Fashion Fads through American History: Fitting Clothes into Context

By Church, Donna | Reference & User Services Quarterly, Spring 2017 | Go to article overview

Fashion Fads through American History: Fitting Clothes into Context


Church, Donna, Reference & User Services Quarterly


Fashion Fads through American History: Fitting Clothes into Context. By Jennifer Grayer Moore. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 2015. 325 pages. Acid free $89 (ISBN 978-161069-901-3). E-book available (978-1-61069-902-0), call for pricing.

Many works have explored the history of dress and its significance in larger cultural movements, such as the detailed overviews of clothing customs addressed in Clothing through American History edited by Amy T. Peterson and Amy T. Kellogg (Greenwood 2008) or the insightful works of Valerie Steele including the Berg Companion to Fashion (Oxford 2010) and Fifty Years of Fashion (Yale 2000). However, most of these works look at the seminal movements and most enduring fashion statements while this volume addresses the more ephemeral but still significant fads in fashion culture.

Moore offers nine common threads that appear in various times frames, including foreign influences, media influences, technology, repurposing, and statement fads, that she then places in chronology. Each grouping provides an introduction to the overarching theme and insight into both the context of individual trends and subsequent reinventions in later decades, presented in chronological order. For example, purple shirts in the mid-nineteenth century parallel arcade watches of the 1980s or cell phone purses at the turn of the twenty-first century as responses to technological advances. This use of both theme and chronology allows for cross-referencing a period while also presenting key trends. …

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