

George W. Bush reinstated a strong foreign policy, which became more focused after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. His presidency led the United States into another war in the Middle East, this one focused on eliminating terrorist activities and bringing democracy to Iraq. Reelected for a second term in 2004, Bush has presided over a nation divided in terms of war, morality, scientific research, the economy, and international affairs. President Bush’s approval rate had plummeted to 25 percent in October of 2007. Illegal immigration and an ailing economy on the verge of recession were the top debate issues during the primary elections in the spring of 2008, issues that continued to be debated during the general election by Democratic candidate Barack Obama and Republican candidate John McCain.

This book is US$10
To get free sample pages OR Buy this book

Share this Book!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.