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Just One of the Boys by Gillian M. Rodger
Female-to-male crossdressing became all the rage in the variety shows of nineteenth-century America and began as the domain of mature actresses who desired to extend their careers. These women engaged in the kinds of raucous comedy acts usually reserved for men. Over time, as younger women entered the specialty, the comedy became less pointed and more centered on the celebration of male leisure and fashion. Gillian M. Rodger uses the development of male impersonation from the early nineteenth century to the early twentieth century to illuminate the history of the variety show. Exploding notions of high- and lowbrow entertainment, Rodger looks at how both performers and forms consistently expanded upward toward respectable--and richer--audiences. At the same time, she illuminates a lost theatrical world where women made fun of middle-class restrictions even as they bumped up against rules imposed in part by audiences. Onstage, the actresses' changing performance styles reflected gender construction in the working class and shifts in class affiliation by parts of the audiences. Rodger observes how restrictive standards of femininity increasingly bound male impersonators as new gender constructions allowed women greater access to public space while tolerating less independent behavior from them.
Publication Date: 2018-01-04
A Cultural History of Dress and Fashion in the Age of Empire by Denise Amy Baxter (Editor)
During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the production of dress shifted dramatically from being predominantly hand-crafted in small quantities to machine-manufactured in bulk. The increasing democratization of appearances made new fashions more widely available, but at the same time made the need to differentiate social rank seem more pressing. In this age of empire, the coding of class, gender and race was frequently negotiated through dress in complex ways, from fashionable dress which restricted or exaggerated the female body to liberating reform dress, from self-defining black dandies to the oppressions and resistances of slave dress. Richly illustrated with over 100 images and drawing on a plethora of visual, textual and object sources, A Cultural History of Dress and Fashion in the Age of Empire presents essays on textiles, production and distribution, the body, belief, gender and sexuality, status, ethnicity, and visual and literary representations to illustrate the diversity and cultural significance of dress and fashion in the period.
Publication Date: 2018-11-01
Fashioning the Victorians: A Critical Sourcebook by Rebecca Mitchell (Volume Editor); Joanne B. Eicher (Series edited by)
Offering a unique anthology of primary texts, this sourcebook opens a window on the writing that shaped and mirrored Victorian fashion, taking us from corsets to crinolines, dandies to decadent 'New Women'. A user-friendly collection that provides a solid grounding in the fashion history of the nineteenth century, it brings together for the first time sources that trace the evolution of dress and the social, cultural and political discourses that influenced it. Featuring seminal writings by authors and commentators such as Oscar Wilde, Thorstein Veblen and Sarah Stickney Ellis, plus satirical cartoons, illustrations and fashion plates from key sources such as Punch magazine, it combines primary texts and illustrations with accessible explanatory notes to offer a wide-ranging overview of the period for both students and researchers. Each section opens with an introduction that examines the major trends in Victorian clothing - and the material, economic, scientific and cultural forces driving those trends - situating the texts in the pressing social anxieties and pleasures of the time. Exploring both menswear and womenswear, and key topics such as corsetry, dress reform and mourning, Mitchell extends her analysis into interdisciplinary fields including gender studies and literature, and guides the reader with a timeline, glossary and further readings.
Publication Date: 2018-05-17
Dress, Fashion and Technology: From Prehistory to the Present by Phyllis G. Tortora; Joanne B. Eicher (Series edited by)
Technology has been an essential factor in the production of dress and the cultures of fashion throughout human history. Structured chronologically from prehistory to the present day, this is the first broad study of the complex relationship between dress and technology. Over the course of human history, dress-making and fashion technology has changed beyond recognition: from needles and human hands in the ancient world to complex 20th-century textile production machines, it has now come to include the technologies that influence dress styles and the fashion industry, while fashion itself may drive aspects of technology. In the last century, new technologies such as the electronic media and high-tech manufacturing have helped not just to produce but to define fashion: the creation of automobiles prompted a decline in long skirts for women while the beginnings of space travel caused people to radically rethink the function of dress. In many ways, technology has itself created avant garde and contemporary fashions. Through an impressive range of international case studies, the book challenges the perception that fashion is unique to western dress and outlines the many ways in which dress and technology intersect. Dress, Fashion and Technology is ideal reading for students and scholars of fashion studies, textile history, anthropology and cultural studies.
Publication Date: 2015-04-23
Articles & Web sources
White Queens at the Chicago World's Fair, 1893: New Womanhood in the Service of Class, Race, and Nation
Details the contributions of May French-Sheldon to the evolution of the concept of new womanhood in the United States in the 19th century. Personal background; Fashion style of French-Sheldon; Efforts of queens to control the public's interpretation of their use of queenly iconography.
When Clothes Made the Woman
The article reviews the exhibition "Staging Fashion, 1880-1920: Jane Hading, Lily Elsie, Billie Burke," running at the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design and Culture in New York until April 8, 2012.
To the Ball With a Doll, 1800's Style
One doesn't often think about America's early settlers at leisure, because so much has been written about their constant struggle to survive the inhospitable New World. But it turns out that the Colonists liked to dress up for parties, too.
Haute Couture and Searsonal Fashuion Cycles -- the Nineteenth Century
In the second half of the nineteenth century, as wealth began to expand among the upper-middle classes, life in high society sparked notions of grandeur.
An evening with Ackermann: Evening dress in The Repository of Arts, 1809–1813.
This study examines the presentation of evening dress within the first 50 issues of The Repository of Arts, Literature, Commerce, Manufactures, Fashions, and Politics, from January 1809 to February 1813.
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