Abstract

This article examines feminists’ use of fashion in the 1910s, arguing that fashion and appearance became an important factor in the construction of the New Woman image and an integral part of feminist ideology in that period. It explores how adopting and adapting the Oriental style, which came to dominate women’s fashion at the time, enabled feminists to construct a modern and political identity, while simultaneously situating themselves as fashionable and trendy. Analyzing the different ways in which feminists employed fashion to express their political views and identities furthers the understanding of the connections between consumer culture and feminism—New Women did not see fashion as opposing feminist ideas, but as a useful way to achieve them. In considering the role of fashion in constructing feminist identities, this article thus rethinks and broadens the meanings of early-twentieth-century feminist politics to include a wider range of issues beyond struggles for suffrage.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2036
Print ISSN
1042-7961
Pages
pp. 14-36
Launched on MUSE
2015-06-10
Open Access
No
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