Dress Casual: How College Students Redefined American Style

Deirdre Clemente. Univ. of North Carolina, $29.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-4696-1407-6
In her impressive first book, University of Nevada-Las Vegas historian Clemente examines the ways in which 20th-century college students have used their clothes to challenge the constructs of American society. The author posits that pushing the boundaries of social mores through casual dress is a phenomenon that must be credited to university students rather than "Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and even Parisian couturiers." States Clemente, "the shift from collared to comfortable came amid… the kind of sweeping social change" that included "two waves of American feminism, one Depression, two world wars, six decades of civil rights, and the movement of millions of families into the suburbs." Clemente neatly breaks down the casual dress movement, with chapters focusing on a specific area of college life. Using quotes from students across the decades, dress codes from colleges nationwide, published articles on what was considered de rigueur for the time, as well as photos and illustrations, Clemente drives home her point that the simple decision of choosing what to wear can be anything but simple. 25 illus. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/31/2014
Release date: 04/01/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 208 pages - 978-1-4696-1408-3
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-1-4696-2991-9
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