Archive for September, 2012

Most Valuable Secondary Source

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

This is a very tough decision. I have books solely on hats, lipstick and one on nylon…but since I do not want to play favorites with my 3 icons (you know how fashion can be diva), my most valuable secondary is Twentieth Century Dress in the United States by Jane Farrell-Beck and Jean Parsons.  It is an overview of the twentieth century, but it is a detailed overview. Within the World War II section, the authors provide background information to set up the scene, and then break up the information into categories. The ones most usueful to me are The Wartime Economy, Retailing and Manufacturing, and Fashion Trends- Textiles, Hats, Shoes and Hosiery. These small sections include more than the other books covering the twentieth century. In addition to all that, I also believe it is valuable because it was recommended to me by Dr. McCluskey (teaches Fashion Theory in Dupont).


Farrell-Beck, Jane and Parsons, Jean. Twentieth Century Dress in The United States. New York: Fairchild       Publications, Inc., 2007.


Monday, September 17th, 2012

Usually, my form of note-taking is traditional- pen and paper because I find that I remember information better after i’ve written it down (or so I like to think).
However, for this class since my primary source is really only accessible online i’ve been relying on the Zotero app. What I do is when I find an issue with an article or ad or picture relevant to my research, I save it to Zotero and add a note (the note shows up under the listing) reminding me of why I saved that particular issue.

My favorite way of note-taking (I actually do enjoy it sometimes) is highlighting. When I have my own copy of a book and I know it’s something I won’t sell back I really like to highlight. Highlighting is great because it’s like fast annotating…mostly because I’ve learned to not highlight the entire paragraph. Highlighters also come in multiple colors and I can switch up the colors for the specific themes or topics I’m noting.
Sadly, all my books for my history research are from the library…and I know people will underline in pencil sometimes but I can’t bring myself to mark up an entire section of a book that doesn’t belong to me. So, instead, i’ve post-it marked the beginning and ends of the sections that are going to help me with my paper.

*Random-fact about my weird like for highlighting- I borrowed a friend’s copy of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and I liked it so much that I bought my own copy so I could highlight certain letters that Charlie wrote.

20 sources

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012


LIFE, 1939-1945.

Fitzpatrick, Rita. “Tribune Fashion Show Ends; Throng Sees War Creations: Throng Sees Fashion Show Come to End.” Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963). Chicago, Ill., United States, October 2, 1943.

“1944 Fashions Contest Opens Next Saturday.” Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963). Chicago, Ill., United States, December 26, 1943, sec. PART 7.

“How Women Should Wear a Uniform.” Good Housekeeping, August 1942, 21.

“What is a ‘Well-Dressed’ Woman?” Redbook, July 1945.

“The Mood Has Changed,” Harper’s Bazar, September 1944, 67.


Watson, Linda. Vogue Fashion (Buffalo: Firefly Books Ltd, 2008), 64-70.

Watson, Linda. 100 Years of Style By Decade and Designer; Volume 1 1900-1949 (London: Carlton Books Limited, 1999/2000), 36-40.

Welters, Linda and Cunningham, Patricia A. Twentieth-Century American Fashion (New York: Berg, 2005), 99-119.

Ewing, Elizabeth and Mackrell, Alice, eds. History of 20th Century Fashion (Hollywood: Costume and Fashion Press, 2001), 139-146.

Farrell-Beck, Jane and Parsons, Jean. Twentieth Century Dress in The United States (New York: Fairchild Publications, Inc., 2007), 108-131.

Walford, Jonathon. Forties Fashion: From Siren Suits to the New Look (New York: Thames & Hudson Inc., 2008), 60-81.

Handley, Susannah. Nylon: The Story of a Fashion Revolution (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999), 39-49.

Delano, Page Dougherty. “Making Up for War: Sexuality and Citizenship in Wartime Culture.” Feminist Studies 26, no. 1 (April 1, 2000): 33–68.

Victoria and Albert Museum, Online Museum. “Dating Clothes & Photographs from the 1940s”, June 24, 2011.

The Museum at FIT, 1940’s Collections, Fashion Institute of Technology, (accessed September 12, 2012).

Moeser, Vicki. “A glinpse of stocking: Fifty years ago, the first nylons went on sale — and women’s lives haven’t been quite the same since.” Chicago Tribune (1963-Current file). Chicago, Ill., United States, October 11, 1989.

Erenberg,  Lewis A. and Hirsch, Susan E. The War in American Culture: Society and Consciousness During World War II (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1996), 28.

Nieder, Alison A. 20th Century Fashion: 100 years of Apparel Ads (New York: TASCHEN, 2009), 242-243.

Honey, Maureen Creating Rosie the Riveter: Class, Gender, and Propaganda during World War II (Amherst: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1984), 130.  



Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Bad Site   ( This site just awful. No works cited, and hardly looks legitimate. This is what you get when type in ” wartime fashion 1940″ into Google. Granted, those are not the best keywords, but this site was on the first page Google showed.

Good Site  (
I don’t know if I would cite any of the information here…although I believe the site is monitored by the Smithsonian. This particular post was also tweeted by the American History Museum, nevertheless, I think it’s a great site to see what other people have discovered or have blogged about, and then try to find it in a primary. For example, I found an ad for paint on hosiery in a 1940’s issue of Life magazine.

How did women’s fashion adapt during times of war? -Specifically World War II?

Monday, September 10th, 2012

That is my question that I will answer.

And Life Magazine has a bunch of answers.

Made a twitter for 299 also

Saturday, September 8th, 2012

Here it is



Thursday, September 6th, 2012

My topic is the change in women’s identity between 1940 and 1955 via fashion. I chose to look at this social change through fashion because fashion is a great at providing a visual representation of the times and especially at how women were and forced/wanted to be viewed. I chose the 40s to the 50s because not only is the change in fashion silhouettes drastic but also the change in women’s roles was large.

My primary sources include magazine articles from Life magazine and newspaper articles from The New York Times (from approx. 1940-1955). Both publications are and were written for the general public, which includes both the average American and the wealthy “fifth avenue” class.

I also have a book (that I still need to look through more–just got in the mail yesterday) that is a collection of primaries sources (magazine articles) about gender roles and popular culture.

These articles will help me first visually see what the fashion of the day was. Second, they describe what the inspiration behind the looks were. Lastly, they help me see if women embraced any new styles that were launched.


“Fashion Designers Find New Style Ideas in Navy.” LIFE, October 28, 1940, 83.

  • Gives a good first look at how women’s fashion was becoming more and more inspired by war uniforms and menswear. In this article, the look is Navy based, so you see the button, and the prominent lines and corners and although the picture is black and white, the colors were most likely white and dark blue. What this also means though is that women were being seen as less inferior to men since they could dress in a similar fashion.

“Paris Makes Fashion Comeback.” LIFE, April 1, 1946, 25.

  •  Paris is and has always been one of the world’s fashion capitals so in 1946, after war ended (in 1945) they decided it was time to bring fashion back to world. Fabric, materials, and buttons has all been rationed during the war, so as Paris rebuilt itself it wanted to set the trend (and set fashion trends) towards a more luxurious lifestyle. This is how Dior came up with adding length and fullness to women’s skirts. He was able to use much more fabric since the rations had been lifted.

“Queen Elizabeth brings 2,258 here: Manuilsky, Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Other Notables Among Passengers,” New York Times, 1947.

  • This small fashion article is cited so, because it acts as a side note to a larger one about a ship coming into US port. The fashion side note is Dior response to those US women who outwardly dislike his 1947 “New Look”. They object to his longer skirt  (that comes down to the lower calf and ankle) and exaggerated hourglass figure he creates by bringing the waistline in significantly on bodices because they limit mobility, making them more dependent on the men in their lives. Furthermore, Dior’s new look is more expensive than the styles of wartime. Wartime styles had skirts that hit right below knee and gave more room in the shoulders and waist to move in. Dior, however, believes his designs make women look me feminine and that men will like that better.

“Fall Fashions.” LIFE, September 22, 1947, 115-125.

  • The fall fashion review in this issue of Life gives great explanations and pictures on what the new fashion was. The majority  of the article showcases American designers whose new lines mimic those of Dior in Paris. Following the styles are small bits that say how women on Fifth Avenue (in NYC) enjoy the new feminine look. Those women tend to be younger and wealthy and trend followers. Women over on Main Street (NYC) do not embrace the new look and criticize its price tag.

“Christian Dior Cuts Skirt Length In Move Disrupting Couture World: New Line of Paris Designer Hailed by Critics — Gowns End 14 to 15 Inches Above Floor, Barely Covering Wearer’s Calf,” New York Times 1948.

  • One year after dropping hemlines drastically, Dior, as the title states, raises the hemlines back up to 14 to 15 inches above the floor which barely covers the calf. The amount of the material did not decrease though. The skirts got shorter but also got fuller further enhancing the hourglass shape.

“Topics of The Times”. New York, N.Y., United States, 1953.

  • Dior has shorter the hemlines now up to the knee, giving women a greater sex appeal. The problem with the skirts now, at this length and still at their fullness is that women have an even harder time performing daily activities and husbands are getting tired of their wives not being able to for example, buy and cook and serve fresh produce. Cans are much easier to handle while in the clothing that is marketed for the women in the early 50s. One major difference now, as the 50s are well on their way is that women all around the US are embracing this look and following fashion more closely. Even Main Street women are replacing their old styles with new ones seasonally.

Women’s Magazines 1940-1960: Gender Roles and the Popular Press. Boston and New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1998.    –(Collection of Primaries)

  • Odds and ends articles from various magazines that will provide more details about women’s sentiments toward the new fashion styles and how those styles affected the way men saw them.


In my presentation and paper I plan on definitely using direct quotes from these articles and connect them better with the addition of secondary sources to give a better picture and overall story to my topic.