fashion history

Suffering for Victorian Fashion: The Grecian Bend

In the 1860s, American women bent over frontward to remain fashionably relevant.

A Brief History of Period Panties

When Limping Was En Vogue

In 1869, a strange fashion trend was afoot among the hippest London ladies. With the assistance of canes and mismatched shoes or specialty pairs with different heel heights, they affected what was called the Alexandra Limp.

The First Lady Pants in Congress

9 Women Arrested For Wearing Pants

In the 1850s, women's petticoats alone could weigh 14 pounds. With the addition of foundation garments, bustles, multilayered skirts and bodices, a fashionable woman's outfit could cross the 20-pound mark. In response, early feminists and social progressives began arguing for dress reform, and some daring women of the day donned bloomers and shorter skirts at the risk of arrest. Even after women's pants first entered high fashion in the 1910s thanks to influential French designer Paul Poiret, it took decades for trousers to trickle down into the daily wardrobes of American women. As late as World War II, women wearing "men's pants" might be nabbed by police for violating anti-cross-dressing laws, demonstrating how fashion isn't nearly as superficial as some might think.

How should lady lawyers dress?

The verdict on female lawyers' proper courtroom attire is murky at best. Cristen and Caroline investigate why workplace wardrobe is particularly vexing for women attorneys and how that reflects on broader gender equity issues in legal professions.

An Illustrated History of Tennis Fashion

How Martin Van Buren Made Fashion History

If we rewind history and trace back to when the "male dress code" emerged, men clearly paid much attention to wardrobe choice and what messages their clothing communicated to others. But at one point in the mid-1800s, the only wardrobe message that mattered was whether men mirrored the heterosexual standard that eschewed any embellishment that would be considered effeminate.

Who invented the power suit?

A post-lunch procrastinating link hop led me to an unlikely location: Savile Row. It all started with a slide show of women's power suits over at The Grindstone, which led me to wonder where on earth these office uniforms came from. Answer:

Fashion History: Men's Dress Reform Party, 1929 to 1940

While studying up for the Stuff Mom Never Told You episode on men and makeup, I stumbled across the Men's Dress Reform Party (MDRP), a London group started in 1929 that advocated for the adoption of "brighter, more hygienic, and picturesque attire" for the male dresser. Just as women's groups had revolted against excessive undergarments, long skirting and generally restrictive clothing, the MDRP also wished to shed requisite suiting, stiff collars and neckties they considered unhealthy and downright uncomfortable.