Body Dressing “Embodying the Single Girl in the 1960’s”

Photography in fashion poses as a way of embodying how women should look and present themselves, this is one of the many social problems affecting consumers to this day. In the beginning, fashion and photography (in the 1960’s) acted as a part of the transitioning movement for women’s empowering attributes such as being independent, strong, smart, and beautiful. The representation of the “Single Girl” both “defined femininity outside a patriarchal construction” and a contrivance or sheme to replace the feminine aspects of women being characterized in a motherly fashion into a more dainty visual for consumers (Entwistle, Wilson, 184).  Over time photography and fashion coincided with television as well. Having ‘the look’ played an important role in the emergence of movies and magazines where fashion was a major role. Having ‘the look’, in fashion magazines meant having a certain image, attitude, and association that were seen through a person’s appearance which also oppressed consumers by displaying women who were very beautiful and held adolescent figures which could not be attained by average women –  . This mechanism was a way to show women how they should look, which, to consumers, acted as a sort of fulfillment strategy. Fulfillment is knowing and being comfortable with yourself and who you are becoming in society. In generations before me, fulfillment was establishing the character that society wanted you to be. With different people, came different ‘looks’, this played an important role in identifying new and unexpected trends. For example ‘street fashion’ became just as or even more important in the influence of fashion and art for high-end designers who created pieces based off of styles from the unwealthy because it was creative, fresh and had not been seen before while still personifying a certain ‘look’. Haute couture was a luxurious form of fashion for those who had the time and money to put effort into their wardrobe. Ready-to-wear clothing was for women who had limited time and money to spend on fashion, it was both “practical and pleasurable” (Entwistle, Wilson, 185). Ready-to-wear clothing shifted the market of fashion from a self-made clothing strategy to promote to display wealth, into a market targeted to ‘working class’ people who set new standards on fashion.  Ready-to-wear clothes included garments that were more comfortable and easy to maneuver in such as the utility dresses . As in the online article A short History of Women’s Fashion “A decline in restriction and the increasing influence of naturalness were the chief characteristics of the changes in women’s dress during the first ten years or so of the 20th century. While the 19th century abounded in bustles, crinolines, polonaises, dolman’s, abundant frills and furbelow’s of every description, the new century was bowing to simplicity”. Over time distinguishing between a career women and working class women became unrecognizable as culture changed into a society of individuality of ‘self’. Women were no longer known for who they were married to but for what kind of job they had outside of home. Today ready-to-wear garments include all kinds of styles such as dresses, pants, jeans, blouses etc. Majority of society including the wealthy purchase ready-to-wear clothing for their wardrobe. 


2 thoughts on “Body Dressing “Embodying the Single Girl in the 1960’s”

    • the image of the utility shop is an historic image. I wanted to relate the reading to what is seen in todays media to show how consumers are still being oppressed which is why I selected the magazine cover.

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