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Fashion in The Great Gatsby

The fashion of the 20th century had relevance in the characterization of Fitzgerald's characters in The Great Gatsby
by

Chariesse Ellis

on 31 January 2013

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Transcript of Fashion in The Great Gatsby

Fashion in The Great Gatsby Tom Buchanan In conclusion... "He had changed since his New Haven years. Now he was sturdy straw haired man of thirty. Two shinning arrogant eyes had established dominance over his face and gave him the appearance of always leaning aggressively forward. Not even the effeminate swank of his riding clothes could hide the enormous power of that body-he seemed to fill those glistening boots until he strained the top lacing and you could see a great pack of muscle shifting when his shoulder moved under his thin coat."
(TGG, pg. 23) Myrtle Wilson "She was in the middle thirties, and faintly stout, but she carried her surplus flesh sensuously as some women can. Her face, above a spotted dress of dark blue crepe-de-chine, contained no facet of gleam of beauty but there was an immediately perceptible vitality about her as if the nerves of her body were continually smouldering."
(TGG, pg. 37) Daisy Buchanan "Sometimes she and Miss Baker talked at once, unobtrusively and with a bantering inconsequence that never quite chatter, that was as cool as their white dresses and their impersonal eyes in the absence of all desire."
(TGG, pg. 27) Jay Gatsby "Precisely at that point it vanished-and I was looking at an elegant young rough-neck, a year or two over thirty, whose elaborate formality of speech just missed being absurd."
(TGG, pg. 54) Influence of fashion in The Great Gatsby Fashion has a significant impact on an individuals personality Fitzgerald uses aspects of style popular in the 20th century to implement the characterization of the characters Daisy, Tom, Myrtle and Gatsby in The Great Gatsby 20th century fashion "Elegance is a question of personality, more than one's clothing"
-Jean-Paul Gaultier - 1920's

- Influenced by The Jazz Age and The Roaring Twenties (The Boom)

- Era of possibility and aspiration

-Post WWI: An age of miracles, an age of art and an age of excess

- Triggered disillusionment, moral reevaluation, experimentation and hedonism

- MONEY: Land of opportunity promised the chance for financial success

- "Get-rich-quick" decade "And I hope she'll be a fool-that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful fool".
(TGG, pg. 30) "She changed her dress to a brown figured muslin which stretched tight over her rather wide hips as Tom helped her to the platform in New York."
(TGG, pg. 37) "Mrs. Wilson had changed her costume some time before and was now attired in an elaborate afternoon dress of cream colored chiffon which gave out a continual rustle as she swept about the room."
(TGG, pg. 40) Fitzgerald uses vivid descriptions of 1920's fashion as a direct representation of each individual characters' personality. - Her "white" dress suggests her purity in nature. She's bright, vibrant and consisting of minimal depth in her personality.

- Dependent, simplistic, shallow and lacking of any ambition or desire.

- foolish and naive. She strives for acceptance by entertaining and pleasing the men in her life. - Tom's clothing represents his wealth and develop an image of sophistication
- wore clothing that emphasized his physical features, expressing his enormous ego
- sense of fashion suggests his need to be in power and control over all aspects of his life and other people (ex. Daisy and Myrtle)
-Arrogant, selfish, controlling, aggressive athletic and extremely wealthy
-adds to the theme of class and wealth - Myrtle's fashion shows her extravagant, flamboyant, vein and materialistic personality
- Not particularly a smart women, egotistical has a constant need to feel accepted and admired by the people around her (i.e. Tom)
- The observation of her continuous changing of outfits shows that she expresses her personality through her clothing
-each outfit represent a different aspect of her personality
-Constantly changing clothes is her way of getting peoples attention "His tanned skin was drawn attractively tight on his face and his short hair looked as if it were trimmed everyday. I could see nothing sinister about him."
(TGG, pg.55) - Gatsby dresses in aspiration to acquire the image of a wealthy, sophisticated man _ more than anything else, Gatsby's fashion represents his wealth and his need for constant attention and approval (mostly from Daisy). _ His clothing accentuates his charm and expresses his state of extreme luxury
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