Theory of style
December 18, 2012 8:31 PM   Subscribe

Seeking scholarly and otherwise fascinating essays on costume history, especially ideas that made you re-think your understanding of fashion design, department store display, shopping, tailoring, the representation of clothes in history painting, material culture, theory of style, couture, etc

I have access to JStor, NY Times archive, and New Yorker archive. Online articles and essays preferred over books. Thanks!
posted by Jason and Laszlo to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (7 answers total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Listening to Khakis - Malcolm Gladwell
posted by crocomancer at 2:30 AM on December 19, 2012

Seek out anything and everything by Valerie Steele. Even though this is an out-of-print book, it is fantastic: Dressed to Kill by Colin McDowell. This book has a memorable take on why men's fashions have changed over time to the narrow options available now.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 6:18 AM on December 19, 2012

Try this wonderful history of suits and masculinity ;masculinity
posted by melisande at 6:46 AM on December 19, 2012

Mostly books rather than articles, I'm afraid, but here are the works that have done most for me in changing my understanding of Renaissance costume and portraiture:

Ulinka Rublack, Dressing Up: Cultural Identity in Renaissance Europe (Guardian review here)
John Harvey, Men in Black (Frieze review here)
Joaneath Spicer, 'The Renaissance Elbow', in Jan Bremmer and Herman Roodenburg (eds), A Cultural History of Gesture (History Today review here)
Valentin Groebner, 'Inside Out: Clothes, Dissimulation, and the Arts of Accounting in the Autobiography of Matthaus Schwarz, 1496-1574', Representations, 66 (1999) (available on JSTOR here)
posted by verstegan at 6:46 AM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Gah - messed up the link - what I wanted to recommend was David Kuchta's "Three piece suit and modern masculinity"
posted by melisande at 6:50 AM on December 19, 2012

Thomas Frank's The Conquest of Cool is a fascinating examination of the symbiotic relationship between 60s counterculture and the advertising industry.
posted by werkzeuger at 7:18 AM on December 19, 2012

I should add that it does this by looking extensively at the menswear industry and its "peacock revolution."
posted by werkzeuger at 7:19 AM on December 19, 2012

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