How Clothing Defines Time Periods Analytical Essay by hopit

How Clothing Defines Time Periods
This paper looks at how clothing defines us and contrasts two time periods based on women's fashion in the United States.
# 118212 | 4,080 words | 10 sources | APA | 2010 | US

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In this article, the writer points out that the fashion changes from 1920-1930 and 2000-2009 were results of the changing of societal values, economic and political situations, gender roles, and many other factors that shed a light both on the issues of the time, and on society within the United States as a whole. The writer maintains that the impact of these changes is shown in the clothing styles and how they changed throughout the decade. The writer discusses in economic terms, how the clothing of the rich and the poor differed, especially during times of financial stability and times of global recession. By contrasting these two vastly different eras, this paper delves into the depths of not only what changed between the fashions of the two eras, but the underlying causes for why these changes occurred, and what effects that had not only on fashion but on the people themselves. The writer concludes that the implications for fashion are not often considered, but by looking at something one takes for granted everyday under a microscope, one can see the machinations behind the changes, and the historical significance of fashion trends.

A Picture of Four "Flappers" in 1926
Standing Out in the Crowd: Advertising/Flapper written by L. Landay
Spring and Summer 2009, Key Trends and Looks

From the Paper:

"The sheer restrictiveness of the corset was actually used as a selling point for the wealthy women in society; by wearing the corset, you were proving that you did not have to work in your household, because you could not work in your household even if you had wanted to. The corset is a true example of the oppression that women faced in this time period from all sides, even from something as mundane as the clothing options that they had available to them.
"Conversely, the popular flapper look was one in which the hourglass figure was deemphasized as much as possible. The dress itself consisted of loose material, and women with an hourglass figure found their previously prized figure either covered up, or completely unable to handle the current fashion. The emphasis on the flapper look was not on the female form, and showing potential mates their fertility, but on ease of movement for the new wild dances that were being popularized in urban areas and took their cues from African American dancing styles."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Farrell-Beck, Jane. 2007. An intimate affair: Women, lingerie, and sexuality. Journal of American History 94(3): 1000-1000.
  • Gale Research. 1997. Women's fashion in the 1920's. History Resource Center. (accessed October 10, 2009)
  • Johnson, Dorothy M. 1997. Confessions of a telephone girl. Montana: The Magazine of Western History 47(4): 68-75.
  • Katz, Michael B., Stern, Mark J. and Fader, Jamie L. 2005. Women and the paradox of economic inequality in the twentieth-century. Journal of Social History 39(1): 65-88.
  • Lazaro, David E. 2006. Fashion and frugality. Dress 33:57-77.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

How Clothing Defines Time Periods (2010, January 13) Retrieved July 05, 2020, from

MLA Format

"How Clothing Defines Time Periods" 13 January 2010. Web. 05 July. 2020. <>