Appropriateness and Parental Approval of 1920s Fashion for Small Town Women: "We pretty much all looked alike!"

Date
2016-11-08
Authors
Cox, Carrie
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Abstract

While descriptions of high-end, ready-to-wear fashions of the 1920s are plentiful (Tortora & Marcketti, 2015), were everyday, small-town women wearing these same 1920s fashions? Did the dress of more ordinary women in ordinary places adopt the 1920s fashion trends associated with cosmopolitan lifestyles? To explore these issues, the author interviewed 12, small town women to record their recollections of their 1920s fashions. Data show that “what†small town women wore in the 1920s and where they acquired their clothing are interdependent issues best understood within the context of the child/parent relationship. Because they were wearing clothing their mothers made for them (not ready-made fashions), their choices were 'parent-centric'. They said that being 'fashionable' was secondary; however, looking 'appropriate' was of key importance. These data provide an alternate account of the 'roaring twenties' placing 'appropriateness' and parental approval as key to fashion choices among small town women.

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