Wednesday, June 11, 2014

What we are reading now... Fashion Sense Edition

Lost art of dress
by Linda Przybyszewski (746.92 Przybyszewski)

Do you watch old movies from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s just for the clothes? “Lost art of dress” gives you a glimpse into the background for those clothes. Illustrations from catalogs, magazines and pattern books enliven the text as the author traces the social history of twentieth century American women’s lives through their clothing.   
The science of home economics flourished until the 1960’s -teachers sought to introduce principles of harmony, balance and proportion to their students’ creations.  Rules abounded-what colors were appropriate and when. Different activities required different clothing: school, work, travel, housework, sports, afternoon wear and formal wear-all had their own kind of clothing with very little crossover.  Przybyszewski covers hobble skirts, shirtwaists, foundation garments, the advent of slacks, miniskirts, the “Color me beautiful “ rage and the impact of consumerism on quality and taste in the past one hundred years.

In this age of anything goes, the author feels that we have lost things in the process.  I don’t agree with everything she says, but she has some valid points: the Seventies were indeed the Dark Ages of Fashion and women look better in a good design that’s age-appropriate. She is a firm believer in Less is more-invest in a few good pieces; add accessories to change the look without breaking the bank.   

I bought a pair of leather tennis shoes with discreet studs-I thought I was really cool; then I came across “Sneakers: the complete limited editions guide”. This is really cool- limited edition sneaker history in vivid color. What fun to look at even if you can’t own the shoes.  Adidas, Asics, Nike, Converse, New Balance, Vans, Reeboks, Pumas, Air Jordans and other brands are shown with wonderfully detailed photographs and back histories of collaborations among artists, shoe manufacturers and retail stores internationally. Sneaker anatomy and technical glossary are included for those seekers of further sneaker knowledge.  

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