Fashion and Appearance Central to the Construction Essay

Pages: 4 (1246 words)  ·  Style: Harvard  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business

¶ … FASHION and APPEARANCE CENTRAL to the CONSTRUCTION of SOCIAL IDENTITIES?

The objective of this work is to answer the question of how is fashion and appearance central to the construction of social identities and to present a discussion that includes reference to specific examples.

The literature examined in this study clearly indicates that fashion and appearance are central to the construction of social identities. For example, the work of Christopher Breward (1999) entitled; "The Hidden Consumer: Masculinities, Fashion and City Life in 1860-1914" states that the study of "...masculinities, fashion and urban culture is rarely addressed in the same work since the dominant wisdom has long held that consumption was a feminine enterprise and that pre-War British and American men were reluctant consumers at best." (Breward, 1999)

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It is the belief of Breward the male clothing and fashion in the late-Victorian era effectively "provided a creative space for masculine contestation and innovation and that male fashion consumptions positioned consuming men at the forefront of the modernization process that Britain was undergoing at the dawn of the twentieth century. Breward's work first conducts an examination of "the color, cut and texture of clothing available to middle-class and aristocratic consumers" with a focus on the demonstration of the "elaboration and elegant of pre-Victorian male beauty survived the austerity of Victorian moral rhetoric." (Breward, 1999) the remaining evidence of male fashion existing in "...popular novels, shop catalogues, trade directories, diaries and photographs are examined in Breward's work. The graphical reproduction of the retail fashion plates and advertisement "demonstrate the wide variety of elegant clothing and fashion accessories available to Victorian men, and his examination of how men's clothing was discussed in popular novels, men's periodicals and diaries" indicates how prominent fashionable looks was in the mind of the Victorian Englishmen.

I. SOCIAL AGENDA of FASHION - a DEPENDENT NATURE

Essay on Fashion and Appearance Central to the Construction Assignment

The work of Diana Crane entitled: "Fashion and Its Social Agendas" states that fashionable clothes are used to make statements about social class and social identity, but their principal messages are about the ways in which women and men perceive their gender roles or are expected to perceive them." (Crane, 2001) Crane states that fashionable clothes in the nineteenth century "generally expressed the gender roles of upper-class women." (2001) the class structures had a differential effect on women in the nineteenth century in that fashion "had elements of social control..." exemplifying 'the dominant and very restrictive conception of women's roles." (Crane, 2001)

Crane relates the statement of Simmel (1957) that fashion is "an ideal field for individuals with dependent natures, whose self-consciousness, however, requires a certain amount of prominence, attention and singularity." Simmel held that it was women who were "most likely to exemplify this category of 'dependent natures' and were in generally likely to exhibit a 'stricter adherence to the social average'." (Crane, 2001) However, Simmel is stated to have misses the faction that fashion is important for the male as well as the female gender.

II. WOMEN - SOCIAL AGENDA and FASHION

The work of Goldman, Heath and Smith (1991) analyzed the images of women in fashion magazine advertising and stated there were indications of "an internally contradictory hegemonic process - an ongoing dialectic between dominant and oppositional discourse." (Goldman, Heath and Smith, 1991) Crane states that fashion "has always had a social agenda for women, and clothing behavior is always socially motivated." (Crane, 2001) for example conservative was the protocol in the nineteenth century 'based on a conception of women's roles that was widely shared..." however in the 1920 and 1960s the protocol was of a progressive nature that served to reshape "the appearance of women in keeping with changes in their social roles and in the rest of society." (Roberts, 1994;… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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