When Burlap Underwear Was Fashionable

From the Mid-1800s Onward, an Ethic of Thrift and Ingenuity Was Woven Into American Clothing

In 1928, when President Calvin Coolidge visited Chicago, the ladies of a Presbyterian church presented him with a set of pajamas made from flour sacks dyed lavender and finished with silk frogs and pearl buttons in appreciation of his program on economy and thrift.

It seems surprising now, but once the use of cloth feed bags for clothing and household items was a part of mainstream rural American culture—related to a long practice of utilizing all resources that is deeply imbued in the American psyche. Resourceful housewives recycled feed …

Dressing in Black Takes Impeccable Skill

The Difference Between Standing Out and Fading Away Is in the Finer Details

There she was again. I’d been more or less able to avoid her since leaving New York, and I certainly wasn’t expecting her to turn up next to me at …

How Fashion Overcame the Transatlantic Divide

Celebrities Erased National Differences in Women's Style, but American Men Still Refuse to Dress With British Sophistication

An American woman I know in London recently posted on Facebook about being grateful to be out of the country during the current presidential election. That prompted a feisty response …

When Human Hair Could Braid Two Hearts Together

Before Chocolates Reigned on Valentine’s Day, a Tuft of Your Beloved’s Tresses Was the Most Fashionable Sign of Affection

In 2016, Americans will spend more than $18 billion on Valentine’s Day, according to the National Retail Federation. We’ll show our love and affection by buying heart-shaped chocolate boxes, sparkling …

An Unforgettable—But Not Timeless—Walk Down the Aisle

Wedding Gowns From Priscilla of Boston's Bridal Shop Reflect Changing Fashions

Before Princess Di’s puffed sleeves and 25-foot train, before Vera Wang designed $1.5-million gowns, before we loved watching brides-to-be melt down on TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress, and before …

Why and When Did Americans Begin to Dress so Casually?

Hint: It's All About Freedom

I study one of the most profound cultural changes of the 20th century: the rise of casual dress. I study casual dress as it evolved on the beaches of Miami. …