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Reforming Women's Fashion, 1850-1920: Politics, Health, and Art
     

Reforming Women's Fashion, 1850-1920: Politics, Health, and Art

by Patricia A. Cunningham
 

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The first comprehensive study of women’s dress reform

During the latter half of the nineteenth and the first decade of the twentieth centuries, books, periodicals, and newspapers were rich in discussions related to women’s roles, health, beauty, and dress. Many believed that restrictive and unwieldy women’s fashions compromised health,

Overview

The first comprehensive study of women’s dress reform

During the latter half of the nineteenth and the first decade of the twentieth centuries, books, periodicals, and newspapers were rich in discussions related to women’s roles, health, beauty, and dress. Many believed that restrictive and unwieldy women’s fashions compromised health, distorted women’s true physical beauty, and curtailed the potential role of women in society. Reforming Women’s Fashion, 1850–1920 focuses on the efforts toward reforming women’s dress that took place in Europe and America during this period and the types of garments adopted by women to overcome the challenges posed by fashionable dress.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Changes in dress are often triggered by changes in social attitudes, and here Cunningham (consumer & textile sciences, Ohio State Univ.) illustrates how ideas in health, art, and politics influenced how women dressed between 1850 and 1920. The germ theory of disease gained influence in this period, leading to emphasis on preventive measures: good sanitation, nutrition, exercise, and more comfortable clothing for women and children. Women began to fight for political and social equality as well, and they altered their dress to accommodate a more energetic and public lifestyle. Further, the achievements of the Renaissance, medieval period, and Antiquity were much admired at this time, and women's fashions adopted some of those eras' more relaxed, less voluminous styles. This scholarly but readable book is large format and very well made, with 98 illustrations reproducing fashion magazine drawings and a few photos of clothing items now in museum collections. Unfortunately, the illustrations are all black and white, giving us at best a limited sense of how the clothing itself looked. Nevertheless, this well-researched book will appeal to both scholars and casual readers and is recommended for all libraries.-James F. DeRoche, Alexandria, VA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780873387422
Publisher:
Kent State University Press
Publication date:
05/19/2003
Pages:
264
Product dimensions:
8.75(w) x 11.25(h) x (d)

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