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Class and Fashion

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Veronica Alvarado

on 23 October 2013

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Transcript of Class and Fashion

Class and Fashion
Social Identity in Clothing
“One of the most visible markers of social status and gender and therefore useful in maintaining or subverting symbolic boundaries, clothing is in indication of how people in different eras have perceived their positions in social structures and negotiated status boundaries. ”

Edwardian Era
How Does it Relate to Our Learning?
Lower Class
Hot Couture Not for Everybody
“An early 1910 survey of wealthy high school senior students at a private NYC girls’ school discovered that, on average, the girls would spend over about $556 annually for clothing excluding undergarments.”

(Weed, 1910).
“It was an era of beautiful clothes and the peak of luxury living for a select few: the very rich and the very privileged through birth."
It was the time to celebrate society’s success due to technological advances.
Fashion was becoming available in stores.

In the 1890s, American artist Charles Dana Gibson introduced society to the image of “The New Woman,” who was curvaceous and fashionable in America and Britain.

Gibson Ideal for Women:
Chignon, pompadour, or bouffant-styled hair.
Tall and Slender
“Ample” bosom
Hips and Buttocks
An exaggerated S-curve torso achieved by corset.

Dressing the Upper Class Woman
Price of Keeping Up With the Fashion
Health professionals did not encourage use of corset for S-curve.
Upper-class and middle-class women willing to suffer in corsets in order to have that “Gibson Girl” body.
Women expected to change four times a day for different occasions.

Men's Fashion
Men wore one or three button cutaway frock coats, or the single or double breasted 'sack’
Wore with a bowler hat and high collar with bow tie.
Overcoats were generally worn short, at knee length.

The workers had poor wages, poor living conditions, and undernourished and sick.
Some helped with production of garments, but would never make enough to afford the clothing they worked on.

The sudden demand for ready to wear garments led to dependency on sweat shop workers.
Women's Fashion
Death to the Corset
S-figure corset styles replaced with straight, natural figures. (Loosened-waist)
Hobble-skirts (1910-1915)
Full skirt (1915-1920)
Way more casual
By 1918 clothes were straighter and curveless. (Boyish look)
Not a coincidence: Women's Suffrage Movement taking place.
Shorter hair also in fashion.
Men's Fashion
Men's Fashion
Sack coat replaces last decade's frock coat.
Silk top hats used for formal wear.
Three-piece suits with wastecoats.
Trousers were ankle-length with cuffs or turn-ups.
Evening wear was worn with a white bow tie and a shirt with a winged collar.
Lower-class and middle-class men using newsboy and flat caps.
Men's fashion no where near as impacted as women's
The Roarin' Twenties
Most Dramatic Change in Styles of Dress
Women in workforce and voting polls: fashion trends become more masculine, and practical.
Garments no longer fastened by corsets, but hooks, zippers, and buttons.
Women a lot more liberated in dress and in everyday life.
Era of the Flappers
Bobbed hair-style
Cloche hats
Flapper dress:
Shorter hemline
Flattened bust-line
Boyish look
Middle-class and working women also follow styles of upper-class.
New production methods allowed working families to also be in-style for affordable prices.
In general, the average person's fashion sense became more sophisticated.
Clothing that adapted to their active lifestyle
Working women
Men's Fashion
3-piece to baggy plus fours (Knickerbockers)
Boyish look also popular.
Suits become wide-legged, yet had slimmer fit.
Lots of bright colors to represent optimism of the time.
Suits of the 1920s are ones that are most similar to today's.
In the 1930s, the suits return to dark and somber during the Great Depression.
"Being considered old-fashioned, out-of-date, or—worse yet—unable to afford stylish new products was a fate many Americans went to great lengths to avoid." (Batchelor, 2009)
Into the 1930s
This all changed in 1929, when the stock market crashed...
The Effect of World War ll
Fashion overshadowed by WWII.
European fashion no longer available in U.S. due to war.
American designers had the chance to shine.
Most fabrics not available due to need for military purposes.
Fabrics and money were limited so most trends represented practicality and utilitarian way of life.
Men's Fashion
Simplified clothes: suits made of rationed materials.
No vests, pocket flaps, or trouser cuffs.
Casual dress: Hawaiian shirts very popular after the war.
More colors and creative ties.
Zoot Suit-
Popular in the 30s and into the 40s
Considered unpatriotic.
Excess material went far against the standard of rationing.
Women's Fashion
Christian Dior's "New Look" came out in 1947.
Consisted of below-midcalf length, full-skirt, pointed bust, small waist, and rounded shoulder line.
A Brief Look at 1940s fashion
Dior's "New Look" became more popular.
Teenagers set the trends in this era
Women's fashion:
Tight bodices
Flowing or Fitted Skirts (Pencil skirt)
High heels and sensual undergarments
Hour glass shape
Women's Fashion
Men's Fashion
Everyday Look
Casual wear:
Ankle-length pants
Pedal Pushers
Bermuda Shorts
Floral and loose patterned tops.

Men's Styles
Based on conservatism
Most men wore suits for work- dark blue, brown & charcoal
Ivy League style for everyday- consisted of cardigan sweaters, pink was popular color
Booming Economy
In the second half of the 50s the economy boomed and consumerism started.
Women's Fashion
Men's Fashion
Jacqueline Kennedy:
Fashion icon of the time.
Pillbox hats, pastel suits with short boxy jackets and oversized buttons, Capri trousers
Fashion "It Girl"
Mid-decade: miniskirts, hot pants with go-go boots.
Men wore bright colors, casual shirts were often plaid and button-down, polyester pants suits, turtlenecks
The Beatles
Beatles become popular and so fashion trends were started by them- longer hair for boys.
Hippie styles emerged:
Towards the end of the decade.
Influenced by the Vietnam war.

Continuation of Hippie Style
Hot pants, platform shoes, bell bottoms, jumpsuits
Glam rock was popular music that brought outrageous styles, makeup and hairstyles- feather boas, rabbit-fur jackets, and satin quilted jackets.
The women's movement took place during this time, wanting economic equality for sexes.
Need for work was more important than being in style. "The Depression certainly helped bring the clothes of the different classes closer together..." (Laver, p. 245)
"It was as if fashion were trying to say: 'The party is over; the Bright Young Things are dead."(Laver, p. 241).
Effect of the Great Depression
The Stock Market Crash of 1929
Materialism defined this decade, as the western world experienced an economic boom.
Of all the decades in the past century, ‘80s fashion is remembered for having the most outrageous styles.
Big hair, heavy makeup, pounds of metal jewelry and pearls, and mixed bright colors are trademark styles of ‘80s fashion
Designer Trends
Flaunting designer brands as symbols of wealth became popular.
Money dominated much of the style in the ‘80s
Mass producers replicating high-end clothing for the middle and lower classes.
Fashion was centered on top designer clothes and accessories, while everything else seemed to just be a duplicate of that.
Women's Fashion
Men's Fashion
Clothing was a sign of power for many women.
The “power suit” became a symbol of the 80's
It was believed that women would need such a suit to climb the corporate ladder.
Shoulder pads were also a trend as large shoulders on women asserted that they were powerful and successful
Designers Anne Klein, Vivian Westwood, Jean Paul Gaultier, Moschino, and John Galliano were among the top fashion designers for men.
• Preppy-styled suits were considered professional wear
• Guys hair styles were generally long and layered, teased, or in a Mohawk-do.
• For the casual look, leather and studded jean jackets were "rad"
80s Punk Fashion
Opposite to the wealthy women in suits, teenagers and party-goers wore leather, bright neon hues, big hair, and lot of makeup.
This “party-like” trend stemmed from Madonna’s music videos.
With MTV airing music videos, American teens could see how their favorite celebrities and musicians dressed and could then copy their styles in their own unique ways.
The Nineties
Whatever its expression, comfort was the key factor in clothing choice in the ‘90s. The decade began to reject the moneyed and over-worked styles of designers of the 80's and opted for more causal wear.
• minimalist style
• hip hop
• rocker/grunge
• preppy
Female Fashion
Work Place Attire
Relaxed standards
More personal style
The Preppy Style: All-American Girl
Symbol of popularity and high class.

The media promoted sexuality and clothing became more sexualized, suggestive, and fashion-forward.
Belly shirts, short skirts and skorts, low-rise pants, high heels etc.
Sexuality in 1980s Media
New Trends
Vintage second-hand clothes
Gothic and cyber punk styles appeared as well as hemp clothing.
Suits in a wide range of cuts, colors and patterns
Men no longer adhered to one specific fashion, rather to whichever they preferred
Millenial Times
2000 and Beyond
Recycled Trends
80's shoulder pad now the “architectural shoulder”
boot-cut and flared jeans now toned-down versions of bell-bottoms
Both real vintage and vintage-inspired clothes have become popular.
Boho hippie look has come back in fashion
With Modern Twists
Men & Women's Fashion
Inequality in Fashion
Men's style has also a mixture of the many elements of all previous fashion eras:
The baggy pants of the '20s,
The casual shirt of the '40s,
Platforms from the '70s,
Retro from the '90s all rolled together.
In the U.S., this takes place in sweatshops, located predominately within third-world countries.
ITGLWF (International Textile Garment & Leather Workers' Federation) visited eighty-three random sweetshops located in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Sir Lanka.
American brands.
Horrible working conditions
unfair wages
unreasonable hours, child labor, and a lack of benefits for workers (ITGLWF 2).
Labor Laws
America has stronger labor laws than most undeveloped countries, but it is not free of sweatshops. Many slip under the radar of the U.S.Department of Labor.
• According to SweatFree Communities, “In 2000, more than 11,000 sweatshops in the U.S. violated the minimum wage and overtime laws, while over 16,000 had broken health and safety laws" -http://www.sweatfree.org/
"Perfect Body"
Neither healthy nor natural.
Stomachs must be flat and toned,
Breasts predominantly oversized,
Wrinkles non-existent.
The Upper Class and Plastic Surgery
American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPA)
307,000 breast augmentations
205,000 liposuctions
119,000 facelifts
Approximately 5.7 million“Botox” procedures
1.9 million soft tissue fillers
1.1 million laser hair removals
900,000 face peals
Price of Beauty
$5,000.00 breast augmentations
$4850-$6800 for liposuction
$4800-$8400 for facelifts.
Botox cost $750
Soft tissue fillers $1250
Face peals $1200
“The dynamics of capitalism produce not only enormous amounts of wealth but high--and increasing--levels of inequality, both within societies and globally.”
(Johnson, p.43)

Huge disparity between lower class and upper class seen throughout history in fashion styles.
Lower class fashion were not the ones on front covers of magazines.
Fashion and Its Social Agendas: Class, Gender, and Identity in Clothing
According to George Simmel
"...fashions differ for different classes- the fashions of the upper stratum of society are never identical with those of the lower." (104)
"fashion is a product of class distinction..." (105)
"the latest fashion- affects only the upper classes. Just as soon as the lower classes begin to copy their styles, thereby crossing the line of demarcation the upper classes have drawn and destroying the uniformity of their coherence, the upper classes turn away from this style and adopt a new one" (Kivisto, p.106)
Johnson and Class Privilege
The dominant group has power to define what is considered normal. (Johnson, p. 19)
Allows the wealthy to be trendsetters.
"Luxury of obvliviousness"
Upper-class doesn't know they are in power.

American dream: Not attainable for everybody. (p.44)
Similar way that millions enslaved for capitalistic growth, we see this in development of sweatshops. (p.45)


Bob Batchelor. "Fashion in the 1920s". American Pop: Popular Culture Decade by Decade, Volume 1: 1900–1929. Greenwood Press, 2009. pp. 292-302.

Brockman, Theory of Fashion Design, pp. 40–52

Kass, Alison. The 20 Th Century of American Fashion: 1900 – 2000. Wcsu.edu. N.p., 10 May 2011. Web. 21 Oct. 2013.

Kivisto, Peter. Social Theory: Roots and Branches. 5th ed. New York: Oxford UP, 2013. Print.

Laver, James. The Concise History of Costume and Fashion. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1969. Print.

Finland. International Textile Garment & Leather Workers' Federation. An Overview of Working Conditions in Sportswear Factories in Indonesia, Sri Lanka & the Philippines. N.p.: SASK, 2011. Print.

"Material Girls." Material Girls. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2013

"Men's Fashion Through The Decades." AskMen. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2013.

"13.8 Million Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Procedures Performed in 2011." PlasticSurgery.org. American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 2 Sept. 2012. Web. 12 May 2013.
Weed, Inis H. (24 April 1910). "What It Costs A Young Girl To Be Well Dressed". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 January 2011.
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