fashion
Fashionable dress in 1899. Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

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Fashion

Fashion

Explanations of fashion

Processes of social change

Social functions of fashion

Collective taste

Fads

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Fads and fashion are related yet fundamentally different social phenomena. Fashion is the more important of the two. Its general nature is suggested by the contrasting terms “in fashion” and “outmoded.” These terms signify a continuing pattern of change in which certain social forms enjoy temporary acceptance and respectability only to be replaced by others more abreast of the times. This parade of social forms sets fashion apart from custom, which is to be seen as established and fixed. The social approbation with which fashion is invested does not come from any demonstration of utility or superior merit; instead, it is a response to the direction of sensitivities and taste.

Although conspicuous in the area of dress, fashion operates in a wide assortment of fields. Among them are painting, music, drama, architecture, household decoration, entertainment, literature, medical practice, business management, political doctrines, philosophy, psychological and social science, and even such redoubtable areas as the physical sciences and mathematics. Any area of social life that is caught in continuing change is open to the intrusion of fashion. In contrast, fashion is scarcely to be found in settled societies, such as primitive tribes, peasant societies, or caste societies, which cling to what is established and has been sanctioned through long usage.

The picture of fashion as a distinctive social process in which collective judgment of what is proper and correct shifts in response to the direction of sensitivity and taste sets three major questions: What is the nature of the situation in which the fashion process operates? What is responsible for its operation? What societal role or function does the fashion process perform?

Areas of fashion . Areas amenable to fashion are those that have been pulled into an orbit of continuing social change. The structuring of social life in such areas tilts away from reliance on established social forms and toward a receptiveness to novel ones that reflect new concerns and interests; thus, these areas are open to the recurrent presentation of prospective models of new social forms that differ from each other and from prevailing social forms. These models compete for adoption, and opportunity must exist for effective choice among them. Most significant in this selective process are prestigeful personages who through their advocacy of a model give social endorsement or legitimacy to it. Means and resources must be available for the adoption of the favored models.

Explanations of fashion

Most theoretical analysis of fashion centers on the major question of what is responsible for the operation of fashion. We may dismiss trivial answers such as that fashion is a crazelike outburst of collective disturbance or that it is a hoax perpetrated by venal-minded sets of persons seeking financial or personal gain. The more serious analyses fall into two categories. One type seeks to account for fashion in terms of psychological motives, the other in terms of societal or structured processes.

Psychological theories . Psychological explanations generally treat fashion as an expression of feelings of revolt against the confinement of prevailing social forms. Scholars identify different feelings. Some regard as most important the effort to escape from ennui, or boredom, especially in the leisure class. Some ascribe fashion to playful and whimsical impulses to embroider the routines of life. Some attribute major weight to the excitement that comes from venturing into novel forms of conduct. Others regard fashion as a symbolic expression of hidden sexual interests. Particularly important is the view, most clearly expressed by Edward Sapir (1931), that fashion is an effort to add to the attractiveness of the self, especially under conditions which impair the integrity of the ego; fashion is seen as a means of rediscovering the self through novel yet socially sanctioned departures from prevailing social forms. Finally, some scholars trace fashion to desires for personal prestige or notoriety.

These various psychological explanations are deficient in that they do not explain how or why the various feelings give rise to a fashion process. Such feelings are present and operate in societies and areas of life in which fashion does not occur. We are given no account of why the feelings should lead to the formation of fashion rather than taking other channels of expression available to them. Instead of accounting for fashion, the feelings presuppose its existence as a medium for their play.

Simmel’s view of fashion . Most sociological explanations center on the idea that fashion is basically an emulation of prestige groups. Georg Simmel (1904) has given the most sophisticated presentation of this view. He contends that in an open-class society the elite class seeks to set itself apart visibly by distinctive insignia, such as dress and modes of living. Members of subjacent classes seeking higher status adopt these insignia. It is then necessary for the elite class to introduce new differentiating insignia, which in turn leads to a new wave of emulation. Simmel’s scheme characterizes fashion as a recurring process. It provides an explanation of how new fashions are introduced and acquire sanction, an account of their spread, and an explanation of their disappearance. It also supplies an explanation for the absence of fashion from folk and caste societies and from certain areas in modern society, such as the area of utility and that of the sacred, in which status considerations are irrelevant.

However, this scheme fails to see fashion as a process that transcends and embraces the elite. The elite, although in the vanguard of fashion, is itself required to follow fashion’s direction. Its prestige does not assure that anything it introduces will become the fashion; instead, its introductions must coincide with the direction of what is acceptable. People adopt a new model to be “in fashion” rather than to emulate prestige groups. Any concern of the elite to set itself apart as a distinctive status group takes place within the ongoing process of fashion; such concern does not account for the process or set it in motion.

Processes of social change

Fashion should be seen as a process of reaching out for new congenial social forms in an area that is a part of a continually changing world. The movement of that world introduces new horizons, germinates new inclinations and interests, and shifts orientation away from the past to the proximate future. The fashion process meets this kind of developing world through two major stages– innovation and selection. In the innovative stage new models or proposals–such as new dress designs, styles of furniture, themes in entertainment, approaches in philosophy, or theoretical schemes in science–are presented. Such models are geared to the current state of their respective fields; each seeks to sketch out a prospective line of movement. The models appear as rival claimants for adoption and thus initiate a selective process, which results in a new fashion. Prestigeful individuals and groups occupy a key role in the selection; they make the initial choices, and they give a stamp of endorsement to the model they embrace. To influence others, however, they must be qualified to give an endorsement. Further, the model they endorse must be found congenial to current trends in order to gain general dissemination. The history of fashion shows dramatic instances of the failure of a model to become fashionable despite an effective marshaling of prestige groups on its behalf, for example, the failure of the highly organized effort to check the trend toward shorter skirts in 1922–1923. Fashion leaders are the unwitting surrogates of the larger body of people sharing in the movement of fashion. The vague tastes and proclivities aroused in such people by their moving world are the ultimate source and shaper of fashion.

Historical continuity . The underlying connection between fashion and emerging taste helps to explain two important features of fashion: its historical continuity and its modernity. The history of fashion shows that new fashions are related to and grow out of their immediate predecessors. The typical picture is that of fashion trends–a feature that enables us to identify fashion periods and to speak of fashion cycles. Changing tastes and proclivities, while moving toward something new, must also take into account what is currently defined as proper and correct. Correspondingly, in devising their new models, fashion innovators always have to consider the prevailing fashion. Although the intrinsic nature of the object of fashion may set a limit to a trend (as in the case of the lengthening or shortening of the skirt), and although a trend may reach a point of exhausting its possibilities, a reversal or abrupt redirection of fashion necessarily has temporal linkage with the preceding fashion form.

Modernity. The feature of modernity in fashion is particularly significant. Fashion is always modern; it always seeks to keep abreast of the times. Fashion is sensitive to the movement of current developments not only in its given field but also in adjacent fields and, indeed, to general movements in the larger social world. Thus, fashion in women’s dress is responsive to its own trend, to developments in fabrics, ornamentation, and in the fine arts, to exciting events such as the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamen, to political happenings, and to major social shifts such as the emancipation of women or the rise of the “cult of youth.” In an indirect and attenuated way, fashion in every field responds to the general or over-all direction of modernity itself. This responsiveness seems to be the chief factor in the formation of a “spirit of the times” or Zeitgeist.

Social functions of fashion

The remaining major question–what is the social role or function of fashion–has not received satisfactory consideration. The conventional answers are that fashion allows for the harmless play of fancy and caprice, for a mild and legitimate escape from the tyranny of custom, for socially sanctioned adventure into an area of novelty, for the display and parading of the ego, for a cloaked expression of sexual interests, for the invidious demarcation of elite classes, and for an external and spurious identification by lower status people with a higher status group.

Control functions . Fashions at different points in their careers may serve varied purposes; yet, the function of the fashion process cannot be reduced to such purposes. The functions of fashion derive, instead, from the fact that it introduces controlling social forms into a moving area of divergent possibilities. As such, it performs three significant functions. First, it introduces uniformity by selecting from many models one which is to carry the stamp of propriety and thus compel adherence. If all proposed models were to be followed, social life in a given fashion area would become chaotic. In this respect, fashion performs in a moving society the control function that custom performs in a settled society.

Second, fashion provides for an orderly march from the immediate past to the proximate future. By presenting new models and subjecting them to the process of competition and collective selection, the fashion process offers a continuous means of adjusting to a changing and shifting world. The fashion mechanism detaches social forms from the grip of the past, as suggested by the derogatory connotation of such expressions as “old-fashioned” and “out of date”; yet, in growing out of the preceding mode fashion maintains continuity of development.

Third, the fashion process nurtures and shapes a common sensitivity and taste, as is suggested by the congeniality and naturalness of current fashion in contrast to the oddness and incongruity of past fashions. This common sensitivity and taste is analogous on the subjective side to a “universe of discourse.” Like the latter, it provides a basis for a common approach to the world and for handling and digesting the experiences the world yields. The value of a pliable and re-forming body of common taste to meet a shifting and developing world is apparent.

Collective taste

The term “taste,” which is central in the above discussion, deserves clarification. It represents an organic sensitivity to objects of social experience, as when we say, for example, that “vulgar comedy does not suit our taste” or that “they have a taste for orderly procedure.” Taste has a trifold character: it is like an appetite in seeking positive satisfaction; it operates as a sensitive selector, giving a basis for acceptance or rejection; and it is a formative agent, guiding the development of lines of action and shaping objects to meet its demands. Thus, it appears as a subjective mechanism, giving orientation to individuals, structuring activity, and molding the world of experience.

Tastes are themselves a product of experience; they usually develop from an initial state of vagueness to a state of refinement and stability, but once formed they may decay and disintegrate. They are formed in the context of social interaction, responding to the definitions and affirmations given by others. People thrown into areas of common interaction and having similar runs of experience develop common tastes.

The fashion process involves both a formation and an expression of collective taste in the given area of fashion. The taste is initially a loose fusion of vague inclinations and dissatisfactions that are aroused by new experiences in the field of fashion and in the larger surrounding world. In this initial state, collective taste is amorphous, inarticulate, and awaiting specific direction. Through models and proposals, fashion innovators sketch possible lines along which the incipient taste may gain objective expression and take definite form. Collective taste is an active force in the ensuing process of selection, setting limits and providing guidance; yet, at the same time it undergoes refinement and organization through its attachment to, and embodiment in, specific social forms. The origin, formation, and career of collective taste constitute the huge problematic area in the study of fashion. Major advancement in our knowledge of the fashion mechanism depends on the charting of this area.

Fads

Fads, like fashion, may occur in widely different areas of group life, such as games, recreation, entertainment, dietary practice, health and medical practice, dress, ornamentation, language, and popular beliefs. Although superficially fads seem to be similar to fashion, they actually constitute a separate genre of collective behavior. The most noticeable difference is that fads have no line of historical continuity; each springs up independent of a predecessor and gives rise to no successor. This separate, detached, and free-floating character signifies that fads, unlike fashion, are not part of a regulating social process that gives shape and structure to group life. The derogatory connotation of the term “faddish” points to the alien and questionable status of fads. We may note other significant differences. Fads do not require endorsement by a qualified prestige group in order to gain acceptance; they may spread from any section of hierarchized society. Fads are ephemeral, leaving no residue except in the occasional remnants of a detached cult. Fads follow the pattern of a craze or boom, thriving on spectacular and excitatory appearance, suddenly riveting attention and inducing a quasi-impulsive adoption, only to exhaust their attractiveness and undergo a rapid demise.

Fads, unlike fashion, may occur in any type of society, traditional or modern. Their universality suggests that they have a natural root in human existence. But we know little about the generic conditions that bring them into being. Most of the psychological explanations advanced to explain fashion seem far more appropriate as explanations of fads.

Herbert G. Blumer

[See alsoCollective behavior; Style.]

BIBLIOGRAPHY

BArber, bernard; and LOBEL, LYLE S. 1952 Fashion in Women’s Clothes and the American Social System. Social Forces31 : 124–131.

Bell, Quentin 1947 On Human Finery. London: Hogarth.

Bergler, Edmund 1953 Fashion and the Unconscious. New York: Brunner.

Clerget, Pierre 1914 The Economic and Social Role of Fashion. Pages 755-765 in Smithsonian Institution, Annual Report: 1913. Washington: The Institution.

Fishbein, Morris 1932 Fads and Quackery in Healing. New York: Covici.

Flugel, John C. (1930) 1950 The Psychology of Clothes. London: Hogarth.

Gregory, Paul M. 1947 An Economic Interpretation of Women’s Fashions. Southern Economic Journal14: 148–162.

Huhlock, Elizabeth B. 1929a Motivation in Fashion. Archives of Psychology17, no. 111.

Hurlock, Elizabeth B. 1929fo The Psychology of Dress: An Analysis of Fashion and Its Motive. New York: Ronald Press.

Jack, Nancy K.; and SCHIFFER, BETTY 1948 The Limits of Fashion Control. American Sociological Review13: 730–738.

Kellett, Ernest E. 1931 Fashion in Literature: A Study of Changing Taste. London: Routledge.

Kroeber, Alfred L. 1919 On the Principle of Order in Civilization as Exemplified by Changes of Fashion. American Anthropologist New Series 21:235–263.

LANG, KURT; and LANG, GLADYS 1961 Collective Dynamics. New York: Crowell. → See especially Chapter 15 on “Fashion: Identification and Differentiation in the Mass Society.”

MEYERSOHN, ROLF; and KATZ, ELIHU 1957 Notes on a Natural History of Fads. American Journal of Sociology62 : 594–601.

Morowitz, Harold J. 1953 Fashions in Science. Science118 : 331–332.

Nystrom, Paul H. 1928 Economics of Fashion. New York: Ronald Press.

RICHARDSON, JANE; and KROEBER, ALFRED L. 1940 Three Centuries of Women’s Dress Fashions: A Quantitative Analysis. California, University of, Anthropological Records5, no. 2: 111–153.

Sapir, Edward 1931 Fashion. Volume 6, pages 139-144 in Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences. New York: Macmillan.

Simmel, Georg (1904) 1957 Fashion. American Journal of Sociology62 : 541–558.

Smelser, Neil J. (1962)1963 Theory of Collective Behavior. London: Routledge; New York: Free Press. → See especially Chapter 7.

Sombart, Werner 1902 Wirtschaft und Mode. Wiesbaden (Germany): Bergmann.

Sumner, William Graham (1906) 1959 Folkways: A Study of the Sociological Importance of Usages, Manners, Customs, Mores, and Morals. New York: Dover.

Veblen, Thorstein (1899) 1953 The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions. Rev. ed. New York: New American Library. → A paperback edition was published in 1959. See especially Chapter 7.

Young, Agnes B. 1937 Recurring Cycles of Fashion: 1760–1937. New York: Harper.

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"Fashion." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. 1968. Encyclopedia.com. 25 Aug. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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fashion

fashion In a fairly literal translation from its French and Latin origins, the word fashion describes the make or cut of an item, the forming of its shape. However, over the centuries, the word has acquired a specific association with the design, making, and wearing of clothing. Fashion now implies an awareness of and a desire to be at the forefront of changes in styles of dress and personal appearance. It can be used to suggest an extravagance and frivolity far removed from the mere functional need to clothe the body for reasons of modesty or to offer protection.

Origins

There is general agreement amongst costume historians that the origins of what we understand as fashion are to be found in the late fourteenth century. The flowing, unemphatic full-length lines which had characterized the dress of both sexes since late antiquity were gradually abandoned. Men's dress changed faster than women's, with the adoption of short tunics and closely-fitted garments. This coincided with the newly formed guilds of tailors developing skills in cutting and fitting fabric to the figure, thus allowing a much wider repertoire of stylistic effects to be achieved, with fabric and padding emphasizing or exaggerating the contours of the body. Better trading links with the Near and Middle East had introduced wider ranges of fabric, new techniques for their manufacture, and fresh ideas about colour and decoration. Inevitably, fashion, even in this early phase, was the prerogative of the wealthy who could afford the rich silks and fine linens which supplemented the staple Western European woollen fabrics. Over the next two centuries the emergence of a wealthy merchant class with international interests in trade and banking widened demand for luxurious possessions. Sumptuary laws were introduced, prohibiting the wearing of certain fabrics and colours, and meting out punishment to those who dared to presume that mere wealth could ensure equality of choice with the ruling class. This reinforcement of the notion that fashion was the prerogative of the few recurred throughout the succeeding centuries.

Fashion changed relatively slowly in the period c.1500 to 1700, and the finest clothing was a valuable commodity, finding its way into inventories and wills, being remade and, not infrequently, stolen. The limited terminology of dress began to expand from the late seventeenth century onwards, with a proliferation of new terms indicating an increased rate of change in fashionable dress. This acceleration was underpinned by a more sophisticated process of manufacture and further improved skills but, of course, the speed of change also maintained the status quo. To be dressed in the height of fashion meant being rich or heavily in debt.

Fashion was both national and international with, in succession, Burgundian, French, and Spanish styles in the ascendant with some Italian, German, Dutch, and English elements in the mix. Curiosity about the fashions of others found expression in the costume books which began appearing in the late sixteenth century and, by the late seventeenth century, when Europe began to be dominated by all aspects of French culture, the production of exquisite engravings — precursors of the fashion plate — depicted what the most stylish French courtiers were wearing. This French hegemony was supported by the production of superb silks, delicate lace, and an ingenious array of accessories, and by a centralized court at which all the fine and applied arts from painting to dress were accorded equal attention. It is hardly surprising that the first dressmaker of international renown was Rose Bertin, who made clothes for Marie Antoinette at the French court in the 1780s; she and other dressmakers despatched fashion dolls dressed in the latest styles throughout Europe to add miniature, three-dimensional verisimilitude to supplement the available fashion illustrations.

Design and production

By the late seventeenth century a division had occurred between the provision of male and female clothing. Tailors continued to produce men's tailored garments, but female dressmakers undertook the making of women's clothing, with the exception of riding habits and corsets. A limited democratization of fashion occurred in the eighteenth century as some ready-made and partly made clothing allowed the less wealthy to keep in step with the growing pace of changes in fashion. The principle of exclusivity was reasserted by the continued use of the finest tailors and dressmakers by those able to afford their services and the expensive fabrics they recommended. By the nineteenth century the rise of the couturier whose name and clientele implied the height of fashion reinforced such distinctions. The idea of men being equally as interested in fashion as women declined sharply in the nineteenth century. The beaus, macaronis, and dandies of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, who were caricatured and ridiculed for their dedication to the more outré details of personal appearance, were replaced by dour, dark-suited men of business.

Fashion, from the period of the Englishman Charles Worth's rise to dominance over the design of women's dress, during the Second Empire in France (when he became the first great couturier as understood today), until the 1950s, was in the main, about women's clothing. The origins of the late twentieth century's multi-billion pound fashion industry can be traced back to Worth and his two sons. He created new designs to show to his clients rather than deferring to their ideas, a notable change from previous practice. These garments were displayed on human models for his clientele of royalties, aristocrats, and the rich bourgeoisie. His clothes were bought by foreign buyers, and became available in the capitals of Europe and the US, and he was treated like an artist rather than as a tradesman by his clients, although he always thought of himself as the latter. He also reinvented the idea that a man can understand and design for women as well, if not better, than another woman. This dichotomy has been preserved; there have been inventive, even great female couturiers — Chanel, Vionnet, Schiaparelli, Grès — but the male dominance of female fashion in France, in Italy, in America, and in Great Britain has been a feature of the last 150 years.

During this period there were important technical changes which influenced the creation and marketing of fashionable clothing. The introduction of the sewing machine in the 1840s, of aniline dyes in the 1860s, and of artificial fibres from the 1890s onwards offered important improvements to the process of production. Fashion also benefited from the growing sophistication of the media: specialist magazines, dedicated newspaper articles, photographic images, and the advertising opportunities offered by film, radio, and television all contributed to an international awareness, at many levels in society, of the latest fashion trends and ideas. Increased demand for novelty in all matters to do with dress caused misery amongst the employees of many dressmakers; cramped conditions, long hours, and pitiful pay combined to create sweat shops. Unfortunately, despite legislation, this problem is still found today, and not just in the so-called Third World.

Fashion designers, especially in the period from the 1920s onwards, diversified into ranges of ready-to-wear garments, scent, and cosmetics. Specialist suppliers of accessories became equally aware of the possibilities inherent in designer footwear, jewellery, luggage, and much more. Ultimately, as both compliment and curse, talented copyists ignored patent law to produce cheap facsimiles of the most luxurious labels, and, within the law, chain stores ‘imitated’ the latest suit, dress, shoe, or scarf, to offer affordable fashion to mass markets.

Even in the area of alternative fashion in the post 1945 period, the world of Teddy boys, mods and rockers, hippies, punks, new Romantics, and so on, the driving force has been a masculine one. And, to a degree, alternative fashion is about men reasserting their right to attention through the adoption of unusual, exotic, or bizarre forms of dress. Ironically, these so-called street fashions have in turn, influenced the expensive, handmade creations of the powerful fashion designers.

Today, so we are led to believe, we can create our own fashion statements by buying across the spectrum from charity shops to couture houses. Fashion is fun, it is adventurous, it defines us and our approach to life. In fact, the majority prefer to conform to the dress codes of their social group, accepting or rejecting the dictates of fashion according to their circumstances and means.

Theories about dress

No overview of fashion, however basic, can ignore the corpus of criticism and theoretical analysis that has surrounded it across the centuries. The Judaeo-Christian tradition laid considerable emphasis on modesty and simplicity in all matters concerning personal adornment. As a consequence both clerical and secular moralists felt able to criticize fashion on the grounds of the supposed morality or immorality of clothing and personal adornment. Any excessive display could be construed as the sin of pride and any unnecessary revealing or emphasizing of the body could be deemed a provocation to immoral behaviour. Women's fashions were a favourite target for such moral condemnation; undoubtedly this criticism expressed real or imagined concerns about loss of chastity or adultery.

Caricature and ridicule had also partnered the vagaries and absurdities of fashionable dress throughout the centuries. Artists disapproved of fashions that distorted and unbalanced their portrayal of sitters and, from the seventeenth century onwards, a number used so-called ‘timeless’ draperies to replace the fashions they disliked. In the nineteenth century, medical opinion was enlisted in order to question the effects on health that distorting the anatomy in quest of a fashionable silhouette might provoke. More idealistically, there was an interesting conjunction between groups of artists, doctors, and political thinkers which produced theories about aesthetic dress, dress reform, and universal suffrage which, if followed, would release women from their slavery to fashion.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century criticism was overtaken by a more analytical approach to fashion. Exponents of this approach were interested in applying their knowledge of anthropology, economic and social theory, sociology, and psychology to the reasons for the creation and popularity of certain fashions. A detailed consideration of these theories can be found in Valerie Steele's Fashion and eroticism (OUP, 1985). A few influential examples will indicate the range of their analysis. For instance, the American economist Thorstein Veblen, in his book The Theory of the Leisure Class, criticized fashionable dress as a symbol of conspicuous consumption, conspicuous leisure, and conspicuous waste. In contrast, the German historian of dress and manners, Max von Boehn, promoted the appealingly simple idea that fashion is ‘a visible manifestation of the Zeitgeist’ in his book Modespiegel (1919). The sexual significance of dress was discussed by the psychologist J. C. Flügel in The Psychology of Clothes (1930), a work which popularized the theory of ‘shifting erogenous zones’; an idea he had extracted from the earlier work of Havelock Ellis. Flügel suggested that all clothing is charged with sexual symbolism. This was not a wholly new approach, for Richard von Krafft–Ebing had discussed ‘erotic fetishism’ and its place in the interpretation of dress in the Psychopathia Sexualis, published in 1886.

There have been many subsequent studies, some descriptive, some analytical, all of them drawing upon a wide range of source material. A recently launched quarterly publication — Fashion Theory; The Journal of Dress, Body and Culture — has chosen to begin its examination of fashion from the viewpoint that it is ‘the cultural construction of the embodied identity’. This offers a late-twentieth-century, multi-disciplinary approach to the subject by broadening and democratizing the term across the boundaries of gender, multi-culturalism, and sexual preference. This merging of body decoration, clothing, and fashion into one subject area for critical analysis suggests that the ephemeral nature of clothing the human form will continue to be debated for the indefinite future.

Valerie Cumming

Bibliography

Newton, S. M. (1974). Health, art and reason: dress reformers of the nineteenth century. John Murray, London.
Ribeiro, A. and and Cumming, V. (1989). The visual history of costume. Batsford, London.
Ribeiro, A. (1986). Dress and Morality. Batsford, London.


See also clothes; modelling, fashion.

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COLIN BLAKEMORE and SHELIA JENNETT. "fashion." The Oxford Companion to the Body. 2001. Encyclopedia.com. 25 Aug. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Fashion

Fashion


Historically, children have been clothed to mirror the adult society responsible for producing and assembling their wardrobes. The protective wrapping of infants and children not old enough to physically clothe themselves has alternately served as fantasy in miniature or as a burdensome necessity for doting or struggling parents or guardians. As manifest through images and surviving textile artifacts, the study of children's clothing predominantly serves to testify to social class or ethnicity. Only within the recent epoch, beginning with the Age of Enlightenment, has the physical design of children's dress evolved to acknowledge and facilitate their developmental stages.

Children's Dress as an Extension of the Adult

Other than religious representations of the infant Jesus, early Western images of infants and children are within the context of larger, adult-dominated pictorial scenes. When not portrayed in the nude, infants are almost universally shown constrained by swaddling bands. Depending on the period or locale, these were widths of linen or cotton looped around clothing or strips of material, intended to immobilize the baby and prevent injury resulting from its uninhibited flailings. Older children, portrayed within the context of crowd scenes, are shown wearing scaled-down versions of adult attire, comprising tunics, coats, and cloaks of amorphous shape with only head or armholes, and held at the waist by belts or girdles. This clothing was functionally plain, fabricated by hand from hand-spun linen or wool. As fashion became more complex it evolved to differentiate between and accentuate the features of the female and male anatomy. Children's garments emulate this aesthetic, with only minor simplifications. During and following the Renaissance, those at the pinnacle of society reinforced their rank by wearing conspicuous and sumptuous clothing. Contemporary portraiture vividly illustrates an opulent vocabulary of silk velvets, metallic brocades encrusted with pearls, embroidery, stiffened lace and linen collars, and jewelry in both adult clothing and that of their progeny. This miniaturization extends to the wearing of form-modifying undergarments, including tightly laced boned stays, horsehair-stiffened underskirts and hoops, and varying shapes. A rigidly constructed combination conspires to make any playful or spontaneous childish motion impossible.

Concurrently, depictions of children of the working classes show functional garments that have been cobbled and reconfigured from larger, previously worn clothing. As textiles are an inherently costly commodity, while hand sewing is self-provided and abundant, fabrics initially acquired for adult purposes are almost indefinitely reused to the point of rags. The practical necessity of recycling endures throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century, with successive siblings, relatives, and neighbors receiving still-useful castoffs. Only the contemporary advent of inexpensive yard goods and lavish supplies of ready-to-wear clothing has served to diminish the financial hardship of purchasing new clothing.

Ethnicity and Children's Clothing

In broad terms, children's dress and body adornment reinforce, and are derivative of, cultural ethnicity. In pursuit of an adult aesthetic, children have been subjected to an unmodified array of social customs, in some cases almost from birth. Head flattening, whereby an infant's skull is distorted through pressure applied by boards, pads, bindings, and massage, created a mark of high status among tribal peoples in North and South America through the nineteenth century. The practice of foot binding in China, which requires the irrevocable manipulation of pliant bones to produce the culturally desirable lily-shaped foot, subjected girls between the ages of five and six to a first, painful step toward their initiation into womanhood well into the twentieth century. The universal vogue for ear piercing is clearly apparent in Eighteenth Dynasty Egyptian depictions of royal children adorned with large, decorative glass earplugs. More elaborate and ornate body altering techniques, such as tattoos

and scarification, are reserved for adolescents as a rite of passage into adult societal status. Practiced by cultures of central Africa and by the Maoris of New Zealand and Dayak groups of Central Borneo respectively these remain as tools for reinforcing ethnic identities.

Specialized Clothing for Special Needs

The first customized children's accessories appeared in the seventeenth century to address the specific needs of toddlers, who were in particular peril of injury or death due to their inquisitive, sometimes unsupervised, adventures. The innovations of the pudding (a leather and textile padded cap) and leading strings (separate tethers or reigns cut as part of a dress bodice) were first introduced in Europe but remained in use through the colonial period in America. Other early attempts at protecting children included the ubiquitous presence of baby caps, as well as a superstitious and talismanic use of coral for jewelry and rattle handles as a safeguard against evil.

By the late eighteenth century, philosophical departures celebrating the inquisitive nature of childhood set the tone for innovations in the attire of children. Influenced by the writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau in Émile (1762), and reflecting his pursuit of nature in child-rearing practices, a dramatic revision in the formula of dress began by banishing corsets and swaddling clothes in western Europe. A new empathetic and rational approach expounded the wearing of high-waisted, loose-fitting muslin chemise gowns over long pantalets for small children of both sexes. A plentiful supply of cotton and linen goods brought on by the increased output of the Industrial Revolution underscored the appeal of this soft, picturesque fashion for women as well. The skeleton suit, a period novelty, was recommended as garb for slightly older boys. A more formal look, its tailored design facilitated ease of motion by providing trousers that buttoned into the suit's bodice. Short simple hairstyles were worn with soft, flat-soled slippers to compliment this neoclassical look for children and adults alike.

After a mid-nineteenth century return to miniaturized adult dress, the influence of both the aesthetic and dress reform movements at the century's end can be seen in the stylistic direction of children's styles. Popularized in the 1890s in the West and in Western-influenced societies a penchant for pastel-tinted natural dyes and soft smocked shapes supplanted the garish, synthetic palette and Parisian-derived silhouette fashionable in the mid-nineteenth century to join the permanent vocabulary of children's custom and ready-to-wear clothing for the next century.

Special Occasion Dressing

The prospect of dressing for a unique occasion furnishes children and their guardians with a varied menu of socially prescribed garments. Rites of passage are enduring and momentous events that traditionally require clothing of formulaic and memorable design. Frequently worn only one time, attire for occasions such as christening, first communion, bar and bat mitzvahs, quinceañera (a girl's fifteenth birthday celebration in Latino cultures), confirmation, and social debuts is envisioned as a timeless garment of fantasy. As if in theatrical costume, the fledgling wearer assumes an unfamiliar identity and acts out a culturally defined role. Accordingly, many of these garments reflect an ethnic aesthetic, and sometimes provide a single opportunity to resurrect a long-silent family history. Surviving images of children taken at these thresholds of life serve to document the transition and its accomplishment through the interaction between garment and wearer.

Children's Clothing and Gender

The inherent naïveté of infants and small children has traditionally precluded the relevance of gender-specific dressing. Even christening gowns failed to betray a baby's sexual identity until the advent of color-coded ribbon trim in the twentieth century. Following their release from the bondage of swaddling, toddlers of both sexes were androgynously garbed in skirted, feminine styles. During the seventeenth century, these were interpreted in the same heavy, stiffened silk or wool worn by older children and adults. By the beginning of the eighteenth century androgynous baby and toddler dresses of bleached linen or cotton were embellished with an inexhaustible range of intricate embroidery and openwork. The strengthening affect of the handwork, coupled with the presence of rows of growth tucks, simultaneously served to preserve and extend the life of the dresses. Frequently they passed from one sibling to another, many times being worn by children of opposite sexes.

For small boys, the sartorial rite of passage marking the transition from dressing in skirts to short trousers occurred somewhere between the ages of three and five, generally corresponding with a first haircut. Into the twentieth century, the age of breeching remained subjective, and was ultimately determined by sentimentality and the readiness of family members to release their baby on the path toward manhood. A preoccupation with gender-mandated roles characterized children's dress for most of the nineteenth century. Parroting the vocational demeanor and somber tones of men's attire, boys were costumed in sailor and Scottish suits, military uniforms, and a variety of tailored clothes. The somewhat effeminate tone of the theatrically derived Little Lord Fauntleroy suit made it the ideal transitional garment for recently breeched children.

The homemaking woman of the same period was advised by a newfound proliferation of ladies' companion and fashion publications. The increased accessibility of home-sewing patterns, augmented by the proximity of merchandise in department store displays, exposed all classes to the allure of fashion trends. Affluent young ladies were dressed in store-bought cage crinolines and bustles, while homemade interpretations sufficed for most. Distinct, sexually prescribed parameters continued to govern the fashionable look for children and adolescents throughout most of the twentieth century, before they were superceded by the overwhelmingly popular trend toward transgender dressing that became prevalent by the mid-1980s. The carefree, practical appeal of intermixing ready-to-wear components came to dominate the contemporary fashion scene for all ages.

Increased exposure to fashion trends through pop culture and marketing devices has progressively lowered the age of children's personal involvement in the selection of their own wardrobes. Clamoring for looks endorsed by media icons, contemporary children demand a historically unprecedented voice in the way they look. The modern emphasis on named or designer apparel has also strongly affected the youth and even infant market as trademarks designate the status and fashion savvy of the young and their parents. In the late twentieth and twenty-first centuries shoes have become part of this trend as choices for this formerly utilitarian and expensive item have been influenced by peer pressure.

See also: Child Development, History of the Concept of; Consumer Culture.

bibliography

Brooke, Iris. 1930. English Children's Costume since 1775. London: A. and C. Black.

Cunnington, Phillis, and Anne Buck. 1965. Children's Costume in England. New York: Barnes and Noble.

Ewing, Elizabeth. 1977. History of Children's Costume. New York: Scribner.

Felger, Donna H. 1984. Boy's Fashion 18851905. Cumberland, MD: Hobby Horse Press.

Macquoid, Percy. 1923. Four Hundred Years of Children's Costume from the Great Master: 14001800. London: Medici Society.

Moore, Doris. 1953. The Child in Fashion. London: Batsford.

Olian, JoAnne. 1994. Children's Fashions, 18601912: 1,065 Costume Designs from "La Mode Illustree." New York: Dover Publications.

Paoletti, Jo B. 1983. "Clothes Make the Boy, 18601910." Dress: The Annual Journal of the Costume Society of America 9:1620.

Rose, Claire. 1989. Children's Clothes since 1750. London: Batsford.

Schorsch, Anita. 1979. Images of Childhood: An Illustrated Social History. New York: Mayflower Books.

Sichel, Marion. 1983. History of Children's Costume. London: Batsford.

Villa, Nora. 1989. Children in Their Party Dress. Trans. Donna R. Miller. Modena, Italy: Zanfi.

Worrell, Estelle Ansley. 1980. Children's Costume in America: 16071910. New York: Scribner.

Phyllis Magidson

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Fashion

Fashion

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New Technologies. The most significant changes in the way Americans dressed during the middle decades of the nineteenth century came about because of improvements in technology. Though various types of sewing machines had been invented during the 1830s and 1840s, the first practical, workable machine for the home sewer was invented by Isaac Merrit Singer in 1850. By the middle of that decade sewing machines were selling at the rate of one hundred thousand per year. In 1871 manufacturers made seven times that number. While a woman might have spent days sewing a mans shirt by hand, she could make one in an afternoon with her sewing machine. New technologies also changed textile production, making it possible for manufacturers to mass-produce printed cottons that were both cheap and pretty. Aniline dyes, invented in the 1850s, permitted silks and wools to be dyed in astonishingly bright, sharp colors such as fuchsia, magenta, and violet. A fashionable Civil War-era theater or dinner party was often a colorful sight. With these fabrics and her new sewing machine the average middle-class housewife could make dresses that would have been too expensive and too time-consuming for her to tackle in the past. Sewing machines also permitted greater ornamentation of clothing. As womens fashions became more elaborate in the 1860s, sewing-machine manufacturers produced attachments such as binders, tuckers, rufflers, shirrers, puffers, braiders, quilters, hemstitchers, and embroiders that allowed the middle-class woman to copy these styles at home. Some commentators, mostly men, noted that the sewing machine did not seem to be such a labor-saving device after all. Commercial printed-paper patterns also helped middle-class women dress like their upper-class counterparts. Fashion designer Madame Demorestwho despite her French-sounding name was Ellen Curtis Demorest, the American-born wife of New York publisher William Demorestbegan marketing paper patterns for her versions of Paris fashions in her own magazine, Mme. Demorests Mirror of Fashion, in 1865. Ebenezer Butterick, who started manufacturing patterns for boys and mens clothing in 1863, began making patterns for womens clothes in 1867 and also marketed them in his own magazines.

The Seamstress. Some clothing could be bought ready-made, but most clothing was made expressly for the wearer. Wealthy women in cities such as New York or Philadelphia had their clothes custom-made by exclusive dressmakers who copied designs from magazines

such as Godeys Ladys Book and Petersons. These magazines pirated French fashion plates in their monthly issues. Studies of photographs from this period show, however, that American women did not wear line-for-line copies of these styles. Their gowns were usually three or even four years out of date. Middle-class women usually had a seamstress come in to cut and fit clothing which they would later finish themselves. Sometimes, the seamstress would stay with the family in a separate sewing room, producing dresses, shirts, and clothing for the children. Respectable women still did a great deal of fine hand sewing in public or at gatherings with friends. On southern plantations the mistresses were responsible for all the clothing worn by family and

workers alike. One of their most important chores was to cut out the cloth, which they would then give to slaves to sew. Most women also did charity sewing in addition to making clothes for their families (at least the familys underwear and shirts). People of all ages and social classes wore cotton underwear, which they washed as often as they could afford.

Mens Clothing. Men working on the farm wore simple calico shirts, often flowered or checked, trousers, waistcoats, coats with full sleeves, and a straw or felt hat. In public a man always wore a white or black neck cloth, or stock. For town he wore a checked or black coat, and a black waistcoat. Black wool, summer or winter, was the respectable businessmans uniform. The most favored headgear for men in the city was the tall, narrow stovepipe hat like the one often seen in photographs of President Abraham Lincoln. In the South a broad-brimmed felt or straw hat was more popular than the stovepipe. By the 1870s the skirted frock coat favored by gentlemen for dress occasions had mainly been replaced by the shorter sack coat. Before the Civil War only work clothes for slaves and sailors were mass-produced in the United States. During the Civil War, however, manufacturers met the demand for hundreds of thousands of uniforms by gearing up production and developing a system of standard sizing. After the war they applied this new technology to manufacturing civilian clothing for men.

Womens Clothing. In the 1850s middle-class and upper-class women wore voluminous full-skirted cotton or silk dresses for day. All women wore several petticoats. By mid-decade they had begun wearing crinoline petticoats, originally made of stiffened horsehair, to hold the skirt away from the body. About 1858 hoop petticoats, with large circles of flexible watch-spring steel sewn into them, began to serve a similar purpose. A woman who wore one of these garments had to learn not to sit on one of the hoops because if she did so, her skirt would fly up in front, exposing her ankle-length pantalets. During the second half of the century these drawers gradually became shorter. These full-skirted fashions with narrow waists were popularized by the beautiful Empress Eugénie of France. Corsets, which had been worn since colonial days, became more heavily boned to give a woman the neat, small-waisted look she desired. Critics pointed out that women who wore tight corsets were injuring their health. The worst excesses in such tight lacing, however, did not occur until the 1880s and 1890s. During the Civil War women wore closely fitted bodices and dropped shoulders, with full skirts pleated into a corseted waist. After the war skirts became relatively flat in front with a full train in back. By the early 1870s the hoop skirt had disappeared and was replaced with a bustle made of wire or crinoline to create fullness at the back of the skirt. Full skirts, especially with hoops, were impractical, and sometimes dangerous, for farm work. Rural women and poor women wore less-elaborate clothing made of simpler, less expensive fabrics, including homespun cloth. Like more-affluent women, farm women wore several petticoats, but their skirts were not as full because they seldom wore hoops or crinolines. Instead of the feather-and-ribbon-trimmed hats favored by city women, rural women, particularly in the West and the South, often wore simple sun bonnets.

Dress Reform. Often linked to the womens rights movement, dress reformers, and some doctors, charged that the heavy skirts and tight bodices were unhealthy and unsanitary. In 1851 abolitionist and social reformer Amelia Bloomer became one of the first American women to wear a Turkish trouser suit, loose trousers, worn under a fitted tunic. Because it exposed a ladys legs, this garment, which quickly became known as the bloomer costume, caused a scandal. While some people praised it as a practical garment for overland travel, a woman who wore bloomers was more often than not criticized by other women and ridiculed by men. The fact that variations of this style were worn by many Mormon women during their cross-country trek to Utah and by women in the Oneida colony in upstate New York did not help to spread this new style. Both groups were heavily criticized during the 1850s for their advocacy of marriages involving more than two partners. Most women kept on wearing their corsets and petticoats.

Childrens Clothing. As childhood increasingly became recognized as a separate and important phase of life, children were no longer dressed as miniature adults, but with some effort toward comfort and freedom of movement. Babies and toddlers of both sexes wore short hair and low-necked dresses. As in the past, small boys wore skirts at least until they were out of diapers. After they reached the age of five or six, boys began to wear short pants and tunics. Between the ages of ten and twelve a boy received his first pair of long pants, which was an unmistakable sign of maturity and approaching manhood.

Slave Clothing. What slaves wore depended a great deal on their owners. Some gave their slaves their own cast-off clothing, while on other plantations slaves wore nothing better than rags. Usually domestic slaves were better dressed than field workers. Their outfits consisted of simple cotton clothing. Few had real shoes, wearing instead slops or slaps on their feet. These shoes were crude sandals with one leather strap across the instep, manufactured in Lynn, Massachusetts.

Sources

Daniel J. Boorstin, The Americans: The Democratic Experience (New York: Random House, 1973);

Priscilla Harris Dalrymple, American Victorian Costume in Early Photographs (New York: Dover, 1991);

J. C. Furnas, The Americans: A Social History of the United States, 1587-1914 (New York: Putnam, 1969);

Lee Hall, Common Threads: A Parade of American Clothing (Boston: Little, Brown, 1992);

Estelle Ansley Worrell, American Costume, 1840-1920 (Harrisburg, Pa.: Stackpole, 1979).

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Fashion

Fashion

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Early Styles. The first generation of European settlers brought with them the fashions of their day, which functioned to place them within specific social ranks as well as to adorn them. Dutch settlers of all ranks wore clothing of similar style, but their social rank was distinguished by the relative coarseness or fineness of the fabric. French settlers distinguished their rank both by the type of cloth used and by the style. The early soldier-settlers of the Spanish borderlands clad themselves in

military attire but always kept an eye trained on the finery of the wealthy at home, whom they intended to emulate once they achieved New World wealth and position. Portraits of English settlers of this period depict gentlemen and ladies in dashing Elizabethan garments adorned with showy lace collars and cuffs and reveal that colonists of Massachusetts Bay shared Virginia adventurers taste for fashionable clothes. Puritan ministers urged people to renounce the outer vanity of ostentatious dress for the inward adornment of a pious life. New England magistrates tried to enforce their ministers teaching through laws regulating dress. Nevertheless, Puritans were not limited to somber clothing of black and gray. The laws aimed mainly at preventing ordinary farmers or craftsmen from dressing ostentatiously or above their station in clothing regarded as appropriate only for wealthy and important families. Puritans were generally free to clothe themselves in the range of colors and styles appropriate to their rank or position in society. The persistent anxiety of ministers and magistrates over clothing suggests that Puritan men and women never lost their eye for fashion and constantly pushed the limits of the law with fancy clothes and accessories.

THE WELL-DRESSED COLONIST IN 1740

Like most aspects of colonial life, dress varied according to social station as well as style. Slaves received only a change or two of clothes per year, while wealthy gentlefolk possessed extensive wardrobes tailored for every occasion in a variety of fine imported textiles. The average family living between these two extremes might possess the following clothes:

Man: One good suit, two fine shirts, three coarse shirts, two pairs of work trousers, two pairs of breeches, one waistcoat, one coat, and one hat.

Woman: One good gown, one petticoat, one good cloak, two bodices or short gowns, two aprons, two shifts, and a coarse cloak.

Source: David Freeman Hawke, Everyday Life in Early America (New York: Harper & Row, 1988).

American Influence. Fashions in the middle and later seventeenth century were dictated by the materials available to most settlers as well as by adaptations to their new environment. Settlers of the Spanish borderlands and New France sometimes adapted elements of Native American dress and adapted their apparel to the climate. French settlers often dressed in buckskin, and the hooded wool coat known as a capote characteristically shielded men from the icy Canadian winds. To enforce the racial caste system of New Spain, a law of 1582 prohibited mestizo women (those of mixed Spanish and Indian

blood) from wearing Native American dresses. These women adopted a shawl known as the rebozo, which over time came to be finely crafted and decorated. English colonists brought with them a knowledge of spinning and weaving. They never developed a large textile industry, however, and imported cloth was relatively scarce and expensive. Homespun woolens and linens became the common apparel of ordinary seventeenth-century Americans. Yet the bewigged figures of portraits reveal that prominent colonistseven Puritan ministers such as Cotton Mathercontinued to imitate the styles of their English contemporaries.

London. After 1700 a growing range of English textiles began flowing into colonial ports; prices dropped so low that colonial producers could not compete; and some households no longer found it worthwhile to invest time and labor in producing inferior homespun cloth. Newspapers advertised the varieties of English and Dutch chintzes, silks, linens, damasks, woolens, velvets, and laces. They also included other items of apparel and accessories such as stockings, gloves, and buttons. Tailors placed their own advertisements nearby, enticing customers with their ability to cut and sew in the latest London fashions. Diarists traveling the countryside often recorded remarks on the widespread imitation of European fashion in America. In 1740 the Anglican preacher George Whitefield remarked on the fashionable dress of audiences from Massachusetts to Georgia, going so far as to declare that his followers in Charleston, South Carolina, dressed more extravagantly than gentry from the court-end of London! Portraiture of eighteenth-century gentry bears out the observations of diarists such as Whitefield, and historians studying wills and probate records have discovered that ordinary colonists imitated the fashions of their betters by buying and wearing an increasing range of cheap imported items. Many colonial leaders worried that the widespread wearing of fashionable wigs, fancy dresses, handsome waistcoats, silk stockings, and silver buckles was making it increasingly difficult to distinguish the gentry from their inferiors. Advertisements for runaways reveal that indentured servants and slaves were dressing in the cast-off fashions of the period.

The Frontier. Eighteenth-century backcountry apparel often contrasted sharply with that worn on the coast. Traders and settlers adopted certain articles of Native American clothing such as buckskin or woolen leggings both to establish cultural ties with them and because the clothing was better adapted to the environment. The Indian commissioner Sir William Johnson

adopted Iroquois dress to help him gain trust and understanding as he pursued diplomacy among the Six Nations of upstate New York. Further south in the Carolina backcountry the Anglican missionary Charles Woodmason expressed shock at women who went about barefoot and immodestly dressed for that time in thin, tight-fitting garments that exposed their lower legs. Such womens apparel was partly the result of poverty and partly an adaptation to the hot southern climate. The adaptations were usually temporary as well: frontier settlers could seldom resist fancy eastern fashions when they became available at affordable prices.

Sources

Gary Carson, Ronald Hoffman, and Peter J. Albert, eds., Of Consuming Interests: The Style of Life in the Eighteenth Century (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1994);

Jack Cassin-Scott, Costume and Fashion in Colour, 1550-1760 (Poole, U.K.: Blandford Press, 1975);

Alice Morse Earle, Costume of Colonial Times (Detroit: Gale, 1974).

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fashion

fashion, in dress, the prevailing mode affecting modifications in costume. Styles in Asia have been characterized by freedom from change, and ancient Greek and Roman dress preserved the same flowing lines for centuries. Fashion in dress and interior decoration may be said to have originated in Europe about the 14th cent. New styles were set by monarchs and prominent personages and were spread by travelers, by descriptions in letters, and, in costume, by the exchange of the fashion doll. The first fashion magazine is thought to have originated c.1586 in Frankfurt, Germany; it was widely imitated, gradually superseding fashion dolls. Godey's Lady's Book, established in the United States in 1830, remained popular for decades. In interior decoration the influence of designers, such as Chippendale, Sheraton, and Robert and James Adam, was apparent in the 18th cent., but in costume the only influential designer at that period was Rose Bertin, milliner and dressmaker to Marie Antoinette.

In Paris—the leading arbiter of fashion since the Renaissance—the fading influence of celebrities was coincident with the rise of designer-dressmakers in the mid-19th cent. Paris haute couture has remained preeminent in setting fashions for women's dress. Designers such as Charles Frederick Worth, Coco Chanel, Lucien Lelong, Elsa Schiaparelli, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Christian Dior, and Yves Saint Laurent have had fashion houses in Paris. In the latter part of the 20th cent. such American designers as Norman Norell, Mainbocher, James Galanos, Bill Blass, and Pauline Trigère competed successfully with Parisian designers. London, in the early 19th cent., became the center for men's fashions under the leadership of Regency dandies such as Beau Brummell. In the mid-1960s, London was again for a time the center of fashion influence.

The 1970s and 80s saw the beginning of more divergent trends in fashion. This was the result of the increasing popularity of ready-to-wear collections by major designers, which made fashionable label-conscious dressing possible for the middle class. Ethnic-inspired looks and the punk style enjoyed a period of popularity. Successful clothing designers such as Ralph Lauren, Georgio Armani, Gianni Versace, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Rei Kawakubo, and Geoffrey Beene widened their design horizons, licensed their names, and put their distinctive marks on objects ranging from furniture to cars, fabric, and perfumes. The look of luxuriance that emerged in the 1980s was countered in the 1990s with the production of classic understated clothes. Fashions are adapted for mass production by the garment industries of New York, Los Angeles, and other cities.

Bibliography

See F. C. C. Boucher, 20,000 Years of Fashion (tr. 1967); R. Lynam, An Illustrated History of the Great Paris Designers and Their Creations (1972); J. A. Black and M. Garland, A History of Fashion (1980); M. and A. Batterberry, Fashion: The Mirror of History, (1982); J. Laver, Costume and Fashion: A Concise History (1982); M. Tranquillo, Styles of Fashion (1984); A. Hollander, Sex and Suits (1994); Editors of Phaidon Press, The Fashion Book (1998); T. Agins, The End of Fashion: The Mass Marketing of the Clothing Business (1999); B. Cosgrave, ed., Sample: Cuttings from Contemporary Fashion (2005); V. Steele, ed., Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion (2005); C. Wilcox, ed., The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947–57 (2007).

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fashion

fash·ion / ˈfashən/ • n. 1. a popular trend, esp. in styles of dress or manners of behavior: his hair is cut in the latest fashion. ∎  the production and marketing of new styles of goods, esp. clothing and cosmetics: [as adj.] a fashion magazine. 2. a manner of doing something: the work is done in a rather casual fashion. • v. [tr.] make into a particular or the required form: the bottles were fashioned from green glass. ∎  (fashion something into) use materials to make into: the skins were fashioned into boots and shoes. PHRASES: after a fashion to a certain extent but imperfectly or unsatisfactorily: he could read after a fashion. in (or out of) fashion popular (or unpopular) and considered (or not considered) to be attractive at the time in question. ORIGIN: Middle English (in the sense ‘make, shape, appearance,’ also ‘a particular make or style’): from Old French façon, from Latin factio(n-), from facere ‘do, make.’

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Fashion

251. Fashion

  1. Brummel, George B. (Beau Brummel) (17781840) set styles for mens clothes and manners for a quarter century. [Western Fashion: NCE, 926]
  2. Harpers Bazaar leading fashion magazine. [Am. Culture: Misc.]
  3. Royal Ascot annual horserace, occasion for great fashionable turnout. [Br. Cult.: Brewer Dictionary, 49]
  4. Vogue leading fashion magazine in France and America. [Fr. and Amer. Culture: Misc.]

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"Fashion." Allusions--Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. 1986. Encyclopedia.com. 25 Aug. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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fashion

fashion make, shape XIII; mode, manner XIV; established custom, conventional usage XV. ME. faciun, fas(s)oun — AN. fasun, (O)F. façon :- L. factiō, -ōn-, f. fact-, facere make, DO1; cf. FACTION.
Hence as vb. XV. fashionable XVII.

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T. F. HOAD. "fashion." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. 1996. Encyclopedia.com. 25 Aug. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Fashion

Fashion

fashionable people; the fashionable world, 1807; the current styles of clothing.

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Fashion

FASHION

FASHION. SeeClothing and Fashion .

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"Fashion." Dictionary of American History. 2003. Retrieved August 25, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3401801481.html

fashion

fashionashen, fashion, passion, ration •abstraction, action, attraction, benefaction, compaction, contraction, counteraction, diffraction, enaction, exaction, extraction, faction, fraction, interaction, liquefaction, malefaction, petrifaction, proaction, protraction, putrefaction, redaction, retroaction, satisfaction, stupefaction, subtraction, traction, transaction, tumefaction, vitrifaction •expansion, mansion, scansion, stanchion •sanction •caption, contraption •harshen, Martian •cession, discretion, freshen, session •abjection, affection, circumspection, collection, complexion, confection, connection, convection, correction, defection, deflection, dejection, detection, direction, ejection, election, erection, genuflection, imperfection, infection, inflection, injection, inspection, insurrection, interconnection, interjection, intersection, introspection, lection, misdirection, objection, perfection, predilection, projection, protection, refection, reflection, rejection, resurrection, retrospection, section, selection, subjection, transection, vivisection •exemption, pre-emption, redemption •abstention, apprehension, ascension, attention, circumvention, comprehension, condescension, contention, contravention, convention, declension, detention, dimension, dissension, extension, gentian, hypertension, hypotension, intention, intervention, invention, mention, misapprehension, obtention, pension, prehension, prevention, recension, retention, subvention, supervention, suspension, tension •conception, contraception, deception, exception, inception, interception, misconception, perception, reception •Übermenschen • subsection •ablation, aeration, agnation, Alsatian, Amerasian, Asian, aviation, cetacean, citation, conation, creation, Croatian, crustacean, curation, Dalmatian, delation, dilation, donation, duration, elation, fixation, Galatian, gyration, Haitian, halation, Horatian, ideation, illation, lavation, legation, libation, location, lunation, mutation, natation, nation, negation, notation, nutation, oblation, oration, ovation, potation, relation, rogation, rotation, Sarmatian, sedation, Serbo-Croatian, station, taxation, Thracian, vacation, vexation, vocation, zonation •accretion, Capetian, completion, concretion, deletion, depletion, Diocletian, excretion, Grecian, Helvetian, repletion, Rhodesian, secretion, suppletion, Tahitian, venetian •academician, addition, aesthetician (US esthetician), ambition, audition, beautician, clinician, coition, cosmetician, diagnostician, dialectician, dietitian, Domitian, edition, electrician, emission, fission, fruition, Hermitian, ignition, linguistician, logician, magician, mathematician, Mauritian, mechanician, metaphysician, mission, monition, mortician, munition, musician, obstetrician, omission, optician, paediatrician (US pediatrician), patrician, petition, Phoenician, physician, politician, position, rhetorician, sedition, statistician, suspicion, tactician, technician, theoretician, Titian, tuition, volition •addiction, affliction, benediction, constriction, conviction, crucifixion, depiction, dereliction, diction, eviction, fiction, friction, infliction, interdiction, jurisdiction, malediction, restriction, transfixion, valediction •distinction, extinction, intinction •ascription, circumscription, conscription, decryption, description, Egyptian, encryption, inscription, misdescription, prescription, subscription, superscription, transcription •proscription •concoction, decoction •adoption, option •abortion, apportion, caution, contortion, distortion, extortion, portion, proportion, retortion, torsion •auction •absorption, sorption •commotion, devotion, emotion, groschen, Laotian, locomotion, lotion, motion, notion, Nova Scotian, ocean, potion, promotion •ablution, absolution, allocution, attribution, circumlocution, circumvolution, Confucian, constitution, contribution, convolution, counter-revolution, destitution, dilution, diminution, distribution, electrocution, elocution, evolution, execution, institution, interlocution, irresolution, Lilliputian, locution, perlocution, persecution, pollution, prosecution, prostitution, restitution, retribution, Rosicrucian, solution, substitution, volution •cushion • resumption • München •pincushion •Belorussian, Prussian, Russian •abduction, conduction, construction, deduction, destruction, eduction, effluxion, induction, instruction, introduction, misconstruction, obstruction, production, reduction, ruction, seduction, suction, underproduction •avulsion, compulsion, convulsion, emulsion, expulsion, impulsion, propulsion, repulsion, revulsion •assumption, consumption, gumption, presumption •luncheon, scuncheon, truncheon •compunction, conjunction, dysfunction, expunction, function, junction, malfunction, multifunction, unction •abruption, corruption, disruption, eruption, interruption •T-junction • liposuction •animadversion, aspersion, assertion, aversion, Cistercian, coercion, conversion, desertion, disconcertion, dispersion, diversion, emersion, excursion, exertion, extroversion, immersion, incursion, insertion, interspersion, introversion, Persian, perversion, submersion, subversion, tertian, version •excerption

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"fashion." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. 2007. Encyclopedia.com. 25 Aug. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"fashion." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. 2007. Encyclopedia.com. (August 25, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O233-fashion.html

"fashion." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. 2007. Retrieved August 25, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O233-fashion.html

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