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The Lost Art of Dress

The Women Who Once Made America Stylish
Przybyszewski, Linda (Book - 2014 )
Average Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
The Lost Art of Dress
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Item Details

"As a glance down any street in America quickly reveals, American women have forgotten how to dress. We chase fads, choose inappropriate materials and unattractive cuts, and waste energy tottering in heels when we could be moving gracefully. Quite simply, we lack the fashion know-how we need to dress professionally and flatteringly. As historian and expert dressmaker Linda Przybyszewski reveals in The Lost Art of Dress, it wasn't always like this. In the first half of the twentieth century, a remarkable group of women-the so-called Dress Doctors-taught American women how to stretch each yard of fabric and dress well on a budget. Knowledge not money, they insisted, is the key to timeless fashion. Based in Home Economics departments across the country, the Dress Doctors offered advice on radio shows, at women's clubs, and in magazines. Millions of young girls read their books in school and at 4-H clothing clubs. As Przybyszewski shows, the Dress Doctors' concerns weren't purely superficial: they prized practicality, and empowered women to design and make clothing for both the workplace and the home. They championed skirts that would allow women to move about freely and campaigned against impractical and painful shoes. Armed with the Dress Doctors' simple design principles-harmony, proportion, balance, rhythm, emphasis-modern American women from all classes could learn to dress for all occasions in a way that made them confident, engaged members of society. A captivating and beautifully-illustrated look at the world of the Dress Doctors, The Lost Art of Dress introduces a new audience to their timeless rules of fashion and beauty-rules which, with a little help, we can certainly learn again. "-- "The Lost Art of Dress explores how, in the first half of the 20th century, a remarkable group of women, whom Przybyszewski calls the Dress Doctors, taught Americans how to dress well and spearheaded a nationwide movement toward beautiful, economical, and egalitarian fashion. By the 1960s, however, the reign of the Dress Doctors was coming to an end. During the 70's and 80's, the rejection of the Dress Doctors went even further, as feminist groups targeted Home Economics classes in schools as examples of society's pervasive sexism"--
Authors: Przybyszewski, Linda
Title: The lost art of dress
the women who once made America stylish
Publisher: New York :, Basic Books, a member of the Perseus Books Group,, [2014]
Characteristics: 347 pages ; 25 cm
Content Type: text
Media Type: unmediated
Carrier Type: volume
Contents: Introducing the Dress Doctors
Art: principles for beauty
Occasions: the duty and pleasure of dress
Thrift: much for little
Revolt: the fall of the Dress Doctors
Aftermath: tyrannies of age and size
Summary: "As a glance down any street in America quickly reveals, American women have forgotten how to dress. We chase fads, choose inappropriate materials and unattractive cuts, and waste energy tottering in heels when we could be moving gracefully. Quite simply, we lack the fashion know-how we need to dress professionally and flatteringly. As historian and expert dressmaker Linda Przybyszewski reveals in The Lost Art of Dress, it wasn't always like this. In the first half of the twentieth century, a remarkable group of women-the so-called Dress Doctors-taught American women how to stretch each yard of fabric and dress well on a budget. Knowledge not money, they insisted, is the key to timeless fashion. Based in Home Economics departments across the country, the Dress Doctors offered advice on radio shows, at women's clubs, and in magazines. Millions of young girls read their books in school and at 4-H clothing clubs. As Przybyszewski shows, the Dress Doctors' concerns weren't purely superficial: they prized practicality, and empowered women to design and make clothing for both the workplace and the home. They championed skirts that would allow women to move about freely and campaigned against impractical and painful shoes. Armed with the Dress Doctors' simple design principles-harmony, proportion, balance, rhythm, emphasis-modern American women from all classes could learn to dress for all occasions in a way that made them confident, engaged members of society. A captivating and beautifully-illustrated look at the world of the Dress Doctors, The Lost Art of Dress introduces a new audience to their timeless rules of fashion and beauty-rules which, with a little help, we can certainly learn again. "--
"The Lost Art of Dress explores how, in the first half of the 20th century, a remarkable group of women, whom Przybyszewski calls the Dress Doctors, taught Americans how to dress well and spearheaded a nationwide movement toward beautiful, economical, and egalitarian fashion. By the 1960s, however, the reign of the Dress Doctors was coming to an end. During the 70's and 80's, the rejection of the Dress Doctors went even further, as feminist groups targeted Home Economics classes in schools as examples of society's pervasive sexism"--
ISBN: 9780465036714
0465036716
Branch Call Number: 746.92 P958L 2014
Statement of Responsibility: Linda Przybyszewski
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references and index
Subject Headings: Fashion United States History 20th century Women fashion designers United States United States Social life and customs 20th century
Topical Term: Fashion
Women fashion designers
LCCN: 2013045448
MARC Display»

Opinion

From Library Staff

Comment by: chulsey Jul 09, 2014

I loved this book! It was a fascinating and well researched cultural history that illuminated the ways in which fashion both reflects and influences American culture. I enjoyed the fact that the author's opinions were apparent throughout the book, as it resulted in a more pleasurable and intimate... Read More »


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Aug 14, 2014
  • PersephoneC rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I enjoyed reading this very opinionated author and couldn't agree with her more!

Jul 09, 2014
  • chulsey rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I loved this book! It was a fascinating and well researched cultural history that illuminated the ways in which fashion both reflects and influences American culture. I enjoyed the fact that the author's opinions were apparent throughout the book, as it resulted in a more pleasurable and intimate read. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in women's issues, fashion, or cultural history.

Jul 04, 2014
  • SMBE rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

What could have been an interesting read Linda ruins by her pseudo-academic writing style.

ErnieK said it all with the comment "great history buried alive"

Linda is a poor writer and overuses her term "dress doctors". Unfortunately I could not finish the book.

Jun 16, 2014
  • gwblonde rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

very interesting read on the rise and fall of fashionable dressing within the US.

May 20, 2014
  • ErnieK rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

This is a very frustrating book. Professor Pski (as she named herself on her website) has done a amazing job researching the entire life cycle of the Home Economics movement in the USA, and she has told this story drenched in her own 21st century opinions. It is more of a diatribe than a history, and even though I agree with her points, I find her methods reprehensible. The "Dress Doctors" is the author's term, used to reduce individual efforts to a made-up brand name, and is endlessly repeated like a tuneless drum. Great history buried alive. Shame! Shame on you!

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