Using oral histories, this article explores the consumption stories of a diverse group of workingwomen who lived in Toronto during the Depression. At this difficult time, when men were struggling with exceptionally high rates of unemployment, young women often became family breadwinners. In these positions, they had to balance their desires for clothing with their economic situations, as apparel operated as both a strong indicator of their status, or desired status, and a tool for finding and keeping work. Because of its importance, women often used clothing to assert, construct, and contest their identities. They found ways to fulfill their needs and desires for apparel by purchasing cheap, ready-made clothing, sewing, and consuming—if only through their gazes—the latest fashions.


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pp. 82-104
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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