Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Michael Topp

Second Advisor

Deborah Brunson


Unlaced: The Dress Reform Movement of the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries examines the history of the dress reform movement in the United States with particular regard to its emphasis on corsets and pants as well as its social connections to other movements of the time. The late 1800s and early 1900s gave rise to many formalized movements, particularly during the Progressive Era. The dress reform movement took place in the United States roughly between 1840 and 1920 and sought to change women's clothing to make it healthier, less cumbersome, and more practical. On the surface, dress reform appears to be a smaller matter than some of the other social movements of the time such as women's rights because of its emphasis on comfort, health, and beauty rather than political influence. However, because of the social connotations that came along with clothing, dress reform encompassed a much broader range of issues than simple aesthetics and became part of both the social and political discussion of women's roles in the United States. In many ways, women's dress reform was about women's rights. Dress and gender were explicitly linked, meaning that making changes to the established fashion, especially in a time when womenâ??s roles were already undergoing radical changes, became an outlet for the expression of anxieties over gender roles and part of the power struggle that was already going on between the genders due to the women's movement.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

268 p.

File Format


Rights Holder

Andrea Marie Severson Lopez

Included in

History Commons